Division of Political Power At Rome
Such, then, is the distribution of power between the
The mutual relation of the three.
several parts of the state. I must now show
how each of these several parts can, when they
choose, oppose or support each other.
The Consul, then, when he has started on an expedition
The Consul dependent on the Senate,
with the powers I have described, is to all
appearance absolute in the administration of
the business in hand; still be has need of
the support both of people and Senate, and, without them,
is quite unable to bring the matter to a successful conclusion. For it is plain that he must have supplies sent to his
legions from time to time; but without a decree of the Senate
they can be supplied neither with corn, nor clothes, nor pay,
so that all the plans of a commander must be futile, if the
Senate is resolved either to shrink from danger or hamper his
plans. And again, whether a Consul shall bring any undertaking to a conclusion or no depends entirely upon the Senate:
for it has absolute authority at the end of a year to send another Consul to supersede him, or to continue the existing one
in his command. Again, even to the successes of the generals
the Senate has the power to add distinction and glory, and on
the other hand to obscure their merits and lower their credit,
For these high achievements are brought in tangible form before the eyes of the citizens by what are called "triumphs."
But these triumphs the commanders cannot celebrate with
proper pomp, or in some cases celebrate at all, unless the
Senate concurs and grants the necessary money.
As for the
people, the Consuls are pre-eminently obliged
to court their favour, however distant from
home may be the field of their operations; for
it is the people, as I have said before, that ratifies, or refuses
to ratify, terms of peace and treaties; but most of all because
when laying down their office they have to give an
of their administration before it. Therefore in no case is it
safe for the Consuls to neglect either the Senate or the goodwill of the people.