Tiberius Gracchus Vs The Senate

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Why did T come into conflict with the senate? Tiberius Gracchus came into conflict with the senate over his agrarian bill because it appeared that he was undermining their power and was trying to establish a regnum. We cannot be sure if these were his actual intentions or if he was a genuine reformer and the bill was a response to the problems in Rome at the time. Other motives include revenge on the senate, regaining of his dignitas after the Numantia affair, outside influences, his desire for political pre-eminence or that he was the pawn of an oligarchic group. However it is more likely that it was T's methods of passing this bill that challenged the senate's auctoritas, rather than his intentions. These would be his bypassing of the senate, deposition of Octavius, his handling of Attalus' will and his seeking of a second tribunate.

Most historians, at leats partially believe that Tiberius was a genuine reformer and that he was influenced by the economical, social and military problems that Rome faced.

Sallust suggests that these problems began with Rome's wars of expansion, which resulted in an influx of wealth that mostly went to the rich. Consequently the rich bought more land and had huge estates in rural areas, driving the poorer farmers away, especially considering that they used slaves instead of peasants for workers. This, along with their inability to sell grain competitively, as it could be cheaply imported form the provinces, initiated the influx of poor farmers into the cities. The building boom, from the extra wealth, provided these peasants with many employment opportunities, but when the boom ended so did the opportunities, creating an urban crisis and a general feeling of discontent. Added to this was the disgruntlement of the slaves who were kept in extremely...