Daddy, where were you when Mr Gracchus died?

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Daddy, where were you when Mr Gracchus died?

Postby Curio Agelastus on Fri Oct 08, 2004 7:45 pm

Salvete omnes,

I was reading Appian's "Civil Wars" today, and Appian states that "Cornelius Scipio" (I assumed Scipio Aemilianus) was one of the prime movers in the action against Tiberius Gracchus. However, given that the elections for the Tribune would have taken place in the middle of the year, and hence the middle of 133 BCE, surely Scipio Aemilianus would have still been in Spain at this point?

This thought got me thinking even further. (It's a downward spiral :lol: ) What were the great movers of later years doing during the troubles surrounding Tiberius Gracchus? For instance, what was the young Marius up to? He would have been in his early twenties I believe, and if my dating is correct he should have been in Spain also. Appian mentions the Tribunes Mummius, Rubrius and Octavius. The next Mummius that I can recall is one of the yes-men appearing in the Caesar-Pompeius rivalry, and I've never heard of a Rubrius before. Octavius, of course, appears many times over the history of Rome. However, it's difficult to work out just what the men who would be behind the events of later decades were doing at the time of the death of Tiberius Gracchus. Where are the Caecilii Metelli? At this point, admittedly, their influence was not it was to be later. Appian does mention the Pontifex Maximus, Cornelius Scipio Nasica (Was his praenomen Publius? Appian doesn't say) being one of those rallying support against Tiberius Gracchus. A Scipio Nasica does appear later on, but by that point the influence of the Scipiones was much diminished. And what of Marcus Aemilius Scaurus? He would have been entering the Senate in that year, if the date that I heard for his birth (163 BCE) is correct. Looking at his later career, I assume he would have supported the Senatorial faction led by Scipio Nasica and (apparently) the absent Aemilianus. And where was Catulus Caesar? The Fabii? The Postumii?

Of course, the reason none of the prime movers of later years are mentioned is because they were mostly insignificant at the time of the Gracchi. However, it really seems frustrating that it's so difficult to detect the allegiances and actions of many of the great politicians in their earlier years.

Any thoughts on this?

Bene valete,
Marcus Scribonius Curio Britannicus.
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Re: Daddy, where were you when Mr Gracchus died?

Postby Horatius Piscinus on Sat Oct 09, 2004 4:39 pm

Salve curious Curio

Marcus Scribonius Curio wrote:I was reading Appian's "Civil Wars" today, and Appian states that "Cornelius Scipio" (I assumed Scipio Aemilianus)


He is referring to Nasica. Aemilianus supported Tiberius Gracchus. I think he was in Rome during the election but not at the time of Tiberius' death. Asked his opinion after his return, he gave a cryptic response that can be interpreted either way. I think his reply indicates that he still supported Tiberius at that point.

Marcus Scribonius Curio wrote:This thought got me thinking even further. (It's a downward spiral :lol: ) What were the great movers of later years doing during the troubles surrounding Tiberius Gracchus? For instance, what was the young Marius up to? He would have been in his early twenties I believe, and if my dating is correct he should have been in Spain also. Appian mentions the Tribunes Mummius, Rubrius and Octavius. The next Mummius that I can recall is one of the yes-men appearing in the Caesar-Pompeius rivalry, and I've never heard of a Rubrius before. Octavius, of course, appears many times over the history of Rome. However, it's difficult to work out just what the men who would be behind the events of later decades were doing at the time of the death of Tiberius Gracchus. Where are the Caecilii Metelli? At this point, admittedly, their influence was not it was to be later. Appian does mention the Pontifex Maximus, Cornelius Scipio Nasica (Was his praenomen Publius? Appian doesn't say) being one of those rallying support against Tiberius Gracchus. A Scipio Nasica does appear later on, but by that point the influence of the Scipiones was much diminished. And what of Marcus Aemilius Scaurus? He would have been entering the Senate in that year, if the date that I heard for his birth (163 BCE) is correct. Looking at his later career, I assume he would have supported the Senatorial faction led by Scipio Nasica and (apparently) the absent Aemilianus. And where was Catulus Caesar? The Fabii? The Postumii?


Marius became a tribune later and was rather conservative in the proposals he made, which I don't think were passed in the comitia. Nasica was hated afterwards, spat upon by the people, and even the Senate considered his action to have been a sacreligious act. Nasica really led only a minority of the Senate against Tiberius. The Senate sent him away, in spite of his being PM, effectively as an exile and he died in the east a few years later. Tiberius was fully supported by the nobiles in the amicitatis of Aemilianus, including Appius Claudius, (con 143, cen 136), P. Crassus Mucianus who later became PM, his brother P. Mucius Scaevola who was consul that year, and Q. Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus. Actually all the leading members of the Senate at the time, and we would assume the majority of Senate following them did support Tiberius Gracchus and his reforms. Octavius went on to become a censor and his son of the same name became a tribune.

Later Aemilianus and Laelius broke from the other members of the amicitatis over the issue of enfranchising the Italians. Appius Claudius was Tiberius' father-in-law. PM Mucianus was Gaius' father-in-law and both continued the reforms even after the Gracchi had died. The Caecili Metelli were not really part of the amicitatis Aemilianus, but held similar views and afterwards formed a strong support for the Gracchan constitution along with Mucianus, Scaevola and Appius Claudius, effectively controlling the Senate against those who had opposed the Gracchi.

Vale

oh, I almost forgot... :mrgreen:
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Wed Oct 13, 2004 10:49 pm

Salve Piscine,

Many thanks for the reply. Which ancient sources mention Marius' conservative tribunate, and Scipio Aemilianus' cryptic words regarding Tiberius Gracchus?

I hadn't realised the extent to which the conservatives of Marius and Sulla's time were supporting the Gracchi 30 years earlier.

I'd be particularly interested to read more about Scaurus' actions and affiliations at this time, if you know any of the ancient historians that mention this?

Bene vale,
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