This post is part two in a timeline series of posts. The goal of this post is to examine the impact of Tiberius Gracchus on the republic of Rome. His life would forever change the complexion of Roman politics as he was the first person to really recognize and leverage the power of the “mob mentality” upon the Senate. We will also draw some parallels to our American republic as there are some definite similarities. In the end, as you will see, it is very difficult to ever discern whether a human being’s actions are rooted in evolutionary morality or their self-serving lust of power guised as such. Although all evidence points to the latter, I have this naïve hope that human beings will one day treat each other ethically, coexist peacefully, and be prosperous. In that spirit, I choose to believe that Tiberius Gracchus was a man of nobility and magnanimity. But in truth, we’ll never know and logic tells us that this is unlikely when considering his species.
Timeline Part 2 – Tiberius Gracchus 168BC – 133BC
Like many of his era, his birth year cannot be confirmed. Tiberius was born sometime in the 2nd century BC. He was old enough to fight as a junior officer in the third Punic war (149 to 146 BC) pitting Rome against Carthage. Tiberius was born into political power and influence as was any Roman you will ever read about. If you were not born with the proper pedigree, you had no chance of being “somebody” in the Roman historical record. And if you were, your chance of being somebody usually rested on your military success. Your political success was also hinged upon your military success. So to recap, your chance of being written about in Roman history rested on 3 basic criteria occurring in this specific order: 1)born into the right family 2) successful military career 3) successful politician. Each criterion’s opportunity was predicated upon the previous criterion’s occurrence. Most people were disqualified at step one which is out of their control. My friend Kirk and I have always referred criterion #1 as “the lucky sperm club” of which, unfortunately, neither of us are members. Let’s begin with Tiberius’ military career to understand his rise as a politician.
I love movies. I love to watch: new movies, classics, kids movies, all kinds of movies. One of my favorite things, however, is when I have a ho hum attitude about a movie going in and then I really like it. This is the case with The Switch starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman. To top it off, critics had said they disliked this movie or it wasn’t worth the money or whatever it is they said. I hadn’t really read a critical review, but I’d heard snippets on the radio and overheard rumblings from people checking out reviews in magazines and whatnot. Well, I’ve never really trusted critics and this is one more example why. Critics can sometimes factor in and can sometimes be right, but for the most part, they suck. Critics have also put Jennifer Aniston into the Tom Cruise Zone. Critical acclaim has never come Tom Cruise’s way yet I seem to enjoy a boat load of his films: Top Gun, Cocktail, Risky Business, A Few Good Men, Collateral, and the list goes on. I find that Jennifer Aniston is treated in similar regard in the sense that no matter what she does, the critics say it stinks or find some other trivial point to harp on. On the other hand, for this critic, there are plenty of Jennifer Aniston movies that are worth watching and enjoyable.
My wife and I missed celebrating our anniversary this June because we’re both so busy with the kids and home improvement projects and a million other things. So when my mother-in-law said she could watch the kids and we could go out, we thought of our standard 4 hour adventure of dinner and a movie. The question was what movie to see as we felt like there wasn’t anything out there we were dying to see. I voted for the The Switch and she agreed. I didn’t know much of anything about it except that it starred Jennifer Aniston, was about artificial insemination, and critics said it wasn’t very good. When we walked into the atrium and saw the marquee, I was very pleased to see that the movie also starred Jason Bateman because I have been liking him more and more over the past couple of years and he’s been putting out great stuff.
This is the beginning of a “Timeline” series of posts for the purpose of trying to write out a linear chronology of certain historical events to give to my son and daughter so they can understand some basics of western history from their dad’s perspective. I don’t know: how long it will take me to write, when they’ll get around to reading it, or where it will take me. The gist of this exercise is to go back around 2,000 to 2,500 years and use Rome as the crucible starting point as to where we are today in America. The goal is to follow a generic timeline from Roman times through the dark ages, crusades, middle ages, Renaissance, and the birth of the USA. There will possibly be some posts that bop around as certain topics lead to a desire to learn more about a certain subject and lead toward some tangential movements in this process. To get an idea on any disclaimers about the view of history presented here, click on the page link titled Historical Disclaimer at the top of the page or click here. Lets get started.
Timeline Part 1 – Setting the Stage for an Empire
In the Etruscan region of Italy (today called Tuscany) there was a she-wolf that raised two young brothers who had been cast out of their family: Romulus and Remus. Romulus is said to have killed his brother and named the city of Rome after himself. The people living in this area of what’s now Italy were the Etruscans. It was an Etruscan society that the people of Rome were born out of. It was a safe haven or asylum for slaves and pirates. It was the diversity of the people that brought about the right ingredients for the best minds in the world to share their ideas and forge a society that would in a few short centuries control 25% of the world’s population.