"The people loved Tiberius Gracchus, but it did him no good in the end."
Tiberius Gracchus, by Guillaume Rouille
Public DomainTiberius Gracchus, by Guillaume Rouille - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 Tiberius Gracchus was a tribune of the plebs in 133 BC. He introduced an agrarian reform designed to give land back to the poor. This threatened the holdings of the wealthy elite, who fought Gracchus’ land bill every step of the way. They persuaded another tribune, Octavius, to veto the suggested reform when it was put to the popular assembly. In a move that was unprecedented but not illegal, Gracchus had Octavius removed from office by a vote of the people, claiming that he was failing in his sacred duty to represent the people’s wishes. Eventually, Gracchus managed to pass his land bill. Fearing the retribution of the senators once his term as tribune ended, he began to canvass for re-election. This was the last straw for some of the senators, who, led by Scipio Nasica, murdered the young Gracchus and his supporters. The love of the people, and the law of inviolability protecting the office of tribune were not enough to save him.

This video from the BBC series Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire, illustrates how Tiberius Gracchus passed his agrarian reform, and how his rabble-rousing tactics terrified the senators. This clip also provides a great feel of ancient Rome - its buildings, people, fashions, interior decorations, and even a sacrifice.