February 10, 2014
Populares, Optimates; the Gracchi
- Civilization getting sick of the government who “advised” the people to do things. In other
words, threathened them
- Populares: means for the people. They emphasize social reform, and give attention to
the needs of the people. Society thought that they used the people. They offered them
things simply to get elected.
- Optimates: conservative. They wanted things to remain the same. They had little
sympathy for people who were poor. When people sold their farm, they had no concern
for people who couldn’t find a job afterwards.
- The Gracchi: two brothers, last name of Grachus. They are the first two notable
o They came from a very wealthy family. People in his family were famous.
- Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, Tribune, 133: public land bill
o Tiberius ran for the position of Quaestor. He didn’t win, and wasn’t supported by
the Senate. He tried to run again, and still didn’t get support from the Senators.
He took a very unusual step for someone of aristocratic status, and ran for
tribune. A tribune can only veto, they can’t actually do things. Becoming a tribune
does not allow you to become a senator. Even though he didn’t really power, he
advised the Roman people on what to vote for. The senator believed that Tiberius
would become the people’s patron, since he was giving people free land and
grains etc. The senate feared this, because they figured he was attempting to
become king. Land was being leased out by the government, and if it was
frequently leased after each term, the lease would be renewed automatically.
Tiberius suggested that it not be renewed, and instead be leased to poor people
who have no land. 500 acres was the max of the land that could be leased.
Tiberius wanted the excess of 500 acres to be taken. It turned out that many
aristocrats were leasing much more than 500 acres. Tiberius wanted it to be
distributed to people who don’t have land. Tiberius wanted the land to be owned
by more people because it would make more citizens eligible to be drafted for
war. It was becoming a problem because more and more citizens didn’t have
land. He wanted a bill to give people land for free. One tribune vetoed this bill. He
then tried to get that tribune kicked out, and he succeeded. He then tried to pass
the bill for free land again and it was passed. However, the government said they
wouldn’t fund the bill. Tiberius gather the Roman people to get support to get him
funding. He succeeded in this too. When Tiberius’ planned to run for tribune
again after his term was over. This was unheard of. The senate wanted him
arrested, but the consuls said he did nothing wrong. A political revolt started, and
close to 300 of his supporters were killed. Tiberius was killed as well
o After this happened, no one knew what to do. This was the first time something
like this had happened. So many people were implicated. The government decided to just move on. No one was arrested. The government agreed that
Tiberius had overstepped his position
o Even after Tiberius’ death, his bill was passed without opposition.
- Gaius Sempronius Gracchus. Tribune 123, 122: omnibus bill
o Gaius proposes a bill that has a lot of reforms that is good for everyone in
society, except the senate. For example, the military would rceive more weapons,
people would receive land, bread couldn’t go above a certain price, grains would
be cheap. He wanted equestrians (non-governmental figures, but businessmen)
o Gaius said that if his bill was voted for, he would give more opportunited for
o He also proposed that each Italian would become a Roman citizens. This was
the only unpopular part of his bill. Even lower class men didn’t approve of it
o This bill caused riots. Martial law was declared. 3000 of Gaius’s followers were
killed, and Gaius committed suicide.
War with Numidian Jugurtha (111-105)
- A relatively small war, that puts an end to the Roman Empire
- Jugurtha was a Numidian king who opposed Rome.
- Soldiers were half hearted in trying to fight the Numidian king, because Numidia was in
the desert, and they weren’t rich. It was also rumoured that the king was bribing the
- The Roman army was having a hrd time taking down this king, and it sparked a scandal,
since the king was relatively unimportant and it should have been easy for the army.
- The Senate launched an investigation to see if the soldiers were taking bribes
- The citizens were displeased with the government because of what they said
- Novus homo: complete outsider to the Roman government.
- Consul, 107
- Proconsul, 106-105
- 2 in command, Sulla
- He attacked aristocrats, saying they were in the government for their name, and nothing
else. He said he achieved everything on his own, by his ability in battle. He said that
aristocrats have trophies on their walls, and his trophies were right in front of him, the
scars on his body.
- Marius was the one who defeated Jugurtha.
The Celts - Celts (modern day Germans) were beginning to pillage Roman cities. The Roman
government was scared, and they voted Marius to take care of them
- He eventually defeated the Celts
Marius’ standoff with the Senate; the tribune Saturninus
- Marius wanted to get free land for his soldiers
- Saturninus advised Marius to attempt to get free land and food for everyone, not just his
- Marius took his advice. Every one of his soldiers came into Rome to support the passing
of this bill.
- In the bill, there was a part that made each senator to take an oath to uphold the bill.
- The senate wanted to arrest Saturninus
- Marius had a choice, either to defy the senate, or to just arrest Saturninus. He didn’t
want to defy the government. He arrested his colleague. Saturninus died in prison
- Seeing that the Senate had Marius under their control, they kicked him out of position
- His reputation faded, and the Senate was once again in charge.
Social War (90-88)
- Triune M. Livius Drusus
- Italians revolt
- Sulla leads Roman army
o Sulla was previously second in command next to Marius.
- Full citizenship for all Italians
- This was very bloody. It went on for 3 years, and was in a deadlock between both sides.
The Roman government finally gave in and gave citizenship to each Italian
- The Italians never forgot this. They fought and died just to receive equal rights
Mithridates of Pontus, (89-62)
- He invades Rome
- He kills about 80,000 Romans
- His actions sparked rebellion against the Romans in Greece.
Who will lead the Roman Army?
- Two candidates: Marius, and Sulla
- Marius had support from the equestirans, lower classes, and his veteran soldiers
- Sulla had support from the Senate and his veteran soldiers - A vote was held to decide. Sulla was not actually in Rome to speak