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  1. SENATUS POPULUSQUE ROMANUS (SPQR) Although the 'senate', as it is known, has undergone a series of transformations since its original inception, it still maintains a place of importance and power within Rome's political sphere. From a council of elders built specifically to advise Rome's early kings, to a collection of politicians all vying for ultimate power, and more recently a mix of factions all in support of internal stability, but with different short-term goals and ambitions - the Senate is the gateway for Rome's leading men to leave their names in the annals of history. As it currently stands, the Senate is composed of 750 active members - a marked increase from the average of 600 during Augustus' reign - though on average only 100-200 are 'sitting members'. To clarify, of all of Rome's population, only 750 men are eligible to be sitting members. "Sitting members" are those IN Rome who actively engage in discussions, who actively pursue a career in politics, and attempt to climb the Cursus Honorum. The political factions of previous decades have since disbanded, either through deaths or retirement, and the current political landscape is much different than it has been in the past. In general, Rome's elite are supportive of the Flavian Caesars. Rather than attempting to undermine the power of the Caesars, they instead have grouped into two major factions with different modi operandi all centered around strengthening the empire as a whole - civil war is the last thing any of them want. Those factions are: DEFENSORES (the 'Defenders'): Despite their name, these men are traditional expansionists. It is their belief that Rome should be the master of the world, and any remaining barbarian nation with relative strength poses a threat to Roman dominance. The best defense is a proactive offense. Senators within this camp are most focused on continued expansion on the British isles, the conquest of Germania, and the political situation in the east. PUBLICI (the 'People'): In contrast to the Defensores, the Publici keep their focus centered on social issues at home. They do not see continued expansion as the right move for the empire, instead pointing to the ill side-effects of conquests such as high taxes, influxes of refugees and slaves taking away work from Roman citizens, and the declining purity of the Italian or Latin population. MODERATI (the 'Moderates'): Though not a collective party or faction in the same sense as the Defensores or the Publici, the Moderati are arguably the most important senators in the sense that they are the swing votes. Their views, morales, and ideals differ from person to person, as do their ambitions and goals. For some they truly vote based on what they believe is best-others are more easily influenced by rewards.
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