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should belong to the senate, until the Ovinian lawof un-
certain date but enacted not very long after the consulship
was opened to plebeians" conferred a seat and a vote in the
senate provisionally on every one who had been curule edile,
praetor or consul, and bound the next censors either formally
to inscribe these expectants upon the senatorial roll, or, at
any rate, to exclude them from the roll only for such reasons
as sufficed for the rejection of an actual senator." * The offi-
cers who made the lists of senators had in general the power
of calling m persons who had filled no curule office, when
the number of three hundred was not reached by those who
had filled a magistracy from the quacstorship upward ; and
the censors at least could thrust out, for reasons alleged,
such persons as were by them judged unworthy of a seat, on
account of some moral or other stain on their character*
With this exception the senators held their office for life as
before. The tribunes, be it here remarked, were not as such
originally members of the senate, but acquired the right of
taking their seats in front of the curia % where they could
examine, and, if they pleased, object to a decree of that
body. Afterwards by the plebiscitum Atinitim (634 If* c,,
= 130 i*. c.) entrance into the senate was conceded to them,
and they retained their senatorial rank even when Sulla had
taken away some of their important powers. In the last
century of the republic the senate considerably exceeded
three hundred, At least we find that Cicero, on one occa-
sion, mentions 415 and on another 417 as being present,
while a number must have been absent in their provincial
offices or for other reasons*
The functions of this body, composed of men already
*Momm$en, Rom, Hist,, i., 408 (book a., chap, 3), of the transl
But it is not clear what was the meaning of this law. For the
subject com p. Mommsen'g Rom. Staatr., ii, pt. t,, p. 394, onw, and
Lange, Rtfrn, Alt, ii., g rrr, Lange thinks that the constitutional
number of 300 senators was reached in consequence of the Gviman
law only at the time of the bcth $enatus% but would become in-
complete by the deaths of senators during a lustrum*