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Encyclopedia > Tiberius Gracchus

Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (Latin: TI·SEMPRONIVS·TI·F·P·N·GRACCVS) (168 BC-133 BC) was a Roman politician of the 2nd century BC. As a plebeian tribune, he caused political turmoil in the Republic by his attempts to legislate agrarian reforms. Tiberius' political ideals eventually led to his death at the hands of supporters of the conservative faction (Optimates) of the Roman Senate. For other uses, see Latins and Latin (disambiguation). ... Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 210s BC 200s BC 190s BC 180s BC 170s BC - 160s BC - 150s BC140s BC 130s BC 120s BC 110s BC Years: 173 BC 172 BC 171 BC 170 BC 169 BC - 168 BC - 167 BC 166 BC 165... Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 180s BC 170s BC 160s BC 150s BC 140s BC - 130s BC - 120s BC 110s BC 100s BC 90s BC 80s BC Years: 138 BC 137 BC 136 BC 135 BC 134 BC - 133 BC - 132 BC 131 BC... Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew from a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula circa the 9th century BC to a massive empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea. ... (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium) The 2nd century BC started on January 1, 200 BC and ended on December 31, 101 BC. // Coin of Antiochus IV. Reverse shows Apollo seated on an omphalos. ... Ordinary Magistrates Extraordinary Magistrates Titles and Honors Emperor Politics and Law Tribune (from the Latin: tribunus; Greek form tribounos) was a title shared by 2-3 elected magistracies and other governmental and/or (para)military offices of the Roman Republic and Empire. ... This article is about the state which existed from the 6th century BC to the 1st century BC. For the state which existed in the 18th century, see Roman Republic (18th century). ... Agrarian has two meanings: It can mean pertaining to Agriculture It can also refer to the ideology of Agrarianism and Agrarian parties. ... Optimates (Good Men) were the aristocratic faction of the later Roman Republic. ... The Roman Senate (Latin: Senatus) was the main governing council of both the Roman Republic, which started in 509 BC, and the Roman Empire. ...

Contents

Background

Tiberius was born in 168 BC; he was the son of Tiberius Gracchus Minor and Cornelia Africane. The Gracchis were one of the most politically connected families of Rome. His maternal grandparents were Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus and Aemilia Paula, Lucius Aemilius Paulus Macedonicus's sister, and his own sister Sempronia was the wife of Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus, another important general. Tiberius was raised by his mother, with his sister and his brother Gaius Gracchus. Later he married Claudia Pulchra, daughter of Appius Claudius Pulcher. They had no children. Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 210s BC 200s BC 190s BC 180s BC 170s BC - 160s BC - 150s BC140s BC 130s BC 120s BC 110s BC Years: 173 BC 172 BC 171 BC 170 BC 169 BC - 168 BC - 167 BC 166 BC 165... Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major (Latin: P·CORNELIVS·P·F·L·N·SCIPIO·AFRICANVS) (236 - 183 BC) was a general in the Second Punic War and statesman of the Roman Republic. ... Storybook illustration depicting Scipio as the reluctant servant of the Senate as he orchestrated the genocide of the Carthaginians. ... Gaius Gracchus (Latin: C·SEMPRONIVS·TI·F·P·N·GRACCVS) (154 BC-121 BC) was a Roman politician of the 2nd century BC. He was the younger brother of Tiberius Gracchus and, like him, pursued a popular political agenda that ultimately ended in his death. ... Appius Claudius Pulcher (Latin: APP•CLAVDIVS•APP•F•APP•N•PVLCHER) was a Roman politician of the 2nd century BC. Son of Appius Claudius Pulcher (who was consul in 185), he was appointed consul in 143 BC, and, to obtain a pretext for a triumph, attacked the Salassi, an Alpine...


Military career

Tiberius's military career started in the Third Punic War, as military tribune appointed to the staff of his brother in law, Scipio Aemilianus. In 137 BC he was appointed quaestor to consul Gaius Hostilius Mancinus and served his term in Numantia (Hispania province). The campaign was not successful, and Mancinus's army suffered a major defeat. It was Tiberius, as quaestor, who saved the army from destruction by signing a peace treaty with the enemy. Back in Rome, Scipio Aemilianus considered Tiberius's action cowardly and persuaded the Senate to nullify the peace. This was the start of the political enmity between Tiberius and the Senate (and of course, between Tiberius and Scipio Aemilianus). Combatants Roman Republic Carthage Commanders Scipio Aemilianus Hasdrubal the Boetarch Strength 40,000 90,000 Casualties 17,000 62,000 The Third Punic War (149 BC to 146 BC) was the third and last of the Punic Wars fought between the former Phoenician colony of Carthage, and the Republic of... Ordinary Magistrates Extraordinary Magistrates Titles and Honors Emperor Politics and Law Tribune (from the Latin: tribunus; Greek form tribounos) was a title shared by 2-3 elected magistracies and other governmental and/or (para)military offices of the Roman Republic and Empire. ... Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 180s BC 170s BC 160s BC 150s BC 140s BC - 130s BC - 120s BC 110s BC 100s BC 90s BC 80s BC Years: 142 BC 141 BC 140 BC 139 BC 138 BC - 137 BC - 136 BC 135 BC... Quaestores were elected officials of the Roman Republic who supervised the treasury and financial affairs of the state, its armies and its officers. ... Soria province (red) in Spain (grey) Numantia (Numancia in Spanish) was a town in Hispania (modern-day Spain), which for a long time resisted conquest by Romans in what was known as the Numantine War. ... Map of the Roman Empire, with the provinces, after 120. ... The Roman Senate (Latin: Senatus) was the main governing council of both the Roman Republic, which started in 509 BC, and the Roman Empire. ...


Land crisis

Rome's internal political situation was not peaceful. In the last hundred years, there had been several wars. Since legionaries were required to serve in a complete campaign no matter how long it was, soldiers often left their farms in the hands of wives and children. As estates in this situation went steadily into bankruptcy and were bought up by the wealthy upper class, latifundia or large estates, were formed. Furthermore, some lands ended up being taken by the state in war both in provinces in Italy and elsewhere. After the war was over much of the land would then be sold to or rented to various members of the populace. Much of this land was given to only a few farmers who then had large amounts of land that were more profitable than the small farmers. The larger land farmers had their land farmed by slave and didn't do the work themselves unlike smaller farmers. Roman legionaries, 1st century. ... Latifundia are pieces of landed property covering tremendous areas. ...


When the soldiers returned from the legions, they had nowhere to go, so they went to Rome to join the mob of thousands of unemployed who roamed the city. Due to this, the number of men with enough assets to qualify for army duty was shrinking as was the military power of Rome. In 133 BC Tiberius was elected tribune of the people. Soon he started to legislate on the matter of the homeless legionaries. Legion redirects here. ... Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 180s BC 170s BC 160s BC 150s BC 140s BC - 130s BC - 120s BC 110s BC 100s BC 90s BC 80s BC Years: 138 BC 137 BC 136 BC 135 BC 134 BC - 133 BC - 132 BC 131 BC... Ordinary Magistrates Extraordinary Magistrates Titles and Honors Emperor Politics and Law Tribune (from the Latin: tribunus; Greek form tribounos) was a title shared by 2-3 elected magistracies and other governmental and/or (para)military offices of the Roman Republic and Empire. ...


Tiberius noted how much of the land was being concentrated into latifundia being held by owners of large farms and worked by slaves, rather than small estates owned by small farmers working the land themselves.


The lex Sempronia agraria

In opposition to this, Tiberius proposed the laws called Lex Sempronia agraria. They recommended that the government should confiscate public land that had previously been taken by the state in earlier wars, and was being held in amounts larger than the 500 jugera, approximately 310 acres (1.3 km²), allowed under previous land laws. Some of this land had been held by large land holders who had bought, settled, or rented the property in much earlier time periods, even several generations back. Sometimes it had been leased, rented, or resold to other holders after the initial sale or rental. In some ways, this was an attempt to implement the Licinian Laws passed in 367 B.C., which had never been repealed and never enforced. This would solve two problems: increase the number of men that could be levied for service and also take care of homeless war veterans. Lex Licinia Sextia was a Roman law passed in 367 BCE and took effect in 366 BCE. It resumed the consulship, reserved one of the two consul positions for a plebeian, and introduced new agrarian limits. ...


The Senate and its conservative elements were strongly against the Sempronian agrarian reforms, and were also particularly opposed to Tiberius’s highly unorthodox method of passing the reforms. Because Tiberius clearly knew the Senate wouldn’t approve his reforms, he side stepped the Senate altogether by going straight to the Concilium Plebis (the Popular Assembly) who highly supported his measures. This went against tradition (Mos Maiorum), since it was customary for proposed legislation to be considered by the Senate first. ... The mos maiorum were the ancestral traditions, an unwritten code of laws and conduct, of the Romans. ...


But the Senate had a trick up their sleeves: a tribune who said “No”, or used a veto, always prevailed. So, in an effort to stop Tiberius, the Senate persuaded Octavius, another tribune, to use his veto to prevent the submission of the bills to the Assembly. Gracchus then moved that Octavius, as a tribune who acted contrary to the wishes of his constituents, should be immediately deposed. Octavius remained resolute. The people began to vote to depose Octavius, but the tribune vetoed their actions. Tiberius had him forcefully removed from the meeting place of the Assembly and proceeded with the vote to depose him. These actions violated Octavius's right of sacrosanctity and worried Tiberius' supporters. Tiberius then decided to shut down the entire city of Rome including all businesses, trade, production, until the senate and the Assembly passed the laws. The Assembly, fearing for Tiberius's safety, escorted him home. Marcus Octavius was a Roman tribune and the closest friend of Tiberius Gracchus. ...


The Senate gave trivial funds to the agrarian commission that had been appointed to execute Tiberius's laws. However, late in 133 BC, king Attalus III of Pergamum died and left his entire fortune (including the whole kingdom of Pergamum) to Rome. Tiberius saw his chance and immediately used his tribunician powers to allocate the fortune to fund the new law. This was a direct attack on senatorial power, since it was traditionally responsible for the management of the treasury and for decisions regarding overseas affairs. The opposition of the senate increased. Attalus III was the last Attalid king of Pergamon, ruling from 138 BC to 133 BC. He succeeded Attalus II, although their relationship, if any, is unknown. ... Pergamon or Pergamum (modern day Bergama in Turkey) was a Greek city, in northwestern Anatolia, 16 miles from the Aegean Sea, located on a promontory on the north side of the river Caicus (modern day Bakir), that became an important kingdom during the Hellenistic period, under the Attalid dynasty, 282... Pergamon or Pergamum (modern day Bergama in Turkey) was a Greek city, in northwestern Anatolia, 16 miles from the Aegean Sea, located on a promontory on the north side of the river Caicus (modern day Bakir), that became an important kingdom during the Hellenistic period, under the Attalid dynasty, 282...


Tiberius' death

Tiberius Gracchus' overruling of the tribunician veto was considered illegal, and his opponents were determined to impeach him at the end of his one year term, since he was regarded as having violated the constitution and having used force against a tribune. To protect himself further, Tiberius Gracchus flouted the constitution by seeking re-election to the tribunate in 133 B.C, promising to shorten the term of military service, abolish the exclusive right of senators to act as jurors, and admit allies to Roman citizenship.


On election day, Tiberius Gracchus appeared in the Roman senate with armed guards and in a mourning costume, implying that his defeat would mean his impeachment and death. As the voting proceeded, violence broke out on both sides. Tiberius's cousin, Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica, saying that Tiberius wished to make himself king, led the senators down towards Tiberius. In the resulting confrontation, Tiberius was killed, and several hundred of his followers perished with him. They were outside the senate awaiting Tiberius' results but were killed in waiting. Plutarch says "Tiberius' death in the senate was short and quick although he was armed it did not help him against the many senators of the day" The Roman Senate (Latin: Senatus) was the main governing council of both the Roman Republic, which started in 509 BC, and the Roman Empire. ... Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Serapio was consul in 138 BC. He had a prominent part in the murder of Tiberius Gracchus; in order to save him from the vengeance of the populares, he was sent by the Senate on a pretended mission to Asia. ...


Opposition to Tiberius Gracchus

Tiberius was opposed by three men: Marcus Octavius, Scipio Nasica and Scipio Aemilianus. Octavius opposed Tiberius because Tiberius would not let him veto the Lex Sempronia Agraria. This offended Octavius, Octavius then entered in a conspiracy with Scipio Nasica and Scipio Aemilianus to assassinate Tiberius. Nasica would benefit from this because Tiberius had bought some land from a place that Nasica wanted because Tiberius beat him Nasica lost out on 500 sesterces. Nasica would often bring this up in the senate to mock Tiberius in what he did. Aemilianus opposed Tiberius Gracchus because Tiberius convinced him to marry his sister Sempronia, the marriage was a failure and cost Aemilianus a lot in separation settlements. He was also bitter by the fact that Tiberius was a better public speaker than he was which often left Aemulianus embarresed in the senate.


Aftermath

The Senate then sought to placate the plebeians by consenting to the enforcement of the Gracchan laws. An increase in the register of citizens in the next decade suggests a large number of land allotments. Nonetheless, the agrarian commission found itself faced with many difficulties and obstacles.


His heir was his younger brother Gaius who, a decade later, would share his fate while trying to apply even more revolutionary legislation. Gaius Gracchus (Latin: C·SEMPRONIVS·TI·F·P·N·GRACCVS) (154 BC-121 BC) was a Roman politician of the 2nd century BC. He was the younger brother of Tiberius Gracchus and, like him, pursued a popular political agenda that ultimately ended in his death. ...


See also

  • Scipio-Paullus-Gracchus family tree

The Scipio-Paullus-Gracchus family tree includes the Roman Scipio, Paullus and Gracchus families. ...

References

  • Plutarch: Lives/Tiberius Gracchus on Wikisource
  • Appian, The Civil War
  • Ian Scott-Kilvert, notes to Life of Tiberius Gracchus by Plutarch; Penguin Classics
  • BBC - Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire Episode 3 - 2006
John Dryden John Dryden (August 19 {August 9 O.S.}, 1631 - May 12 {May 1 O.S.}, 1700) was an influential English poet, literary critic, translator and playwright, who dominated the literary life of Restoration England to such a point that the period came to be known in literary circles... Sir Thomas North (1535? - 1601?), English translator of Plutarch, second son of the 1st Baron North, was born about 1535. ... Jacques Amyot (October 30, 1513 - February 6, 1593), French writer, was born of poor parents, at Melun. ... Philemon Holland (1552 - 1637) was an English translator. ... Arthur Hugh Clough (January 1, 1819 – November 13, 1861) was an English poet, and the brother of Anne Jemima Clough. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Tiberius Gracchus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1281 words)
Tiberius' political ideals eventually led to his death at the hands of supporters of the conservative faction (Optimates) of the Roman senate.
Tiberius was born in 163 BC, son of Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus and Cornelia Africana.
Tiberius was married to Claudia Pulcheria, daughter of Appius Claudius Pulcher (consul in 143 BC), and had three sons that died young.
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