But from B.C. It is usual for historians to trace the decline of Italian agriculture to various causes which began to operate as far back as the Second Punic War — to the ravages of Hannibal, the awful drain of life during his continuance in the peninsula, and after his departure to the tribute of blood levied for the never-ending and disastrous Spanish campaigns. 134, was easily elected, and entered into office in the succeeding year. 132 we see foreshadowed the whole “Democratic platform ” of the next fifty years. It is probable that Tiberius was attempting an impossible task: without the introduction of Protection agriculture was doomed in Central Italy, and Protection could not be got, because it was against the interests of the urban multitude. But very often the state did not cede it in full property to any new owner, but simply proclaimed that any citizen who chose might “squat” upon it as a tenant at will, on condition of paying a rent. against the “tyrant.” But the imperturbable magistrate merely announced that if Gracchus was persuading or forcing the people into irregular courses, he should take care to annul his proceedings, but that he would not be the first to have recourse to violence, nor would he ever put any citizen to death without a trial. — Was the Senate or the Public Assembly to rule the world, and by what machinery? The notion was unprecedented and unconstitutional. On any ordinary day of meeting the assembly was entirely composed of the urban populace ; it would require some very great matter to induce the farmers of the Campagna to trudge in many miles in order to exercise the franchise. ], (Go back to previous chapter)(Continue to next chapter). It was quite enough to give an excuse to men much less angry and unscrupulous than the. Hannibal had departed seventy years before, and in a healthy state of agriculture the traces of his sojourn would long have disappeared. 132 was now drawing near, and it was suggested to Gracchus that if he wished to preserve himself from prosecution for high treason, and if he desired to be sure that his Land Commission should go on with its work, the best thing because he had “diminished the majesty of the Roman people” by deposing a sacrosanct tribune from office. He rushed into the street followed by many scores of the younger senators, who were joined outside by a crowd of their clients and attendants. Even if the domain lands were successfully torn from the possessores, and handed over to the would-be colonists, how were the latter to be fitted out for their experiment ? There were many precedents for a re-election; the case of, Licinius, the author of the old Agrarian Law of b.c. Tiberius drew up an equitable treaty, which was sworn to by both sides, and the army was allowed to depart. The first announcement of his intention roused an opposition that he cannot but have foreseen, though he displayed considerable indignation at it. How Tiberius had originally proposed to find the very large sums of money necessary for this purpose we are not told. This was more especially the case with the vast tracts that were confiscated in Southern Italy from the states that adhered too long to Hannibal. After this scandalous scene, in which he had narrowly escaped the guilt of causing his colleague’s death, Tiberius proceeded to hold an illegal election meeting, and filled up the place of Octavius in the tribunicial college with an obscure client of his own, one Q. Mummius. He saw this himself, and justified his position by putting forth a regular political programme. to be trusted) the introduction of a bill for extending the franchise to Latin and Italian allies. Cultivation by slave labour is notoriously wasteful and dear. reformer. He aimed merely at securing stringent efficiency in action, and did not see how invidious it was to assign the grave and unpleasant work of confiscation to a mere family party. 132 we see foreshadowed the whole “Democratic platform ” of the next fifty years. The inland was up in arms under a certain Aristonicus (the son, it was said, of the daughter of an itinerant harper), who. The city was only a few miles from the sea, and nothing was simpler than to deliver this easily-packed commodity at Ostia, or even to send it up the Tiber to the very doors of the urban granaries. It would be better that one. The ruined farmers drifted to Rome, to live on the cheap corn, the doles of patrons, the frequent largesses of the state, and the distributions of candidates for magistracies. Just at this moment there died, Attalus III, the last king of Pergamus. On the following morning he put before the tribes a very simple issue — Could the magistrate who opposed the will of the people be the people’s true representative? Tiberius, knowing that he was technically guilty, had no wish to face such a trial. There is no reason to doubt the truth of the statement that plots were made to assassinate Tiberius. The ruined farmers drifted to Rome, to live on the cheap corn, the doles of patrons, the frequent largesses of the state, and the distributions of candidates for magistracies. Morally speaking there can be no doubt that they were entitled to some sort of amends for being evicted, without warning, from estates which they and their fathers had occupied for several generations. He announced that, as a matter of grace, and not of right, he should propose that the present occupiers might be allowed the terms granted by the Licinian Rogations. Then, when told to depart, because he had been deposed and was no longer a tribune, he clung to the rostra, vociferating that the whole proceedings were null and void — a statement which was undoubtedly true, if there remained any force in the Roman constitution. When Rome had once become acknowledged as the capital of the Mediterranean world, merchandise of all kinds had begun to come to her market on a scale that had been unknown in the third century. Some, occupying estates of this kind alongside of others held in full freehold, had pulled down the boundaries between them, and inextricably confused the holdings. However bad a constitution may be, the man who upsets it, before he has arranged for anything to put in its place, is a criminal and an anarchist, if he knows what he is doing, a mischievous madman if he does not. But when the clerk again began to recite the preamble, Octavius again interposed his veto; then followed a violent scene, while the tribunes exchanged hard words and the mob raged and shouted. If they had raged at the threat of eviction, it was but natural that they should grow absolutely desperate as, man after man, they were actually expelled from their holdings. They must always be engaged in hostilities, and the public weal must suffer. The whole argument rests on the assumption that a minority has no right to resist by the constitutional means which are at its disposal. He has destroyed the power in which alone his strength lay.”. Its Here lay the one chance for preserving the old balance of classes in the Roman state. It might be that his mission would lead him into trouble, and he was prepared to face the fact. It was so customary for the remaining tribes to follow the lead of those who had the “prerogative” of the first vote, that the return of the reformer seemed secure. with the University of London's Institute of Classical Studies. The purely urban multitude was moved with the emotional fervour of the harangue, and had no objection to confiscatory measures directed against its old enemies, the governing classes. On the eventful day the tribune set out, accompanied by a mass of his supporters. 367, was especially apposite, as the people had returned him for ten successive years before he finally got his scheme carried out. When, in a moment of pique, he struck out the compensation clauses from his bill, he challenged the possessores to a fight to the death. It would seem from the general bent of the reformer’s character that it is to the latter class that he must be consigned. Mere foreign competitions would have been very bad for them, but the interference of the state as a seller made things hopeless. It had been held, therefore, by the tenants for terms ranging from seventy to two hundred years, without any interference on the part of the state. But for one most important thing Tiberius made no provision. Accordingly he brought forward a bill by which the Pergamene treasures were voted away to purchase ploughs and oxen, and to build barns and cottages for the new settlers. No man is fit for a party leader who combines an emotional temperament, an impatience of opposition, and a complete inability to look at contested questions from his opponent’s point of view as well as his own. defending if the Optimates wished for a fight. On the eventful day the tribune set out, accompanied by a mass of his supporters. But then the objection was made that it was not legal for the same person to hold the tribunate for two years in succession. Such a guarantee was not of much effective use, and Tiberius went about with the uncomfortable persuasion that he was a marked man. Of course he refused to have anything to do with such a scheme. schools, by the award of grants to help the teaching of all aspects of the Roman world By resolving to offer himself as a candidate for a second term of office Tiberius changed his whole political position. In the reforms which he announced that he intended to carry out in B.C. The idea that the citizen might permanently remove himself from Italy, and settle down on better soil in Spain or Africa — the America and Australia of the ancient world — had not yet become familiar. Learn more about Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus in this article. 137). There was an enormous accumulation of ready money in the coffers of Attains. It is clear that before the end of his year of office a vast amount of land had been seized and distributed. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The main result of it was to estrange from the reformer’s cause the greater part of his more moderate partisans. No story was too silly or malignant to be told against him. Unhappily for himself and for Rome, he had enough brains to see that the times were out of joint, enough heart to feel for the misfortunes of his countrymen, enough conscience to refuse to leave things alone and take the easy path to success that lay before him, and enough self-confidence to think that he was foreordained by the gods to set all to rights. When the point was brought up, the partisans of Tiberius raised loud cries of dissent, and such a tumult arose that the presiding tribune, one Rubrius, grew scared and refused to proceed. And Northern. The most threatening symptom, however, for Tiberius was that several resolute enemies announced that they intended to impeach him for, All this, and much more to the same effect, was eloquent and persuasive enough, but clearly it was not law, nor was it even common-sense. Without hearth or home, they wander like beggars from place to place with their wives and children. Hence came the rise of the great ranches of Southern Italy which figure in so many descriptions. But fortune intervened. Tiberius Gracchus is one of the most striking instances in history of the amount of evil that can be brought about by a thoroughly honest and well-meaning man, who is so entirely convinced of the righteousness of his own intentions and the wisdom of his own measures, that he is driven to regard any one who strives to hinder him as not only foolish but morally wicked. It was no longer used (as had been originally intended) for the protection of the plebeian from the patrician. Again, it is often said that the free farming class was beginning to decline because of the growth in Italy of great landed estates — the latifundia, worked by chain-gangs of Eastern slaves, of which we hear so many complaints. Without any attempt at parley, Nasica charged at the Democrats, with his followers streaming in a wedge behind him, the senators at their head. The most absurd version was that, when he had been seen raising his hand to his head, he was asking for the kingly crown. But presently, it was seen that there was also a hostile element present; the, While all this was in progress, the Senate had been sitting in the temple of. A person who was perpetually re-elected could never be called to account This theory was still worth. The raising of the funds would certainly have involved him in a bitter conflict with the Senate, who always made finance their special province. These ways of escape were not so obvious to the Roman of the second century. He thought that he was lost if he should fail to secure his re-election, considering the fierce spirit which his enemies were displaying. But it was not merely with the speculative importer from Spain, Africa, or Egypt, that the farmers of the Latin and Etruscan Campagna had now to compete. Ever since the Republic became a conquering power, it had been wont to confiscate part of the soil of vanquished enemies. So, too, a tribune who injures the sovereign people can no longer be sacred and inviolable because of the investiture which the people gave him. He had started as an enthusiast who had one single measure at heart, and merely desired to carry it through: the settlement of the Agrarian Question had seemed to him to be the one really pressing need of the Roman state. When he first obtained a magistracy and went to Spain as quaestor to the Consul Mancinus, chance gave him an utterly unexpected opportunity of saving a Roman army from destruction (B.C. He had had enough schooling in political philosophy from his numerous Greek friends to have freed his mind from the traditionary Roman horror of violent constitutional change. A Roman general does but mock his army when he exhorts his soldiers to fight for their ancestral sepulchres and their domestic gods. But this is 100%, On Thanksgiving Day, we remember with reverence and gratitude the bountiful blessings afforded to us by, October 03, 1789By the President of the United States of America A Proclamation Whereas it is. This unexpected hitch in the proceedings struck dismay into the heart of Tiberius. Poisons do not (in spite of ancient tradition) manifest themselves by eruptions. The economic crisis mainly touched those regions which in older days had been the home-farm of the Roman people — the Latin and South-Etruscan lands. If one did not own land, he could not … It roused to enthusiasm the needy crowd of dispossessed farmers, who had never before heard their own case put so strongly. It is necessary to remember, however, that it was not all Italy which was affected. It is necessary to remember, however, that it was not all Italy which was affected. Hannibal had departed seventy years before, and in a healthy state of agriculture the traces of his sojourn would long have disappeared. Possibly, as Mommsen suggests, the more moderate men wished at all costs to give Gracchus time to get cool, and to allow him a chance of discussing his bill in a less electric atmosphere than that of the Comitia. His means were even worse than his ends: no statesman has a right to pull down the constitution about the ears of the people, the moment that he finds himself checked in his designs. He was named M. Octavius: all agree that he was a perfectly honest and upright man. He was still convinced that only bad motives could lead men to oppose a law in which, as he considered, lay the sole hope of salvation for the Roman state. In the reforms which he announced that he intended to carry out in B.C. He was still convinced that only bad motives could lead men to oppose a law in which, as he considered, lay the sole hope of salvation for the Roman state. Tiberius, however, was wrought up to such a pitch of exasperation, that he utterly refused to press his scheme in a slower and less desperate fashion. The most respected member of the Senate, chancing to lie next him at a dinner-party, offered him his daughter’s hand in marriage without waiting to be asked. The two problems which had forced themselves to the front needed solution. As a plebeian tribune, his reforms of agrarian legislation sought to transfer wealth from the wealthy, patricians and otherwise, to the poor and caused political turmoil in the Republic . Nowadays such folks take refuge in emigration to America or Australia, or still more frequently drift citywards and are absorbed into the industrial classes. He rushed into the street followed by many scores of the younger senators, who were joined outside by a crowd of their clients and attendants. How Tiberius had originally proposed to find the very large sums of money necessary for this purpose we are not told. It was this ample stock which made it possible for Tiberius to set the Land Commission seriously to work. A vast crowd appeared on the appointed day, enough, as the reformer hoped, to overawe his recalcitrant colleague. Nowadays such folks take refuge in emigration to America or Australia, or still more frequently drift citywards and are absorbed into the industrial classes. This region seems to have remained in a satisfactory economic condition long after depopulation began farther south. The most threatening symptom, however, for Tiberius was that several resolute enemies announced that they intended to impeach him for majestas, — for unconstitutional conduct amounting to high treason, — the day that his office came to an end, because he had “diminished the majesty of the Roman people” by deposing a sacrosanct tribune from office. And, secondly, how was the state to deal with the unfortunate fact that the new commercial conditions of the Mediterranean countries, brought about by the Roman conquests, were beginning to ruin Italian agriculture and to thin out the farmers who formed the backbone of the old Roman race? A person who was perpetually re-elected could never be called to account This theory was still worth defending if the Optimates wished for a fight. Without waiting to see whether or no the report was exaggerated or the enemy really at hand, Tiberius gave the signal for hostilities by making the preconcerted sign of raising his hand to his head. I will pay yon the full value of it out of my own pocket if you will withdraw your veto.” Naturally Octavius was deeply hurt, and put aside at once the insulting offer. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization helping the academic community use digital technologies to preserve the scholarly record and to advance research and teaching in sustainable ways. “The wild beasts of Italy,” he cried, “have their holes and dens to retire to, but the brave men who spill their blood in her cause have nothing left, when they come back from the wars, but light and air. The freedmen of the city were precisely the least promising section of the governing people. The main result of it was to estrange from the reformer’s cause the greater part of his more moderate partisans. “Was it not most just to distribute the public property among the public? He determined to make all state business impossible, till his bill should have had a hearing. He was taken out under the best possible auspices, as one of the aides-de-camp of his brother-in-law, the younger Scipio Africanus. Their spokesman, L. Cornelius Scipio Nasica, a consular who had been a great holder of domain land, leapt to his feet and once more adjured Scaevola to take up arms against the “tyrant.” But the imperturbable magistrate merely announced that if Gracchus was persuading or forcing the people into irregular courses, he should take care to annul his proceedings, but that he would not be the first to have recourse to violence, nor would he ever put any citizen to death without a trial. Angry senators insulted him in the streets, and asked him inconvenient constitutional questions on public occasions. The earnest doctrinaire, all in a hurry and perfectly regardless of ancestral landmarks, was as incomprehensible as he was distasteful to the average Roman mind. It is probable that Tiberius was attempting an impossible task: without the introduction of Protection agriculture was doomed in Central Italy, and Protection could not be got, because it was against the interests of the urban multitude. By legislating on such important matters as the Agrarian Law and the appropriation of the Pergamene treasures by mere “plebiscites,” without the approval and consent of the Senate, he had practically ended the time-honoured compromise under which Roman politics had been conducted for the last two hundred years. Published By: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, Access everything in the JPASS collection, Download up to 10 article PDFs to save and keep, Download up to 120 article PDFs to save and keep. — Was the Senate or the Public Assembly to rule the world, and by what machinery? They enable us to gauge perfectly the honest but emotional and high-strung temperament of the orator. Mere foreign competitions would have been very bad for them, but the interference of the state as a seller made things hopeless. They soon made their way to the Capitol, where they found Gracchus haranguing his partisans; the multitude was thinning out after the election proceedings had come to an end, and it is said that the reformer had now no more than 3000 or 4000 men around him. Again Octavius interposed his veto. GRACCVS; b. abt 163 BC - 162 BC d.133 BC) was a Roman Populares politician of the 2nd century BC and brother of Gaius Gracchus. [Original footnote by the author. Blog. Yet one would have thought that even a rash experimenter might have reflected that if the older race of farmers, with all the accumulated experience of ages spent on the same soil, could not make both ends meet, it was decidedly unlikely that their successors — city-bred men, or at least men who had taken refuge in the city and lived there for some time estranged from rural pursuits — would be able to accomplish the feat. His, indignant partisans closed around him, vowing that he should be preserved at all costs, and for the next few days he went about with a sort of bodyguard armed with staves and bearing torches after nightfall. There was a serious danger that Rome might become a Levantine city some day, though she was still far from the generation when men could truly say that “in Tiberim defluxit Orontes.” For agricultural depression, such as there existed in Italy when Tiberius Gracchus first took to politics, there is only one certain remedy. The time for the election of the tribunes for B.C. He was born with every advantage of rank and wealth; he had a quick intelligence and a handsome face. Ever since the Republic became a conquering power, it had been wont to confiscate part of the soil of vanquished enemies. He made an elaborate apologia for all that he had done in a speech which shows strong traces of his studies in the field of Greek political philosophy. Yet one would have thought that even a rash experimenter might have reflected that if the older race of farmers, with all the accumulated experience of ages spent on the same soil, could not make both ends meet, it was decidedly unlikely that their successors — city-bred men, or at least men who had taken refuge in the city and lived there for some time estranged from rural pursuits — would be able to accomplish the feat. A permanent court of three commissioners “. He sold it to the capitalist at a ruinous sacrifice, since he was simply anxious to move on at any price. It only remains to add that when the three commissioners, There would have been a serious financial difficulty in starting the commission on its work, if it had not been for an unforeseen chance. was and what was not state domain, or as to the fraction which the old tenant desired to retain, or as to any other point arising out of the law. All Rights Reserved. the quarter. Your email address will not be published. ] Greek: “Cancellation of debts” and “redistribution of land.” [ed. On any ordinary day of meeting the assembly was entirely composed of the urban populace ; it would require some very great matter to induce the farmers of the Campagna to trudge in many miles in order to exercise the franchise. because opposition had been offered. Again Octavius interposed his veto. We may be perfectly certain that Tiberius had no thought of emulating Cypselus or Peisistratus, but it, must be confessed that his actions bore a most singular resemblance to theirs. For in these days how many are there of the rank and file who possess an altar that their forefathers reared, or a sepulchre in which their ashes rest? 342), which discouraged re-election. What was to be done to adapt the constitution to the new needs of empire? It argues an honest simplicity on the part of the reformer that he accepted the suggestion, and hurried off to the Senate-house. But presently it was seen that there was also a hostile element present; the possessores had sent down their clients and retainers, and scuffling and quarreling began at half-a-dozen points, till all was clamour and disorder, and the voices of the tribunes could not be any longer heard. He had at first no constitutional reforms in his head, but merely economic ones. But he dropped the project after discovering its practical difficulties, and gained thereby his nickname of Sapiens. We have already given its details. We do not hear even of an attempt to bring it into the sphere of practical politics. The Sicilian corn was purchased by the rich grain dealers of Rome at a quotation which enabled them to put it upon the market at an absurdly low figure. Hence the Italian cattle-breeder need not fear provincial or foreign competition in the local market. It would probably be doing Tiberius an injustice to suspect that the whole of this programme was drawn up in order to provide him with an excuse for asking for a renewal of his tribunate. He was an eccentric and tyrannical prince, who divided his time between the study of the fine arts and the extermination of his relatives. Tiberius Gracchus was one of those unfortunate persons who are from their earliest years held up as models, and serve to point the moral and adorn the tale for their young contemporaries, till they are led on to entertain the strongest views as to their own impeccability and infallibility. 250 onwards the amount of new soil placed at the disposal of the Republic had been so enormous that it was not possible to find settlers ready to occupy it. The small estate thus created should be granted to the old occupier as private property, but the rest must at once be surrendered to the state. Die familiären Beziehungen des Tiberius Gracchus waren hervorragend, als er 162 v. Chr. These ways of escape were not so obvious to the Roman of the second century. But very often the state did not cede it in full property to any new owner, but simply proclaimed that any citizen who chose might “squat” upon it as a tenant at will, on condition of paying a rent. When the land is suffering from poverty and depression, it is always popular to lay the blame on the backs of tangible and obvious individuals, rather than to search for obscure economic causes. They fight and die merely to increase the wealth and luxury of the rich; they are called the masters of the world while none of them has a foot of ground of his own.” Having thus painted the miseries of the present state of things, he began to explain his remedy for them. For the course that events took Gracchus himself must bear the responsibility: his enemies were greedy and narrow-minded, but he himself was harsh, reckless, and provocative beyond measure. His very tutor made him his moral touchstone. He arranged that his partisans should mass themselves in the front of the place of assembly before the Capitol, and keep off their opponents by their serried ranks. Even those who sympathised with his ends were scared at his reckless proceedings, for in this last crisis of his life he showed a complete lack of coolness and self-restraint. He had been a personal friend of Gracchus, but was a thorough conservative, and (what no doubt did much to settle his politics) a considerable holder of land in possessio. These had been the last of the distributions. We are told that all the omens were very dismal that morning; the sacred chickens had refused to eat; Tiberius stumbled on his own doorstep and cut his foot; crows scuffling on the roof dislodged a tile which fell almost on his head. The evils from which Italy, or rather Roman Italy, was suffering in B.C. And to put a stop to all public business was mischievous and wrong-headed in the extreme. The debate in the Senate was only brought to a head when the clamour of the multitude who were fleeing from the scene of riot was heard. The number of land-holding Roman citizens fit to bear arms went rapidly up from the end of the Punic Wars down to B.C. Tiberius resolved to seize upon it for his own purposes. If he was setting himself up in opposition to them, ought he not to be removed? and art historical topics, including issues of cultural and intellectual history One ridiculous Optimate solemnly declared that he had got from Pergamus, among the royal treasures, a crown and a purple robe, which he intended to use when he should proclaim himself king of Rome! On the night before the adjourned election meeting he collected a great crowd of his adherents, many of whom encamped before his house and slept in the street. It might be that his mission would lead him into trouble, and he was prepared to face the fact. Roughly speaking, we may say that the economic crisis affected the land immediately round Rome, and certain other regions which were mainly in Roman hands.