Plutarch's Lives



I. Ἡμεῖς δὲ τὴν πρώτην ἱστορίαν ἀποδεδωκότες ἔχομεν οὐκ ἐλάττονα πάθη τούτων ἐν τῇ Ῥωμαϊκῇ συζυγίᾳ θεωρῆσαι, τὸν Τιβερίου καὶ Γαΐου βίον ἀντιπαραβάλλοντες. οὗτοι Τιβερίου Γράγχου παῖδες ἦσαν, ᾧ τιμητῇ τε Ῥωμαίων γενομένῳ καὶ δὶς ὑπατεύσαντι καὶ θριάμβους δύο καταγαγόντι λαμπρότερον ἦν τὸ ἀπὸ τῆς ἀρετῆς 2ἀξίωμα. διὸ καὶ τὴν Σκηπίωνος τοῦ καταπολεμήσαντος Ἀννίβαν θυγατέρα Κορνηλίαν, οὐκ ὢν φίλος, ἀλλὰ καὶ διάφορος τῷ ἀνδρὶ γεγονώς, λαβεῖν ἠξιώθη μετὰ τὴν ἐκείνου τελευτήν. λέγεται δέ ποτε συλλαβεῖν αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τῆς κλίνης ζεῦγος δρακόντων, τοὺς δὲ μάντεις σκεψαμένους τὸ τέρας ἄμφω μὲν οὐκ ἐᾶν ἀνελεῖν οὐδὲ ἀφεῖναι, περὶ δὲ θατέρου διαιρεῖν, ὡς ὁ μὲν ἄρρην τῷ Τιβερίῳ φέροι θάνατον ἀναιρεθείς, ἡ δὲ θήλεια 3τῇ Κορνηλίᾳ. τὸν οὖν Τιβέριον καὶ φιλοῦντα τὴν γυναῖκα, καὶ μᾶλλον αὐτῷ προσήκειν ὄντι πρεσβυτέρῳ τελευτᾶν ἡγούμενον ἔτι νέας οὔσης ἐκείνης, τὸν μὲν ἄρρενα κτεῖναι τῶν δρακόντων, ἀφεῖναι δὲ τὴν θήλειαν· εἶτα ὕστερον οὐ πολλῷ


Tiberius and Caius Gracchus

Tiberius and Caius Gracchus

Tiberius Gracchus

I. Now that we have duly finished the first part of our story, we have to contemplate fates no less tragic than those of Agis and Cleomenes in the lives of the Roman couple, Tiberius and Caius, which we set in parallel. They were sons of Tiberius Gracchus, who, although he had been censor at Rome, twice consul, and had celebrated two triumphs, derived his more illustrious dignity from his virtue. Therefore, after the death1 of the Scipio who conquered Hannibal, although Tiberius had not been his friend, but actually at variance with him, he was judged worthy to take Scipio’s daughter Cornelia in marriage. We are told, moreover, that he once caught a pair of serpents on his bed, and that the soothsayers, after considering the prodigy, forbade him to kill both serpents or to let both go, but to decide the fate of one or the other of them, declaring also that the male serpent, if killed, would bring death to Tiberius, and the female, to Cornelia. Tiberius, accordingly, who loved his wife, and thought that since she was still young and he was older it was more fitting that he should die, killed the male serpent, but let the female go. A short time afterwards, as the story

  • 1 In 183 b.c.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plutarch-lives_tiberius_gaius_gracchus.1921