F Heritage History | Story of Rome by Mary Macgregor
Contents 
Front Matter The Lady Roma The She-Wolf The Twin Boys Numitor's Grandson The Sacred Birds The Founding of Rome The Sabine Maidens The Tarpeian Rock The Mysterious Gate The King Disappears The Peace-Loving King Horatius Slays His Sister Pride of Tullus Hostilius King Who Fought and Prayed The Faithless Friend A Slave Becomes a King Cruel Deed of Tullia Fate of the Town of Gabii Books of the Sibyl Industry of Lucretia Death of Lucretia Sons of Brutus Horatius Cocles Mucius Burns Right Hand The Divine Twins The Tribunes Coriolanus and His Mother The Roman Army in a Trap The Hated Decemvirs The Death of Verginia The Friend of the People Camillus Captures Veii The Statue of the Goddess Schoolmaster Traitor Battle of Allia The Sacred Geese The City Is Rebuilt Volscians on Fire Battle on the Anio The Curtian Lake Dream of the Two Consuls The Caudine Forks Caudine Forks Avenged Fabius among the Hills Battle of Sentinum Son of Fabius Loses Battle Pyrrhus King of the Epirots Elephants at Heraclea Pyrrthus and Fabricius Pyrrhus is Defeated Romans Build a Fleet Battle of Ecnomus Roman Legions in Africa Regulus Taken Prisoner Romans Conquer the Gauls The Boy Hannibal Hannibal Invades Italy Hannibal Crosses the Alps Battle of Trebia Battle of Lake Trasimenus Hannibal Outwits Fabius Fabius Wins Two Victories Battle of Cannae Despair of Rome Defeat of Hasdrubal Claudius Enjoy a Triumph Capture of New Carthage Scipio Sails to Africa Romans Set Fire to Camp Hannibal Leaves Italy The Battle of Zama Scipio Receives a Triumph Flamininus in Garlands Death of Hannibal Hatred of Cato for Carthage The Stern Decree Carthaginians Defend City Destruction of Carthage Cornelia, Mother of Gracchi Tiberius and Octavius Death of Tiberius Gracchus Death of Gaius Gracchus The Gold of Jugurtha Marius Wins Notice of Scipio Marius Becomes Commander Capture of Treasure Towns Capture of Jugurtha Jugurtha Brought to Rome Marius Conquers Teutones Marius Mocks the Ambassadors Metellus Driven from Rome Sulla Enters Rome The Flight of Marius Gaul Dares Not Kill Marius Marius Returns to Rome The Orator Aristion Sulla Besieges Athens Sulla Fights the Samnites The Proscriptions of Sulla The Gladiators' Revolt The Pirates Pompey Defeats Mithridates Cicero Discovers Conspiracy Death of the Conspirators Caesar Captured by Pirates Caesar Gives up Triumph Caesar Praises Tenth Legion Caesar Wins a Great Victory Caesar Invades Britain Caesar Crosses Rubicon Caesar and the Pilot The Flight of Pompey Cato Dies Rather than Yieldr Caesar is Loaded with Honours Nobles Plot against Caesar The Assassination of Caesar Brutus Speaks to Citizens Antony Speaks to Citizens The Second Triumvirate Battle of Philippi Death of Brutus Antony and Cleopatra Battle of Actium Antony and Cleopatra Die Emperor Augustus

Story of Rome - Mary Macgregor




The Death of Tiberius Gracchus

Tiberius did all that was possible to influence the people in the short time that was his before the votes were to be taken. He appeared before them clad in mourning, and bade them guard his young son should he not escape from the coming contest with his life.

The citizens were easily moved, and his eloquent words and sombre garb appealed to their imagination. They flocked to his side, escorted him to his home, and promised to give him their support on the morrow.

That night Tiberius arranged to give his friends a sign—to raise his hand to his head—should he think it necessary to use force.

Early the next morning the people assembled on the Capitol, and Gracchus left his house to join them, although he was warned that danger would overtake him.

Omens of ill were rife. As he left his house, Tiberius stumbled and wounded his great toe so severely that the blood dripped from his shoe. In spite of this accident he went on, and before long he noticed two ravens fighting on the top of a house. Gracchus was at the moment surrounded by people, yet a stone struck from the building by one of the ravens fell at his feet.

Even the boldest of his friends was daunted by such occurrences. It was plain that it would be wise for him to return to his home after such distinct warnings of disaster.

But Gracchus went on toward the Capitol, where he was joyfully greeted by his friends.

The voting began almost immediately, but again and again it was interrupted by the enemies of Gracchus, until at length he determined to settle the matter by force.

He gave the signal he had arranged with his followers, and they flew to his aid. Before long a riot had begun, and the opponents of Gracchus were driven away by a fierce attack of stones and cudgels.

The Optimates were enraged by this rebuff. They declared in their anger that Gracchus wished to overthrow the nobles that he might become king.

They had seen him raise his hand to his head. It was the signal he had arranged to give his friends, but they said that it was a sign to the people that he hoped to wear a crown. Some even asserted that he had already been presented with a royal diadem and a purple robe.

The Consul, they agreed, ought to employ force to scatter the followers of Gracchus.

But Mucius Scævola was a wise Consul, and refused to kill a single citizen without a trial.

'Since the Consul betrays the republic,' cried Scipio Nasica, 'I call upon those men to follow me who desire to preserve the laws of our country.' Then, drawing his toga over his head, Nasica marched against the followers of Gracchus at the head of a band of senators and knights.

The people saw the officers of state marching towards them, and stricken with fear they fled, leaving Gracchus, whom they had promised to defend, alone and unprotected.

Tiberius hastened toward the temple of Jupiter, thinking that he would find shelter there, but the priest had closed the door.

As he turned away he stumbled for the second time that day. But he quickly raised himself, only, however, to be struck brutally on the head by one of his enemies. Before he could recover from the blow, a second stroke ended the life of the unfortunate man. Three hundred of his followers were slain before the tumult ended, and the bodies of the victims were thrown into the Tiber.

Gaius begged that he might be allowed to bury his brother, but his request was refused, and the body of Tiberius was also dragged to the river and flung into the tide.

Tiberius had paid with his life for his reforms, but he had been successful in wresting the land laws from the patricians, and in shaking the power of the Senate by his appeal to the people. Nor was the law repealed after his death.

The place left empty on the committee by the murder of Tiberius was filled by Publius Crassus, the father-in-law of Gaius, and the division of land for the good of the people was slowly carried on.