Note to Self: Apropos of Misapplied History..., (Early) Monday (Self?) Smackdown: Baiae and LA as Causes of Republican Downfall? Seriously?, and The Fall of the Roman Republic; Plutarch on what I regard as a key moment in norm-breaking—perhaps the most key moment besides Sulla's first coup and his march on Rome:
[Publius Cornelius Scipio] Nasica demanded that the consul should come to the rescue of the state and put down the tyrant. The consul replied with mildness that he would resort to no violence and would put no citizen to death without a trial; if, however, the people, under persuasion or compulsion from Tiberius, should vote anything that was unlawful, he would not regard this vote as binding. Thereupon Nasica sprang to his feet... and set out for the Capitol.... The attendants of the senators carried clubs and staves which they had brought from home; but the senators themselves seized the fragments and legs of the benches that were shattered by the crowd in its flight.... Tiberius [Sempronius Gracchus] himself turned to fly.... But he stumbled and fell.... As he strove to rise to his feet, he received his first blow, as everybody admits, from Publius Satyreius, one of his [Tribunal] colleagues, who smote him on the head with the leg of a bench; to the second blow claim was made by Lucius Rufus, who plumed himself upon it as upon some noble deed. And of the rest more than three hundred were slain by blows from sticks and stones, but not one by the sword.
This is said to have been the first sedition at Rome, since the abolition of royal power, to end in bloodshed and the death of citizens; the rest though neither trifling nor raised for trifling objects, were settled by mutual concessions, the nobles yielding from fear of the multitude, and the people out of respect for the senate. And it was thought that even on this occasion Tiberius would have given way without difficulty had persuasion been brought to bear upon him, and would have yielded still more easily if his assailants had not resorted to wounds and bloodshed...
#shouldread #ancienthistory #normbreaking