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portico ; at which certain of his followers, who may have been included in the affront, slew the man before their leader's eyes; while he, far from approving their violence, rebuked them for having given their enemies an excuse for violent measures in return.121
The assembly, that day, was broken up by a shower of rain ; but on the morrow, the corpse of the murdered citizen was placed before the very doors of the temple in which the Senate were gathered; and when the excitement it produced had reached the proper point, the decree was passed and proclaimed to the people, that the Consuls were armed with absolute authority in the defence of the Commonwealth. On hearing this, Fulvius Flaccus, as was his wont, declared he would defend himself against the Consuls, and began to collect his followers. Gracchus, on the contrary, convinced that the time of his destruction was arrived, turned away quietly to leave the Forum. As he proceeded homewards with some few followers, sorrowing, yet wondering at his silent retirement, the statue of his father seemed to stand in his way. He stopped, lingered, looked at it inquiringly, and burst into tears; but whether shed for himself, for his household, or for his country, those tears were equally sincere and equally unavailing.
Some friends watched with him through the succeeding night, and accompanied him in the morning, when he parted from his wife and child, with heavy
heart, to join a disorderly troop which Fulvius Flaccus had collected upon the Aventine. Caius went unarmed, as if he were simply going to the Forum,122 and with the intent of preventing bloodshed amongst his excited adherents, who, with Fulvius at their head, would have slain the Senate or fired the city, so that the leader they loved might be preserved. Persuading Fulvius to send his son - a most beautiful boy, says Plutarch - with a message of peace to the Consul and the Senate, that proved ineffectual, Caius then sought to go himself amongst his enemies, but was kept back by persuasion or actual force. The young Fulvius was again despatched; but Opimius, the Consul, ordered him to prison, and instantly began his attack, “with soldiers and archers," upon the Aventine. Fulvius Flaccus soon fled, but was murdered, with his eldest son; his most zealous fol. lowers escaped whither they could, or were cut down; while all less earnest or less bold went over to the triumphant faction, directly after the proclamation of an amnesty to any such deserters. Caius Gracchus, who bore no part in the affray he rather did his utmost to impede, betook himself, when others turned to flight, into the neighbouring temple of Diana, where he would have killed himself, but for two faithful friends, Pomponius and Licinius, who wrenched his dagger from his hands and hurried him away. They then kept the bridge over the Tiber 123 against his pursuers until both were slain; while Caius,
saved for a moment longer by their devotion, hastened into the grove of the Furies, and fell, at his own entreaty, by the hands of Euporus, 144 his slave, the only partaker, besides Licinius and Pomponius, of his master's perils. The body of Caius, after being brutally mangled, was hurled into the Tiber, as that of Tiberius had been eleven years before. Three thousand fell that day, in all: a vain and a fearful holocaust to the liberty of Rome.
The widow of Gracchus was sentenced to the forfeiture of her dowry, and forbidden to mourn her husband's fate; his, or rather Fulvius's, followers who survived the slaughter upon the Aventine were strangled in prison; and all the atrocities which frenzied foes could invent were committed against his memory, and those by whom it was cherished. 125 Nor was the reaction in favor of Caius and his elder brother with any generation of their countrymen so clear as to relieve the liberty of Rome from the obloquy of their persecution and death. It seems as if they, or at least the younger of them, had been too true, with all his failings, to be comprehended by a more and more faithless posterity; and even Cicero, the anxious citizen and the warm-hearted man, was unable to render to Caius Gracchus the justice he deserved. 126 The statues of the brothers, it is true,
124 Vell. Pat., II. 6. De Vir. of them, see App., Bell. Civ., I. Ill., LXV. Plutarch (C. Gr., 17) 26 ; Plut., C Gr., 17; Vell. Pat., calls the slave, whose name well II. 7. deserves to be rightly given, Philo- 126 As in almost any of his writcrates.
ings in which he had occasion to 125 If any one would have more mention either of the Gracchi. De VOL. II.