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B. C. 146, with the destruction of Carthage. The same year, Corinth is destroyed by Mummius. Viriathus holds out nine years in western Spain; he is assassinated B. C. 140; Numantia is captured B. C. 133; and Spain divided into three Roman provinces.
FOURTH PERIOD, B. C. 133–30.
120. The possessions of Rome now extended from the Atlantic to the Ægean, and from the Atlas Mountains to the Pyrenees and Alps. But changes in the relations of rich and poor, governing and governed classes, in her own capital, now withdrew her attention for a while from foreign conquests, and led to important civil controversies. The old strife between patricians and plebeians was long ago at an end. Many plebeian houses had become noble through their members having held high offices in the state; and they had their clientage, their share in the public lands, their seat in the Senate, and their right of displaying waxen images of their ancestors in their houses or in funeral processions, equally with the oldest burghers of all. Freedmen were constantly admitted to the franchise.
121. The real cause of trouble was in the sufferings of the poor, who, since the formation of the last colony, in 177 B. C., had had no new allotment of lands. Rome was a commonwealth of millionaires and beggars." The Licinian laws (see 64) were practically set aside. Many rich proprietors held four times the amount of public land to which they were entitled; and instead of employing the required proportion of free labor, preferred to cultivate by means of gangs of slaves. The foreign wars, which formerly so frightfully reduced the numbers of the common people, had now ceased; the labor market became over-stocked, and a mass of paupers, hungry, helpless, and hopeless, began to threaten serious danger to the state. The multitude of slaves, chiefly taken in war, more or less trained for fighting, and conscious of their strength, were a not less dangerous class. The best and wisest of the Romans saw the danger, and sought means to avert it. But among those who most deeply deplored the miseries of the people, a large party believed that nothing could be done.
122. In 133 B. C., the tribune Tiberius Gracchus, a son of the conqueror of Sardinia, and grandson of Scipio Africanus, brought forward a bill for reviving the provisions of the Licinian laws. The great amount of state lands which would thus become vacant, he proposed to divide among the poor; and to compensate the former occupants for their losses, by making them absolute owners of the 500 jugera of land which they could legally retain. This movement, apparently so just, was violently opposed. The leased lands had been, in some instances, three hundred
* During the seventeen years of the Second Punic War, the free citizens of Rome were diminished by one-fourth, and in Italy at large 300,000 people perished.
years in the same family, Buildings had been erected at great expense, and the property had been held or transferred as if in real ownership. The strong influence of the wealthy class was therefore made to bear against the bill; and when it was brought before the popular assembly, Octavius, a colleague of Gracchus in the tribuneship, interposed his veto and prevented the vote from being taken. But Gracchus moved the people to depose Octavius, and so carried the bill. Three commissioners, Tiberius Gracchus himself, his brother Caius, and his father-in-law, Appius Claudius, were appointed to examine into the extent of the abuse, and enforce the Agrarian laws.
123. Their task was difficult, and Tiberius had to content the people by continually bringing forward more and more popular measures. The kingdom of Pergamus, with its treasury, had just become the inheritance of the Romans. Gracchus proposed that the money should be distributed among the new land-holders, to provide implements and stock for their farms. Other proposals were for shortening the term of military service, for extending the privilege of jury to the common people, and for admitting the Italian allies to the rights of Roman citizens. The aristocratic party had declared from the beginning that this bold innovator should not escape their vengeance. His candidacy for a second tribuneship brought the opposition to a crisis. Tiberius was slain upon the steps of the Capitol, and his body thrown into the Tiber.
124. Though the reformer was dead, his reform went on. The party in power earnestly desired to relieve the public danger and distress, and, by order of the Senate, the commission continued the distribution of lands. A law proposed by Scipio Emilianus, B. C. 129, withdrew the work from the hands of the commissioners, and placed it permanently in those of the consuls. The lands which were really public property were by this time distributed, and questions had arisen concerning territories which had been granted to Italian allies. "The greatest general and the greatest statesman of his age," Scipio saw as clearly and lamented as deeply as the Gracchi the needs of his country, and, with unselfishness equal to theirs, he sought to check the reform, when convinced that it had gone as far as justice would permit. But he, too, became a martyr to his efforts. Soon after the passage of his bill, and on the morning of the day appointed for his oration upon popular rights, he was found murdered in his bed.
125. Caius Gracchus returned from his quæstorship in Sardinia, B. C. 124, and became tribune of the people. His plans for relieving the poorer classes were more revolutionary than those of his brother, but many of them were most beneficent and widely reaching in their results. Colonies were formed, both in Italy and beyond the sea, to afford an outlet to the crowded and distressed population of Rome. Six thousand colonists were sent to the deserted site of Carthage; another company to Aquæ Sextiæ
(Aix), in southern Gaul; and a third, with the full "Roman right," to Narbo Martius (Narbonne). The latter colony, though not founded until after the death of Caius, was equally a fruit of his policy. It was fostered by the commercial class, for the sake of its lucrative trade with Gaul and Britain.
A less beneficent though doubtless needed law, provided for the distribution of grain from the public stores, at less than half price, to all residents in the city who chose to apply for it. An extensive range of buildings, the Sempronian granaries, were erected to supply this demand. The result was the crowding within the walls of Rome of the whole mass of poor and inefficient people from the surrounding country, thus giving to the popular leaders a majority in the assembly, and the absolute control of the elections; creating, at the same time, that lazy, hungry, and disorderly mob which for five hundred years constituted the chief danger of the imperial city.
126. The lowest age for military service was fixed at seventeen years, and the cost of the soldier's equipment, which formerly had been deducted from his wages, was now defrayed by the government. Having thus won the poorer people, Caius drew to his side the plebeian aristocracy, by placing in their hands the collection of revenues in the provinces, thus creating the class of great merchants and bankers, hitherto scarcely known in Rome. The new "province of Asia" had been formed from the kingdom of Pergamus, and its name, like that of “Africa" given to the Carthaginian territory, doubtless implied that its limits were not considered as fixed. In accordance with the despotic principle that conquered or inherited lands were the private property of the state, the province was now loaded with taxes, and the privilege of collection was publicly sold at Rome to the highest bidder. The "publicans" amassed great fortunes, but the unhappy provincials were reduced to extreme distress.
127. Gracchus would have gone a step farther, and extended the full rights of Roman citizenship to all free Italians. But this liberal policy was equally hateful to the Senate and the commons. The former gained over his colleague, Liv'ius Drusus, who outbade Gracchus by proposing still more popular measures, which, however, were never meant to be fulfilled. Instead of two Italian colonies, composed only of citizens of good character, which had been planned by Gracchus, Drusus proposed twelve, to contain 3,000 settlers each. Caius had left the domain lands subject, as of old, to a yearly rent. Drusus abolished this, and left the lessees in absolute possession of their farms.
At the end of the second year, Caius lost his tribuneship, and the new consuls were opposed to him. His policy was now violently attacked, and especially the formation of the transmarine colonies. It was reported that African hyenas had dug up the newly placed boundary stones of Juno'nia,
the successor of Carthage; and the priests declared that the gods in this way signified their displeasure at the attempt to rebuild an accursed city. The auguries were taken anew; a popular tumult arose, in which an attendant of the priests was killed. The next day the Forum was occupied by an armed orce, and all the aristocratic party appeared with swords and shields. Caius and his former colleague, Ful'vius Flaccus, retired with their followers to the Aventine, the old stronghold of the commons. The nobility, with their Cretan mercenaries, stormed the mount; 250 persons of humble rank were slain, and the two leaders were pursued and put to death. Three thousand of their adherents were strangled in prison, by order of the Senate. Cornelia,* the mother of the Gracchi, was not permitted to wear mourning for the last and noblest of her sons; but the people honored their memory with statues, and on the sacred ground where they had fallen, sacrifices were offered as in temples of the gods.
128. Next to Egypt, the most important client-state of Rome was Numidia, which occupied nearly the same space with the modern province of Algeria. Massinissa, the Numidian king, had been rewarded for his faithful service in the Second Punic War, by a grant of the greater part of the Carthaginian territories. Micip'sa, his son, was now a feeble old man, who cared more for Greek philosophy than for affairs of state, and had dropped the control of his kingdom into the hands of his nephew, Jugurtha, whom he raised by adoption to a level with his own sons. In his will he divided the civil, military, and judicial offices of the kingdom between the three princes.
After the old king's death, his sons, Adherʼbal and Hiemp'sal, disputed the will, while Jugurtha boldly claimed the supreme and sole authority. Hiempsal was murdered by hired ruffians. Adherbal appealed in person to the Roman Senate, which had undertaken to guarantee his father's bequests. But Jugurtha had learned in the camps that every senator had his price; and his emissaries worked so skillfully, that the whole blame of the dispute and the murder was thrown upon the suppliant prince. A new division of the kingdom was ordered to be made, by Roman commissioners sent over for the purpose. Jugurtha received the fertile and populous region
This illustrious lady was a daughter of Scipio Africanus, the greatest general save one, and, perhaps, the greatest character, whom Rome ever produced. Cornelia, after the early death of her husband, devoted herself to the education of her children, and was rewarded for her care by their perfect respect and love. After the death of Caius, she retired to Misenum, where her house became the resort of all the genius and learning of the age. Cornelia not only spoke her own language with the utmost elegance, but was well acquainted with Greek literature, and her letters to her sons are considered the purest specimens of Latin prose. She died in a good old age, and the people erected a statue to her memory, with the simple inscription, "Cornelia, the Mother of the Gracchi."
which was afterward known as Mauritania; Adherbal, with Cirta, the capital, had only a tract of sandy desert toward the east.
129. Jugurtha, however, was not satisfied; and failing by many insults to provoke his cousin to war, he at last besieged him in his capital, and in spite of lame remonstrances from Rome, captured and put him to death with cruel tortures, and ordered an indiscriminate massacre of all the inhabitants of the town. Of these, many were Italians. Even the base venality of the Roman government could no longer withstand the righteous indignation of the people. War was declared and an army promptly sent forward, which received the submission of many Numidian towns. But again the wily usurper was able to buy peace with African gold. He pretended to submit at discretion, but was re-instated in his kingdom upon paying a moderate fine and surrendering his war elephants, which he was soon permitted to redeem. Public indignation again broke out at Rome. Jugurtha was summoned to the city, to answer concerning the means by which he had obtained the peace. His cousin, Massi'va, took this opportunity to prefer his own claim to the kingdom of Massinissa; but he was assassinated by a confidant of Jugurtha, who immediately, with the aid of his master, escaped from Rome.
130. This new insult enraged the people beyond endurance. The Senate canceled the peace and dismissed Jugurtha from the city. His sarcastic remark in leaving expressed a melancholy truth: "If I had gold enough, I would buy the city itself." The war was renewed, but the army, equally demoralized with its chiefs, was wholly unfit for service. In attempting to besiege the treasure-town of Suthul, the incompetent commander suffered himself to be drawn off into the desert, where his whole army was routed and made to pass under the yoke. By the terms of surrender, Numidia was evacuated and the canceled peace renewed. The generals whose misconduct had led to this disgrace were tried at Rome and exiled, and with them Opim'ius, the head of the Numidian commission, and the real executioner of Caius Gracchus.
In token of the earnestness with which the war was now to be carried on, Qu. Metellus, a stern and upright patrician of the old school, was elected consul for the African campaign. Among his lieutenants was Caius Marius, the son of a Latin farmer, who had risen from the ranks by his sterling ability. He won the hearts of the soldiers by voluntarily sharing all their toils and privations; and through their reports to friends at home, his praise was in every mouth.
131. The wild tribes of the desert flocked to the standard of Jugurtha, whom they hailed as their deliverer from Roman domination; and with his swarms of fleet horsemen, he was able either to dictate the battle-field, or to vanish out of sight at any moment, when the combat seemed to be going against him. The Romans gained one or two victories, but no