Who Is Gaius Gracchus A Martyr

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Merrick Kelley History of Rome 810963539 Plutarch Life of Gaius Gracchus Was Gaius Gracchus a martyr who died of a noble cause for his people, or just a man out for personal revenge who got in over his head? Based on the reading Plutarch Life of Gaius Gracchus he resembles the former much more than the latter. Gracchus genuinely wanted social and land reform for the poor and to change Rome for the better in his view. Initially, the death of his brother Tiberius in all likelihood drove him to make a change and shaped his view of the senate but once in power, Gracchus created laws helping the common people and limiting senate power to run a better democracy. Everyone has personal motives and people that say Gracchus didn’t are either…show more content…
These included a redistribution of public land to the poor, clothing soldiers with no reduction of pay, restricting soldiers to an age limit of 17 or older, lowering the price of corn, and spreading judicial authority to three hundred senators and three hundred citizens of equal knowledge. For this last point, Gracchus did something that showed “unusual earnestness.” Instead of facing the senate while arguing his point, he turned towards the people, indicating “that public speakers should address themselves to the people, not the senate. Again, Gracchus demonstrates his uncanny ability to create true social reform with not only his words, but also his actions. His decision to persuade the senate to sell the corn given to them from other provinces and return the money to those regions was not only “just and honorable” but in no way driven by personal motives. Gracchus’ diligence and management in all his projects, especially with the construction of the roads, till they were finished was also unmatched. These characteristics, among many others, were what made him different than one of the true rabble-rousers of the story, Livius…show more content…
Immediately after election, Opimius cancelled several of Gracchus’ laws an called into question his actions in Carthage, “omitting nothing that was likely to irritate him.” A rabble-rouser might have used this as ammunition to riot or try and overthrow the government but Gaius “bore these things very patiently,” and only “at the instigation of his friends,” gathered his supporters to oppose the consul’s decisions. At the meeting of both parties one of the consul’s attendants made an obscene gesture and was killed on the spot by Gracchus’ party. As custom of his character, Gaius was very saddened and “severely reprimanded his own party,” for this action that would eventually lead to his death because Opimius was rousing his party into a frenzy at that same moment. When the two parties met, Gaius could not be convinced to bring any arms except a small dagger under his cloak. Gaius wanted to turn himself in to avoid fighting but his loyal supporters would not let this happen and after Opimius denied the proposals of agreement for the second time he sent his troops after Gaius and his party. As the fighting ensued, Gaius was so disgusted by these outrages “he attempted to kill himself, but was hindered by his faithful friends.” Instead his friends had him attempt to escape but Opimius’ men caught up to him and murdered one of the great visionaries of this

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