|Timeline : Superpowers|
|Location||Senatus, Forum Magnum, Rome|
|Houses :|| Upper House - Comitium Consularis|
Lower House - Comitia Curiata
|Leadership|| Sextus Sarcosus Galea (Consul Italii)|
M. Joseph Lidenus (Princeps Senatus)
|Members|| Senatores (2000) + Princeps Senatus|
The Senatus Imperia (Eng: Imperial Senate) is the bicameral, democratic legislature of the Roman Empire, consisting of the Curiate Assembly, its lower house, and the Consular Congress, its upper house. It embodies Senatus Populusque Romanus, the sovereignty of the people of Rome. Some of the most powerful men in the world assemble in its name inside the Senatus in Rome.
The Comitia Curiata, lower house, is officiated by democratically elected representatives of the public known as senatores. Their role evolved from the self-serving aristocrats of the Old Republic who, plagued with greed, were individually possessed of a great deal more power than modern senators.
Upper House is called the Comitium Consularis (Consular Congress), a body of 40 consules who represent the Imperium's major cultural groups. The first and most powerful consul is the Consul Italii, elected leader of the Romans.
In Political Theory
A fundamental tenet of moral philosophy in the Western tradition is that "the rightful authors of a law are the people who are subject to the law." This right to self-legislation is the sovereignty of a people. Romans recognized that it is impossible to bring this to fruition in a country spanning many cities. True, direct self-legislation is only possible when an entire people can assemble in one place. Nevertheless, this political ideal can be approached and demos - the sovereign power of the people - can arbitrate in the creation of laws by the conjunction of several organs of government which together guarantee the expression of sovereignty.
This solution to the problem of sovereignty in large states was put into practice through the Constitution of Rome. Containing the foundational articles of the Imperium Romanum after the Civil War, this document established the Senatus Imperia, the Comitia Censoria, the Tribunus, the Caesar and the Comitiae Populae. Where no single representative body could properly enact the general will of the people, these organs do so collectively. Primary among these is the Caesar, who physically embodies Roman sovereignty and directly enacts legislation. However, his role as sovereign would be incomplete and rendered void without the regulative actions of the other organs.
The Senatus Imperia has a key role in this regulation. Each senator has been elected by a majority from about 900,000 citizens and serves as their representative for exactly five years. The duty of senators is to hear the needs and concerns of their respective citizens, whether or not they voted for him. Theoretically, a senator is aware of what the people in his curia desire. When 2000 senators come together, the opinions of the whole empire have a venue for being considered. Every new law requires a senatorial majority and, therefore, indirectly, a popular majority.
Laws are written as bills by a consul. The consuls are each a member of a certain nation in the Imperium and are each elected in a popular assembly of that nation's cultural capital. Once a consul has submitted a bill in the Senate and it has received majority support from the senators, the consuls themselves have a vote. With a majority among both representative bodies of the Senate, the bill will be reviewed by the Tribune, the censors and finally the Caesar, who has the sole authority to enact it as a new law. At the core, the sovereign authority of the people is maintained by the frequency of popular assemblies of the citizens. A resident of the city of Rome can expect to vote almost twenty times a year, as can citizens living in even the most remote reaches of the Imperium. Such consistent regulation from the top and the bottom ensures that, while not perfect, the Roman Empire closely approaches the form of a true republic.
Rome's Senate is its most enduring institution. Founded in the first days of the city, it grew with the overthrow of the kings in 509 BC, survived the fall of the Republic in 27 BC and kept together through the split and reunification of the empire in the 11th century. The peak of the Senate's power came long after the coup d'état over Tarquinius Superbus, the last king of Rome, as senators gradually usurped control of the city from its executive magistrates. Its greatest period was during the late Republic after the Gracchi brothers reformed government. It was then that ambitious senators of the likes of Julius Caesar and Gnaius Pompeius sought absolute power. Their failures and civil war paved the way for a new generation of ambitious senators to have their own power struggles. In the end, Gaius Octavianus Caesar, Julius' nephew, emerged victorious.
The Principate (27 BC - 1012 CE)
The newly venerated Augustus Caesar named himself Princeps Civitatis (first among the citizens) and effectively cast his shadow over the Senate, which retained its power in principle. Since the early emperors desired a superficially republican government, for the monarchy-hating Romans, legislative and executive functions were legally kept by the Senate even while emperors increasingly publicized their use of power.
Eventually, the emperors formally dissolved the democratic institutions of the Republic, keeping the Senate for its continued contributions to government prudence. Some organs of democratic rule such as the Comitia Censoria and the Tribune were reinstated by the fair Caesar Valens, but the trend was toward monarchism.
Resentment for imperial authority and the increasing ineptitude of emperors grew as the empire aged. Eventually, a military leader Gnaeus Moratius Brutus led a rebellion of the Legion on the Ides of March 1006 CE. Senators were appalled at how poorly Caesar Julianus handled the situation and finally brought up the courage to usurp power from one of their beloved rulers. The assassination of Julianus on the Kalends of August allowed the Senate to establish a Second Republic in Rome while the emperor's family fled to Constantinople.
The Pontificate (1012 - 1372)
Following decades of civil war, senatorial and imperial authority were simultaneously usurped by a Pope in his plea to the Roman people for order. His call was heard by the public and soon civil power was firmly lain down at the feet of the new Papal-Emperor Aegranus. Under his reforms, the Senate was granted more powers than under the pre-civil war government. The Comitium Consularis, formed under the Second Republic, was also retained to serve as a protector of the interests of major cultures under the purple cloth of Roman culture.
In 1191, Caesar Sextus Severus established Rome's written Constitution. This document legally separated executive powers from the Senate but gave it binding authority for passing new legislation. Emperors could still veto legislation but the new laws allowed the Senate to operate independently of them for the first time since the fall of the First Republic. After the glorious reign of Caesar Magnus the Great, power drifted back into the Senate as imperial rulers found themselves more and more incapable of waging the war against Maya aggressors in the New World. For a time, the Senate seemed to outshine the emperor.
Their glory days were shortlived. The killing blow to the Senate's power trip came from a nearly unprecedented occurrence: a popular general brought his legions into Rome itself. No one had done such a thing since Julius Caesar's infamous crossing of the Rubicon but the result was much worse for the Senate. The venerated general Faustus Galerius Pertinax requested a vote to have him crowned emperor. Almost unanimously, the vote passed. Soon, Pertinax was marching through the streets of Rome for his triumph and was granted the clan title Alexander by decree of the Senate and people of the city.
The Dominate (1372 - present)
Emperors under the new regime garnered more power for themselves than ever before. While the constitution vested legislative power in the Senate and the censors guarded the law from imperial corruption, Caesars could still use their clout to ensure the success of all their wishes. A reform in 1783 stripped the last of the Senate's power over the emperor, making it a mere tool of the executive government.
Real power was not restored to the Senate until the Alexandrian dynasty ended dramatically in 1885. The last absolute emperor, Alexander XIV, chose to leave his country in a more stable democratic form and, as one of his final acts, returned huge amounts of political power to the Senate, that they had never officially lost under the Constitution. A revived Senate has performed admirably in face of two world wars and rapid technological advances in the last century. The present system is generally devoid of corruption and more fairly represents the desires of the populace than any point in its history. Only democratic change or a military coup could alter this course.
As legislature for the Imperium Romanum, the Senatus Imperia separates into two distinct representative bodies, the houses of parliament. First, the Comitia Curiata occupies itself with the fiscal responsibilities of the Senate as its Lower House and gives legitimacy to legislation by its support. Second, the Comitium Consularis writes bills and provides a second democratic check on enacting new laws.
Specific executive or legislative tasks can be delegated to a Decemvirate, a commission of ten patricians who have the authority to write a bill on specific matter before presenting it to the Senate for legislation.
The general structure of the Senate remains unchanged since its institution in 1066 and its broader functions are the same from when they were delegated in 1191 by the Constitution. Nevertheless, the specific powers of its houses have varied considerably over the last millennium, sometimes overshadowing and at other times being overshadowed by the emperor.
Occupying the Lower House of the Senate are 2000 directly elected representatives of the citizens. These noble senatores (sing. senator) would not even be magistrates if they were not preferred over all other candidates by no less than 450,000 citizens. Each senator represents the 900,000 citizens of a curia, a contiguous political district within the limites of the Imperium Romanum.
There is a perfect equality of votes for senators and, by the equipartition of the citizenry, for the subjects of Rome. Together, senators run all the affairs of the Lower House, the Comitia Curiata (Curiate Assembly).
Presiding over the Assembly is the Princeps Senatus, a magistrate with no voting power but who decides the vote in the event of a tie, sways the opinion of senators by his influence, and can nullify a maximum of 10 votes with a valid reason. His duties as president of the Senate include calling the either house of the Senate to assemble, issuing the final legislative position of the Assembly, maintaining order during parliamentary discussions, and delivering messages from the Assembly in person to the Caesar. As figurehead of the Senate, the Princeps is often the public face for the legislature, speaking to the people of Rome several times a year.
Elections for the Princeps Senatus occur on the second Sunday of every November - the elections of senators is detailed further down. Any senator is a possible candidate for the position but whichever one is elected relinquishes his office as a senator to his deputy. After his election, an incumbent Princeps Senatus enters office on New Years Day of the following year.
The Census ensures a consistent 1 to 900,000 ratio of senators to citizens, with the exceptions of the districts of Rome where curiae have historical-geographical separations. Abiding by this rule is required under Proclamation 5 of the Constitution. The ratio's value is unessential as long as it is consistent throughout the empire.
While senators bring local interests to the attention of the legislature, the Upper House is populated by 40 directly elected representatives of the major imperial nations. Each nation revolves around a capital of its culture (e.g. Athens, Carthage, Hastinaporum, etc.) whose nationals elect its consul (pl. consules). An individual consul wields significant power as a magistrate, taking part in both the legislative through his auctoritas nationalis and the executive through his imperium foederalis over his particular Foederata (Dependent Nation). The consuls of the Imperium Romanum are:
- Consul of the Italians - Rome
- Consul of the Gaels - Londinium
- Consul of the Gauls - Parisium
- Consul of the Hispanics - Merita
- Consul of the Punes - Carthage
- Consul of the Egyptians - Alexandria
- Consul of the Aksumites - Aksum
- Consul of the Nubians - Meroë
- Consul of the Hebrews - Jerusalem
- Consul of the Arabs - Petra
- Consul of the Phoenicians - Tyrus
- Consul of the Anatolians - Sinope
- Consul of the Ionians - Constantinople
- Consul of the Greeks - Athens
- Consul of the Macedonians - Thessalonica
- Consul of the Dacians - Serdica
- Consul of the Illyrians - Salona
- Consul of the Goths - Vinona
- Consul of the Germans - Camia
- Consul of the Jutes - Havena
- Consul of the Frisians - Caerulea
- Consul of the Mediterraneans - Syracuse
- Consul of the Melitans - Melita
- Consul of the Pannonians - Sirmium
- Consul of the Alpians - Brigantium
- Consul of the Muscovites - Kiev
- Consul of the Franks - Clovium
- Consul of the Africans - Mvita
- Consul of the Bantu - Hetica
- Consul of the Mali - Timboktua
- Consul of the Audenisoneans - Halorium
- Consul of the Appalachians - Valerium
- Consul of the Columbians - New Rome
- Consul of the Sylvans - New Athens
- Consul of the Mysorians - Mysoria
- Consul of the Indians - Mahabarum
- Consul of the North Indians - Hastinaporum
- Consul of the Australians - New Alexandria
- Consul of the Stars - Troy
- Consul of the Peregrini (Foreigners) - None
Consuls are apportioned a number of votes equal to the proportion of the citizens he represents to the total Roman population, determined by the Census. Accordingly, the most powerful consul is the Consul Italii with 14 votes out of 210. Groups like the Indians, who otherwise have no representation in the government, receive surprising numbers of votes - in their case 13 split among their three consuls.
As figurehead for an entire nation, a consul is an example for the customs of his people and his treatment relative to the others is taken as evidence for the relative standing of his nation. Consuls are some of the most highly respected individuals in the Imperium; they simply radiate dignitas. This produced the idiom, "better a consul in Rome than an emperor in Asia".
Consuls vote in the Upper House of the Senate, the Comitium Consularis (Consular Congress). Like the Curiata, a majority in the Comitium is needed for a bill to pass. Unique among the legislative powers of the Comitium is the power to write legislation. No other organ of the government has this power unless it is delegated by the Comitium. Indeed, delegation of power was the manner in which emperors after the 14th century hoarded most of the political power in the empire for almost six hundred years.
There are several interesting or distinguished consuls. First, the Consul Italii, possesses powers quite distinct from the other consuls. As president of Congress, he calls the consuls into session, takes bills in person from the Upper to the Lower house after each stage in the Comitium, and leads most consular sessions through speeches and the right of calling silence. This office most nearly resembles the Consuls of Ancient Rome and is the peak of any male patricians cursus honorum (political career).
Second, the Consul Astriae stands for all citizens currently living offworld. Elected in Troy, the capital of Mars, he must be distinctly aware of events beyond planet Earth and have substantial knowledge of the logistics and science involved in space travel. In his executive role, the Consul of the Stars is governor of the lunar and Martian colonies and personally oversees operations of asteroid mining.
Lastly, the Consul Peregrini stands for the 40 million non-citizens who hail from foreign countries. While he only has one vote, he must be a non-patrician citizen and is elected by Congress itself. In the last few decades, people in this office have primarily been involved with the status of Inca living in the Imperium. These people have proven invaluable for Roman medicine and are often afforded post exceeded their status as foreigners.
By convention, both houses of the Senate regularly convene every Saturday. Typically, there is a session in the morning, a break for midday meal, then another session in the afternoon. Senators and consuls will return to their homes in Curia V, a district of the city of Rome, for the night before reconvening Sunday on the Forum Magnum at 4 AM (four hours before noon) for mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter. However, these are only customs.
The Princeps Senatus may call senators from their homes across to empire to a meeting the next day if there is legislation to debate or important matters requiring the attention of the government. Same applies to the Consul Italii with the members of Congress. These sorts of meetings happen quite frequently. A senator can expect to find himself in the Senate about a hundred to one hundred and fifty days a year.
Powers and duties
The majority of the Senate's powers are set forth in Proclamation 10 of the Constitution. These are the absolute powers of the Roman parliament. Non-constitutional laws which grant powers to the Senate confer minor powers. The latter are not protected by the Constitution and are generally beyond the jurisdiction of the censors to protect. A Caesar has the right to supercede or disregard the minor powers of the Senate.
Only the powers to write and legitimize legislation as well as to spend from the treasury are absolute powers of the Senate. Signing treaties, employing diplomats, raising legions or fleets, conscripting citizens for the military, and exiling foreigners are examples of the minor powers granted to the Senate over the centuries.
The life of a bill in the government of the Imperium starts in Congress after one of the forty consuls presents a written document detailing a revision or addition to Roman Law. His document will be given to every member of Congress at the start of the session for review. If his proposal gets seconded by one other consul than the bill is taken by the Consul Italii to the Princeps Senatus, who will scan the document for dissemination.
By the time of the next session of the Assembly, every senator will have received an electronic copy of the bill and, ideally, will have read it thoroughly. The Princeps Senatus will ask the assembled senators if there are objections to the bill, formally providing the opportunity to for voicing opposition. This begins the first round of debate on the merits and costs of enacting this piece of legislation. After a week, the Princeps Senatus may end the debates at his own discretion by opening the next session declaring them complete.
Once debates over the bill are closed, there is a roll call of all 2,000 senators where each individually says whether he is for or against passing the bill. As one can imagine, this process takes several hours and, to give the senators a rest, is usually spread over two or three days. If a minority support the bill, then it returns to the Comitium for modification according to major complaints. However, with majority support, the bill will be issued by the Princeps Senatus as senatus consultum (decree of the Senate).
A senatus consultum is posted in the Forum Magnum and brought to the Caesar the day it gets issued. Senators, consuls, censors, citizens and the Tribune may review the copy posted in the Forum. Since the dawn of the age of information (1895), senatus consulta have been posted in the main fora of every provincial capital. Politically aware citizens will be disseminating copies within a day and those who are strongly against enacting the bill may voice their concerns to the Tribunus and Caesar through the proper channels. An absence of objections from the Comitia Censoria indicates that the bill is constitutional. If the Tribune of the Plebs does not veto the decree, then nothing will be heard from him either. All that remains for the bill is to be signed by the Caesar, for it to become enforceable as part of Roman Law.
Bills that get rejected by either the Tribune, Censors or Caesar are rendered consultum impotens. If the consul who presented it still wants the bill to be considered, he must account for any objections offered by whichever of the three parties vetoed the consultum and only then may propose it again as a bill in the Upper House. There are numerous bureaucratic measures in place to prevent the constant return of a bill from a persistent consul but these are far too mundane to be worth mentioning.
In executing the sovereign will, the Senate possesses the power to tax the population to support its finances. However, the treasury generated from taxation and public guilds is under the control of the entire government, that is the Senate, the Ministries and the Caesar.
Public spending requires the presence of an aedile, a magistrate with access to government funds. Neither the Senate nor Caesar can appropriate the public wealth without one. While the aediles are vested with the authority for spending money, they lack the imperium to actually spend anything. The federal budget consists of the planned spending by the government of Rome. Funds allocated to provincial governments, dependent nations, government salaries, military salaries, and infrastructure maintenance are detailed in a budget written in January by the Mensarius Superbus (Supreme Financier) of the Ministry of the Treasury. All other expenditure is at the discretion of the Caesar, Senate, and Ministries within their respective jurisdictions.
Taxes, tariffs, and duties are solely set by the Comitia Curiata in a process similar to passing bills but without the involvement of Congress. A modification to one of these sources of income will be proposed by one senator then the proposal seconded by another. If a majority of the Assembly supports the change in taxes, tariffs or duties then the quaestores, magistrates tasked with employing public workers to collect money owed to the government, change their protocol for the following year.
International and internal commerce are also regulated by the Assembly. Their policies incorporate tariffs, trade agreements with foreign powers, information exchanges among Roman guilds, quotas, and limits on multinational guilds to manage international commerce. National economic activity is regulated through minimum wages, public interest rates, unemployment loans, standard work schedules, state retirement programs, public health care, public welfare, government bonds and the money supply. Every single one of these forms of economic regulation are determined by consensus in the Comitia Curiata.
By comparison, an emperor is not permitted to directly set taxes, change interest rates or declare tariffs. However, the Caesar can modify the health care system, issue government bonds, modify the printing of money, and alter public benefits within the bounds of the Law.
Power over the people
Proclamation 4 of the Constitution submits the entire collective property of Roman citizens to ownership by the government. This comes with the essential restriction that no item can be removed from a citizen's possession without returning money equal to its market value and providing a reasonable time frame for its procurement. The constitutional laws outlining this process ensure that the exchange is at least to the financial benefit of the citizen. Furthermore, good reason must be presented to the Comitia Censoria before this measure is enforced.
According to Proclamation 8 of the Constitution, the death of an emperor with no recognized heirs leaves the state in a position of sede vacante of its papal and imperial thrones. During sede vacante, the Senate must convene to elect a new Caesar. Any man of the patrician order is eligible but the Constitution implies that it should be a patriarch of a major Roman clan. This Act of Imperial Succession has been used only once in the empire's history, to elect the highly decorated patriarch of the Rulliani clan in 1885. Yet it has precedent in an older law legislated by Caesar Sapiens in anticipation of the end of the Antonine dynasty.
Some of the Senate's non-constitutional powers are: ratification of international treaties, declaration of war against a foreign power, raising armies or navies, commissioning public monuments, military conscription, erecting military facilities, exiling non-citizens, and issuing research grants. Minor powers mirror many of the absolute powers of the emperor, allowing the Imperium to function in his absence.
Working to stabilize the Roman Empire against another civil war, Caesar Sextus Severus formulated the written and unwritten codes of Roman Law into a new document, ratified by the Senate and people of Rome in 1191. The original Politeia Romana consisted of 18 Proclamations, laying out inviolable laws around which future laws would be constructed. Over 800 years, it has expanded to 32 unbreakable Proclamations, ensuring that modern issues are appropriately regulated at the very core of Roman Law.
The purpose of the Constitution is to safeguard the inviolable right of the citizens and permanently structure the relationships between distinct organs of government. Nullifying, ignoring or removing a constitutional law is illegal under all circumstances. They can only be modified as a whole through a rigorous legislative process that ensures an absence of exploitation or corruption. No one has the authority to violate the Constitution; it sets the limits for the imperium maius (supreme executive power) and auctoritas principis (highest legislative authority) of the emperor and is outside his jurisdiction to oppose. Protecting constitutional law is the eighteen man Comitia Censoria, an assembly of eighteen sacrosanct magistrates with the authority to prosecute other magistrates.
Proclamations tend to consist of ten to thirty articles that that individually outline an aspect or application of the law in question. Issues enumerated in the Proclamations may be summarized as follows (these are not the Proclamations themselves, only basic summaries of their content):
- A Roman citizen is bound by covenant to the state and the state to him.
- No citizen can be imprisoned, harmed or in any other way destroyed, except by the lawful judgement of his peers (right to trial).
- A Roman citizen can only be tried in a court of Roman Law and citizens abroad are guaranteed unwavering protection from the Legion.
- The state has property rights over all property of a citizen but citizens have the legal right to the value of all their property and must be fairly compensated.
- Every citizen living within the Empire has an equal share in legislation.
- The government is only valid with popular, moral and military regulation.
- The Caesar must be recognized as sovereign by the citizens, Senate and Legion before he is granted supreme executive power.
- Any member of government with the exception of the Caesar and Tribune can see his term in office shortened by the general will of the people.
- Final authority in enacting laws rests with the emperor.
- All legislation must be passed by a majority in both houses of the Senate and written by a member of the Comitium; an emperor cannot propose legislation.
- Judicial power can only be retained under government support (no vigilantes or citizen courts).
- A Roman citizen has the right to no less than two thirds of his income (income tax <33%).
- Medical treatment necessary to the life of a citizen cannot be withheld, includes the right to a free hospital birth and medication for life-threatening disease.
- Citizenship can offered by the Caesar to a foreigner.
- Citizenship cannot be revoked from any citizen without a fair trial.
- A Tribune will be elected to safeguard the interests of those who cannot hold a magisterial office.
- A Consul of the Comitium must be a member of the culture he represents.
- New Proclamations for the Constitution must be ratified by an eighty percent majority in the Comitia, unanimous agreement in the Comitium and consent of the Emperor, Tribune and Censors.
- All children of a Roman citizen have the right to a full and free education (1198).
- Parents do not have the right to harm their children such that medical intervention becomes necessary (1201).
- Natives of the Columbian continent may not be granted citizenship (1238).
- The Caesar cannot be limited by the Senate in matters of war (1320).
- The Senate can restrict access to any knowledge from the public, for the protection of the state; however, it cannot produce false replacement knowledge, only deny access (1425).
- Natural rights are clearly defined and distinct from legal or societal rights (1449).
- All men, women and children have equal natural rights but different societal rights (1449).
- Every person is born free and cannot be removed from this, his or her natural state (1449).
- Sharing previously patented technology with non-citizens is illegal unless done with majority consent from the Senate or Caesar (1541).
- Maya are exempt from Proclamation 21 (1815).
- Cities with a population over 50,000 must follow all Municipal Laws, except Rome & Melita (1844).
- Any part of the Mare Nostrum over one kilometros from Roman land is under complete control of the Roman government, regardless of international maritime law (1934).
- A Roman citizen has complete rights over the use and possession of his genetic information and it cannot be taken without his consent (1960).
- Women may receive citizenship, and may vote for and receive magisterial offices (1964).
Elections are the means by which citizens exercise their sovereign power and right to self-legislation. While the operation of the Senate is insufficient to ensure the execution of the general will of the people, it a step in the right direction for senators, consuls, and magistrates of all kinds to be democratically elected.
Every senator currently in office was elected according to the majority opinion of the 900,000 citizens within a certain political district known as a curia. Each election result is determined by a series of popular assemblies of these citizens that ends in a popular decision between two senatorial candidates for the curia.
It is the job of the censors to guarantee the people a fair election from both the electorate and the candidates. Only a patrician who has lived more than a year within the curia may run for senator. He must pass a background check by the censors and be a citizen since birth. No one can register as a candidate in more than one curia and the demographic distribution of curiae is decided by the government through the Census every five years.
There is no limit to the number of candidates at the start of a senatorial election. When the first round of voting begins, each citizen will have a vote for one of the candidates. Abstaining is only an option for those who do not attend the assembly, and that option is strongly discouraged by social pressures. Whichever candidate receives the least votes is booted from the running. Successive rounds of voting dwindle the number of candidates down to two for a final vote where the patrician with the majority of votes becomes senator for the curia. Few elections have ended with the winning candidate receiving less than 450,000 out of 900,000 votes. Non-voters are viewed with a certain stigma by Roman society for failing to participate in its self-government and further discouraged by revoking the privilege of formally voicing complaints to the elected senator.
There are no online or long-distance voting systems, only booths in one part of a nearby major city. Elections are a major public event for the Romans, the tradition of assembling a large mob for electing magistrates having been practiced since the time of the First Republic. Today, popular assemblies are a major facet of Roman culture that is frequently referenced as an expression of demos (sovereign power of the people).
For this reason, voting has become a sacred process for the citizens. It involves extremely high security and is completely laden with measures preventing dishonesty or corruption. After the 7th century, when democratic votes were less significant, voting was done publicly by declaring one's choice to a clerk who records votes. While security measures have varied with time, modern elections also place the voter in a completely enclosed room with only a ballot, pens, and a box. Votes are cast into the box, from which removal by the citizen is impossible without heavy machinery. Ten seconds after the box reaches a certain weight, indicating that it is full, a magnetic lock seals the ballots inside and subsequent voters will be forced into another booth.
These small ballot boxes are simultaneously transported to the provincial capital by legionaries where they are opened by presenting three codes. Each code is known to only one censor. Once the boxes are open, another group of three censors take their turns counting the votes while under surveillance. After the tallies are complete, a discrepancy between the numbers is fixed by assigning two random military officers to recount the ballots. The median of all tallies determines either which candidate must drop out or which of the last two candidates is given the honors for becoming a senator of Rome.
Elections for senators are held every lustrum (five years) in months which vary from one curia to another. For the most part, an election lasts about a week, depending on the number of candidates.
In the Census, every resident of the Imperium Romanum is categorized as either cives or peregrini, and designated a member of one of seventy nationalities or ethnicities. By correlating this information with place of residence, the government cleanly segregates the populace into the forty Foederatae.
A Consul is the directly elected representative of a Foederata. As such, he must have come into the position by the consent of that nation. Every nation is represented by its own cultural capital, determined by a millennia of history in most cases. These cities tend to have the highest population in their respective Foederatae and are mostly populated by people of a certain ethnic group. When a consular position is scheduled to become open, members of that consul's nation can submit their candidacy. After a review by the censors, this resident of the empire will be either permitted or not permitted to run in the coming election.
Non-citizens who are recorded as residents of the nation in question may run if their wealth would be sufficient to make them an Eques as a citizen. Among nation's whose members have been universally afforded citizenship, the candidates can only be patricians. The election process operates in a similar fashion to that for a senator. However, every person who was determined to belong to the nation of the consul being elected can travel to the provincial capital to submit his or her vote. These elections happen every lustrum.
The Senate functions as a non-partisan democratic body. Neither senators nor consuls affiliate themselves with a political party. Indeed, political parties do not exist in the Roman Empire. Every elected official comes into office on his own merits, without the support of a national political faction, and elections are for individuals, not parties.
This does not mean that senators, for example, do not form coalitions in the Senate for supporting a bill. These political alignments are only temporary. Once the desired outcome is either reached or rendered impossible by legislative action, senators cease their ideological collaborations. Senators rarely form official agreements of this sort since, in a testament to the purity of Roman politics, the bureaucracy is generally of one opinion.
As a consequence of the absence of partisanship, election proceedings tend to only concern the voters and the extremely politically aware. A person cannot simply track election results according to the standing of one or two political parties and must know the names or specific ideologies of the candidates to understand the affiliations and values of a certain voting district and of the Senate as a whole. Those who rigorously follow Roman politics share information on each magistrate in the government to inform themselves and the public of the general views of the nation's government.
Proceedings of the Comitia Curiata take place on the upper floors of the Curia Sulla (Senate House), beneath the ceiling of its main dome. Ironically, the upper house of the Senate is directly below the Curiata, the lower house. Since the words upper and lower are part of the political vernacular, this facet of the building's design can almost certainly be regarded as intentional. Amazingly, there is rarely confusion between Romans when speaking of either the curia (voting district) or Curia (senate house), though the latter is usually referred to as Senatus.
The main hall where senators assemble for the Curiata is a sight to behold. About 274 meters in diameter, the senatorial chamber is a perfect circle of five rows, enough room for 2000 cushioned marble chairs. Movement through a row is easy over the 1.45 foot path along the front of the seats. Senators enter from the east end through an 18° gap in seating which leads to the magnificent Porta Publica, golden entryway to the chamber.
Supporting the massive central dome (300 m) are three hundred columns, one meter apart, between which are three meter tall holes that face the city of Rome beyond. A 15 m wide oculus in the dome's center maximizes the light flooding into the Senate so that it is brightly illuminated all day.
On the west end is another 18° gap in seating. However, this one interrupts the rows with large pieces of art that symbolize the empire, Caesar and victory. In front of the wall which supports these symbols - a continuation of the sections of marble making up the rows of seats - are three sellae curules (curule thrones). The luxurious red cushion and golden frame of the Caesar's throne stands in the center of the chairs, flanked on the right by the seat of the Proprinceps, his second-in-command, and on the left by the seat of the Princeps Senatus.
Embedded in the chamber walls are hundreds of holographic projectors, allowing hundreds of complex three-dimensional images to be displayed anywhere in the room. Their uses are as limitless as modern animation technology allows, giving senators unbelievable flexibility in their presentations.
Main Article: Ministries
Functions of the state are administered by the fifty ministeria of Rome. This transparliamentary group of political bodies operates across every level of government from the municipal to the federal or the legislative to the executive. How essential these ministries are to the empire is impossible to miss.
Despite the small changes that have been made over the past 800 years, the ministries maintain very much the same functions as those of the early constitutional era. When not performing their primary functions or advising the deliberations of the Senate, ministers will often attend meetings of the Officium Imperialis (Imperial Bureau) to assist the Caesar in governing the empire. Their duties in this capacity are impotent but can have an immense influence on the decisions of a competent and open-minded emperor.
According to the Roman classification, a Magistratus (bureaucrat) is an elected official who has been afforded to some degree of imperium. Although this defines magistrates in a fashion unique to Rome, a slight variation on this terminology for relevance to other countries still leaves Rome with the largest bureaucracy in the world. First among the magistrates and the citizens is the Caesar, Emperor of the Romans and Pontifex Maximus of the Ecclesia Catholica, though some call him Emperor of Emperors (Princeps Principis). As chief executive and legislative official of Rome, the emperor is assisted by his Proprinceps (Viceroy), an appointed minister of state who performs a share of the imperial duties and advices the emperor on administrative matters.
Laws are crafted by the magistrates of the Senatus Imperia as part of Rome's legislative government. Its chief officials are the Princeps Senatus and Consul Italii, the elected heads of the Comitia and Comitium respectively. The former is first ahead of the Comitia's 2000 senatores while the latter is the most prestigious of the empire's forty consules. Each type of magistrate has its own type of electoral district.
Advisors to the emperor form the Officium Regis. The non-magisterial officials unique to this bureau are the numerarius, who keeps records of national finances; the adjutores, assistants to the emperor; and the magister equitum, organizer of the emperor's transportation, to name a few.
The judiciary of the Roman Empire acts on a largely informal basis where judges for an individual court case are selected from the album judicum, a list of all licensed jurists. Collation of the album is done by the Ministry of Justice on a regular basis. When a civil or criminal case is heard, a jury is formed out of the cives Romanum but these temporary officials are not bureaucrats, nor are the jurists who act as judges. Only the ministry's head, the Judex Magnus - judge in the Tribunalis Ultima - is a juridical magistrate.
The aforementioned ministers constitute part of the Ministeria Imperiarum, a collection of fifty organs that carry out the functions of the state. Nearly every Ministry is governed by a magistrate known as its praeministrum (prime minister or minister), including the Proprinceps and Judex Magnus.
With the Ministry of the Treasury are the ten quaestores, chief tax collectors who appoint minor civil servants by province to do the direct collection of taxes and transfer that revenue to the Aerarium in Constantinople. Money cannot enter the national accounts of the fiscus without their authorization. When the expenditure is necessary and money must leave the treasury, one of the 120 aediles is necessary to permit the money's extraction. Their prime minister is the Mensarius Superbus, the one who allocates the empire's wealth according to legislation by the Curiata or demands from the emperor.
The unusual Ministry of the Tribunal consists of a single member - the Tribunus Plebis. His power of intercessio which allows him to veto bills that go against the interests of the lower classes is only superseded by the same power wielded by the emperor. Similarly, the Comitia Censoria is populated by the 18 censores, protectors of the Constitution and monitors of public morality. Their power to indict anyone in the empire under suspicion of treasonous activities is, once again, only ineffective against the emperor.
Connecting the military to the government is the Ministry of War (aka Ministry of Peace) under the Magister militum. Commanders of branches for the armed forces also have the rank of magistrate, including the Generalissimus, supreme commander of the armies; the Admirallis, first officer of the high fleets and the Legatus Caelus, primary commander of the air forces.
Another 94 prime ministers administer the affairs of the other ministries. There are no public activities beyond the jurisdiction of at least one ministry, discounting senatores, consules, praefecti urborum and praetores.
The praetores are provincial governors appointed by the emperor without consulting the Senate, though the decision can be overturned. Replacements for old praetors come when an old praetor is impeached, dies or falls out of the Caesar's favor. The latter is almost unheard of in modern times.
Temporary bureaucrats can be created by appointment to a Decemvirate (ten man commission), a committee formed to deal with a problem that seems insoluble by other political means. As a magistrate, members of the commission receive their own toga praetexta - worn only by magistrates - and lictores, personal bodyguards allocated according to a magistrate's imperium. These are customs pertaining to the whole Roman bureaucracy.
Another 184,190 magistrates - the praefecti urborum - administer the empire's municipalities or urbes. These may be citizens of any social order who are elected by popular assembly of a city's inhabitants. Their role consists of allocating government expenditure on municipal programs and governing the city under federal laws.
Most offices are allowed to appoint a vicarius (deputy magistrate) who assists in their duties and replaces them in the event of incapacitation or death. Since vicarii are not elected, their abilities to perform the duties of a real magistrate are severely limited by the law, kept only to essential functions.
Becoming a magistrate for the Roman Empire is no small feat. Public education makes it clear that bureaucratic offices confer duties not privileges and this would be what everyone from patrician to pleb grows up hearing. Such a notion is not inaccurate, but it would be unfair to say that there are not perks or private incentives for holding office.
For this reason, a great deal of measures go toward separating the wheat from the chaff in politics.
First, anyone aspiring to a political office must be heavily educated. Every Roman citizen receives an extensive moral education from lower school and many pursue a higher ethical education. Anyone wishing to hold the position of magistrate at any level must be a Doctor (PhD) of moral philosophy. This entails having knowledge of the primary Western texts on ethics and practical lessons on self-evaluating ethical behavior. The general moral character of the average Roman notwithstanding, magistrates tend to live impressively ethical lifestyles.
A doctorate (Academy degree) is merely the minimum requirement for being a magistrate at any stage of politics. Senators must hold one economic and one moral degree while aspiring censors will not even be considered for candidacy without three degrees and an outstanding record in government.
Second, candidates for any government post must have a history free of charges of corruption. While scandals are considered acceptable and generally do not happen for magisterial officials, there is no tolerance in government for magistrates who embezzle public funds, abuse power or ignore constitutional law. Such violators of proper conduct will be registered as unfit for government by the censors until proof of genuine reform is brought forward.
Lastly, the Comitia Censoria goes to great lengths to check the backgrounds of all magistrates, even its own members. Not only is there a great deal of transparency in the investigations done by the censors, but the public usually has no tolerance for unworthy bureaucrats and will force them out of office for serious transgressions.