133 to 123 BC
Failure of the Gracchi's reforms
Tiberius Gracchus was elected a plebeian tribune in 134 BC, and was particularly sensitive to the fate of slaves and of poor peasants whose land had been appropriated by the Roman nobility while they were away serving on military campaigns. He proposed an agricultural reform limiting land ownership to 125 hectares per citizen or 250 hectares per family, and distributing the freed-up land to the poorest Romans, usually free of charge. A triumvirate which included Tiberius' brother, Gaius Gracchus, was charged with enacting the law. However, the Roman senators saw it as a threat to their own estates, as well as to their powers of land attribution. Tiberius was murdered in 133 BC. Gaius Gracchus was elected a tribune in 123 BC and continued his brother's reforms. He ordered bushels of wheat to be distributed to Roman citizens at a low price, and planned to set up colonies in Italy and Carthage.The Senate ordered his death, which occurs in circumstances still unclear.