The Gracchi Brothers: Two Roman Heroes Who Fought and Died for the Same Cause

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  • Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus were two Roman brothers who fought and died for the same cause. They even died the same way, murdered in violent street brawls. But the two Gracchi were very different in age and personality. Plutarch, the Greek writer who brought so many Romans to life through his biographies, describes their contrasting traits.
  • The Gracchi brothers were noblemen from a prestigious family in Rome. Despite their social status and wealth, they dedicated themselves to improving the lives of the poor. Their father had served as a consul, and their mother was the daughter of a famous general. They refused offers of luxury and focused on social reform.
  • Tiberius and Gaius entered politics during a time of turmoil in the Roman Republic. Rome had experienced significant growth and expansion during the Punic Wars, transforming from a small city-state into a dominant empire. The Gracchi brothers saw the inequalities and injustices within society and worked towards creating change.
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お願いします (1) Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus were two Roman brothers who fought and died for the same cause. They even died the same way, murdered in violent stredt brawls. But the two Gracchi were very different in age and personality. Plutarch, the Greek writer who brought so many Romans to life through his biographies, describes them:“Tiberius, in his looks...and gestures...was gentle and composed. But Gaius was fiery and passionate.” When Tiberius gave a speech, he spoke quietly and never moved from one spot. But Gaius was like an actor. When he spoke to the people, he“would walk about, pacing on the platform. And in the heat of his orations, he would throw his cloak from his shoulders.” (2) The Gracchi brothers were noblemen whose family was well known in Rome. Their father had served two terms as a consul, the highest office in Rome. Their mother, Cornelia, was the daughter of the general Scipio Africanus, who had defeated Rome's great enemy, the Carthaginian general Hannibal. (A King of Egypt once proposed marriage to Cornelia, but she turned him down.) As children of such distinguished parents, the Gracchi brothers had not only social rank but also plenty of money. Still, they devoted themselves to improving the lives of the poor. (3) Tiberius and Gaius entered politics in difficult times. The Roman Republic was in trouble. Like a teenager who grows tall “overnight,” Rome had grown dramatically during the Punic Wars, from 264 to 146 BCE. And although 118 years is a long time for a person, it's a very short time for a city or empire. Rome entered the war years as a small city-state. It ended them as the ruler of the Mediterranean, controlling all of Italy, with conquered lands stretching from Africa and Spain to Greece. The once-poor farming community had mushroomed into a giant whose military conquests poured masses of gold, grain, and slaves into Italy.

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(1) チベリウス・グラックスとガイウス・グラックスは、同じ大義のために戦って、死んだローマ人の兄弟でした。彼らは、死に方さえ同じでした、激しい街路での乱闘で殺されたのです。しかし、グラックス兄弟は、年齢や性格がとても異なりました。プルタークは、彼の伝記を通してとても多くのローマ人を生き返らせたギリシアの作家ですが、彼は、彼らを次の様に描いています:「チベリウスは、見た目や振る舞いは、穏やかで、落ち着いていた。しかし、ガイウスは、火のようで情熱的であった。」チベリウスが演説をするとき、彼は静かに話して、1つの立ち位置から決して動かなかった。しかし、ガイウスは俳優のようであった。人々に話しかけるとき、彼は「演壇をうろうろして、歩き回ったものだ」。そして、彼の演説の最中に、彼は肩から外套を放り投げたものだ。」 (2) グラックス兄弟は、一族がローマではよく知られた貴族でした。彼らの父は、ローマでは最も高い官職である執政官を、2期つとめました。 彼らの母、コーネリアは、ローマの大敵カルタゴのハンニバル将軍を破ったスキピオ・アフリカヌス将軍の娘でした。(エジプトの王は、かつてコーネリアに結婚を申し込みましたが、彼女は彼を拒絶しました。)そのような著名な両親を持つ子供として、グラックス兄弟は、社会的地位だけでなく、多くのお金も持っていました。それでも、彼らは、貧しい者の生活を改善することに一身を捧げました。 (3) チベリウスとガイウスは、困難な時期に政界に入りました。共和制ローマは、苦境に陥っていました。「一夜にして」背が高くなる十代の若者のように、ローマは、紀元前264年から146年のポエニ戦争の間に劇的に発展しました。そして、118年は、人にとっては長い期間ですが、都市や帝国にとっては非常に短い期間です。ローマは、小さな都市国家として戦争時代に突入しました。ローマが戦争時代を終えたのは、イタリア全土を支配し、アフリカとスペインからギリシャに至る占領地を持つ、地中海の支配者としてでした。かつて貧しい農村であった様な国が、軍の征服した土地から、多量の金、穀物、奴隷がイタリアへ流れ込む巨大帝国へと急成長していました。

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