Caius Gracchus, at first, either because he feared his enemies, or because he wished to bring odium upon them, withdrew from the forum and lived quietly by himself, like one who was humbled for the present and for the future intended to live the same inactive life, so that some were actually led to denounce him for disliking and repudiating his brother's political measures.
And he was also quite a stripling, for he was nine years younger than his brother, and Tiberius was not yet thirty when he died. But as time went on he gradually showed a disposition that was averse to idleness, effeminacy, wine-bibbing, and money-making; and by preparing his oratory to waft him as on swift pinions to public life, he made it clear that he was not going to remain quiet;
and in defending Vettius, a friend of his who was under prosecution, he had the people about him inspired and frantic with sympathetic delight, and made the other orators appear to be no better than children. Once more, therefore, the nobles began to be alarmed, and there was much talk among them about not permitting Caius to be made tribune.
By accident, however, it happened that the lot fell on him to go to Sardinia as quaestor for Orestes the consul.1
This gave pleasure to his enemies, and did not annoy Caius. For he was fond of war, and quite as well trained for military service as for pleading in the courts. Moreover, he still shrank from public life and the rostra, but was unable to resist the calls to this career which came from the people and his friends. He was therefore altogether satisfied with this opportunity of leaving the city.
And yet a strong opinion prevails that he was a demagogue pure and simple, and far more eager than Tiberius to win the favour of the multitude. But this is not the truth; nay, it would appear that he was led by a certain necessity rather than by his own choice to engage in public matters.
And Cicero the orator also relates2
that Caius declined all office and had chosen to live a quiet life, but that his brother appeared to him in a dream and addressed him, saying:
‘Why, pray, dost thou hesitate, Caius? There is no escape; one life is fated for us both, and one death as champions of the people.’