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Princeps Senatus: Titus Caecilius Faustinus (NPC)

 

Senate Meeting.

July 74CE.

The Princeps Senatus was already in place, the eldest member of the body of men who would open and close every Senate meeting. His position did not hold imperium yet it held considerable respect and authority within the Senate. Titus, did not have a single scandal to his name and carried great amounts of dignitas.  The two new Consuls; Marcus Aemilius Scaurus Alexander and Marcus Valerius Maximus (NPC) were both going to be introduced to the community. Both of them were connected to Caesar through blood or marriage. One could only guess if Caesar or his heirs would be making an appearance today. 

The Rectangular building had the elder or men who had been in positions of note closest to the bottom, while the younger men or those who had not yet served in the upper tiers had to stand at the back to wait their turn. The Senators of the divine body began to gather, take their seats while the wise, old Princeps Senatus... a man who had seen many different and chaotic events in Rome waited. The role had been returned, a gift from Caesar to the Senate and to the people of Rome. 

He waited for the men to take their seats for the meeting. 

What would be discussed this fine day? 

 

 

OOC: Okay everyone, this is a test run for the Senate threads and organising how we are going to use them in the future. Please read the thread about the two political factions. This is the perfect time to make a Senator character to join in on the fun. The first round of posts will be the arrivals of the different Senators, then we will get into discussion and finally the thread will be wrapped. The Newsreader will report the findings of the Senate, so be sure to look out for that. 

All Senators are expected to attend. 

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Aulus, as a former praetor and recently returned propraetor, was entitled to sit near the front of the gathered Senators, although not at the very front, which was reserved for those of consular rank and long-serving Senators such as his father, whom he had accompanied today. Tiberius Calpurnius Praetextatus was no longer a young man, but his son had been away for many years, long enough that Aulus felt it was his filial duty to walk to the Curia with his father, who had stayed in Rome to welcome him back, rather than retire to his country villa as he had every right to do.

 

Even wearing a toga, Aulus’ upright military bearing had not deserted him, though his steps were slower in order to keep pace with his father.

 

He was acclimatising to Rome’s heat, but it was just growing hotter and hotter. The toga he had to wear was not helping matters - he would much prefer his customary military garb, but that was forbidden within the pomerium, the sacred and inviolable limits of the city. Still, he was not one to complain, whether in the frigid wastes of a British winter or in the stifling heat of a Roman summer. And at least here he did not have to be on the watch in case a barbarian tried to slide a dagger between his ribs.

 

Anyway, he had spent the past three years in territory far more civilised than Britannia. Raetia might not be Rome, but they had taken to Roman ways well enough that his toga was not a completely unfamiliar garment any more and there had been no worry that the moths had got at the broad expanse of white wool, or its broad purple edging.

 

Felix had accompanied them to the Curia before being dismissed to do what he liked for the afternoon, so long as he was back at the Curia steps by the time the session ended.

 

The cool air within the austere hall was very welcome and Aulus followed his fellow Senators in, nodding to acquaintances and making a note of those he would need to catch up with, as well as noting those whose acquaintance he would need to make, who could be of advantage to him, and not ignoring those who sought his attention in turn.

 

What caught him, anew, was the absence of faces that should have been there, men his own age who he should be running against for Consul next year - some of his fellow aediles from his interrupted first rung of the Cursus Honorum were missing, never to return after the awful events of twelve years before. He hadn’t thought that it would be such a wrench, and it almost certainly would not be, if this were not the first time he had entered the building in three years.

 

He settled his father in one of the front seats before turning to take his own a row or two further back, hoping that whatever might be discussed today would be more interesting than upping grain imports for the bread dole for the poorest of Rome’s citizens.

Edited by Sharpie
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The Senate meeting had been called, and like many others it was expected for him to attend. Lucius was going to attend and vote on whatever had been planned. He was curious whether Caesar himself will attend or not. The heat did not bother him, both the threat of the weather and equally the risk of what could potentially come. There was always the risk of His clothing was to be expected. A toga, the sign of a Roman male citizen, and entered the building. He greeted those who were close to him, gave courteous responses to those who he did not wish to offend (without reason) and ignored those who he considered to not be worthy of his time. It did not take long before he took his seat, and wondered what it vote would be about today.

Was it going to be expanding into another nation? Dealing with internal matters? All these things were important matters. However, many of them were not particularly interesting. Lucius wanted to know what would happen. Knowledge was power, protection and more. 

He took his seat close to his friend and leaned close to murmur, "I wonder what it will be like today,". He watched the rest of the Senators enter the building, made a mental note to who spoke with whom, and who pointedly ignored others. Each of them in turn would gradually take their positon appropriate to where they had managed to rise through the honos curum.

Edited by Brian
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As expected, Quintus arrived with many of the other the other Senators and made his way into the building. It was a place he had been born to serve in and through merit (and connections) he was able to rise through the ranks.  He walked alongside his brother-in-law and gave him a discreet nudge with his elbow. Quintus looked around to see who was present, who had yet to arrive, and most importantly who was missing from the Senate meeting. He was not above gossip, and looked forward to speaking to Appius when they were alone about what event had taken place.

There were many ghosts from the past that were not there, and by rights, they should have been there if the civil war had not seized the lives of so many men. He gave a few of his close associates nods of greeting, murmured to a couple and otherwise he was able to find his place readily. He himself had been at risk of death on several occasions, and had learned a great deal during those dangerous times. Allies were found in strange places.

Having served as Consul in years past, it permitted hit to sit alongside the men closer to the front and comfortably he took up his position. Once he was seated he relaxed and waited to see who else would arrive, and who would be pointedly absent from the hearing. 

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Appius felt Quintus' cheeky nudge with his elbow as he entered with his brother-in-law. He held the Senate in high regard even if it had been the place of bloodshed for his family, purposely, he kept those thoughts from his mind and focused on the present. Not to mention the importance of the future. He wanted to redeem the family name and honour, the suicide of his elder brother and the shame it had brought his family was considerable. The death of his father... the sight of the blood would not be forgotten. It was vital for the future of Rome that any decision made here would likely have impacts over the citizens of the empire. He was a moderate at heart, Rome could expand and do 'defensive' or expansive wards if it would ensure peace throughout the Empire yet social policies at home needed to be maintained. Later he would speak to his sister rather than Horatia about what had happened in the Senate, her wisdom was vital and he wondered what she would make of it all. 

The normally chatty man was quiet as he entered the Senate despite Quintus' nudges and took his place among the other Senators. All that they needed to do was wait for Caesar (if he was attending) and the Consuls to arrive so the session could begin. He wondered if the sons of the Quintus would also arrive and begin to learn about the start of what would be their military career or whether they would be introduced through a different avenue. 

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Octavius walked with his fellow Romans towards the direction of the Curia Julia. There were many times where the Praetorian guard would also accompany him yet today, he was among his peers and he wondered how his younger brother and father-in-law would cope with the Senate meeting. No doubt they had already discussed with Caesar what would take place. As he entered the building he was greeted by the family supporters, friends, and those who wished to petition. Generally, Octavius greeted them steadily and made his way through the crowd. He nodded in a curt greeting to Aulus, his family through marriage, and others. He took his seat as a former Consul and waited for the meeting to take place. Typically he voted along Moderati (Moderate) to Publici (internal policies) yet he was not above acting for the future of the empire. If the empire was too large, it often meant that money and resources would be stretched wide in order to meet with basic services that were required. 

Silently his gaze moved around the room and looked to see if there were any newcomers who were going to arrive. He turned to the person he sat beside and listened while the old timer spoke about how he thought the meeting was going to go. There had been no announcement about what was going to happen. 

 

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Tertius had attended many senate meetings by now. He hadn’t done it so much before he was sent to Germania, but after he returned because his brother was presumed dead and someone had to take care of the family… he had been in the Senate. Not that he was one who spoke up much, but he followed the meetings and stayed alert. It was important to keep track of whom supported whom and who voted for what. And what patterns could you see in all of this? He was a praetor, after all, and whatever was decided in here would affect his work.

Of course there were quite a few familiar faces. He only recently became closer acquainted with Metellus, after they decided to go exploring at a party in his own area of Rome, but others he knew from long ago. Even Octavius Flavius Alexander had not so long ago met with Tertius, and that was something, for he was close to the Caesar. That made him think – he knew he ought to marry again and weren’t there quite a few young ladies within that family that would need a husband soon? Maybe he should discuss this with Octavius, next time they met. It wouldn’t be now though. Instead he took his usual seat – not up in the far back, but not at the front either.

Tertius was one of those they called a moderati – he voted for what he thought was best for the empire in general and it wasn’t always the same. He preferred to try and stay neutral in politics, because he preferred to stay alive and not suddenly be assassinated. What his brother would vote, he had no idea. Secundus rarely attended the Senate, and Tertius believed it was for the best. He’d rather not see his brother. And luckily, he wasn’t here today either. Instead he spent the time until the actual meeting with nodding to various people he knew and of course talking casually with the men next to him.

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There was both a thrill and a trepidation in entering the rectangular building that hosted the Senate audience. It had been a place of great tragedy for his family, but also triumph. In his first year of the Cursus Honorum, it was now his right to take a seat amongst the assemblage, and further his learning. Attired in a manner that was not ostentious but never the less appropriate for a son of Caesar.

Some of these men he knew, by reputation if not personally, and some he knew not at all. His uncle Octavius was visible down the front, the seat he was entitled to being a previous Consul. For a moment the size of the building seemed to echo around him, and Tiberius felt oddly naked without the presence of the Praetorian guard. He knew the Senate chamber had not proven so safe as it should have been.

But he could make no contribution to the Empire if he lived in constant fear. The past was behind them, and if he would not see it repeated, he would have to arrange the situation politically so that it would not happen again. To do that, he had to be here. But he was not alone. With a final glance towards his uncle, Tiberius turned towards the upper tier of seats, head held high and expression schooled as though he were far more confident than he felt; the demeanor of an Imperial. Nodding politely to those who greeted him, and greeting those few he knew and passed in turn, he made his way to the upper tiers, determined to learn from today. It was, after all, why he was here.

Edited by Sarah
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For the first time in four years Titus stepped foot inside the Curia Julia again. Many of his fellow senators had already arrived, but there were still plenty of open seats. Their togas, perfectly immaculate in most cases, gave the event an air of equality and complete fairness; the taking of seats, however, betrayed the illusion: those closes to Caesar and highest in rank sat foremost, while those of lesser authority - like Titus himself, in his role as former quaestor - were relegated to the back, farther from Caesar. It suited Titus just fine, as fewer would see him fidgeting under the unbearable itchiness of his toga.

A few familiar faces cropped up here and there, and Titus acknowledged those around him with nods and short greetings as he moved closer to the seats. Spotting his brother Quintus together with Appius Scipio, Quintus' brother-in-law, he made a beeline for the two men and greeted each with a vigorous handshake and a promise of catching up after the meeting. Sitting not far away from the pair was Aulus Praetextatus, whom Titus also knew well; he greeted the older man with an enthusiastic nod, and, at last, proceeded to take a seat at one of the back rows. 

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Manius Aemilius Scaurus Pius arrived at the Curia slightly later than many others, but well before the official start of the session. As he entered into the famed building, he immediately set his eyes upon his brother, Scaurus Alexander, and then to Valerius Maximus the co-consul, before continuing onward to find a place to sit. Though he was old enough to be considered for a consulship, Manius hadn't pursued the traditional course of offices to bring him to such a standing. As a result, he sat in the rear benches, among the younger senators, and those more like himself whom had decided to focus on careers outside of climbing the political ladder. He gave quick greetings to those seated around him, and then turned his attention on the Princeps Senatus.

Not many years prior his father, Marcus Scaurus, had commanded respect and silence within the halls of the Curia. Manius, though, was not his father. He had only truly been active in the Curia since his return to Rome six years prior. When present he mostly listened, only giving his opinion when it was called for or absolutely necessary. As he saw it, Scaurus Alexander was the public scion of the family. He could maintain the political ascendancy of the Aemilii-Scauri while Manius worked to maintain the family's wealth and legacy for the future... whatever it may be.

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In his younger years Quintus detested even the thought of having to attend a meeting of the senate. He had always been a man inclined toward acting, and had seen the senate as a means for rich, bored men to argue and speak of what they might do while not actually doing anything at all. Even after he had taken the purple, Quintus found every excuse he could to be on the fringes of the empire fixing something, leaving the senate to his most trusted advisors and relations. After a decade of leading Rome back to a place of stability and peace, a more relaxed life in Rome gradually became more and more comfortable for the old warrior.

Caesar carefully maintained the delicate balance between his power and the senate's, though not without help from his family and allies. He was seated in his place between the two consular chairs, giving nods to each senator as they caught his gaze. Others came forward to speak with him in private before the official start of the session, but once the Princeps Senatus took the floor, silence reigned, and Caesar listened along with every other man. There were many matters to be discussed, and many important decisions to be made.

 

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Alexander had been speaking privately with his fellow consul, his brother's own in-law, before the crowd of senators began to fill the seats of the house. Only pausing in conversation while he and Valerius Maximus greeted those that shuffled near them to find their places. His gaze landed upon Tiberius whenever he entered and found his seat, bringing his memories back to his own first year in this ancient building, having begun his own duty as to follow in the footsteps of his father and adoptive father and his brothers. He could almost read the boy's nervousness, making mental note to seek his nephew out after the assembly was excused to check on him.

He gave a nod to his brothers and inlaws, noticing that Quintus' son had forgone the occassion thus far, as they came filing in as well, keeping his face stoic as he waited and listened, now in silence, as the Princepts Senatus took the floor. Knowing that he and his co-consul would be announced in due course now that the man had commanded the attention of everyone in the room.

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(As Titus Flavius Caesar Alexander)

Titus was not going to miss this. He was determined to make a name for himself and his reputation for the future of Rome. He saw his father there, his uncles, and his adopted brother (and cousin), along with the various members of the extended family, allies, and other influential men of Rome. There were still a few others coming into the august building, and thus, his arrival would not be negative. Unlike his quieter cousin, he greeted people readily and freely. Happy to draw people to him, and looked forward to getting to know people. For his politics and where he leaned, Titus had yet to decide and formulate which direction he leaned. Clad in his toga, he walked into the room and stood alongside Tiberius before he leaned to the side discreetly.

"Are you looking forward to this, Tiberius?" He whispered, at the back, they could watch without having to worry too much about being seen. Titus' gaze lingered on his father for a moment, silently looked forward to the day and waited patiently for the meeting to begin. 

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Gaius was not particularly happy about standing near the younger princes, nor being on the backbench. Sure, it was pleasant being near them. They were so young. Times like these is when he wished he stayed inside the military rather than the civic route. 

He frowned to himself, stared up at the ceiling of the building and wondered when it would be over. He needed a drink and to relax. Maybe he could watch one of the gladiator bouts? Possibly a brawl in the street? He sighed to himself, rubbed the bridge of his nose between his forefinger and his thumb, and exhaled slowly. Sooner or later it would begin, he would cast his vote and make an appearance to stop his mother nagging him. He leaned against one of the pillars, and waited. Eventually the Senatus Princeps would begin the event and they would finish to actually get on with their day. 

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( As Marcus Valerius Maximus

He had entered not long before the last men had entered. His facial expression was gruff and his pace was determined, strong. Marcus greeted Quintus Caesar with a friendly but firm handshake before he took his seat on the other Consuls chair. He was dressed as expected, clean-shaven, gruff and soldierly. He sat on the other Consul's chair and waited patiently for the meeting to begin. He had some understanding about what would occur, and waited for the Senate meeting to begin. 

 

(Thank you, Dev for the information about him.) 

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He watched with aged eyes as the last men finally trickled in. Titus Caecilius Faustinus' bones creaked as he stood up from his seat, tapped the wooden stick to inform the Senators that the session was now officially open. The blessings had been favourable, and the Gods would no doubt guide the men on making the best decisions for the Empire. At least, that was what Titus hoped. The doors remained open with only Senators being permitted to speak yet people with good hearing could no doubt hear what was being said. Around the entrance, lictors stood as the traditional guardians of the officials and the members of the Praetorian guard who had accompanied Caesar. They waited outside and kept an eye on the gathered crowd. 

No others would be admitted at this time. 

"August Senators!" He said, his voice surprisingly strong for a man his age. "I declare this meeting to be open!"

Titus continued with his words. "Today we are gathered today to discuss the social policies in regards to supporting the orphans and the poor of Rome. Along with discussing any possible expansions to existing programs and how it will progress!" He called out loudly to ensure that all of the Senators had heard his words, and were aware of what was going on. The Augusta was known to be in favour of these social programs. 

 

OOC: Whoo hoo! Okies, now, remember to follow the post order and to remember to keep posts on the shorter side to minimise post splicing. If there are any issues, I will check in to keep things moving. Let's do this! 😄  If you don't have something for your character to say. Essentially, saying they were quiet and had nothing to add is perfectly fine to post. 


Post Order.

Caesar will be posting first.

Then as follows. 

Sharpie - Aulus. 
Brian - Lucius.
Me - Quintus.
Brian - Appius.
Me - Octs.
Atrice - Tertius. 
Sarah - Tiberius. 
Liv - Titus. 
Manius - Chris
Quintus Caesar - Chris
Tori - Marcus
Me - Titus Caesar (NPC)
Brian - Gaius
Me - Marcus Valerius Maximus (NPC)

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After Titus Faustinus had declared the official start to the meeting, Quintus gave a nod to the senior statesman and then took the floor for himself. There was a moment of silence, as he looked around the Curia to examine the faces of the men in attendance. He could remember in years past when the Senate had been almost empty of notable men and families - some because the families had been exiled or nearly wiped out, some because their scions had retired for fear of their safety, and some because they did not wish to be seen openly defying the will of less-than-understanding emperors. Quintus had spent a great deal of time extending leniency to the senatorial class, while also maintaining a balance with the rising upper-equestrians. A military man through-and-through, this day he was to speak of a social matter closer to home.

"Gratias, Faustinus," he said to the Princeps Senatus, and then returned his attention to the sitting senators. "Senators, there are a great many matters of discussion open to us. Indeed, I have been busy these past weeks with reports coming in from the east and from the limes about the  movement of the Graeci against the Parthians, and the Germani against one another. As Romans we have for a long time cast our eyes out to other lands, our focus on the next conquest, or the next piece of glory we can claim for mother Roma. It is in our blood, one could say, for us to spill the blood of others." He paused, turning his gaze to the other side of the Curia.

"Yet, ten years ago it was neither the blood of the Germani nor the blood of Parthians we were spilling, but the blood of fellow Romans, fellow citizens of our great empire. I was not present in our great city when the tyrant Clemens took power, and I was not witness to the atrocities he committed. Though I know the severity of the reports I heard in Asia were enough to fill me with a resolution to secure and protect my beloved homeland. Had I been able to take a road to Rome that was free from bloodshed, that spared the lives of my fellow Romans, I surely would have. Alas, the fates saw to influence more ambitious men to lesser actions, and battle could not be avoided. There is not a day that passes where I do not lament the loss of my brothers-in-arms, even as they plied those arms against me. For they believed they were fighting for Rome, however misguided they might have been.

"Here in our city, men and women fought and died. In Italia they did as well. Not only our soldiers, but our people. I, too, suffered the loss of my oldest son, a wound I share with many of you. Now, a decennium and more after we have peace, there is again a need to protect that which is ours. Yet before we can march against outward enemies, we must first look inward at our future.

"We cannot speak to the Glory of Rome and marvel at our marble architecture and triumphal arcs without taking a closer look at the naked and starving orphans hiding in the shadows of those same structures. Those children are the future of Rome, yet what future do they have when they have little choice but to live as beggars?"

Caesar paused, surveying the Curia once again before continuing. "I am proposing an alimenta - a nourishment - of our Italian homeland. To provide food, education, and housing for the poor and the disenfranchised children and their caretakers so that we might strengthen the heart of our homeland, and bring hope to its future. Any and all ideas and suggestions for the implementation of such a program are welcomed."

With that, Caesar returned to his seat and the floor was open again.

 

((OOC: If there are any questions about this, send myself or one of the other staff members a PM or message on Discord.))

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Aulus was of the opinion that the Romans should rule by military might. If they fed the poor of Rome (never mind offering housing and education!), then eventually the poor in the rest of Italia, and the provinces beyond, would come to expect the same treatment. And that could not be sustainable by any means! He was not utterly against the proposal, despite his natural inclinations, however.

"Most excellent Augustus, and my fellow Senators," he began, when it was his turn to speak. "This seems to be an admirable proposal, although I have two reservations: Where are the funds to come from - if the rest of the Empire is to pay for this and receive nothing themselves, that will foster unrest, especially in provinces such as Judea and Britannia. Secondly, are these benefits to be given out to our poorest citizens with no regard for a return? I would propose some method to ensure that those who could afford to pay even something would be expected to do so."

He sat down again so that the discussion could be taken up by the next Senator.

 

@Brian (for Lucius)

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Thus it began. 

Lucius was not surprised that it had been brought up. The Caesars had long relied on the mob's support to remain in power, and it made sense. Clemens was long gone. His name forever stained. Yet what were they supposed to do with the mess that was left behind? He listened to Caesar as he finished and then listened while Aulus brought up his own concerns. He shared them, although for different reasons. He did not necessarily care about the individuals involved. 

Lucius rose from his seat. 

"Honoured men of the Senate, I echo partially the words spoken by my colleague," He said, made a long and sweeping gesture with his hand towards Aulus and continued. "The pain of the civil war is great and already a considerable amount of charity work has begun by many virtuous women of Rome," He said, made a point to honour the contributions by the Augusta. "However, there is no point pouring water onto the ground. Perhaps the most worthy of children could be chosen and educated? While the rest trained in a trade with perhaps an incentive to repay the achievable debt back to the state?" He suggested, left the idea hanging in the air and sat down to permit the next Senator to speak. 

@Gothic

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He did not particularly care about the lower classes. In fact, he considered this issue to be closer to a woman's domain and line of work. Surely they could contribute to charity through the various temples? Quintus first listened to Quintus, the Augustus and then to Aulus'. A thoughtful look on his face as he regarded what was said yet his main priority was what would benefit him. Then to a lesser extent, Caesar and Rome itself. He waited for Metellus to finish what he was saying about instead it being an investment into the future of Rome. Quintus rose from his seat to addressed the gathered body of his peers.

"Both good Praetextatus and Metellus have brought up excellent points to the proposal the Augustus has placed before us," He said, gestured with an open hand towards the two men and smiled. "I agree with the matter of cost and reward. Generosity is one thing yet the coffers of Rome cannot simply open. Perhaps a scheme to ensure that only the finest quality orphans are given an opportunity to rise?" He left that in the air, in echo of both what the other two men said and continued.

"Roman needs strong and true Roman men if we are to strive and continue. What of the girls? If they came from worthy families before. Perhaps a dowry? Yet... this.... is another expense and the priority should be on the males." He said, and had a feeling that his wife and Venusiana may not be too happy when they heard about him saying this. "Again, we are men, and cannot understand 'womens issues'.... perhaps issues concerning the female orphans should be left to Rome's leading ladies? The Augusta has led the charge in this matter." 

And he sat down.

@Brian

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He listened as each of the men stood and spoke after Caesar.

They had all brought up interesting points of their own to add to the debate and getting a return on the investment was clear. Appius desired to see a change for humanitarian sake alone. They were Romans. It was not their fault that their parents had chosen the wrong side of the civil war or had suffered. If Clemens or the others had of been victorious, it may have been his children who now needed to rely on aid from other Senators. Perhaps he was too influenced by his wife or his sister. He rose to his feet to address them. 

"Sometimes doing the right thing is it's own reward," He said, "Romans have sacrificed for the good of their nation. The women of prominent families, have offered their assistance yet, fellow citizens, do you think that men do not wish for dignity and work? These children if not assisted could become immoral. Bandits, thieves, pirates." Appius near enough spat at that last word, "It will save us coin later with our generosity by having these citizens work and pay money back to the Roman state." 

With that, he sat down. 

@Gothic

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Octavius listened while his eldest brother addressed the Senate followed by the rest of the different men. Each of them brought up excellent points to contribute to the conversation. Morality, return on the investment, and other things had been brought up by the Senators. He would occasionally incline his head and nod when he agreed with a particular comment that had been made. His wife, Valeria, had been supportive of this endeavour and so was his sister-in-law, Julia Drusilla. He had to juggle his personal life with what was beneficial for the Roman state and people as a whole. Yet, profit was required and mortality was not simply the only thing necessary. Already there had been the Colosseum built, the grand library was currently in progress in construction, and other contributions to the the Roman people.

Yet orphans still remained. 

He rose when his time had been granted, "Fellow Senators, there have been many excellent points that have been made and brought forward concerning the alimenta," Octavius began, then continued, "The civil war did not merely impact the city of Rome herself. The effects and widespread harm of the tyrants and pretenders hit right across the empire. However, the cost would be great if we did it beyond Italia. We could use this opportunity to test the schemes. A test should be made to assist those into valuable trades; the army, craftsmen, other forms of skilled labourers, and other kinds; such as physicians, teachers, scribes in order to get the most lasting reward. These men would later pay taxes to contribute to the Roman state for the benefit of all," He continued, paused, the cost the scheme would be extensive and it would be a gamble.

"Perhaps, much like the Grand Library, families could offer their chance of immortality through their own supporting the scheme and there remain the properties of . As for the female children, I believe they should be given into the care and service of the prominent women in Rome, educated if they prove capable and given a small dowry to provide for them." 

@Atrice

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Being known as a back-bencher in the Senate and indeed often actually acting like one, meant Tertius rarely spoke up in this house. He was mostly here to listen and preferred private conversations and arrangements to speaking up in public. It could be dangerous. As Caesar spoke of what occurred about ten years ago, Tertius was naturally also reminded about how many lives were lost back then and what uproar there was in the city. And the reason why he remained a back-bencher in here. Caesar spoke other truths too though. It was true they should take better care of the orphans and the poor, since they too were part of the empire.

The next speakers spoke true words too though. It was fine to offer housing and nourishment for the poor and the orphans, but who should pay? He liked his friend Metellus’ idea of educating the most worthy of the children and also when Scipio spoke up on having the citizens, at least those who were able, work to pay money and effort back to Rome. When Octavius Flavius Alexander, with whom he also had a useful connection, then spoke up, he found himself nodding at the man’s words. When Octavius fell silent once more, Tertius – Tertius, the backbencher! – stood up for once.

“Honored Senators… you all speak wise and clever words. I agree that those who are unable to care for themselves, yet are free Romans and citizens, should be aided as far as it is possible. Naturally this goes for both the males and the females. And I also find that education and employment is the best way, in the long run, to help these people. Grant the coin now and ensure those people the education and work for our glorious Empire.”

When he had finished speaking, Tertius would sit down once more.

@Sarah

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Seated amongst the other backbenchers as was appropriate to one still learning, Tiberius watched as his family members assumed the more central seats. His uncles and of course Quintus Caesar himself. Yes, theirs was an influential family, and it was important to remain so, which was why he was here. But he was not alone, as his cousin and adopted brother climbed the steps, though the process took some time as Titus paused to greet everyone, the far more garrulous of the two. And the more popular. Tiberius was more than happy for Titus to have the limelight, and greeted the other young man with a warm smile as his cousin settled, only to ask quietly if he was looking forward to the Senate meeting.

"I am." Tiberius replied, realising that he meant it. "And you?" Though he suspected he knew the answer. Here was where the policies that drove the fate of the empire were decided. That was far more important to him than social good will, though he was still learning that that and political sway often went hand in hand.

There was no time for further conversation as the Princeps Senatus called the session to order, opening it and the floor to the matters that would be discussed this day. Caesar - looking very official and rather more distant in this formal setting - rose and introduced the subject for discussion. Tiberius was immediately interested, it was something he and Uncle Octavius had discussed last year, now seemingly ready to come to fruition. Older men, more experienced Senators, rose to speak each in their own turn, raising points for and against, concerns and support, and Tiberius listened with interest, mentally categorising those who were likely to be in favour of the proposal, and those who might be against. They spoke of lightening the future burden these children could pose, and the burden of cost such an effort could now bring, of ways and means and the limited supply of funds, of the poor future left for these children if nothing was done. All valid points, and not all mutually sustainable. And then suddenly it was his turn.

Rising to his feet, Tiberius took a deep breath as he felt the eyes of the majority of the Senate on him, for the first time, in this space. This was what he had trained for, and he either took his place among them, or forever wondered what he might have become. Perhaps it helped that this was a subject about which he felt strongly.

"Honoured Senators." He began, lifting his chin to counter the urge to swallow nervously. "Ten years ago the heart of the Empire was decimated, and she is still recovering. This is an opportunity to treat her remaining wounds. Many children were left orphaned in those dark days." The urge to swallow or stutter was suddenly gone, subsumed by a cold, suppressed anger; he was one of those children. "Some of us were fortunate enough to be adopted into the houses of our kin," he bowed politely in Quintus' direction, "others had no kin to turn to. The eldest of these are already grown, and with no skills or education may well have turned to thievery or charity to survive. If so, these people are a drain on society, and on the Empire's coffers. Lets not make that mistake with the younger ones."

"Certainly, let us try different methods. Perhaps a tax incentive might be offered to families to adopt orphans. Or houses built that will shelter many children, making efficient use of one cook, one tutor per house. Let the brightest move on to grammaticus, and the others be indentured to a trade. Let there be a tax of repayment when they can earn a living, if needs be. But let us not do nothing." His voice was firm, the blood of his line showing though. "In another ten years the orphans of the strife will be all grown, and the need will be less; it is up to us to decide whether they shall be a valuable part of the Empire, or the millstone around our neck that we did not care to remove before it grew heavy. Consider; the children we save today could well be the men who lead us tomorrow." He gave a faint smile, and for a fleeting moment looked very much like his father.

And as quick as that, the attention of the Senate moved on, another rising to their feet even as Tiberius resumed his seat.

@Liv

Edited by Sarah
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Titus had been absent from Senate proceedings for years, courtesy of his service in the provinces, and most of the time he did not miss the stuffy, formal speeches that had senators talking in circles and boring each other to inaction. During this meeting, however, his colleagues seemed to have come to the same conclusions rather quickly, and not yet once had he had to steel his jaw to tame a yawn threatening to escape. It must have been Caesar's influence, transforming the venerable institution from an ineffective assembly to an energetic decision-making organism over the better course of a decade.

As the young Tiberius took his seat again, Titus stood up. "Esteemed colleagues, I find myself seeing the truth in your words, and agreeing with it. These children must not be left to suffer the whims of Fortuna, but instead aided so that they can contribute to the grandiosity of our homeland." Many had ended up in their situation through no fault of their own, and petty criminals and gangs would step in to claim them to their ranks if those of means did nothing.

"For many generations, Rome has been cleverly exploiting whatever resources are available. Our forefathers turned marshland into terra firma, and our soldiers build roads as they conquer foreign lands, all so that their successors will thrive. These children are a resource for our patria, one that we should take advantage of today lest we lose it forever tomorrow." He paused to clear his throat.

"Let us do as Tiberius Claudius suggests: send the brightest to a grammaticus, so that they may help shape the minds of the future. Send the strongest to our legions, so that they may bring glory to Rome and themselves. Send the others to be apprentices to tradesmen, so that they learn the virtues of being a Roman through honest work. And as for the girls - true, our mothers, wives, daughters and sisters may know best how to handle them. There would be value in letting them into our own homes, so that they may learn how to be good Roman women. But seamstresses, too, need apprentices, and the temples are often in need of novices. For if we offered our help to ten girls, how could we justify not extending the same charity to a hundred, or a thousand more who would reclaim it?" Let them all know meaning through hard work, males and female alike. Idle hands made for idle minds, and these orphans could contribute to society by providing useful work. Rome didn't need any more ne'er-do-wells.

Having spoken his mind, Titus sat back down, gazing attentively at the next speaker.

@Chris

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