Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus

Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (consul 215 and 213 BC)

Tiberius Sempronius Tib. f. Tib. n. Gracchus (d. 212 BC) was a Roman Republican consul in the Second Punic War. He was son of Tiberius Sempronius Tib. f. Gracchus who was apparently the first man from his branch to become consul.

Gracchus is first mentioned in 216 BC as curule aedile in which capacity he was inducted as Master of the Horse to the newly elected Dictator Marcus Junius Pera after the defeat at Cannae.

He was elected consul in 216 BC, at the recommendation of the Dictator, whose orders he had faithfully obeyed even when obliged to abandon Italian allies to their fate. His colleague-elect Lucius Postumius A.f. Albinus being killed in an ambush in Gaul on his way home, Marcus Claudius Marcellus was elected consul in his stead, to the protests of patricians who claimed that two plebeians could not serve as consuls. Marcellus thereupon resigned and Quintus Fabius Maximus was elected consul to serve out the year. In that year, Fabius Maximus and the Senate decided to induct volunteer slaves into the Roman armies and to have them serve in separate legions to win their freedom. Gracchus was appointed commander of the slave troops, and he rapidly became known as an effective general of volunteer slave troops, winning their loyalty and trust for his clemency when some broke and ran from the field. [Livy]. He was appointed proconsul in 214 BC, continuing to lead his slave and freedmen troops in central and southern Italy with mixed successes against Hannibal.

In 213 BC he was re-elected consul. He was removing his troops from their winter camp on the orders of the newly elected consuls (of 212 BC) when he and a small group of men were ambushed and killed, allegedly when they were caught bathing. According to Livy, Hannibal gave the dead general full funeral rites and had his ashes returned to Rome.

Family

His wife is unknown, but he had at least one son. Sempronius Gracchus's son Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus became a priest in 203 BC and died, while augur, in the plague in 174 BC. Lucius Manlius Acidinus Sempronianus, who replaced the dead augur, may have been another son of this consul who had been adopted out into the patrician Manlii. The Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus who was exiled by Augustus for his affair with his daughter Julia may have been a descendant.

His brother Publius Sempronius Gracchus was the father of Tiberius Sempronius P.f. Tib.n. Gracchus whose sons Tiberius Gracchus and Gaius Gracchus were the famous reformers.

Sources

Livy, Histories of Rome.

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