XXIX. It was in his last consulship that Marius got most odium, from his participating in many of the violent measures of Saturninus. One of them was the assassination of Nonius, whom Saturninus murdered because he was a rival candidate for the tribuneship.
Besides provisions for the relief of debtors and for limiting the number of acres of public lands to be held by an individual, it was enacted that the military tribuneship should be given up, and that at least one of the two consuls must be chosen from the plebeians. A new patrician office, the praetorship, was founded, the holders of which were to govern in the absence of the consuls.
This did not, however, restrain the rest: on the contrary, those who in turn held the tribuneship after that occurrence were rather filled with hope in the matter of their own quarrels than with fear as a result of the fate of their predecessors. Hence, so far from being calmed, they were even the more emboldened by those very proceedings.
Tibe'rius Gracchus, perceiving by the tumult that his life was in danger, endeavoured to fly; and throwing away his robe to expedite his escape, attempted to get through the throng; but happening to fall over a person already on the ground, Sature'ius, one of his colleagues in the tribuneship, who was of the opposite faction, struck him dead with a piece of a seat; and not less than three hundred of his hearers shared the same fate, being killed in the tumult. 15.
So full of promise was the youth of Marius, and so discerning was the judgment of Scipio. IV. Now it is said that Marius, mainly encouraged by these words, which he viewed as a divine intimation, entered on a political career, and obtained the tribuneship, in which he was assisted by Cæcilius Metellus, of whose house the family of Marius had long been an adherent.
Now the Sempronian constitution itself shows very clearly to every one who is able and willing to see, that Gaius Gracchus did not at all, as many good-natured people in ancient and modern times have supposed, wish to place the Roman republic on new democratic bases, but that on the contrary he wished to abolish it and to introduce in its stead a -tyrannis that is, in modern language, a monarchy not of the feudal or of the theocratic, but of the Napoleonic absolute, type in the form of a magistracy continued for life by regular re-election and rendered absolute by an unconditional control over the formally sovereign comitia, an unlimited tribuneship of the people for life.
During the military tribuneship of Lucius Valerius Potitus for the fourth time, Marcus Furius Camillus for the second time, Manius Æmilius Mamercinus a third time, Cneius Cornelius Cossus a second time, Kæso Fabius Ambustus, Lucius Julius Iulus, much business was transacted at home and abroad.
But when the senate assembled, and could not bring the business to any result, through the prevalence of the rich faction, he then was driven to a course neither legal nor fair, and proposed to deprive Octavius of his tribuneship, it being impossible for him in any other way to get the law brought to the vote.
Nothing is so sacred as religious offerings; yet the people were never prohibited to make use of them, but suffered to remove and carry them wherever they pleased; so likewise, as it were some sacred present, they have lawful power to transfer the tribuneship from one man's hands to another's.
And now Camillus, being called to his sixth tribuneship, desired to be excused, as being aged, and perhaps not unfearful of the malice of fortune, and those reverses which seem to ensue upon great prosperity.