The Senatorial Order
These reflections were suggested to Tacitus by a proposal, rejected by Tiberius, to enforce the sumptuary laws of Augustus (see No. 10). Tacitus rightly ascribes the more sober way of life followed by senators in his own day to the gradual change in the membership of the senate by the admission of new members from Italy (the municipalities and colonies) and the provinces. Though membership of the senate was de facto hereditary, the older families tended to die out, and a large number of recruits had to be obtained from the outside. Although luxury went out of fashion, wealth increased, since the estates of the old families which died out normally passed through heiresses or by adoption or by will to other senatorial families.
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