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ended the first great sanguinary struggle which had CHAP. grown out of political strife in Rome. When the Capitol was cleared of blood and corpses, the victors deluded themselves with the hope that they had shut the gates of civil discord for ever. They never dreamed that what they had seen was but the faint prelude of that terrible drama in which their children and grandchildren were destined to be the actors and the sufferers.

The optimates, having violently crushed the democratic party, profited by the dejection of their adversaries in order to legalise their own proceedings. An extraordinary tribunal was instituted for the purpose of calling all those to account who were said to have been guilty with Tiberius of an attempt to overthrow the existing constitution. Amongst the judges was seen, beside P. Scipio Nasica, the leader of the victorious party, C. Lælius, who in former years had himself thought of bringing in a bill relative to the state lands similar to that of Tiberius.2 Hence it appears that even men of moderate views, and favourably disposed to the popular cause, condemned the action of Gracchus. Such a one was the consul Mucius Scævola, who had refused officially to act against the rioters, but subsequently approved the conduct of Nasica. Even Tiberius's brother-in-law, P. Scipio, who was still before Numantia, is said, on hearing of the bloody catastrophe, to have expressed his approval in the words of Homer: So may all perish who shall do like things.'


Action of

the senate

after the

death of


We do not hear of any prominent men having been Scanty following condemned. Party hatred was satisfied with a few vic- of Grac tims, men of lower rank, amongst whom were Diophanes chus. and Blossius, the Greek teachers and friends of the slain Tiberius. It is quite plain that as yet there existed in Rome no influential democratic party, and that only a few men of the prominent families inclined to favour the views This is perhaps not literally correct. At least we hear of several poli tical murders, such as that of Spurius Mælius and of Genucius. But of wholesale slaughters we know nothing in all the course of the ancient struggles between patricians and plebeians.

2 Above, p. 375.



The commissioners for the Sempronian law.

of the Gracchi. Others whose voice carried weight were either of a disposition positively hostile to that movement, or else their approval was but lukewarm. Without vigorous support from the more liberal-minded of the aristocracy it was not possible that a party formed by a single man out of the mass of the proletarians should exhibit strength enough for a contest with the old nobility. It could not fail to collapse as soon as the leader had perished, and all reforms effected by it could not but be equally short-lived unless they were such as must of necessity have grown out of the existing order of things.

The optimates might undoubtedly, after the death of Tiberius, have formally abolished the agrarian law, for they could justly have asserted that it had been accepted by the tribes against the intercession of a tribune, and that it was therefore vitiated and could not be binding. But they preferred ostensibly to let it stand, convinced as they were that they would find no difficulty in frustrating its object if their interests should be endangered. Hence they permitted another triumvir to be elected to the board for the distribution of land in the place of Tiberius, even though this man was another member of the Gracchan connexion, P. Licinius Crassus, the father-inlaw of Caius Gracchus. The triumvirs entered on their

1 Mommsen, Röm. Gesch. ii. p. 100, thinks that the labours of this commission must have been productive of great results; for the increase of Roman citizens between the years 131 B.C. and 125 B.C., according to the recorded numbers of the census lists, amounted to no less than 76,000. Mommsen accounts for this increase by the supposition that the Gracchan triumvirs for land assignments divided that number of allotments, and created thereby so many new peasant proprietors. There is an obvious fallacy in this argument, for how could the assignment of allotments to poor citizens increase the number of citizens? There is nothing to justify the assumption that noncitizens were to share in the benefit of the land law, and that by receiving allotments they were to be advanced to the rank of citizens. If the statements respecting the census of 131 B.C. and 125 B.C. are to be trusted, the great increase in the number of citizens must be explained in another way. It is possible, as Lange conjectures (Röm. Alterth. iii. 27), that after the revolt of Fregellæ, 125 B.C., a portion of the allies were admitted to the Roman franchise by several plebiscites. We know nothing of such plebiscites; but it is not unlikely that the Roman senate in 125 B.C. acted on the principle of making timely concessions to a portion of the rebels, and thus preventing unanimous

duties under the most unfavourable circumstances. Their first task was to decide what was public and what was private property; for they could not proceed to a distribution of land until the facts on which it was to be based had been ascertained.' They were endowed with full judicial powers to decide in all disputed cases what was private and what public property. Tiberius had brought in a bill giving them this authority, and they appear to have availed themselves of it where it was necessary; but we may entertain serious doubts whether they or their immediate successors ever got beyond this first stage of their labours, and whether they really accomplished the task of setting up any considerable number of independent freeholders.

action among them. This is what was done in 90 B.C. during the great Social war. By such an admission of allies, the increase of citizens between 121 and 125 might possibly be explained.

Some of the boundary stones set up by the commission have actually been preserved. See Corpus Inscript. Latin. i. notes 252-255, 583, 1504.





tion of the nobles after the tumult.




THE ten years which elapsed from the death of Tiberius Gracchus to the tribunate of his brother Caius were years of a political reaction unavoidable after the failure of a great scheme of reform. The ruling aristocracy was more exasperated than shaken. Of the hopes which the great mass of the Roman people had entertained of better times. not one was fulfilled. The Italians were still outside the pale of Roman citizenship, and their claims to admission seemed as far from realisation as ever. Yet the victorious aristocracy did not act without some degree of moderation. and political prudence. As has been said already, the prosecutions and punishments of the democratic party were not extended to the more prominent adherents of the murdered tribune. Neither Appius Claudius Pulcher, his father-in-law, nor his brother Caius, who were his colleagues in the triumvirate for assignments of land, nor Fulvius Flaccus, was in any way molested. The validity of the agrarian law passed by Tiberius Gracchus was not called in question; on the contrary the government seemed to be willing honestly to carry out its provisions.

To allay the general excitement, an appeal was made of Publius to the religious feelings of the people. The Sibylline Scipio Æmilibooks were consulted, and on their suggestion an embassy was sent to Sicily to pacify the goddess Demeter of Enna. It really seemed that there was a general wish to act in the spirit of reconciliation, and it is not improbable that much of this tendency was due to the influence of Publius Scipio Emilianus, the conqueror of Carthage and Numantia, a man who had always endeavoured to hold an


independent course equally removed from the extreme. CHAP. views and passions of either party. By birth and family connexion he belonged to the highest nobility, yet he was not in principle opposed to the development of the constitution in a liberal spirit. He had given the whole weight of his influence in favour of the ballot law of Lucius Cassius of 137 B.C., and had thereby incurred the antipathy of the uncompromising members of the nobility. But he had not approved the illegal proceedings of his brother-in-law Tiberius, and on his return from Numantia he openly espoused the cause of those who defended the existing constitution against further innovations. Nor could he act otherwise, unless like Caius Gracchus he took up strictly the position of a reformer. From this position he was far removed, and he was therefore compelled to range himself on the side of those who opposed the final tendencies of the democratic movement.'



It seemed that this movement was now doomed to Position utter failure. The party which supported it was weak, and prospects of not so much in numbers as in leaders. Caius Gracchus, the demotoo young to think of carrying on the work which his brother had begun, kept himself in the background, and collected experience for his political career by going through the regular course of a military and official training. The consular Appius Claudius Pulcher, the fatherin-law of Tiberius Gracchus, though one of the triumvirs for the assignment of public lands, took no active part,

The dissensions in the senate of which Cicero speaks (De Republ. i. 19, 31), were in all appearance not very serious, and not caused by a fundamental difference of opinion. Appius Claudius and Licinius Crassus certainly were hostile to Scipio and his friends only from motives of personal ambition. Metellus differed only on mere matters of opinion, and this difference in no way interfered with mutual esteem. Comp. Cicero, Læl. 21, 77, De Offic. i. 25, 87 sine acerbitate dissensio. Vellei. Paterc. i. 11: acres innocentesque pro re publica cum inimicis contentiones. The same may be said of Publius Mucius. Of the personal rivalries of these men, which no doubt were numerous, we know very little; but what we know suffices to explain their relation to each other. It is an unfailing proof of the secure dominion of a party, when quarrels break out among the individual members from paltry personal differences. In a common danger they generally sink all these differences, and heartily join in the common defence.

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