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Livius Drusus, Marcus

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Eldest of a circle of ambitious young nobles around Licinius Crassus, to whom he owed his oratorical training and some of his ideas. A brilliant, hard‐working, and arrogant man, he became tribune 91 bc. With the encouragement of Aemilius Scaurus, who was himself in danger, and of Crassus, he proposed a solution for all of Rome's major problems: 300 equestrians were to be raised to the senate (where their influence would be minimal: see novus homo) and criminal juries were to be chosen from the enlarged senate. Thus the equestrians would be eliminated as a political force, with the most ambitious creamed off and the rest deprived of power. He also proposed colonies and land distributions to provide for the poor, and the enfranchisement of all Italians. The ruling oligarchy was to reap the political benefit and hold unchallenged leadership. But those who thought themselves adversely affected combined against him. After Crassus' death in September the consul Philippus gained the upper hand and had the laws already passed invalidated by the senate. Shortly after, Drusus was assassinated. The Social War ensued. Drusus was the grandfather of Livia Drusilla.

Subjects: Classical studies

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