Tiberius Gracchus

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  • Topic: Ancient Rome, Tiberius Gracchus, Senate
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  • Published : August 18, 2012
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WHAT MOTIVATED TIBERIUS?

Tiberius concerns Rome
Res public a- people’s business/affair
Success & aggressive- Military power

What are motivations of Tiberius?
What underlying motives or underlying displeasure does he hide.. If he have any?

(Explain the importance of motives highest to lowest)

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Social (for the common people) (for the poor people to prosper)

The rich became immensely powerful because they employed slaves for labor. Also, their numbers increases uncontrollably and they were the majorities of the population. (Extract Appian Roman History 7). For their part, the poor criticized the rich that they are deteriorated to abject misery and could not bear children. (Extract Appian Roman History 10) At this point, Tiberius expressed concerns of the problems. He gave a speech for the Italians about them suffering because of shortage of men, poverty and taxes. Furthermore, to ensure the poor were protected from the rich, he proposed the act of “forbid sale”(New farmers are not allowed to sell their farms to the rich). This shows his solitude for the common people is noticeable.

Security of Rome- Man power (population related)
“ He was carried away above all by the benefits of the plan, because he thought that nothing better or more splendid could possibly happen to Italy, and gave no consideration to the difficulties surrounding it.” (Appian Roman history, Extract 11) Tiberius brought up his arguments when the voting approaches, through his formidable speaking skills he inspired the rich to consider the “Hopes for the future” of giving lands to the poor, so they are able to raise children for more “manpower and conquest” Through this, we are able to see he aroused the poor, for everyone to feel their pain and their desperate situation. From this, many people agreed to help. From this, Tiberius motive was from “ his utter despair at witnessing.. The wretched physical state of the land.. And the plight of the peasants.” (J.M. Riddle (ed.): 31

Inspired by more self-interested political motives
* It was alleged by some, that Gracchus had deposed the other tribunes (A guess based on their invisibility)

[It was alleged by others that he was [seizing power by making himself a tribune for the following year without election]

Plutarch Gracc Ex.8
His formidable adversary, Spurius Postumius with loyal followers had by far, surpassed Tiberius in popularity and influential powers over Rome. Jealous and devoted to outdo him, Tiberius strongly believed by proposing a inspiring political scheme, he will gain much more general admiration and fame than Spurius. (Plutarch Gracc Ex.8) Another motivating reason to propose the agrarian bill. (This can link to Cornelia; kill two birds with one stone)

Revenge? power?
There is no doubt Tiberius was a kind-hearted man and cares for the common people. However, there is evidence of his family’s name was degraded and almost lost his life because the senate “shamefully repudiated” the treaty of terms that will spare the lives of the captured roman soldiers by the Spaniards. Tiberius barely escaped, and was extremely resentful. (Scullard, The Gracchi pg. 24). This can be seen as one of Tiberius’s motive to become a demagogue, to have his revenge on the senates after the betrayal. Also, it can contribute to the fact of Tiberius using his legal power of tribune to mask his underlying motive of revenge by challenging the senates.

The large landowners, who are the senators, will suffer the most because of the proposal. Tiberius passed his bill to the people without letting the senates know; from his conscience he believes the senates will repudiate it. However, he had many strong friends in the senate and others may consider for the better of the community. The actions of Tiberius made the senates detest him and “ was unwilling to acquiesce in his blatant disregard of its traditional rights.” (The Gracchi pg. 26). When, Octavius unexpectedly...
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