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Three Slices of Bread Dropped out of Sky: one for Gracchus Brothers, the rest stolen by evil

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Unluckily the two historical events took place in the Roman Republic in the late second century BC were not happy ending fairytales for Gracchus Brothers, Tiberius and Gaius.

The brothers were born to an old and noble family. In 133 BC tribune Tiberius Gracchus introduced a bill to redistribute the public lands from patricians to peasants whose lands had been confiscated. Inspite of resistance of landholders who were also senators, the law was enacted. Thereafter Tiberius declared that he would be up for re-election as a tribune despite the fact that the office was annual, and he implied that new legislation would be introduced. Hereupon, senators accused him of intending to become a king. After having prevented his re-election senators clubbed to death Tiberius and his 300 supporters with the help of armed gangs. In this way the legal immunity of the tribuneship was violated and a political conflict ended in violent and bloodshed for the first time. From that time forth armed gangs featured in the Roman political arena. Although Tiberius’ land reform was in effect, it was never enforced.   

10 years later Gaius became a canditate for the position of tribune in order to continue his brother’s activities. Younger Gracchus was elected as tribune two consecutive year (123 and 122 BC), and he enacted various laws in the public interest such as reviving the land reform and providing grain at reduced price for the public. But his law proposal to extend citizenship rights to Latin people was vetoed. Gaius failed to be re-elected the third time in 121 BC. The Senate repealed the laws enacted by Gaius immediately. In response, he and his supporters protested against this. On the grounds that the Republic got into danger  senators wasted no time in getting Gaius and his 3000 supporters killed.  

Well then, what is the important consequence of these two tragic events? The Senate dug its own grave, so to speak since magisters were entitled to all kinds of authority by senatus consultum ultimum. As a matter of course the Gracchi failed at their attempts because all kinds of achievements could not go beyond a certain point without an army. Consequently, the failures of the Gracchi would be a good lesson for posterity. The Senate led a way to the authority, which would destroy the system being under the domination of the Senate. Armed forces would become decisive factor in politics, that is to say that those who held the army would keep the political power, disregarding the constitution completely.

The Gracchus brothers might have been considered to sow the seeds of socialism. Both of them obviously had class consciousness, and they were idealists. However, they failed to foresee or underestimate that the Roman aristocrats would fight for protecting their benefits at any rate.

What if the Gracchus brothers had succeeded in their struggles how would have been our lives? If so, three apples would have dropped out of sky: all for working class for once.

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