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Ancient History Rome Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus - Essay Example

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Ancient History Rome Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus

There had been growing signs of popular discontent with the situation, including recent activism on the part of certain tribunes. Taken together, such considerations convinced Tiberius that his best option was to employ the tribunate to take on the Senate directly. Tiberius introduced before the concilium plebis a bill that would free up much of this land by establishing a limit of 500 iugera (300 acres) of public land that could be controlled by a single individual, and would redistribute any re-appropriated lands among the people.
The bill was not quite as radical as it might appear: it assured the present tenants reimbursement for any appropriated land and granted them rent-free ownership of the land that was left under their control. A similar bill had in fact been put forward by C. Laelius in 145, with some support from nobiles. This bill was biased toward the masses. Adshead (1981) suggests that while Tiberius may not have had any direct contact with Egypt, these reforms were similar to Ptolemaic agrarian reforms of that country; in this he may have drawn inspiration from Scipio Aemilianus. ...
This guided the path chosen by Tiberius.
Tiberius' use of the concilium plebis was highly disturbing even to those nobiles sympathetic to his cause. Annoyed by Tiberius' methods, the Senate took advantage of the established political mechanisms by having another tribune, M. Octavius, use his veto to block a formal vote. At this point Tiberius had Octavius impeached and passed his land bill. He appointed a board of three commissioners (himself, Gaius, and Claudius Pulcher) to begin implementing its measures.
The Senate blocked any financing for the board, using one of the checks and balances praised by Polybius. Tiberius threatened to challenge the Senate's authority over finances by passing a bill in the concilium plebis that would have appropriated the bequest of Attalus III for use by the board. In an attempt to protect himself and ensure that his board would remain in operation, Tiberius sought a second tribuneship in 132 BC - a manoeuvre that was not necessarily illegal.
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" (Lintott, 1991).
The difficulty with any question about Gracchus' intentions is that enough evidence does not exist and we have to interpret these through reference to ...Show more


In Ancient Roman History two of the earliest populares were Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus and his brother Gaius Sempronius Gracchus. In his speech for Sestius (96-105) 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 (Astin, 1967).
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Ancient History Rome Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus essay example
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