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twenty instead of two, or rather one; for Caius, if he went into the Forum with the other candidates, seems to have suddenly disappeared. The day wore away in clamor; and the presiding Tribune, unable to maintain order, or even to report the votes on account of the increasing confusion, declared the election deferred to the morrow. Tiberius descended amongst the crowd, beseeching all who loved him to defend him through the night, lest he should be murdered before he could meet them again in the morning. The bolt that before had grazed now pierced his soul.
A large number of citizens followed him home and watched about his house until the morning came, dark with omens to him, 46 and tempestuous with the throngs that gathered throughout the city as though it were a camp 47 in arms. No mention of Caius is to be found; and it was by the remonstrances of one of his early friends, the Campanian Blossius, that Tiberius was persuaded to go forth at the head of his followers 18 to the Capitol, where he was so joyfully received by those still true to him as to be for a few moments reassured. But the Tribes no sooner began to vote than the riot of the preceding day was renewed; in the midst of which Tiberius was informed by Fulvius Flaccus, a Senator, and one of his warm adherents, that the Senate was deliberating upon his instant overthrow. It was true. The debate had begun in an orderly way upon the conduct of the
46 Plut., Tib. Gr., 17.
48 “ Cum catervis suis.” Vell. 47 Dion Cass., Fragm. LXXXVII. Pat., II. 3. Cf. Aul. Gell., II. 13.
Tribune and the necessity of preventing his reëlection, when the Chief Pontiff, Scipio Nasica,49 rose to upbraid the Consul Scævola — who, as was observed, had favored the proposal of the Agrarian law – with treachery to the Commonwealth, calling, as he grew warmer and was more vehemently applauded by the Tribune's enemies, upon all who listened, to follow him straighway to the Capitol.50 Nearly the whole Senate poured out after him, and, with such arms and followers as they could obtain, dashed into the midst of the assembly, where the partisans of Tiberius had just before expelled their adversaries by violence. A few blows were exchanged; but the people fled; and Tiberius, who had some time before lost all presence of mind, was murdered as he endeavoured to escape. His body, with those of three hundred others, slain around him, was thrown into the Tiber by night,51 and the credit of his assassination, as if, says his compassionate biographer, it were a notable deed, was disputed amongst his murderers.52
He fell after little more than six months 53 had been allowed him to confront the contumacy of the rich and the greediness of the poor in Rome. Some men, sure to scorn or disagree with him, whatever he
49 His grandfather was the first- 52 Plut., Tib. Gr., 19. The first cousin of Africanus and Asiaticus. blow was dealt by one of his own
50 Vell. Pat., II. 3. Plut., Tib. colleagues. Gr., 19. Alas that Cicero should 53 “ Regnavit” – a taunting so often have praised Nasica's deed! word, unworthy of him who used De Off., I. 22, 30, etc.
it — " is quidem paucos menses." 51 App., Bell. Civ., I. 16. Plut., Cic., De Amicit., 12. Tib. Gr., 20.
had done, would join their voices to that of his brother-in-law, Scipio Africanus, - then absent in command of the siege of Numantia, — and pronounce the murder of Tiberius to be a righteous retribution for his deeds.54 Others would remember him more justly, and declare, that, whatever he had left undone, he was too true a friend to the people, too true a citizen to the Commonwealth, to have been so distrusted, hated, and destroyed. It seems as if this better spirit were almost immediately awakened after his assassination. When Blossius, his confidential adviser, was examined before the Consuls concerning his connection with the murdered Tribune, he confessed to having obeyed all the requests or commands of Tiberius in his last unhappy days. “What," asked the Pontiff Scipio Nasica, as eager to convict the counsellor as to slay the reformer, “what if he had bid thee burn the Capitol ?” “ That he would never have done,” was the reply. “But if he had so ordered thee?” persisted the Pontiff. “Then,” returned the faithful friend, " then it would have been a right thing to do; for Tiberius was not a man to order it except for the common good.” The affection of the people returned to the memory of their martyr ; 56 and Nasica was obliged to go into voluntary exile in order to escape the odium that attached itself to him as the persecutor. But the only reparation befitting the memory of the dead was, that the cause for which he had died should not
be forgotten, and that someone, more stanch, if not more fortunate, should imitate and improve the example of his patriotism and his benevolence.
The successor was nearer than may have been imagined either by the proud nobility, as the rich men may be called, or by the variable and wellnigh venal people. Educated under the same influences and by the same instructors, but endowed with more shining talents 57 and more ardent energy, Caius Gracchus had been, as we have conjectured, his brother's supporter and exciter in the later events of his unfortunate career. There is no appearance, it is true, of his having been by the side of Tiberius in his last moments; but there is the greater reason to surmise that the massacre in the Capitol was felt to be partly his own crime; for he had instigated Tiberius to seek his reëlection, and yet had not been with him to speak, to fight, to die in his behalf. Caius did not hide himself, but came forward to request his brother's corpse, that he might bury it, not, indeed, as became the memory of a Gracchus or a Scipio, but by night, 58 as suited the fate of one who had been murdered by his countrymen. This request being denied, Caius withdrew from the Forum and the public haunts of men,59 unable to prevent the confiscations, banishments, and murders to which his brother's friends were exposed, but cherishing the memory of Tiberius, and of the love that had been between them, as the inspiration of his future life.
58 Plut., Tib. Gr., 20. 59 Ibid., C. Gr., 1.
57 “ Vir et præstantissimo ingenio, et flagranti studio, et doctus a puero." Cic., Brut., 33. “ Eloquentior quam frater." Liv., Epit. LX. So Aul. Gell., X. 3.
As one of the commissioners under the Agrarian law, Caius Gracchus was still obliged, it should rather be said desirous, to take an earnest part in upholding the work which had cost Tiberius his life. But though he appears to have had the zealous coöperation of his fellow-commissioners, the law could not be put into execution against the continued opposition, not only of the rich men in Rome, but of the upper classes throughout Italy. When Scipio Africanus returned from Numantia, 61 the year after the death of his brother-in-law, he was entreated to overthrow the law and its commissioners; and his assumption of the cause to which he naturally inclined, though not from the selfish motives that actuated most men on the same side, was a serious barrier to any further progress on the part of Caius or his supporters. Once openly interrogated by Caius himself or by Fulvius Flaccus, then upon the Agrarian commission, as to his opinion of Tiberius's fate, Africanus replied as openly, that it was what he had deserved ; 62 and his determination to resist the successors of the Tribune was afterwards more man
60 Crassus Mucianus, who suc- The troubles of the commission may ceeded Nasica in the pontificate, be read in App., Bell. Civ., I. 18, took the place of Tiberius Gracchus 19. on the commission. He was father- 61 Which fell after a dreadful in-law to Caius. Crassus and the siege, and was most barbarously other commissioner, Claudius, dy- destroyed, in A. C. 133. ing soon after, were replaced by 62 Liv., Epit. LIX. Plut., Tib. Fulvius Flaccus and Papirius Car- Gr., 21. bo, both friends of the Gracchi.