Princeps senatus

The princeps senatus (pl. principes senatus), in English the leader of the senate, was the first member by precedence on the membership rolls of the Roman Senate.[1][2] Although officially out of the cursus honorum and possessing no imperium, this office conferred prestige on the senator holding it.

The position was created in the first half of the third century BC and retained its prominence for two centuries. The principes were often the most famous Roman politicians of the period, such Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, Scipio Africanus, and Marcus Aemilius Scaurus. It lost its importance after the reforms of the dictator Sulla in 82–80 BC, but might have been temporarily restored for Cicero, its possible last incumbent during the struggle between Mark Antony and the Senate in 43 BC. The Roman emperors merged the princeps senatus' prerogatives with their own, although there are occasional mentions of distinctive principes during the later Empire.

  1. ^ Roberts, John, ed. (2007). "Princeps senatus". Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World. Oxford Reference. p. 858. doi:10.1093/acref/9780192801463.001.0001. ISBN 9780192801463.
  2. ^ Badian 2012. "The senator whose name was entered first on the senate list compiled by the censors".