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Cicero ridiculed increase in number of senators

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Cicero (106-43 BCE) publicly ridiculed the continued increase in the number of senators in Rome. In the 1st century BCE Senate increased its number many times.

After the civil war of Marius and Sulla, among other things, about 300 additional equites entered the Senate. We do not know the exact number of senators, but it could have been from 500 to 600. Julius Caesar, in turn, reduced the importance of the senate, he increased its number to 900 and made it possible to enter the office even for soldiers, liberators or peregrini (free people, not Roman or Latino citizens). Such a policy of diminishing the importance of the senate and collapsing prestige was derogatory to the conservative strata.

The aforementioned Cicero did not hide his opinion about the changes taking place in the Roman system. One day, his friend Publius Mallius asked him for help in getting his stepson to be a member of the municipal council. Then Cicero had to answer that in Rome it would be easy, in Pompeii difficult.

  • Macrobius, Saturnalia II, 3, 11

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