Gaius Gracchus

(Caius Sempronius Gracchus)

154–121 BC

Caius Gracchus
The Gracchi brothers, Tiberius and Caius, were social reformers who tried to obtain more rights for the landless peasants of Rome, but were resisted by the landowning class. In 133 B.C. Tiberius was elected tribune, and worked to pass land reform laws, but he was killed before he could run for a second term. His brother Caius was much younger than Tiberius, and hesitant at first to enter public life. It was not until ten years after Tiberius was killed that he was elected tribune, and vowed to continue his brother's work. The senate however, was much more clever in their resistance to Caius than they had been with Tiberius. Instead of opposing him directly, they worked with another tribune named Livius Drusus to undermine him, by making counter-proposals to all of his reforms. Instead of flatly resisting his popular ideas, they sought to undermine his personal popularity. They delayed, obfuscated, and sent Caius on missions outside of Rome to keep him from building up a power base, drawing Caius into a power struggle. Eventually one of Caius's enemies was killed by one of his supporters, and the senate used this as an excuse to stir up civil unrest, and accuse Caius and his followers of lawlessness and rebellion. Caius, his friend Fulvius, and three thousand of their supporters were killed by soldiers, sent from the senate to restore order.

Key events during the life of Caius Gracchus:

Death of Tiberius Gracchus. Caius was serving in Spain under Scipio Aemilianus at the time.
Served as quaestor in Sardinia.
Elected fourth tribune, proved to be excellent orator. Reintroduced reform bills.
Second tribuneship. Senate works with Livius Drusus to undermine Caius' influence.
Election rigged, so that Caius could not be reelected Tribune. Laws of Caius are annulled.
Caius is killed by his servant as he and his followers are surrounded by soldiers.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Of Caius Gracchus  in  Stories from Roman History  by  Lena Dalkeith
Noble Brothers  in  Tales of the Romans: The Children's Plutarch  by  F. J. Gould
Caius Gracchus  in  The Story of the Romans  by  H. A. Guerber
Gracchi  in  Famous Men of Rome  by  John H. Haaren & A. B. Poland
Caius Gracchus  in  Our Young Folks' Plutarch  by  Rosalie Kaufman
Death of Gaius Gracchus  in  The Story of Rome  by  Mary Macgregor
Gracchi and Their Fall  in  Historical Tales: Roman  by  Charles Morris
Caius Gracchus  in  Plutarch's Lives W. H. Weston  by  

Image Links

Death of Gracchus the Younger
 in Stories from Roman History

Here it would be possible, he thought, to hold the enemy at bay.
 in The Story of Rome

Persuit of Caius Gracchus
 in Plutarch's Lives W. H. Weston

Short Biography
Cornelia Mother of the Gracchi. Highly revered Roman matron.
Tiberius Gracchus Promoted Land Reform and fought for people's rights. Murdered by senators.
Livius Drusus Tribune who served with Caius. He worked with the senate to undermine Caius's populurity.
Opimius Consul who was an enemy of Caius. He worked to bring about his downfall by accusing him of tyranny and rebellion.
Fulvius Friend and associate of Caius.