The gracchi brothers

Early life[ edit ] The brothers were born to a plebeian branch of the old and noble Sempronia family. Their father was the elderly Tiberius Gracchus the Elder or Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus who was tribune of the plebspraetorconsuland censor. Their mother was a patrician:

The gracchi brothers

His father, Tiberius Gracchus the Elderwas a powerful man in Roman politics throughout the 2nd century BC and The gracchi brothers built up a large and powerful clientele largely based in Spain.

His mother was Cornelia Africanadaughter of Scipio Africanusa noble woman who was a major influence on the Gracchi; as a widow, she refused the marriage proposal of Ptolemy VIIIthe King of Egypt, preferring to devote her life to the upbringing of her sons.

It can be supposed, however, that both the Gracchi brothers would have come into contact with powerful members of both the Claudii and Cornelii Scipiones factions. He was heavily influenced both by the reformative policy of his older brother, and by The gracchi brothers death at the hands of a senatorial mob.

Plutarch suggests that it was "the grief he had suffered [that] encouraged him to speak out fearlessly, whenever he lamented the fate of his brother.

In BC, he became a quaestor in the Roman province of Sardiniawhere his merits advanced his good reputation. During his quaestorship, he honed his skills in oratory. Fearing this as a ploy for popular approval, the Senate rebuffed envoys sent by Micipsaking of Numidiawho had sent grain to Gaius based on their mutual regard.

A civic duty and a historic parallel

He was accused of unlawfully abandoning his post, but won popular support when he pointed out that he had served twelve years - two more than the basic requirement - and had been quaestor for two years though legally only required to serve one. Furthermore, he had used the Roman money that he had brought with him to this quaestorship to aid Sardinia, and had never used his position to line his own pockets.

His support for the reforms of Gaius Papirius Carbo and Marcus Fulvius Flaccushis evident skills at oratory and his association with the reforms of his brother led the senatorial nobles to try him on charges plainly false or heavily exaggerated.

He cleared himself with ease and in was elected to serve as a tribune for the following year. He chastised the people for standing by while Tiberius and his supporters were beaten and cited the unlawful sentences of exile that followed, because the accused were not permitted to stand trial.

Perhaps motivated by the fate of his brother, some of his earliest reforms dealt with the judiciary system. He set up two initial measures, the first of which prohibited a magistrate who had been deposed by the people from holding office a second time.

Further reforms to the judicial system were passed to check the acquittals by senatorial juries of senators charged with extortion; the Lex Acilia placed extortion trials under the control of the equites class, and trial procedures were redesigned in favour of the prosecution.

Secondary roads were extended throughout Italy, to facilitate trade and communication. These reforms were intended to raise army morale and to win the political support of soldiers, allies, and voters with small incomes.

The bill was rejected because the Roman plebeians had no wish to share the benefits of citizenship, including subsidised grain and entertainment.

Gaius Gracchus - Wikipedia

The rejection of this measure led, in part, to the disastrous Social War of 90 BC. Formerly, when a speaker delivered a speech in the Forum, he turned his face to the right in the direction of the curiathe Senate house, and the Comitium. Instead, Gaius would turn his face to the left, toward the direction of the Forum proper, effectively turning his back on the Senate.

He oversaw the implementation of each new institution, and personally selected equestrian jurists. It backed another tribune, Livius Drusus. In the event, his proposed legislation was neither credible nor beneficial to the commons, and was intended merely to undermine Gaius.

When Gaius granted the most needy small plots of redistributed land on the condition they pay a small rent to the public coffers, the Senate accused him of trying to win favor with the people before Drusus proposed to do the same rent-free. Drusus went to great pains to ensure he was never seen as the benefactor, politically or economically, of his legislation but rather that he proposed his measures, backed by the Senate, to further benefit the people.

Opimius, a staunch conservative and oligarchical man who wanted to restore power to the Senate, had garnered a significant following and stood poised to challenge Gaius directly. Opimius had made it his sole mission to unseat Gaius.

The Senate convinced Fannius, whose friendship with Gaius had run its course, to expel all those who were not Roman citizens by birth from the city. Whether he did this because he was afraid to test his power or because he refused to do anything which would have given the Senate pretext to initiate violence remains unknown.

When they refused, he removed them secretly at night. Plutarch claims this cost him a third term as tribune, because, although he won the popular vote, the tribunes were so upset that they falsified the ballots. Rumors suggested that his mother Cornelia hired foreign men disguised as harvesters to protect him.

A resulting scuffle between the supporters of the two opposing groups on the Capitoline Hill led to his death.

The gracchi brothers

Plutarch maintains that Antyllius had rudely pushed his way through the crowd and gave an indecent gesture and was immediately beset upon by Gracchan supporters much to the disapproval of Gaius. When Antyllius saw Gaius, he laid a hand on him, begging him not to destroy the state.

When Gaius cast his scorn on Antyllius, his supporters took it as a sign to act on his behalf and struck Antyllius down.

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On the following morning, with much showboating, the body of Antyllius was presented to the Senate as indicative of the measures Gaius would take. The senate passed a senatus consultum ultimumgranting Opimius the right to defend the state and rid it of tyrants.

The Senate armed itself and commanded all the equestrians to arm themselves and two of their servants and assemble the next morning. Gaius, much more somber, paused in front of the statue of his father on his way out of the Forum, and, weeping, went homeward.

His plight and obvious distress caused such sympathy among the people, who blamed themselves for betraying their champion, that a large party gathered outside his home to ensure his protection. Gaius refused to gird himself with anything save a small dagger and his toga.The Brothers Gracchi: The Tribunates of Tiberius & Gaius Gracchus Article by Steven Fife published on 18 January As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 75, lessons in math, English, science, history, and more.

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The Gracchi brothers, Tiberius and Gaius, were Romans who both served as tribunes in the late 2nd century BC. They attempted to pass land reform legislation that would redistribute the major aristocratic landholdings among the urban poor and veterans, in addition to other reform measures.

Introduction. The brothers Tiberius (– BCE) and Gaius (– BCE) Sempronius Gracchus left a great mark on the history of the Roman kaja-net.comus, tribune of the plebs in , is known especially for agrarian reform; he passed a law that intended to distribute ager publicus (land owned by the Roman state) to the landless poor.

Thus he intended to call a halt to a perceived. The brothers Gracchus had an aristocratic upbringing. Their father was a notable consul and military leader, their mother the daughter of Scipio Africanus. (Acknowledgment Julius .

The Classics Pages: Antony Kamm's 'The Romans': Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus - the Gracchi