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As the highest representation of the ruling Patrician class the Senators distinguished themselves from the rest of society in a number of ways apart from their extreme wealth. This was particularly necessary for them as considerable numbers of Plebeians and Liberti managed to amass considerable fortunes of their own.
The tunics and togas they wore special to persons of the highest rank. The tunics had a "clavus", a purple stripe down the middle. The togas they wore were called the Praetexta. These togas were regarded as sacred and had a purple stripe round the edge. On their shoes they wore an ivory half moon.
Senators also had a right to the best seating at public displays next to members of the Priesthood, the Vestals, and the ruling King, Consuls or Emperor and entourage.
Perhaps most importantly Senators could hope to greater legal leniency and the severe penalties which might be applied to the common mass would probably be waived and transformed into a voluntary exile.
Membership of the Senatorial class was dependent on a degree of wealth but progression through the various ranks within that class also required political ability and connections.
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"ancient rome senators" was written by Giovanni Milani-Santarpia for www.mariamilani.com - Rome apartments