Tiberius Gracchus, elected Tribune of the Plebians (tribunus plebis) in 133 BC, was the first to successfully challenge the senate causing Roman politics to split into two camps: Populares et Optimates. The Populares were politicians who solicited popular support in opposition of the oligarchy to further the interests of the people or of themselves. The Optimates, the dominant party, supported the oligarghy often to the detriment of the general populace. Tiberius Gracchus ' objectives were unexceptional agrarian reform bills (Lex Sempronia Agrigaria) which were designed to redistribute land to accommodate the landless. His methods however, were remarkable. 1 Gracchus used his position as Tribune to circumvent the senate and present his bill directly to the concilium plebis, illegally overriding the veto of a senate influenced Tribune, Marcus Octavius, and finally have his reform enacted. After seeking a second term as Tribune Tiberus Gracchus was publicly murdered by a group of senators.*Following in his brother 's footsteps Gaius Gracchus was elected tribune for the years 123 and 122 BC. Gaius Gracchus ' first actions were to devise laws limiting the power of the senate, focu...
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...itical crises Marius, through the hands of the tribune Publius Sulpicius Rufus usurped Sulla 's position of Commander. This led to the first march on Rome, an event entirely unprecedented. Sulla upon hearing of Marius replacing him as commander marched six legions across the pomoerium or city limits of Rome. This action would never have been possible without the earlier Marian reforms, as legionaries before the reforms would have been loyal to the state, not their commander. Sulla justified his attack on Rome by claiming that the senate had abandoned the mos maiorum, Rome 's equivalent of a constitution by revoking his command. Sulla 's march on Rome sets the precedent for Caesar to do the same in 49 BC. After Sulla 's triumphant invasion of Rome power passed between Marius and Sulla in a sanguinary game of cat an mouse spurred on by festered political affiliations.
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