Appian, Civil War 1.18-26

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18 These things took place at the time with Aristonicus was contending with the Romans for the government of Asia; but after Gracchus was slain and Appius Claudius died, Fulvius Flaccus and Papirius Carbo were appointed, in conjunction with the younger Gracchus, to divide the land. As the persons in possession neglected to hand in lists of their holdings, a proclamation was issued that informers should furnish testimony against them. Immediately a great number of embarrassing lawsuits sprang up. Wherever a new field adjoining an old one had been bought, or divided among the allies, the whole district had to be carefully inquired into on account of the measurement of this one field, to discover how it had been sold and how divided. Not all owners had preserved their contracts, or their allotment titles, and even those that were found were often ambiguous. When the land was resurveyed some owners were obliged to give up their fruit-trees and farm-buildings in exchange for naked ground. Others were transferred from cultivated to uncultivated lands, or to swamps, or pools. In fact, the land having originally been so much loot, the survey had never been carefully done. As the original proclamation authorized anybody to work the undistributed land who wished to do so, many had been prompted to cultivate the parts immediately adjoining their own, till the line of demarcation between public and private had faded from view. The progress of time also made many changes. Thus the injustice done by the rich, although great, was not easy to ascertain. So there was nothing but a general turn-about, all parties being moved out of their own places and settling down in other people's.

19 The Italian allies who complained of these disturbances, and especially of the lawsuits hastily brought against them, chose Cornelius Scipio, the destroyer of Carthage, to defend them against these grievances. As he had availed himself of their very zealous support in war he was reluctant to disregard their request. So he came into the Senate, and although, out of regard for the plebeians, he did not openly find fault with the law of Gracchus, he expatiated on its difficulties and urged that these causes should not beº decided by the triumvirs, because they did not possess the confidence of the litigants, but should be assigned to other courts. As his view seemed reasonable, they yielded to his persuasion, and the consul Tuditanus was appointed to give judgment in these cases. But when he took up the work he saw the difficulties of it, and marched against the Illyrians as a pretext for not acting as judge, and since nobody brought cases for trial before the triumvirs they remained idle. From this cause hatred and indignation arose among the people against Scipio because they saw a man, in whose favour they had often opposed the aristocracy and incurred their enmity, electing him consul twice contrary to law, now taking the side of the Italian allies against themselves. When Scipio's enemies observed this, they cried out that he was determined to abolish the law of Gracchus utterly and for that end was about to inaugurate armed strife and bloodshed.

20 When the people heard these charges they were in a state of alarm until Scipio, after placing near his couch at home one evening a tablet on which to write during the night the speech he intended to deliver before the people, was found dead in his bed without a wound. Whether this was done by Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi (aided by her daughter, Sempronia, who though married to Scipio was both unloved and unloving because she was deformed and childless), lest the law of Gracchus should be abolished, or whether, as some think, he committed suicide because he saw plainly that he could not accomplish what he had promised, is not known. Some saw that slaves under torture testified that unknown persons were introduced through the rear of the house by night who suffocated him, and that those who knew about it hesitated to tell because the people were angry with him still and rejoiced at his death.

So died Scipio, and although he had been of extreme service to the Roman power he was not even honoured with a public funeral; so much does the anger of the present moment outweigh the gratitude for the past. And this event, sufficiently important in itself, took place as a mere incident of the sedition of Gracchus.

21 Even after these events those who were in possession of the lands postponed the division on various pretexts for a very long time. Some proposed that all the Italian allies, who made the greatest resistance to it, should be admitted to Roman citizenship so that, out of gratitude for the greater favour, they might no longer quarrel about the land. The Italians were ready to accept this, because they preferred Roman citizenship to possession of the fields. Fulvius Flaccus, who was then both consul and triumvir, exerted himself to the utmost to bring it about, but the senators were angry at the thought of making their subjects equal citizens with themselves.

For this reason the attempt was abandoned, and the populace, who had been so long in the hope of acquiring land, became disheartened. While they were in this mood Gaius Gracchus, who had made himself agreeable to them as a triumvir, offered himself for the tribuneship. He was the younger brother of Tiberius Gracchus, the promoter of the law, and had been quiet for some time after his brother's death, but since many of the senators treated him scornfully he announced himself as a candidate for the office of tribune. Being elected with flying colours he began to lay plots against the Senate, and made the unprecedented suggestion that a monthly distribution of cornº should be made to each citizen at the public expense. Thus he quickly got the leadership of the people by one political measure, in which he had the cooperation of Fulvius Flaccus. Directly after that he was chosen tribune for the following year, for in cases where there was not a sufficient number of candidates the law authorized the people to choose further tribunes from the whole body of citizens.

22 Thus Gaius Gracchus was tribune a second time. Having bought the plebeians, as it were, he began, by another like political manoeuvre, to court the equestrian order, who hold the middle place between the Senate and the plebeians. He transferred the courts of justice, which had become discredited by reason of bribery, from the senators to the knights, reproaching the former especially with the recent examples of Aurelius Cotta, Salinator, and, third in the list, Manius Aquilius (the subduer of Asia), all notorious bribe-takers, who had been acquitted by the judges, although ambassadors sent to complain of their conduct were still present, going around uttering bitter accusations against them. The Senate was extremely ashamed of these things and yielded to the law, and the people ratified it. In this way were the courts of justice transferred from the Senate to the knights. It is said that soon after the passage of this law Gracchus remarked that he had broken the power of the Senate once for all, and the saying of Gracchus received a deeper and deeper significance by the course of events. For this power of sitting in judgment on all Romans and Italians, including the senators themselves, in all matters as to property, civil rights, and banishment, exalted the knights to be rulers over them, and put senators on the level of subjects. Moreover, as the knights voted in the election to sustain the power of the tribunes, and obtained from them whatever they wanted in return, they became more and more formidable to the senators. So it shortly came about that the political mastery was turned upside down, the power being in the hands of the knights, and the honour only remaining with the Senate. The knights indeed went so far that they not only held power over the senators, but they openly flouted them beyond their right. They also became addicted to bribe-taking, and when they too had tasted these enormous gains, they indulged in them even more basely and immoderately than the senators had done. They suborned accusers against the rich and did away with prosecutions for bribe-taking altogether, partly by agreement among themselves and partly by open violence, so that the practice of this kind of investigation became entirely obsolete. Thus the judiciary law gave rise to another struggle of factions, which lasted a long time and was not less baneful than the former ones.

23 Gracchus also made long roads throughout Italy and thus put a multitude of contractors and artisans under obligations to him and made them ready to do whatever he wished. He proposed the founding of numerous colonies. He also called on the Latin allies to demand the full rights of Roman citizenship, since the Senate could not with decency refuse this privilege to men who were of the same race. To the other allies, who were not allowed to vote in Roman elections, he sought to give the right of suffrage, in order to have their help in the enactment of laws which he had in contemplation. The Senate was very much alarmed at this, and it ordered the consuls to give the following public notice, "Nobody who does not possess the right of suffrage shall stay in the city or approach within forty stades13 of it while voting is going on concerning these laws." The Senate also persuaded Livius Drusus, another tribune, to interpose his veto against the laws proposed by Gracchus, but not to tell the people his reasons for doing so; for a tribune was not required to give reasons for his veto. In order to conciliate the people they gave Drusus the privilege of founding twelve colonies, and the plebeians were so much pleased with this that they scoffed at the laws proposed by Gracchus.

24 Having lost the favour of the rabble, Gracchus sailed for Africa in company with Fulvius Flaccus, who, after his consulship, had been chosen tribune for the same reasons as Gracchus himself. It had been decided to send a colony to Africa on account of its reputed fertility, and these men had been expressly chosen the founders of it in order to get them out of the way for a while, so that the Senate might have a respite from demagogism. They marked out the city for the colony on the place where Carthage had formerly stood, disregarding the fact that Scipio, when he destroyed it, had devoted it with solemn imprecations to sheep-pasturage for ever. They assigned 6000 colonists to this place, instead of the smaller number fixed by law, in order further to curry favour with the people thereby. When they returned to Rome they invited the 6000 from the whole of Italy. The functionaries who were still in Africa laying out the city wrote home that wolves had pulled up and scattered the boundary marks made by Gracchus and Fulvius, and the soothsayers considered this an ill omen for the colony. So the Senate summoned the comitia, in which it was proposed to repeal the law concerning this colony. When Gracchus and Fulvius saw their failure in this matter they were furious, and declared that the Senate had lied about the wolves. The boldest of the plebeians joined them, carrying daggers, and proceeded to the Capitol, where the assembly was to be held in reference to the colony.

25 Now the people had come together already, and Fulvius had begun speaking about the business in hand, when Gracchus arrived at the Capitol attended by a body-guard of his partisans. Conscience-stricken by what he knew about the extraordinary plans on foot he turned aside from the meeting-place of the assembly, passed into the portico, and walked about waiting to see what would happen. Just then a plebeian named Antyllus, who was sacrificing in the portico, saw him in this disturbed state, laid his hand upon him, either because he had heard or suspected something, or was moved to speak to him for some other reason, and begged him to spare his country. Gracchus, still more disturbed, and startled like one detected in a crime, gave the man a sharp look. Then one of his party, although no signal had been displayed or order given, inferred merely from the angry glance that Gracchus cast upon Antyllus that the time for action had come, and thought that he should do a favour to Gracchus by striking the first blow. So he drew his dagger and slew Antyllus. A cry was raised, the dead body was seen in the midst of the crowd, and all who were outside fled from the temple in fear of a like fate.

Gracchus went into the assembly desiring to exculpate himself of the deed, but nobody would so much as listen to him. All turned away from him as from one stained with blood. So both he and Flaccus were at their wits' end and, having lost through this hasty act the chance of accomplishing what they wished, they hastened to their homes, and their partisans with them. The rest of the crowd occupied the forum after midnight as though some calamity were impending, and Opimius the consul who was staying in the city, ordered an armed force to gather in the Capitol at daybreak, and sent heralds to convoke the Senate. He took his own station in the temple of Castor and Pollux in the centre of the city and there awaited events.

26 When these arrangements had been made the Senate summoned Gracchus and Flaccus from their homes to the senate-house to defend themselves. But they ran out armed toward the Aventine hill, hoping that if they could seize it first the Senate would agree to some terms with them. As they ran through the city they offered freedom to the slaves, but none listened to them. With such forces as they had, however, they occupied and fortified the temple of Diana, and sent Quintus, the son of Flaccus, to the Senate seeking to come to an arrangement and to live in harmony. The Senate replied that they should lay down their arms, come to the senate-house, and tell them what they wanted, or else send no more messengers. When they sent Quintus a second time the consul Opimius arrested him, as being no longer an ambassador after he had been warned, and at the same time sent his armed men against the Gracchans.

Gracchus fled across the river by the wooden bridge14 with one slave to a grove, and there, being on the point of arrest, he presented his throat to the slave. Flaccus took refuge in the workshop of an acquaintance. As his pursuers did not know which house he was in they threatened to burn the whole row. The man who had given shelter to the suppliant hesitated to point him out, but directed another man to do so. Flaccus was seized and put to death. The heads of Gracchus and Flaccus were carried to Opimius, and he gave their weight in gold to those who brought them, but the people plundered their houses. Opimius then arrested their fellow-conspirators, cast them into prison, and ordered that they should be strangled; but he allowed Quintus, the son of Flaccus, to choose his own mode of death. After this a •lustration of the city was performed for the bloodshed, and the Senate ordered the building of a temple to Concord in the forum.



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