sen'-at, sen'-a-ter: In Ps 105:22, "teach his senators (the Revised Version (British and American) "elders") wisdom." The Hebrew is zaqen, "elder" Septuagint presbuteroi). In Ac 5:21, "called the council together and all the senate of the children of Israel." The Greek gerousia, is here evidently used as a more precise equivalent of the foregoing "council" (sunedrion), to which it is added by kai, explicative. Reference is had to the Sanhedrin. See SANHEDRIN. This term gerousia occurs in Septuagint Ex 3:16, etc., and in 1 Macc 12:6; 2 Macc 1:10; 4:44 of the supreme council of the Jews (see GOVERNMENT). In 1 Macc 8:15; 12:3, bouleuterion, is used of the Roman senate, which is said to consist of 320 members meeting daily, consulting always for the people, to the end that they may be well governed. These statements are not quite accurate, since the senate consisted normally of 300 members, and met not daily, but on call of the magistrates. Originally, like the gerousia of the Jews, the representatives of families and clans (gentes), the senators were subsequently the ex-magistrates, supplemented, to complete the tale of members, by representatives of patrician (in time also of plebeian) families selected by the censor. The tenure was ordinarily for life, though it might be terminated for cause by the censor. Although constitutionally the senate was only an advisory body, its advice (senatus consultum, auctoritas) in fact became in time a mandate which few dared to disregard. During the republican period the senate practically ruled Rome; under the empire it tended more and more to become the creature and subservient tool of the emperors.
William Arthur Heidel