THE GRACCHI. (133-123 B.C.)

Two brothers, relatives of the Scipio family, one a brother-in-law of the Scipio who destroyed Carthage in 146. They wanted to sponsor a conservative reform plan which would reestablish the strength of the peasant citizen-soldier-farmer in Italy; but this was to be done by the reclaiming of state land which was on long term lease to the rich (both Senators and Equestrians). The rich considered this an economic threat of course, and also knew that the beneficiaries of the Gracchan Plan would become loyal supporters of the Gracchi in politics.

The elder brother, TIBERIUS GRACCHUS, was assassinated by a group of senators (led by his cousin, who was Pontifex Maximus) when he tried to implement his plan as Tribune of the People (133 B.C.)

The younger brother, GAIUS GRACCHUS, tried again (123, 122), by offering various `benefits' to pressure groups in exchange for their support:

This threatened traditional SENATORIAL CONTROL over politics, and the younger Gracchus too was assassinated before he could complete his work Such senatorial tactics were justified by the new concept of martial law, the SENATUS CONSULTUM ULTIMUM, in which the Senate voted to advise the magistrates to "see to it that the state should come to no harm".


The war brought to prominence the non-aristocratic GAIUS MARIUS, whose friends used the plebeian assembly to attack the senate and magistrates and overturn their decisions.

[A monograph about this war survives, written by the Historian Sallust, ca. 42 B.C.]


CONSUL in 107, 104, 103, 102, 101, 100, and 86 (unprecedented!!)

Due to the military emergency he authorized, for the first time, the recruiting of new citizen-soldiers who did NOT have property (This was the beginning of the professional soldier, which became a pressure group of its own, demanding from its generals pay, bonuses, and discharge arrangements; since (ex-)soldiers voted, they were very influential). When Marius died (and his son committed suicide in a civil war against Sulla in 81) the influence of Marius and his friends passed to his wife's nephew, JULIUS CAESAR (100-44 B.C.); Caesar therefore inherited a big block of voters and an anti-senatorial viewpoint (even though he was one of the most aristocratic of all the aristocrats).


FIRST TRIUMVIRATE (2nd half of 60 B.C., to 53)

Using money and soldiers to vote, and mobilizing the urban plebs, the three managed to get Caesar elected; Caesar passed laws (over vigorous objections and violence to settle the Triumvirs' claims for the next five years. This electoral conspiracy was highly illegal) When Crassus died on campaign in Mesopotamia (Battle of Carrhae, 53,against the Parthians) the Senate helped to steer Pompey onto a collisioncourse with Caesar. The death of Pompey's wife, Caesar's daughter JULIA,ended their family connection.

The clash came when CAESAR crossed the RUBICON on the night of 7 January 49 B.C., leading to a civil war. Pompey died at Pharsalus (48), Cato the Younger at Utica (46) and one of Pompey's sons at MUNDA (45). Caesar was assassinated for what he was (DICTATOR FOR LIFE, CONSUL every year) and what he might become when he returned from aplanned War against Parthia (KING) on March 15, 44 B.C. (the Ides of March)

This led to another round of wars, as Marcus ANTONIUS, OCTAVIAN (Young Caesar, the adopted grand-nephew of the dead Dictator) and LEPIDUS worked together (as the SECOND TRIUMVIRATE, 43-33 B.C.) and then against one another, to claim the Caesarian inheritance.

At the Battle of Actium, on 2 September 31 B.C., ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA were defeated by Octavian; when they committed suicide in Alexandria in the first week of August, 30 B.C. Young CAESAR was left as sole possessor of the entire Roman world. He finally returned to Rome and held three triumphs in August of 29.

On JANUARY 13, 27 B.C. Young Caesar announced in the Senate that he was renouncing all his extraordinary powers and `RESTORING THE REPUBLIC'. In gratitude (the fix was in) he was given the unique name Augustus, and a memorial gold shield was hung in the Senate House commemorating his VALOR, CLEMENCY, JUSTICE, AND PIETY. THE ROMAN REPUBLIC was, of course, dead.




January 22, 2010 10:02 PM

John Paul Adams, CSUN

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional
Valid CSS!

| Home | | Papal Portraits Home | | Viae Romanae: Bibliography | | Greek & Roman History | | Imperial Cult Bibliography |