In Ancient Roman History, two of the earliest populares were Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus and his brother Gaius Sempronius Gracchus. In his speech for Sestius Cicero describes populares as men whose character or behaviour is seditious and meant to gratify the multitude - whose interest often diverges from the advantage of the state…
Tiberius Gracchus saw himself as the champion of the oppressed and was determined to defend their interests. His desire for re-election to the tribunal was driven by his conviction that he should continue as their spokesman and patron and was willing to use violence to defend what he conceived to be his and their rights. Scipio Nasica and his supporters treated Tiberius as a tyrant and ultimately killed him. This is not because they were opposed to the land bill but by the tactics which he employed – “the deposition of Octavius, the proposal to use Attalus’ legacy and the candidature for re-election”. The difficulty with any question about Gracchus’ intentions is that enough evidence does not exist and we have to interpret these through reference to an overall view of Gracchus’ political aims and personal character. Some historians argue that the main beneficiaries, targeted by Tiberius Gracchus, were the Romans, and this was because he believed that they would first pass the test and then vote for him – i.e. his motivations were political. Others argue that the reason why Tiberius failed to include Italians in his programs was that he was only interested in helping Roman citizens, who could enrol in the legions. If this were so he would not have distributed land to non-Romans. For many people, Tiberius' actions no doubt suggested the possibility of a political coup, with overtones of the rise of another Tarquinius Superbus, and the only resort, in the Roman system of the time was to resort to violence. ...
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