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Lecture 5

HISB11H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Optimates, Tiberius Gracchus, Ager Publicus

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Pamela Cushing

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Week 5 (February 4)
Wealthy held control of most of slave trade
After the Punic Wars, there were a lot of slaves
Ager Publicus  this was land that was held under the control of the Roman state
Not just one area – it was any land taken from conquered areas
Senators could not do overseas trade, to limit their power
Private requests dealing with overseas trade were handled by the equestrian class
This gave them a new source of power
There was an increasing disparity between the wealthy and poor
The poorer could not afford to own land and they couldn’t build up wealth by working on
the land – most of the work was done by slaves who did not need to be paid
Formation of two factions
1. Optimates  traditionalist powers
2. Populares – citizen/plebeian assembly
a. Populist policies
143/144 – Tiberius Gracchus (Tribune of Plebs)
Tries to push motions without the support of the Senate
Suggested that the ager publicus be distributed to poorer citizens
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