The Gracchi

Tiberius Gracchus was elected tribune in 133 BC. He attempted to enact a law which would have limited the amount of land that any individual could own. The aristocrats, who stood to lose an enormous amount of money, were bitterly opposed to this proposal. Tiberius submitted this law to the Plebeian Council, but the law was vetoed by a tribune named Marcus Octavius. Tiberius then used the Plebeian Council to impeach Octavius. The theory, that a representative of the people ceases to be one when he acts against the wishes of the people, was counter to Roman constitutional theory. If carried to its logical end, this theory would remove all constitutional restraints on the popular will, and put the state under the absolute control of a temporary popular majority.[53] His law was enacted, but Tiberius was murdered when he stood for reelection to the tribunate. Tiberius' brother Gaius was elected tribune in 123 BC. Gaius Gracchus' ultimate goal was to weaken the senate and to strengthen the democratic forces.[54] In the past, for example, the senate would eliminate political rivals either by establishing special judicial commissions or by passing a senatus consultum ultimum ("ultimate decree of the senate"). Both devices would allow the Senate to bypass the ordinary due process rights that all citizens had. Gaius outlawed the judicial commissions, and declared the senatus consultum ultimum to be unconstituti

nal. Gaius then proposed a law which would grant citizenship rights to Rome's Italian allies. By this point, however, a part of Rome deserted him. He stood for election to a third term in 121 BC, but was defeated and then murdered. The senate was weakened significantly. Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (Latin: TISEMPRONIVSTIFPNGRACCVS; b. abt 163 BC - 162 BC d.133 BC) was a Roman Populares politician of the 2nd century BC and brother of Gaius Gracchus. As a plebeian tribune, his reforms of agrarian legislation caused political turmoil in the Republic. These reforms threatened the holdings of rich landowners in Italy. He was murdered, along with many of his supporters, by members of the Roman Senate and supporters of the conservative Optimate faction. Tiberius was born between 168 and 163 BC (his birthdate cannot be confirmed); he was the son of Tiberius Gracchus the Elder and Cornelia Africana. His family, the Gracchi branch of the gens Sempronia, was one of the most politically connected in Rome. Tiberius' maternal grandparents were Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus and Aemilia Paulla, Lucius Aemilius Paulus Macedonicus' sister, and his own sister Sempronia was the wife of Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus, another important general. Tiberius was raised by his mother, with his sister and his brother Gaius Gracchus. Later he married Claudia Pulchra, daughter of Appius Claudius Pulcher.