Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, better known as the ‘Gracchi Brothers’ were a pair of tribunes descending from the plebs from the 2nd century BCE who sought to introduce land reforms and other legislations that aligned with their populist views/ideas. It can be said that the career of the two brothers was marked by murder, riots and outright manipulation of the power they were granted which completely altered the state of Roman politics- aiding in the breakdown of the Roman Republic. The legislation they sought to pass essentially redistributed major aristocratic land ownership among the commoners such as the urban poor and veterans. After achieving little success during the early stages of the reforms, both were assassinated by enemy parties. …show more content…
The brothers' actions that assisted in the fall of the Roman Republic are those of; manipulating the power they were entrusted with to their own agenda and the repercussions that came about after the land reforms were sent into place. The brothers' law reforms played a key part in assisting the downfall of the Roman Republic. Tribune of the plebs for 133 BC, Tiberius proposed a land reform directly to the citizen assembly, as opposed to proposing it to the Senate- the traditional method. During this time-period, the republican constitution was constantly undermined by a military monarchy, known as the …show more content…
Reasonable and noble concepts on the surface, however, were underlying with their own contempt for the Senate and optimate party. What could be seen on one side as an attempt to rectify a dangerous and debilitating social system was viewed on the other as nothing more than a power grab and a flagrant attack on the Republican institutional ideas of the time. The goal of the betterment of society as a whole was lost, and victory became the only objective. As ambition and personal motivation became the predominant theme of the Late Republic, the social fabric that long-held Rome together, against all odds, was being torn apart due to the reforms that were set in
It seems that the fall of the Roman Republic was not a singular event that occurred instantaneously, but rather a long process that saw the increasing use of methods outside of Republican institutions to settle conflicts between members of the aristocracy over political power. Even as the Roman government transitioned form Kingdom to Republic and then to Empire, the competition between aristocratic families remained a relative constant in across the centuries. So too has the desire to mythologize the past. The romans attributed both the fall of the Kingdom of Rome and the fall of the Roman Republic to moral rot, while a more reasonable assessment might place the blame on a dissatisfied and competitive elite class and an inefficient and unresponsive governmental system that was unwilling or unable to address their concerns. In much the same way, modern observers of the Roman Republic have tended to mythologize the fall of the Republic in the service of creating a moral narrative about the unconscionable tyranny of Cesar and the righteousness of the Senate, or whatever alternative narrative is befitting of the historical moment and audience.
Sallust, a highly regarded Roman historian, commented that “…fear of its enemies preserved the food morals of the state, but when the people were relived of this fear, the favourite vices of prosperity-licence and pride-appeared as a natural consequence”. This is corroborated by Florus, a criticized Roman historian and poet “The next hundred years were unhappy and deplorable because of internal calamities. The resources and wealth gained in our conquests spoiled the morals of the age and ruined the state, which was engulfed in its own vices as in a common sewer”. Both Sallust and Florus explain how Tiberius’ death caused the senate to resort to violence in order to keep their power. Consequently, the peace in Rome was disturbed and eventually led to the fall of Rome.
Tiberius built on this trust with the plebs, and told them he could get their land back, and that he wanted to help. This is prompted him to become tribune. After achieving this status, he chose to identify one of Rome's biggest problems, the distribution of land. He claimed that the upper class had too much and the lower class had too little. Therefore he proposed a new law to be passed.
This shift was not in the form of a sudden revolution, and rather grew as a gradual switch from a monarchy previously under the Etruscans. The republic stood for liberty and extended citizenship of the people. In the Roman republic, the people chose officials to represent their interests. Dominating the government was a senate that was primarily made up of the wealthy, landholding class, known as patricians. This outraged the lower class plebeians, who later gained power and elected their own officials.
The Roman Republic was often known for its lasting influence for the development of Western political governance and ideals and is often hailed as a beacon of democracy in ancient history. But an in depth look reveals it to be more complex. While the Roman Republic held democratic elements that allowed citizen participation and representation, its political structure was ultimately characterized by a significant concentration of power among the elite and few for the average person. This essay will explore the extent of democracy within the Roman Republic, analyzing key aspects such as the electoral system, legislative bodies, and social hierarchy and the democratic nature and the implications it had on the overall governance of the state.
Juliane Smith Professor Mira Green HSTAM 302 8 July 2023 The Legacy of the Gracchi Brothers The expansion of the Roman Republic had several impacts that would lead up to the agrarian reforms of the Gracchi Brothers, Tiberius, and Gaius Gracchus, which introduced, among benefits for the general population, violence as a means of political resolution. Their deaths at the hands of the Roman Republic would expose the issues in the political system while leaving a legacy of unique social reform. Driven by mos maiorum, Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus transformed the political system with agrarian reforms that ultimately led to the use of violence as a means of political revolution in the Roman Republic.
With his distaste for dealing with the senate and extreme paranoia. It was here Tacitus references Tiberius mental state “Though three years had lapsed since the destruction of Sejanus, neither time, in treaties, nor sated gratification which have a soothing affect on others softened Tiberius or kept him from punishing doubtful or forgotten offenses as most flagrant and recent crimes”. Tacitus attributes Sejanus’ actions as part of the emperor’s mental state, but he seems to believe that Tiberius himself has caused this condition when he states “Although I have followed most historians in attributing the cause of his retirement to the arts of Sejanus, still, as he passed six consecutive years in the same solitude after that minister’s destruction, I am often in doubt whether it is not to be more truly ascribed to himself, and his wish to hide by the place of his retreat the cruelty and licentiousness which he betrayed by his actions. Some thought that in his old age he was ashamed of his personal appearance. He had indeed a tall, singularly slender and stooping figure, a bald head, a face full of eruptions, and covered here and there with
Government, the foundation of any civilization, defines both the life of its citizens as well as a tone of the country. Cicero, a roman politician and philosopher, wrote The Republic and The Laws shortly before the fall of the roman empire, which contained proposals to help fix the crumbling empire and outline justice within a democratic government. The Preamble to the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, unlike cicero's works, were written at the genesis of the United States. They, too, however, outline the basis for a just society, founded on written law, as opposed to its natural existence. Cicero’s The Republic and The Laws outlines many aspects of modern government, many of which the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution meet, and some of which they fall short of!
As stated in the article in Gaius Gracchus, “However questionable their political tactics at times were, the brothers Gracchus were to show up a fundamental flaw in the way Roman society was conducting itself. Running an army with less and less conscripts to oversee an expanding empire was not sustainable” (Gaius Gracchus Article). Both Tiberius and Gaius tried to help elevate the poor people of Rome and expand their army without also increasing Roman land and population. Rome had clear flaws in leadership, but the flaws that eventually brought about its fall were the issues Gaius and Tiberius tried to address. It is impossible to control an ever increasing population with a small army that never gets much bigger because of the strict laws around conscription.
Furthermore, when the author describes how Tiberius handled his plans, he states, “interempto senatu”, making Tiberius appear to have negative intentions for the senate. In his “doing away with” the senate, Tiberius is depicted to be discarding a traditional Roman value. In this way, the author chooses specific words to make Tiberius appear to be someone who cared about power for himself, but had no regards for the republic- and was thusly
Milo and Clodius T.J. Broderick Publius Clodius Pulcher and Titus Annius Milo were political agitators infamous for disrupting and causing violence in Roman politics in 50’s BCE. Both of these men were known for their hooligan acts and worked on behalf of their respective factions using violence to get what they want in Roman government. Milo worked on behalf of the the Senatorial Faction and was to be a strong supporter of Pompey. Clodius was a political goon who did the dirty work for Julius Caesar. These two men by themselves stirred up a lot of turmoil in Roman Government which led to its instability and lack of power.
(Appian, Civil Wars 100) Despite the tribunes losing much power to initiate legislation, Cicero implies the government was more stable, and therefore strengthening the Roman Republic. Despite the huge changes he made to the Roman political sphere, Sulla abdicated as dictator and retirement from Roman politics in 81 BC along with restoring the people’s right to elect consuls. Rev. Hubert A. Holden writes that Sulla was ‘proud of his uniquely faithful fortune’ and that he gave up his power willingly. This showcases Sulla’s attempt to revert Rome back to more conservative Republican values, exemplifying the interpretation that Sulla’s march on Rome did not seal the fate of the Roman Republic.
The Senate decided this was an opportunity for Pompey to take charge although many Senators became concerned of what may result in giving one man so much power. They had such reason to fear this as in 70BC a joint consulship was elected by the Popular Assembly between Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus, an extremely wealthy Roman general and politician. Although Sulla had in place, laws to prevent Pompey reaching such office at such a young age (34), Pompey’s overwhelming popularity easily overcame these obstacles and held no reason to pass through normal stages of office. The joint consulship of Crassus and Pompey was one of the most crucial political developments in the fall of the Roman Republic. It allowed for laws to once again be changed including restoring the power of tribunes.
One of many faults that was due to Rome’s string of military losses sustained against outside forces. Rome had tangled with many tribes over the centuries, but by the Barbarian groups like the Goths had invaded beyond the Empire’s borders. Even as Rome was under attack from separate militaries, it was also decaying from within thanks to a severe financial economic crisis. Continuous wars and excessive spending had significantly lightened imperial banks, and unfair taxation and inflation increased the gap between the rich and poor. Attempting to avoid the tax collector, many associates of the wealthy groups fled to the countryside and set up self-governing communities.
Corruption in the critical eyes of Juvenal is the decline or reversal of the Republic into the Empire (Quintero, 2007, p. 298) Through Umbricius’ justification of his exodus, Juvenal communicates the lack of decent professions, as only those who are immoral succeed, the corruption due to wealth; however ultimately Juvenal expresses his disgrace as Rome has declined from republican ideals to a city of foreigners (Scholtz, A. 2013). In accordance with his preceding satires, Juvenal’s fourth satire comprises the criticising of Roman vices, specifically the tyrannical emperor Domitian. This satire narrates the appearance of an enormous rhombus fish (Stewart, R., 1994), filling the entirety of the bay off Ancona, a seaport on the Adriatic coast.