A History of Rome During the Later Republic and Early Principate

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. Excerpt from book: Section 3CHAPTER II A CAUSE never lacks a champion, nor a great cause one whom it may render great. Failure is in itself no sign of lack of spirit and ability, and when a vast reform is the product of a mean personality, the individual becomes glorified by identification ; with his work. From this point of view it mattered little who undertook the task of the economic regeneration of the Roman world. Any senator of respectable antecedents and moderate ability, who had a stable following amongst the ruling classes, might have succeeded where Tiberius Gracchus failed ; it was a task in which authority was of more importance than ability, and the sense that the more numerous or powerful elements of society were united in the demand for reform, of more value than individual genius or honesty of purpose. This was the very circumstance that foreshadowed failure, for the men of wide connections and established fame had shrunk from an enterprise with which they sympathised in various degrees. In the proximate history of the Republic there had been three men who showed an unwavering belief in the Italian farmer and the blessings of agriculture. These were M. Porcius Cato, P. Cornelius Scipio and Ti. Sempronius Gracchus. But the influence of Cato's house had become extinct with its first founder. The elder son, an amiable man and an accomplished jurist, had not out-lived his father; the second still survived, but seems to have inherited little of the fighting qualities of the terrible censor. The traditions of a Roman house needed to be sustained by the efforts of its existing representative, and the " newness" of the Porcii might have necessitated generations of vigorous leaders to make them a power in the land. Scipionic traditions were now represented by Aemilianus, and the glow of the luminary was reflected in paler li...
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