Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus Essay

2254 words - 9 pages

Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus was the son of a Roman aristocrat whose family had regularly held the highest offices of state for the past century. Tiberius achieved much in his life and was a man of high distinction in political circles. He was a man with a prominent background- coming from very powerful families. It seemed also, that many had high expectations of him, and his potential was not seen to its full extent. To a few of us here today, this is a solemn and most momentous occasion. Today I will be critically analysing and assessing the significance of three key areas which have been the crux of historical debate for centuries. Today I will be touching on Tiberius' family background, education, and early career to 134BC, the aims and significance of Gracchus lex agraria and Gracchus' political reforms and methods.

Let me tell you about Gracchus' background. Plutarch tells us a lot about his Father, also named Tiberius Gracchus, who was a very powerful figure in Rome. He was censor in 169 and was not only consul once, but twice, in the years 177 and 163. Becoming consul was the pinnacle of any roman politician's career, and to become consul twice was an amazing feat. He also received two triumphs for his excellent military service. Plutarch also states that Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus Senior, married Cornelia, the second daughter of Scipio Africanus Major- who was seen as a hero for defeating Hannibal in the Second Punic War. If that does not convince you that she was seen as a very prominent figure in Rome, let me tell you about another incident mentioned in Plutarch. Some time after her husband's death, King Ptolemy VIII of Egypt asked for her hand in marriage, yet she declined, and remained a widow.

Tiberius' foundation was of solid ground and of the highest magnitude in order to follow in his father's footsteps in maintaining the familia's dignitas. Plutarch outlines that Tiberius and his brother Gaius were ``the most gifted young men of their generation in Rome, their education was generally held to have a played a more important part than nature in forming their qualities.'' Plutarch further emphasises the prominence of Tiberius by stating, "Soon after reaching maturity, his fame was great enough to earn him entry into the so-called priesthood of augurs, an honor he owed to his excellence, rather than to his noble birth."

H.H.Scullard agrees with Plutarchs writing and maintains, after becoming an augur an augur at the age of ten, served with distinction under his brother-in-law Aemilianus at the siege of Carthage (146) and married Claudia, daughter of the Princeps Senatus, Appius Claudius Pulcher. Plutarch maintains soon after his marriage he saw active service in Africa under the command of the younger Scipio. Plutarch adds, `` He also soon showed himself to be the most disciplined and courageous young man of his generation. According to Fannius, while he was with the army many of his comrades came to feel...

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