The Senate was created by the Ventrue Prince Collat in the 4th century B.C. He desired at least one representative of each clan to claim a reasonable population within the Roman Empire, preferably more. Collat also needed a means of selecting Senators that would prevent the ascension of anyone powerful enough to challenge his supremacy, yet one that would not open him up to accusations of favoritism.
His eventual solution was simple yet elegant. Anyone who wished to claim a seat on this "Cainite Senate" could step forward. He then, however, had to be selected by a vote of every other perspective senator. The votes of his own clanmates counted thrice, weighting any given election toward the desires of the clan being represented. Furthermore, candidates were not permitted a vote.
The result was a Senate full of squabbling, boon-laden elders who were in no position to challenge Collat's own power. Because every election inevitably involved more candidates than it did open positions, the political maneuvering required substantial deal-making and compromise. This ensured that the victors of the elections were, to the last, not the most qualified, but the least threatening. As the Ventrue prince had anticipated, upon learning that they could not vote for themselves, the elders each voted for those they thought would be easily influenced from behind the scenes, or those whom they assumed nobody else would support and thus couldn't possibly win.
Collat had what princes of the modern world could only wish for - an advisory council that was truly in a position to do absolutely nothing other than advise. Collat cemented his position even further by granting the senate the ability to overrule his decisions, but only with an absolutely unanimous vote. Since the odds of these squabbling Cainites all agreeing on anything were somewhat less than the odds of Collat himself becoming a sun-worshipper, his power was secure.
This "Senate" of Collat lasted only as long as he did. After Camilla became Prince of Rome, he disbanded his predecessor's council of advisors. Camilla was far more heavily involved with Rome's mortal government than Collat had been, maneuvering for seats on the Roman Senate rather than worrying about his own - and when the threat of Carthage appeared in the horizon, Camilla steadfastly opposed to the growing power of the Carthaginian Brujah. The Eternal Senate elected him pater patriae (father of the fatherland).
This nomination not only shifted the scales of power to the advantage of the Clan of Kingship, it also engendered a radical change in clan politics - whereas most Ventrue had seen themselves as keepers of knowledge, the history of Caine's Children and their Father's laws, they suddenly were confronted with the role as leaders of the greatest empire of their time. Camilla's enthusiastic speeches, his triumph over Carthage and his subsequent accomplishments smothered all opposition within his own clan. According to some Cainite scholars, that was precisely the moment when the Ventrue clan embraced their current role as leaders of the Cainite race.
Although Camilla continued to solicit advice from the elders around him, no formal body of elders existed again for some centuries - and after Camilla's supposedly final death, the remnants of Eternal Senate itself withdrew further and further from undead society until its members were known in the third century A.D. only as the "Incogniti".
- The notion of a council of elders brought forth by the Eternal Senate laid the foundations for the establishment of the Primogen, as observed in most of the Camarilla cities in modern nights.
- The Board of Directors is regarded by some scholars as a poor imitation compared to the ideals, the power and the influence of the Eternal Senate.