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Roman Republics Benefactors

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Gracchus, Tiberius Sempronius (163-133 BC), Roman statesman and tribune (133 BC), whose concern for the common people ultimately led to his political downfall and death.

Together with his brother Gaius Sempronius Gracchus, Tiberius was brought up under the special care of his mother, Cornelia, daughter of Scipio Africanus the Elder. In 146 BC he participated in the capture and destruction of Carthage, on which occasion he is said to have been the first Roman to scale the city wall. In 137 BC he acted as quaestor (financial administrator) to the army of Gaius Hostilius Mancinus (consul in 137 BC) in Spain.

Through negotiation, Tiberius saved a Roman army of 20,000 from complete destruction following its defeat by the inhabitants of the Spanish city of Numantia. On returning to Rome he became a champion of the common people and impoverished farmers. He was elected tribune of the people in 133 BC, and despite opposition from the aristocracy led by his cousin, Scipio Africanus the Younger, he introduced a bill for the fair redistribution of public lands among needy farmers. A committee of three, consisting of him, his brother Gaius, and his father-in-law Appius Claudius Pulcher (consul in 143 BC), was appointed to implement the new law.

At the end of his term as tribune, Tiberius presented himself for re-election. He disregarded the Senate's declaration that holding the office of tribune for two successive years was unlawful. A rumour that Tiberius was seeking dictatorial power prompted his opponents to demand his immediate death. A riot broke out in which Tiberius was murdered, along with 300 of his followers, and his body cast into the Tiber River.

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Gracchus, Gaius Sempronius (153-121 BC), Roman soldier and tribune (123 and 122 BC), brother of Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, whose murder he sought to avenge.

At the time of his brother's death in 133 BC, Gaius was serving with the Roman army in Spain. He returned to Rome a year or two later, but took no major part in public affairs. Upon becoming quaestor (a position in financial administration) in 126 BC, he accompanied the army under Lucius Aurelius Orestes (consul in 126 BC) to Sardinia, then in a state of rebellion. Although the Roman Senate, with uneasy recollections of his brother Tiberius, sought to keep Gaius from returning to Rome by extending his term as quaestor, he felt obliged to avenge his brother's murder and accordingly returned to the capital without authorization. He was elected as tribune of the people in 123 BC. He then devoted himself to the enforcement of his brother's agrarian laws, which had been allowed to lapse, and introduced legislation that favoured the common people while curbing the power of the Senate and aristocracy.

Gaius inaugurated a programme of road repair and construction throughout Italy that encouraged the development of the country's resources and also provided employment for the poor. He passed a law entitling citizens of Rome to purchase grain at half price. Gaius was re-elected tribune in 122. The aristocratic party, unable to check his reforms by open opposition, resorted to the stategem of offering, through Marcus Livius Drusus (who was cotribune with Gaius), still greater benefits; however, they had no intention of carrying out their promises, and disagreements between them and Gaius intensified.

Lucius Opimius, an implacable foe of Gaius, was elected consul in 121, while Gaius failed to obtain his third term as tribune. He was deserted by most of his supporters and was forced to escape across the Tiber River. The following day his body was discovered on the Janiculum, a hill located on the west bank of the river.

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Marius, Gaius (c. 157-86 BC), Roman general and statesman, who led the Populares during the civil war of 88-86 BC.

Marius was born at Arpinum (now Arpino, Italy). As a young man he served in Spain under the Roman general Scipio Africanus the Younger. In 119 BC he was elected tribune of the people. His marriage to Julia, the aunt of Julius Caesar, improved his social status, but as leader of the popular party he retained his sympathy with the lower classes. After serving as praetor in 115 BC, he returned to Spain, where he waged a successful campaign against the brigands and murderers who had been terrorizing the country. He accompanied the Roman general Quintus Caecilius Metellus to Africa in 109 BC. He was elected consul two years later and was appointed to conduct the war against Jugurtha, king of Numidia. Assisted by his chief aide, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Marius captured Jugurtha and brought the war to a successful conclusion in 106 BC. Marius's opponents credited Sulla with the victory, thereby laying the foundation for the later animosity between the two leaders.

Following two years spent subjugating Numidia, Marius again became consul in 104 BC and advanced northwards to oppose the invading Germanic tribes of the Cimbri and the Teutons. He annihilated the Teutons at Aquae Sextiae (now Aix-en-Provence, France) in 102 BC and defeated the Cimbri the following year near Vercellae (now Vercelli, Italy). Marius was considered the saviour of his country and in 100 BC was made consul for the sixth time.

When Sulla, as consul, was entrusted with conducting the war against the powerful Asian king Mithridates VI Eupator in 88 BC, Marius, who had developed a jealous hatred for his patrician rival, attempted to deprive him of his command. Civil war broke out between the partisans of the two leaders. Marius was forced to flee, and Sulla proceeded to Asia Minor to take up his command. Marius then hurried back to Italy, where an uprising of his followers had occurred under Lucius Cornelius Cinna, another bitter opponent of Sulla. Marius and Cinna marched against Rome, forcing it to capitulate. Marius then took his revenge on the aristocracy in an indiscriminate massacre. He had himself and Cinna named after the consulship in 86 BC, but died a few days after obtaining office.

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Sulla, Lucius Cornelius, called Felix (138-78 BC), Roman general and statesman, who led the Optimates (aristocratic party) during the civil war of 88-86 BC.

Born to a patrician family, the Cornelii, Sulla embarked on a military career in 107 BC as a quaestor under Gaius Marius. He entered

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