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extinct. Troubled no longer by formidable foes abroad, it only remained for

her to rule what she had acquired, and to give opportunity for the growth

of the arts of peace. For this duty the character of her people and the

political constitution of her society rendered her unfit. The habit of

conquest had become fixed by centuries of indulgence; the disposition to

take by plundering rather than create by industry was now a second nature,

whose demands would not be hushed. The fundamental difficulty in the state

arose from the question of landed property. The multitudes of small farms

which had been the pride of the Republic were now absorbed in a few vast

estates owned by the nobles. The former land-owners had become

impoverished, and had gone to Rome. Their places were taken by slaves. The

poor freemen became the clients of the rich. The old Licinian Law, which

required that the lands of Italy should be cultivated-at least in part-by

free labor, had become a dead letter. All attempts to revive and enforce

its provisions were resisted by the combined power of the aristocracy. When

appeals for relief were made to the government the same power confronted

the petition. It was evident that nothing less than a blow struck at the

fundamental principle of land ownership could bring about the needed

equilibrium in Roman society.

At this juncture there arose the two brothers, Tiberius and Caius Gracchus.

They came in the character of popular reformers to remedy the ills to which

the state was subject. They were the sons of Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus

and Cornelia, the daughter of Scipio Africanus the Elder. The father of the

Gracchi had been a governor in Spain, and had by his prudent administration

acquired an enviable reputation for wisdom and patriotism. By his death the

two boys were left at an early age to the care of their mother, famous in

story. Tiberius Gracchus, the elder of the two, accompanied Scipio

AEmilianus in the last expedition against Carthage, and tradition has