History of Europe

Why did the Gracchi brothers reform fail?

There are textbooks that do not include Hannibal or Scipio, but there are no high school world history textbooks that do not include "Reform of the Gracchi Brothers."

And even high school students who are very good at world history will hardly be able to explain "the reform of the Gracchi brothers" properly.

I've taken a deviation of 80 in high school world history, but I'm still not sure about this reform.

And I wasn't interested at all.

The reason why world history is said to be boring is that it tries to remove the interesting parts as much as possible and teach only the meaningful parts.

When it comes to "reform of the Gracchi brothers," it becomes extremely important when it comes to political science and law, but to be honest, the content is not interesting and will be dealt with in high school world history classes. I think it's a little too complicated for me.

That's why this time I would like to take a look at the reasons why the reform of the Gracchi brothers ended in failure and its contents.

First of all, from the situation in Rome at that time

I personally think that the history of the Roman Republic is largely divided between before and after the Punic Wars.

Before the Punic Wars, Rome was about to unify the Italian peninsula, and it took 500 years since its founding. After the Punic Wars, its scope expanded to Sicily, North Africa, Spain, etc., and it became a global nation in both name and reality.

It can be said that the reform of the brothers was born from that distortion.

After the Punic Wars, Rome's economy experienced great fluctuations.

The biggest problem was wheat imported from Sicily.

Rome has traditionally been a self-made farming nation.

We cultivated a land that could not be said to be so vast by ourselves and cultivated wheat and grapes as staple foods, but when a large amount of wheat is imported from Sicily, which became the territory of the Punic Wars, The system has collapsed.

This is also a big problem in modern Japan, for example, the latter is cheaper for oranges made in Japan and oranges produced in the United States. The same can be said for soybeans and potatoes.

Looking at Japan and the United States, the United States is wider. And since it is cultivated on a large-scale farm, the cost is low.

Rome at that time had a similar mechanism.

Prior to the Punic Wars, Rome formed the Latin League as an ally, not as a client state or city, even if it won the war. Their members were said to be Latin citizens and were still distinguished from Roman citizens at this time.

However, after the Punic Wars, if they win the war, they will be called " provinces ". And ruled.

Residents' autonomy was not allowed in the provinces, and much of the land was confiscated and distributed to Roman citizens. In addition, there were many people who were enslaved by the war, so they used their human resources to so-called manor . Was formed.

When it comes to mansions, it is a big problem and point in Japanese history and Chinese history, but of course it was also a big problem in Rome.

It's Latifundium in Rome It was said that it led to the large land ownership of some aristocrats and commoners, and at the same time destroyed the self-owned farming.

The birth of a disparate society in Rome.

Commoners who have begun to own large land are newly Nobiles It belongs to the class called, and the Roman society has entered a period of great change.

Briefly about the background of the Gracchi brothers

The father of the Gracchi brothers is a person named Tiberius Sempronius Grax Mayor, who originally belonged to the commoner class and is a representative of Nobiles mentioned above.

His mother is Cornelia Africana, the daughter of Scipio Africanus, the strongest genius in Roman history.

Sempronius was the person who saved Scipio in the so-called Scipio trial, and the two met and got married at the same time.

For more information, read the article about Scipio, Cornelia was even said to be ideal in Roman history, and the word Good Wife, Wise Mother was the perfect woman.

The brothers were born in the best of their time, with their brother Tiberius Gracchus born in 163 BC and his brother Gaius Gracchus in 153 BC.

They also have an older sister and are married to Scipio Aemilianus (small Scipio), the head of the Scipio family. It is a family that is closely related to the Scipio family.

His brother served in the Third Punic War and was admitted to the Senate at the recommendation of his brother-in-law.

Unfortunately, he seemed to have no military talent, but when he became a tribune in 133 BC, he embarked on a reform later called the "Reform of the Gracchi Brothers."

Contents of reform by brother Tiberius Gracchus

Tiberius Gracchus had the following problems.

・ Latifundium's downfall of small and medium-sized farms and the resulting weakening of the Roman army
・ Conservative Senate

Roman citizens make up small and medium-sized farms.

Regular Roman soldiers consisted of Roman citizens, and direct tax military service was paid by property.

After the Punic Wars, the military service population was declining in Rome. Not because the population decreased, but because of the widening disparity, only the number of people who could serve in the military decreased.

Moreover, the content was weakened.

At that time, Rome lost a series of battles against the natives of Spain, and Tiberius was also in service.

As the territory increases, so does the war. Homeowners are becoming increasingly poor and declining, and large landowners are becoming more and more prosperous.

It's like modern Japan, but Tiberius decided to put a scalpel here.

Tiberius, who became a tribune, submitted a bill called the "Agricultural Land Law (Rex Agraria)".

The content was to confiscate that amount from those who own public land of 500 Yugera or more.

Rome had once decided to use the land that won the war as a public land and rent it to Roman citizens at a low price, but tried to put restrictions on it.

The Senate rebounded. The Senate was a natural gathering of wealthy people. In modern Japan, assets over 100 million yen are unconditionally confiscated! Is it like that?

Therefore, Tiberius decided to use the "Hortensius method".

Under this law, the law decided by the Plebeian Council is Roman law no matter what the Senate says.

Tiberius tries to pass the Agricultural Land Law through the Plebeian Council, but fails due to the work of the Senate.

Specifically, he bought one of the two tribunes and vetoed it. A tribune named Octavius ​​continued to veto Tiberius's proposal.

Tiberius forces the dismissal of Octavius ​​and passes the Agricultural Land Act.

Almost at the same time, the king of the Kingdom of Pergamum died, and his will left his country to Rome, so Tiberius decided to use this heritage at the Plebeian Council.

Indignant at this, the Senate slaughtered Tiberius and threw his body into the river without putting it in the grave.

It may be the first assassination of the Senate, who later assassinated even the emperor.

Tiberius's will was crushed, but it was inherited by his younger brother Gaius.

Reform of younger brother Gaius

Ten years after his brother Tiberius was killed by the Senate, his younger brother Gaius Gracchus became a tribune like his brother.

The younger brother, who inherited the intention of his older brother, tried to put in a scalpel on grain prices and military service based on the revival of the Agricultural Land Law, and also considered the establishment of a mechanism to accuse the senator of fraud, and also a Roman citizen. I envisioned expanding the scope of rights.

The idea is to give Roman citizenship to those with Latin citizenship.

Lucius Opimius, who was the consul of the time, circulated the number of conspiracy techniques to crush it, and Gaius countered this with hard measures.

The Senate, which raised a sense of crisis, decided to issue a final recommendation to Gaius.

Gaius, the enemy of the nation, decides himself, the angry Senate kills 3,000 supporters of Gaius, the good old republic is virtually destroyed, and Rome is a turbulent era called the first century of civil war. Will rush into.

Why did the reform of the brothers fail?

This is a difficult problem.

One is probably because of the backlash from the conservatives.

In fact, when the brothers were trying to reform, the most powerful person in Rome was Scipio Aemilianus, who was later referred to as the Little Scipio. In other words, he is a brother-in-law and has a blood connection.

Small Scipio consistently opposed the reforms of his brother and even said he should die.

The Scipio family and Scipio Nashika have also opposed the reforms of their brothers, and it is even said that this person was the perpetrator of the assassination of Tiberius. Nashika even fled the country for the safety of Tiberius's afterlife.

As a whole, Moro received the opposition of the prestigious Roman aristocrats including the Cornelius family. Rapid reforms lead to conservative opposition.

There may be a limit to some kind of democracy in that the content of the repulsion was made by a violent method rather than a democracy method.

Those who have and those who do not. Those who have hate the other person more than those who do not. This can be seen by looking at the relationship between Germany and the Allies during and after World War II. Those who do not want it, but those who have it hate it.

It can be said that the reform of the Gracchi brothers has a similar mechanism.

Why is the failure of the Gracchi brothers reform important?

I'm not compiling a high school world history textbook, so I don't know for sure.

However, it is certain that the reform of the brothers was a turning point in the Roman Republic.

The gap between rich and poor widened in Rome, and the conservatives killed their brothers who tried to close it.

The corruption of the Senate was revealed, and democracy was clearly dead.

The gap between rich and poor is welcomed by the wealthy, and the forces trying to correct it are crushed.

It is a universal reason in the history of mankind, and it can be said that it represents the creature of human beings at the highest level.

With the death of his brother, Rome plunged into a civil war, which was also the beginning of a new era.

The times were about to welcome new heroes.