The death of Sen. Robert Byrd at the age of 92 surely marks the end of an era in the United States Senate. The West Virginia Democrat served as the chamber’s majority leader for six years and third in line of presidential succession. He served more than 51 years and was known in later years for floor speeches that quoted the Bible and other writing from antiquity — a throwback to an earlier time when the Senate was the world’s greatest deliberative body. In his prime, Byrd wielded great power as chairman of the Appropriations Committee, steering considerable federal largesse to his relatively poor state. Since the death of his wife of nearly 69 years, Erma, in 2006, Byrd appeared increasingly frail. Yet he won re-election in 2006 with 64 percent of the vote. In all he cast more than 18,500 roll call votes, a Senate record.