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were set up in public places; and in the spots where they fell many of the Romans were accustomed for years to lay their offerings and to recite their prayers. But the mother, Cornelia, was the only real mourner; and the answer she gave to some who would have consoled her in her childless age was their noblest monument while she lived, and is still the noblest now that she and they are dead two thousand years :-“I can never be called unhappy, for it is I who gave birth to the Gracchi ! ” 127
It was said that Caius Gracchus, in the bitter agony which overcame him in the temple on the Aventine, implored Diana that his cruel countrymen might never come out of bondage.128 His prayer, if he made it, was answered almost before it was uttered; and the retribution of his fate descended, not only upon those who had driven him to death, but upon the whole people that had suffered him to die.
Papirius Carbo, who deserted the fallen cause with as much selfishness as he had embraced it, became Consul the next year, and was then the defender of Opimius for his malignant vengeance upon Gracchus and his followers; but on being accused himself, at last, Carbo took poison,129 overwhelmed by his own ignominy. Opimius, whom he had successfully pro
Off., I. 22, II. 21. In Cat, I. 12, Ad Helv. Consol., 16; and see PluIV. 5. The only exceptions I re- tarch's touching account at the end call are in his oration De Leg. Agr., of his biography of Caius Gracchus. II. 5, 29,
128 Plut., C. Gr., 16. 127 “ Nunquam non felicem me 129 Or else went into exile. Val. dicam quæ Gracchos peperi!” Se- Max., III. 7. 6. neca, Ad Marc. Consol., 16. Cf.
tected, was, some years later, condemned on other grounds,130 and finally died a miserable exile. Popillius Lænas, the persecutor of Tiberius's adherents, was allowed to return from banishment, on motion of a Tribune, Calpurnius Bestia ; but Popillius lived in obscurity, and Bestia shared the fate of Opimius in after years.131
The punishment of the people was equally sure. For some time, indeed, their corn was provided them by the law of their forsaken Tribune; and they who had obtained lands or employment through his favor did not immediately lose their gains. But one measure after another in their behalf was repealed ; 132 and those of any kind which remained were so perverted as to be no longer distinguishable for what they had been intended. It was then, when the reforms of the Gracchi were sinking below the horizon, that the Commonwealth was seen to be a waste of angry waves.133
130 For taking bribes from Jugurtha. See Sallust., Jug., 16. Cic., Brut., 34.
131 Cic., Brut., 34. Sall., Jug., 40.
132 See App., Bell. Civ., I. 27.
Hor., Carm., III. 6. 19, 20.
“ Controversy continues, and in some instances with a most deplorable disregard to decency and truth. The worst features of party spirit have become canonized." - HENRY WARE, JR., Memoir, Letter in Ch. XIV.
The failure of the Gracchi was the failure of liberty in Rome. It could not, of course, break down at once; yet the factions in motion to tear it asunder and share its spoils, though too various and too hostile to prevail themselves, were constantly weakening its defences and preparing its submission. It is nothing strange, indeed, that the weapons which alone seemed to threaten its stability should have been ground to dust before it fell. For, instead of the single strife in which the rich men and the poor men of Rome had armed themselves, before the Gracchi came, but especially while they were Tribunes, there arose, soon after their death, a fourfold contest, as it may be called. The rich and the poor, using these names more generally, were then not only arrayed on opposite sides, but were subdivided each into two fierce parties; those of the rich being the Senators and the Knights, while those of the poor were opposed as native citizens to their Italian
subjects. Even this enumeration is not complete; but the fifth class, besides, a vast and piteous collection of slaves, paupers, and aliens, was admitted to the arena only in train of one or another division of the superior combatants. It is true, that these different forces were often combined in pursuit of advantages that two or three alike desired; but it is more generally true, that there was neither desire nor advantage to unite them long or to restrain the freedom of dissension which seemed the prominent characteristic of their liberty.
We have now to trace the individual characters, and at the same time to describe the general movements, of the clouded period opening with the death of the Gracchi, knowing, as we do, beforehand, that, where such as they have failed, others, like Marius and Sulla, must succeed.
The year after Caius Gracchus perished, Caius Marius, a man of humble origin and of rugged nature, was elected Tribune. A more singular contrast to his unfortunate predecessor could not easily have been found amongst the Roman people. It was not merely that Marius was born of unknown parents, and in a dependent village of one of the distant towns of Latium, Arpinum by name; but, moreover, that he had been trained to arms alone in a service of fifteen years or upwards, when he came to Rome under the patronage of one of the great Metelli, with no other claim to the votes of the citizens than the good-will of the soldiers. Thought of sufferings seen in war or peace was not his inspiration to seek the office of Tribune; nor was there any hope in him of saving his countrymen or his country from dangers of which he had never dreamed. Marius asked the tribuneship as he would have asked the command of a cohort; he came from combat in the field to combat in the Forum; and whatever his original disposition might have been, his present character was that of a man thirty-eight years old, and not now likely to be changed.
1 “We have now come to that arate psychological problem." Lect, period,” said Niebuhr, on approach- XXVII., Rom. History. ing the time of the Gracchi, “when 2 In A. C. 120, for the year 119. the explanation of the mere forms 3 Cereatæ. Cf. Plut., Mar., 3. of the constitution is no longer suf- His humble parentage is mentioned ficient, and when the men them- besides in Florus, III. 1 ; Juvenal, selves must be considered, each by Sat., VIII. 245 et seq. himself, and when each is a sep
The new Tribune was no better provided with attractions of presence or powers of oratory; and many who saw him for the first time must have wondered that a Metellus should take the pains to support the canvass of one whose claims, if he pretended to any, could seem genuine only to the populace. But there was more than any populace could comprehend beneath the rough exterior of the Tribune, whom they soon preferred to all his colleagues; and higher men who came in contact with him found so many signs in him of scorn for the avarice and the
4 And of his general, if the story Mar., 3. What sort of intercourse be true, that Scipio Africanus, un- was there between Marius and Caius der whom he served at Numantia, Gracchus while they were comso much commended him as to say rades? he might be his successor. Plut.,