AHC: The Senate rules the Byzantine Empire

The general trend of Eastern Roman history saw the Senate decline in importance to the point of irrelevance.

Instead, can the Senate gain more power and reduce the Emperor to a figurehead? What theological implications would this have?
 
Very unlikely. The eastern senate wasn’t all that powerful. It didn’t have the influence that the western (original) senate had in ages past. Would definitely be interesting but sure unlikely.
 
Wasn't the multi-generational imperial shift away from the city of Rome partially a response to the institutional strength of the Roman Senate within the city? Outside of Rome, the Emperors could do more of what they wanted with less senatorial meddling.
 
Wasn't the multi-generational imperial shift away from the city of Rome partially a response to the institutional strength of the Roman Senate within the city? Outside of Rome, the Emperors could do more of what they wanted with less senatorial meddling.
If I remember it correctly, the shift away from Rome was mostly due to geography, during the late roman empire, the city, while historically important, had lost its position as a center of wealth (reason why the capital moved to Bizantium even before the empire was divided in two) and as a defensive well-located position (at least from what I understand, the reason why the emperors of the west moved first to Milan and later to Ravena was because they were better located to command the armies and had walls, something Rome lacked).

After Augustus, while the Senate had some power (and would even depose some emperors), it became more and more a rubber-stamper, and had almost all of its remaining importance outside of the city itself destroyed following the Crisis of the Third Century
 
Why didn't the senatorial interventions against some emperors lead to a durable power shift back to the Senate?
As far as I understand is because in the early cases the new emperors were incredibly influentian in the Senate, and in the later cases because even when the Senate acted against an emperor, a general ended up declared emperor by his troops and the Senate had long since become militarily powerless
 

Lucius Verus

Monthly Donor
Just to put in perspective, the wealth of the emperor was around half the GDP of the empire; it was simply difficult for a bunch of arrogant and unpopular rich old men to offer that anything the army or emperor can. That and the fact that the only shared thing in the senate was their wealth (which often required imperial favor) meant sycophants and infighting; you see a glimpse of this in Nerva's brief reign where the senators, given immunity as they were Nerva's only supporters fell upon themselves in recriminations while ignoring the praetorian guard and army.
 
I do not see that this would happen: the Senate was made irrelevant the day the Second Triumvirate was formalized, and the closest it got to reclaiming power - 41 AD, via the assassination of Caligula - showed that it was no longer the Senate but the army that called the shots. By any date by which the Byzantine Empire is formed (284, 629, you name it) the Senate was already irrelevant. Moreover, during Imperial times the status of the Senate depended on the good will of the Emperors. In other words, senators were the Emperor's admirers, friends, courtiers, and advisors - their power depended on him, not the other way around. The nature of Imperial autocracy - i.e. the doctrine of One God, One Empire "on Earth as in Heaven" - made this virtually impossible as well.

Despite all the coups, revolts, etc. that happened in Byzantine times, it is telling not one was concerned with changing the nature of the throne -- only which faction would occupy it. The power brokers in the Empire were the always from the army and the bureaucracy ultimately, not the Senate.
 
Top