Struggle of the Orders and Tiberius Gracchus
In the early days of the Roman Republic, there were two “orders.” The Plebeians, or Plebs, were the great majority, and were usually poor, and unable to vote or hold any office. The Patricians were the wealthy, and they could only be Patricians by birth, being not allowed to intermarry with the Plebs. The Patricians ran the government, and held all offices in Rome. Finally, in 494 BC, the Plebs decide they’d had enough, and so they decided to secede from Rome, knowing that without their bodies to serve the Patricians, the Patricians would quickly give in. They did, and over the next several centuries, reforms were put in place, and in 287 BC, the Struggle of the Orders ended, and the Plebeians had equal political rights with the Patricians.
Tiberius Gracchus was a tribune of 2nd century Rome, during the days of the Republic. He caused political upheaval by trying to make land reforms that threatened the prestige of the wealthy in Rome, as well as breaking the tradition of Roman law. He was eventually murdered by the Roman Senate, when, having put his hand up to his head to tell his friends that he felt in danger, was misinterpreted by his opponents as wanting a crown, and beat him to death with chair legs and stones.