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It was first created as a 100-member advisory group for the Roman kings. When the kings were expelled from Rome and the Republic was formed, the Senate became the most powerful governing body.Instead of advising the head of state, it elected the chief executives, called consuls.Both men and women were citizens in the Roman Republic, but only men could vote.Tradition dictated that patricians and plebeians should be strictly separated; marriage between the two classes was even prohibited.The position of dictator was very undemocratic in nature.Indeed, a dictator had all the power, made decisions without any approval, and had full control over the military.Despite these changes, though, the patricians were still able to use their wealth to buy control and influence over elected leaders.The Roman Senate The history of the Roman Senate goes as far back as the history of Rome itself.

The highest positions in the government were held by two consuls, or leaders, who ruled the Roman Republic.During the Empire, each emperor wore a purple toga to distinguish himself as the princeps, or "first citizen."Citizenship varied greatly.The full citizen could vote, marry freeborn persons, and practice commerce.After the Romans freed themselves from the Etruscans, they established a republic, and all males over 15 who were descended from the original tribes of Rome became citizens.

Citizens of Rome distinguished themselves from slaves and other noncitizens by wearing a toga; most wore a white toga.

The Senate convened and passed laws in the curia, a large building on the grounds of the Roman Forum. E., Rome had conquered vast territories, and the powerful senators sent armies, negotiated terms of treaties, and had total control over the financial matters of the Republic. Sulla had hundreds of senators murdered, increased the Senate's membership to 600, and installed many nonpatricians as senators. E., the Senate became weakened under strong emperors who often forcefully coerced this ruling body.