THE GRACCHI TIBERIUS GRACCHUS (163-133 BC) and GAIUS GRACCHUS (153-121 BC) Conditions in the Late Republic Military problems: Fewer men eligible for army, military levy based on land ownership. Decline in birth rate impacted army numbers. Lower quality of troops = undisciplined. Poor training and lack of quality leadership. Social problems: Urbanisation – ex-soldiers, slaves and foreigners, flocked to Rome. Drift of peasant farmers and labourers to Rome = unemployment. Pop. increase, overcrowding, poor housing = unemployment. Slave uprisings from poor treatment. Economic problems: Great influx of wealth from provinces, included booty. Most wealth went into hands of upper class. Peasants returning from wars unable to compete with wealthier farmers – forced off their land. Boom period in building and increased private spending in the 140s, reduction in public spending. Economic depression, misery, unrest. Shortage of grain and grain imported = high price of bread. Tiberius Gracchus – Tribune In 133, Tiberius Gracchus was elected as one of ten tribunes Within 10 months of being elected he had presented a highly controversial bill for land reform to the people’s assembly without consulting the senate. It was called lex agraria The aim of Lex Agraria: Redistribute land equally Address acute urbanisation Easing the crisis of recruitment in the legions Tiberius Gracchus and Land Reform The lower classes (plebeians) were suffering. 133 BCE – Tiberius Gracchus was elected as tribune of the plebeians He promised land reform Tiberius Gracchus told the people: “You fight and die to give luxury to other men…but you have not a foot of ground to call your own.” Wanted to limit the amount of land each person could own Wanted to rebuild the farming class by redistributing land The patricians were not pleased with Tiberius Gracchus Tiberius Gracchus and hundreds of his followers were murdered Tiberius Gracchus – decade after 132 BCE – Supporters and Gracchans killed or stripped of titles and public office. However, Gaius Gracchus (brother) headed the Agrarian Commission. 131-130 BCE – Attempt to introduce a measure to extend the secret ballot to assemblies to legalise re-election to the tribunate – supported by Gaius Gracchus, however failed to pass. 129 BCE – Boundary disputes between Rome and her Italian and Latin allies 127 BCE – Gaius Gracchus elected quaestor 126 BCE – Law passed to prevent non-citizens from living in Rome 125 BCE – Proposition by consul Fulvius Flaccus to extend Roman citizenship to allies. Opposition was widespread in Senate, failed to pass. 123 BCE – Gaius Gracchus elected tribune of the plebs Gaius Gracchus – Tribune Equites – third political force Senate power weakened Senate used decree to save state – excuse to crush opposition People realised they could gain some benefits of empire Effects of the Gaius tribunate Problem of Italian citizenship became acute Encouraged future leaders to establish colonies to gain political power The tribune could be used as a weapon against the senate Worsened the conditions for people in the provinces Gaius Gracchus and Reform Gaius was elected tribune in 123 BCE, about ten years after his brother was murdered. He also wanted land reform. Gaius wanted even more than land reform. Gaius wanted the government to sell grain to the poor at reduced prices. Gaius proposed that landless Romans be settled in the provinces. Gaius wanted a public works program to employ the poor. Gaius wanted to decrease the Senate’s power. Riots erupted. In 121 BCE, he was killed along with thousands of his supporters. Gaius wanted to reform the way that taxes were collected by publicans in the provinces.