What else would be our word this week, as the NEW year begins?
I hope you’ll forgive me a quick glance at history here – and why not, since the calendar has turned? When Tiberius Gracchus was the tribune of the people, the Roman republic had just obliterated her old enemy Carthage and sowed the land with salt, and she was rich in land and money. The state was rich, that is, but the Italian farmers weren’t, and a lot of the old veterans of the wars weren’t. So Tiberius pushed for land reforms, to take land from the state – lands whose wealth would roll into the coffers of the senators – and distribute it to the farmers and the soldiers. The old guard hated him for it, but he pressed on, and when he stood for tribune for a second consecutive term, that was a new thing in Rome, unprecedented. If a Roman called you an innovator, he wasn’t praising you. He was accusing you. Tiberius Gracchus was assassinated, and so was his brother Gaius, who tried the same measures some years later,…
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