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Senate were characterized by great violence. There were not wanting those

who cried, "Down with the tyrant!" meaning AEmilianus. At length, after a

day of great commotion, Scipio was found dead in his bed; nor was the

suspicion absent that he had been assassinated. The great general was

buried with such honors as his distinguished services to his country so

well merited. His funeral oration was delivered by Caius Laelius; and even

his political enemies, notably the censor Metellus, paid reverence to the

departed shade of greatness. '

The lull, however, was but temporary. The disappearance of Scipio from the

stage was a signal liberation of all those forces which had been held in

restraint by his influence. A new question of the enfranchisement of the

Italian allies was added to the land agitation. The inhabitants of the

Latin cities crowded into the assemblies at Rome, and became a powerful

faction in alliance with the oligarchy; for the revival of the Licinian Law

by Tiberius had worked a great hardship to the Latins by dispossessing them

of their lands. It was not long, however, until the people of the Italian

towns were won over to their natural affiliation with the popular party.

The break between them and the nobility was hopeless, and an edict was

passed by the Senate requiring all aliens to retire from Rome.

In B.C. 125 the people's party succeeded in carrying the election. Fulvius

Flaccus was chosen to the consulship. Espousing the cause of the Italian

allies, he brought forward a law conferring upon them the rights of

citizenship, including the privilege of voting in the popular assemblies;

but before the measure could be passed the Senate dispatched him on a

foreign mission. That body had also taken the precaution to send away young

Caius Gracchus, brother of Tiberius, to perform the duties of quaestor in

Spain. By these means the popular party was deprived of its leaders, and

the Optimates left free to pursue their own course without serious

opposition. The Latin towns had the mortification of seeing the bill for

their enfranchisement defeated, and themselves left naked to the mercy of

existing laws. One of them, the colony of Fragellae, raised the standard of

revolt, but was quickly overpowered and ruined for its rashness. The town

was destroyed, and the inhabitants scattered into other districts.

In B. C. 123 Caius Gracchus returned from Spain, and was elected tribune of

the people. The aristocracy feared him, not less for the magic of his name

than for his extraordinary natural abilities. The political views of the

new tribune were more radical than those of his brother. In order to

prepare the way for the reforms which he intended to champion, he first

procured the passage of a measure rendering incapable of holding office any

person who had been deposed by the people. The object was to prevent a

recurrence of such set backs to his legislation as had been given to the

work of his brother by the factious veto of Octavius. His next measure was

a revival and extension of the Porcian Law, by which capital punishment in

the case of Roman citizens was abolished. These preparatory steps cleared

the way for the introduction by Gracchus of the six great statutes,

henceforth known as the Sempronian Laws.

The first of the new measures had respect to the distribution of grain. It

provided that the tithes of corn hereafter to be collected from the

provinces should be sold at a low price to the people of Rome. By this

means it was hoped to prevent the further gratuitous distributions made by

the nobility for the purpose of maintaining their own ascendancy over the

proletarians. The second law was specifically directed to the

administration of affairs in Asia. It embraced such modifications in

existing laws as would enable the provincials of the East to collect their

own revenues and pay their own taxes to the government without the

interference of the Roman extortioners and tax gatherers. The third statute

stipulated that the provisions of the Licinian Law should be extended into

the provinces as well as the Italian states, and that the distribution of

lands should be restored to the commissioners appointed in the tribunate of

Tiberius. The fourth act provided that soldiers should not be enlisted

before reaching the age of seventeen, and that the military outfit should

be furnished by the state. The fifth enactment