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The End of Tiberius Grachus and the Career of Gaius Gracchus

Holding office longer and accomplishing more than Tiberius, Gaius tribunate likewise ended violently

Opposition to the Gracchan Program

Tiberius had circumvented the Senate, had not sought a senatus consultum Complaints and complaints from conservatives

Obstruction of the tribune M. Octavius

Senatorial conservatives engage Octavius to veto Tiberius legislation Tiberius arbitrary removal of Octavius led to charges of unconstitutional behavior

Stands for second tribunate despite lex Villia de annalibus

Did this apply to tribunes? They were not magistrates . . .


15. Gaius Gracchus

15. Gaius Gracchus


The End of Tiberius

Charge of res novae
literally new things or affairs, revolution Gracchan partisans introduce violence and intimidation in the elections

Scipio Nasica, the pontifex maximus, leads a senatorial posse against Tiberius
The consul P. Mucius Scaevola refuses to do anything
He was the natural brother of Gaius Gracchus father-inlaw!

Tiberius and his party wiped out in the first recorded act of serious political violence in Roman history
Popilius Laenas (cos. 132) presided over special tribunal that tried and executed leading Gracchans Lynching Tiberius was not enough, opponents launch a purge which proves that this was not simply personal
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Causes of Reaction?
Tiberius rise as a demagogue
Ignored the senate Potentially too powerful

Who was purged, who was not . . .

Tiberius, a tribune, and minor allies Land Commission continues to function these were the political heavy-weights whom the opposition did not dare touch New board: Ap. Claudius Pulcher, Gaius Gracchus, Gaius father-in-law P. Licinius Crassus

Land reform hurt some Italian socii

Their patron Scipio Aemilianus demands some changes Commission adjusts unprovocatively
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15. Gaius Gracchus


Political Developments after Tiberius

Claudian-Licinian-Gracchan faction continues unmolested 131 B.C., C. Papirius Carbo passes law on secret ballot 129 B.C., lex reddendorum equorum
Senators removed from equestrian centuries Equites who gain public office surrender equus publicus (public horse) Equestrians become a distinct order with distinct

interests 125 B.C., consul M. Fulvius Flaccus proposes citizenship for Italians
New citizens would be his clients! Move too much, too soon . . . Failes but Flaccus keeps trying

123 B.C. C. Sempronius Gracchus elected tribune

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Gaius Gracchus Tribunates

Elected twice, for 123 and 122 B.C.
Shows that the charge against Tiberius for running trwice had been a pretext Failed in at attempt for a third tribunate

More comprehensive legislative plan than that of Tiberius

Learned from his brothers mistakes Understood the need for a more broadly based support
Sought the backing or urban as well as rural poor, also the equites

Motivations according to Plutarch and Appian

Avenge his brothers death (10 years later?) Break the power of the Senate (completely or just of his opponents?)
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15. Gaius Gracchus


Reforms of Gaius
Difficulty of placing them in chronological order Usually treated by type or intent
Type: judicial, political, economic Intent: avenge Tiberius death, weaken the Senate (or at least his senatorial opposition), alleviate employment (and perhaps raise military recruitment)
Economic reforms were also political in that they would increase his client base More detail on each below

Appear to have radicalized in the second year

M. Fulvius Flaccus (cos. 125 B.C.) was elected as tribunician colleague! Was eventually outmaneuvered by Senatorial opponents
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Initial Judicial Reforms

Meant to avenge Tiberius? Deposed magistrate or officer disqualified from further office (Plut. Gaius 39 = LR I, no. 98)
Aimed at M. Octavius, who had obstructed Tiberius Cornelia (his mother!) made him drop this move

Courts inflicting capital punishment that were not established by the people declared illegal
Impeachment and exile of Popilius Laenas (cos. 132 B.C., had led inquisition against Gracchan supporters)


15. Gaius Gracchus

15. Gaius Gracchus


Economic Reforms
Land Commission continues and is reinvigorated Grain supply
Lex frumentaria (first of the corn laws) passed to guarantee cheap grain to urban poor

Previously strategic, these had a primarily economic purpose in helping move agricultural produce, employ the poor (cf. New Deal work projects!), etc.

Lex Rubria established a large colony near the site of Carthage; Gaius and commissioners given imperium
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Further Judicial and Political Reforms

Composition of juries: lex Acilia transferred jury panels for extortion court from senate to equites
Intended to insure the possibility that former governors could be convicted Gave equestrians political power

Tax contracts for Asia auctioned at Rome

Gave equites an opportunity to bid for these lucrative tax rights

Allocation of Provinces
Senate forced to decide what provinces would go to the consuls before they were elected

Fulvius Flaccus renews Italian suffrage drive

Proposed citizenship to Latins, Latin rights to Italian socii This proves to be too much and provokes a violent reaction
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15. Gaius Gracchus


The End of Gaius

All classes were jealous of citizenship rights and privileges
Flaccus move costs Gaius popularity

M. Livius Drusus (Plut. Gaius, 3-9 = packet, 18)

Pro-senatorial tribune outbids Gracchus in support of urban poor Vetoes Italian enfranchisement Gaius not re-elected tribune Only protection was imperium granted by lex Rubria bad omens ruin Carthage colony effort L. Opimius (cos. 121 B.C.) vows to annul Gracchus legislation Death of Opimius servant during scuffle with Gracchans gives pretext Senate passes senatus consultum ultimum (s.c.u. or ultimate decree of the Senate): consuls should see that the state suffers no harm
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15. Gaius Gracchus