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driven in a straight line, and raised by embankments and bridges over valleys, water-courses, and ravines, with mile-stones and horse-blocks along their whole course. The lasting benefit thus conferred upon the country is not lessened by the probability that these roads were partly designed to make the concourse to Borne easier for the citizens of the new colonies and the allies whom Gracchus proposed to enfranchise.
The confusion among the ancient authors concerning the manner in which Caius Gracchus proposed to confer the Roman citizenship on the Latins and allies is of little consequence, as the Senate procured the rejection of the measure by the veto of the tribune M. Livius Drusus. If, as Cicero tells its, the speech of the consul Fannius against the bill was the best extant oration of that age, we can form but a low opinion of the arguments at the command of the nobles; unless we should rather infer that such reasons as the impediments which the influx of new citizens would cause to hearing the speeches of the orators and seeing the public spectacles were clever appeals to a people already jealous against the bill. The more popular measures of Gracchus were found so difficult to oppose, that the Senate stooped to the dishonest artifice of outbidding the proposer. The tribune Drusus was their agent in this manoeuvre also. Instead of the two colonies which Caius Gracchus had proposed to found in Italy, Drusus promised twelve, each to form a settlement for 3000 poor citizens, and that free from the annual payments to the treasury which Caius had made a condition of the grants of land. While Gracchus was active in the foundation of the colonies he had projected, and used them as sources of patronage for his friends and others, Drusus declared that he would have nothing to do with the offices or the money connected with those which he proposed,—an easy mode of earning the praise of disinterestedness, as we cannot believe that his measure was intended to be carried out. The petty concession which Drusus mocked the Latins by offering in place of the franchise—that they should be exempt from corporal punishment even when on actual military service—appears, from an incident in the Jugurthan War, not to have become a law.*
The artifices of the Senate and Drusus succeeded, however, in undermining the popularity of Caius, and his absence in Africa for seventy days, to found his new colony of Junonia, on the site of
• The scourging and beheading of Titus Turpilius Silanus, an officer iu the African army, by Metellus, is explained on the very ground, "nam is cMs ex Latio erat."— (Sallust, Jug. c. 69.)
RC. 121.] CONSULSHIP OF OPIMIUS. 35
Carthage, gave them the opportunity of effecting his ruin.* Caius appears to have returned to Rome about the time of the consular elections of B.c. 122; and no doubt it was from the consciousness of increasing danger that he left his house on the Palatine, and went to live among the lower class of people near the Forum. Rome was again filled with crowds flocking in from the country; when, at the instance of the Senate, the consul Fannius put into force the law of Pennus for driving away all who were not citizens. Gracchus promised his support to those who should disobey the edict; but when the consul's lictors dragged away a friend of his before his eyes, he could offer no resistance. The failure of Caius Gracchus to obtain his re-election as tribune for the third time is ascribed by Plutarch to a fraudulent return of the poll. HLs greatest enemy, L. Opimius, the destroyer of Fregelhe, was elected to the consulship.
On his entrance upon office with the new year (b.c. 121), the consul lost no time in commencing the attack which Caius well kuew would not stop short of his destruction. We are told in general that Opimius proposed the repeal of the Sempronian laws; but the specific ground of collision was the rogation to annul the act for colonizing Carthage. The assembly, like that in which Tiberius lost his life, was summoned in the Capitol; and Caius and his partisans went armed with daggers beneath their togas, though he himself steadfastly resisted the advice of his friends to appeal to force. While Fulvius was haranguing the assembly against the consul's motion, Caius turned aside with some of his attendants to walk in the porch of the Capitoline temple, either to meditate his speech, or from a presentiment which kept him aloof from the crowd. Under the portico, a certain Quintus Antullius (or Antyllus) was offering a sacrifice probably on the part of the consul. What followed is told with the confusion natural to such a scene. It seems that when Antullius saw Gracchus and his party approach, he ordered the "bad citizens" to depart and leave the sacred porch to "better men." A gesture, which was interpreted as an intention to enforce his warning by violence,! or a look of indignation from Gracchus, fired the train which hardly
* Wc have already had occasion to notice this attempt to found a Roman colony on the site of Carthage. Vol. II., p. 531.
t "The other version was that Antyllus, having taken the hand of Gracchus, tho reason for which the historian attempts to explain by three conjectures, entreated liim to spare his country. This is most improbable, that a mere servant, a man who handled the viscera, should either make his country his chief thought or address a Roman noble in this way."—(Long, Decline, <tc., vol. i., p. 281.)
needed a spark, and a stroke from the dagger of an attendant laid Antullius dead. The bystanders fled, carrying the news into the assembly, whither Caius also hastened to explain what had occurred. But all shrunk away from him as from a guilty and doomed man: a torrent of rain fell at the same moment: the meeting was adjourned: and Cains and Fulvius returned home. "Caius learned too late," says Mr. Long, "that a popular leader, when he is become a private citizen, will find no friends among those whom he has tried to save." The consul* passed the night in the temple of Castor and Pollux, in the Forum, where the whole area was filled by midnight with a crowd expecting mischief, and composed—it would seem—of the followers of the nobles. At daybreak the Capitol was occupied with a guard of Cretan archers, and the Senate was summoned by the consul. Just as their proceedings had commenced, the corpse of Antullius was borne past the door of the Senate-house. Opimius affected to wonder what the noise of lamentation meant, and the Senate went out to see the cause. On their return, Opimius had no difficulty in procuring the vote which, since the cessation of the dictatorship, was the formula for proclaiming martial law under the authority of the consul:—" That the Consul provide that the Republic shall sustain no harm."f He called on the Senators and Equites, with their retainers, to supply the want of an armed force; and it was found that the Order which Gracchus had raised as a rival to the Senate would take part with them against a common danger from the populace. The command was entrusted to Decimus Brutus, the conqueror of the Gallreci, who was supported by the venerable Q. Metellus Macedonicus. Meanwhile the two popular leaders had spent the night each in a manner consistent with their very different characters. Gracchus had remained quiet in his house, round which his followers watched and slept in turns, while that of Fulvius was the scene of riotous feasting and boasting of to
* Opimius was the only consul present at Rome. His colleague, Q. Fabius Maximus, had gono to conduct the war with the Allobroges in Gaul.
+ "The usual formula, giving the power to both consuls, was Vidcant or dent operam eoiisiiles nc quid respublica detriments capiat. The dictatorship, in the proper sense, 'rei gcrundce caiisd,' had ceased in B.C. 216. Dictators were appointed, merely for holding the elections in the absence of the consuls, down to the end of the Second Punic War, B.C. 202. When the title was revived by Sulla (B.C. 82), it was a mere attempt to cloak the nakedness of his despotism under a constitutional name. His office of 'dictator reipiiblka constituendai causS' was utterly unknown to the Koman commonwealth. The same remark applies to the dictatorship of Caesar, after whose death the office was for over abolished."
B.C. 121.] DEATH OF CAIUS GEACCHUS. 37
morrow's deeds.* It is even said that Fulvius himself got drunk. As soon as the decree of the Senate was known, he armed his followers with the spoils of his Gallic campaign, and led them with tumultuous shouts to the old rallying-place of the plebeians on the Aventine. Thither C. Gracchus also repaired, dressed in his ordinary costume, and armed only with a short sword, having taken a last farewell of his wife Licinia and his infant son. "Caius went unarmed," says Mr. Long, "to join a body of armed men, and he must have foreseen what his fate would be. If his conduct seems strange, it is explained by the fact that he could not safely stay at home, nor could he venture to go to the Senate."
By these movements on both sides civil war was begun in the heart of Rome. According to Appian, Fulvius and Gracchus did not retire to the Aventine till they had been summoned to attend the Senate and explain their conduct; and it is agreed that such a mandate was the reply to overtures sent by the insurgents through the youthful son of Fulvius. It is said that Caius was willing to have gone; but his wish was overruled by Fulvius, who repeated his former message. This time the boy was kept a prisoner, and Opimius led the Senate and their followers to storm the Aventine. A conflict took place on the Clivus Publicius, the road up the northern face of the hill, in which P. Lentulus, the Father of the Senate, was severely wounded The partisans of Flaccus were overpowered, and he himself fled with his infant son, and took refuge, some said in an empty bath, others in a shop. On the consul's threat to burn all the buildings in the street, the fugitives were given up and put to death. Caius Gracchus had refused to fight against the Senate. He had retired to the temple of Diana, which Servius Tullius had founded as the sanctuary of the Plebs; and would have put himself to death, but the two faithful friends who still followed him took away his sword and persuaded him to fly. "It is said that he went down on his knees in the temple, and stretching out his hands to the statue of the goddess, prayed that the Roman people for their ingratitude and treachery to him might always be slaves; for the greater part of them had openly gone over to the other side upon an amnesty being proclaimed." At the wooden bridge over the Tiber his two friends checked his pursuers at the cost of their own lives; and he continued his flight,
* The discrepancy between Plutarch and Cicero as to the interval of a day has no bearing on the result. It seems most probable that only one night intervened between the first assembly and the final conflict.
attended only by a Greek slave. The bystanders cheered him on, as if they had been the spectators of a race; but none answered his cries for help or for a horse. He just distanced his pursuers enough to reach the sacred grove of the goddess Furina, under whose gloomy shelter his faithful slave put him to death, and then slew himself on his master's corpse. A man, whom Plutarch names Septimuleius and Diodorus L. Vitellius, cut off the head of Caius Gracchus, and brought it to the consul. The transaction is best related in the words of Mr. Long:—" Proclamation had been made before the fight began that those who brought the heads of Caius and Fulvius should have the weight of them in gold. This is the first instance in Roman history of head-money being offered and paid, but it is not the last. The head of Caius was brought to Opimius stuck on the end of a spear, and 'it weighed'—says Plutarch—' seventeen pounds and two-thirds in the scales. Septimuleius was a scoundrel and a knave here also, for he had taken out the brain, and dropped melted lead in its place.' Opimius was as great a knave as the man who brought the head, if he paid gold for lead instead of brains, for such a fraud was palpable. Plutarch says that those who brought the head of Fulvius got nothing, for they belonged to the lower class; and this was another knavish trick of Opimius, if he had promised to pay for both heads. Perhaps we may accept Appian's simpler story, that Opimius paid in gold the weight of both."
Like Popillius after the murder of Tiberius,* so now Opimius headed a commission of legal revenge on the partisans of Caius Gracchus. The captives taken at the storming of the Aventine were cast into prison and there strangled. The account followed by Plutarch and Orosius makes the victims no fewer than 3000. f The son of Flaccus, who had been sent as an envoy to the Senate, a youth of eighteen, universally beloved, was permitted to choose the manner of his death. The houses of Caius and Flaccus were plundered, and the latter demolished. The city was purified by a lustration, and the confiscated property of Gracchus and his adherents was devoted to the erection of a temple to Concord in the Forum, on the open space beneath the Capitol, in which Camillus had set up an altar to the same deity after the reconciliation of the
* One of the measures that followed the fall of Caius Gracchus was the recal of ropillius from banishment, and his restitution to his civil rights.
+ Plutarch states this as the number of those who fell in the fight, which Orosius reckons at 250. Appian says nothing of the number that perished either in or after the conflict.