It is very significant that, just three years before the senatus consultum of A.D.
Tertullian's implication that a senatus consultum outlawed Christianity is confirmed by the Acts of Apollonius, a senator who died as a martyr under Commodus (55), and above all by a Porphyrian passage.
Ryan, Rank and Participation, 287, 287 n259: suggests that the removal from the princeps senatus of the right to speak first 'must have been brought about deliberately and directly by a senatus consultum
', with other possibilities being the lapse of time since censors were appointed or (least likely, in his eyes) the independent actions of a consul who despised the incumbent princeps senatus.
As Wolfgang Kunkel noted, in an acute and thorough investigation of the topic,(25) under the republic the senatus consultum ultimum and the pronouncing of an individual as a hostis fei publicae was tantamount to a declaration of civil war, and this was not only an unlikely basis for the role of the senate under the restored republic of Augustus and his successors, but had nothing to do with the law as such at all.
This, mutatis mutandis, is almost exactly the same as the position in the senatus consultum, in which the senate instructs the praetor of the maiestas court to interdict the two comites, which effectively meant their banishment.
The following sentence sustains this image briefly but then begins to cast doubt on Cicero's ability to carry out a senatus consultum based on Caesar's proposition: Ego enim suscipiam et, ut spero, reperiam qui id quod salutis omnium causa statueritis non putet esse suae dignitatis recusare (8) .42 The slight hesitation - ut spero - and the concern for dignitas suggest possible difficulty in actually implementing the proposal.
23 Mommsen, Staatsrecht III 1240-50; more recently Ungern-Sternberg von Purkel, Notstandsrecht 86-129; Mitchell, "Senatus Consultum Ultimum." There is a good brief summary of modern opinions in McGushin, Sallustius Appendix VI.
The prevailing view of the senatus consultum
referred to in these passages is that under its terms no decree of Caesar's was to be posted on a tablet (figeretur)--that is published and put into force--after March 15th.(3) Possibly the Senate was concerned with restricting chiefly decreta that granted beneficia and exemptions from taxation, but we cannot be certain that the SC covered only these two categories.(4) Obviously the way in which the Senate was prepared to treat decrees and grants by Caesar that were not already in force at the time of his death had an enormous bearing on the amount of power put into Antony's hands, since he had secured sole possession of Caesar's papers from the dictator's widow California within approximately twenty-four hours of the assassination.(5)