Sempronius (gens)

Sempronius (male) or Sempronia (female) was a Roman nomen of the gens Sempronia. The gens refers either to the patrician family Sempronius, or to one of the plebs gens of ancient Rome. The plebeian gens is probably unrelated to the patrician Sempronii ("described below") who provided several early Roman consuls, [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Republican_Roman_Consuls] including the "Sempronii Gracchi".

Possible Latin forms include, in the nominative:
*"Sempronius", male singular
*"Sempronia", female singular
*"Sempronii", male plural
*"Sempronianus", male adoptive, who was born into the gens and adopted out.

Patrician Sempronii

The patrician Sempronii (Sempronius Atratinus) provided Rome with several early consuls from 497 to 416 BC, and again in 34 BC under Augustus. One man became censor in 444 BC. Little is known of them between 416 BC and 34 BC. [http://www.villaivlilla.com/GensSempronia/consules.htm]

Plebeian Sempronii

Although the more famous plebeian Sempronia/Sempronius family were not of patrician stock, they were one of the wealthiest families and considered one of the most well-connected and important political families during the Roman Republic. The family rose to the zenith of power between 304 BC and 121 BC, providing several consuls, censors, praetors, and tribunes of the plebs.

The gens Sempronia was divided into several branches, of which the most significant politically are:
* the Sempronii Blaesi, which branch provided Romans with two consulships held by the same man in 253 and 244 BC. [http://www.villaivlilla.com/GensSempronia/sempronius-caius-blaesius.htm]
* the Sempronii Gracchae, which branch provided Romans with three consuls (holding five consulships) and a censor, as well as distinguished pair of brother-tribunes, the Brothers Gracchi. This branch was apparently extant around 2 AD, when Julia daughter of Augustus was banished along with a lover named Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus. This Gracchus was, however, not descended from the famous brother tribunes; their sons all died young.
* the Sempronii Longi, which branch provided Romans with two consuls, father and son, both named Tiberius Sempronius Longus. These consuls were co-consuls with a father-and-son team - Publius Cornelius Scipio and Scipio Africanus. The cognomen derives supposedly from an ancestor's or the first consul's immense height.
* the Sempronii Sophi, which branch provided Romans with Caius Sempronius Sophus, the first plebeian consul from the gens Sempronia. [http://www.villaivlilla.com/GensSempronia/sempronius-publius-sophus.htm] Publius Sempronius Sophus, consul in 268 BC, [http://www.villaivlilla.com/GensSempronia/sempronius-publius-sophus-ii.htm] was more famous, or notorious, for divorcing his wife for attending the Roman games without his knowledge. [http://web.mac.com/heraklia/Dominae/republican_women/index.html] . Both men, probably father and son, became censors. [http://www.villaivlilla.com/GensSempronia/censores.htm]
* the Sempronii Tuditani, which branch provided Romans with three consuls, of whom the most distinguished was Publius Sempronius Tuditanus, elected censor 209 BC before becoming consul, who rallied 600 Romans trapped in their camp after Cannae and broke them out from encirclement. [http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/txt/ah/Livy/Livy22.html] . The last consul from this branch was Tiberius Sempronius Tuditanus, consul in 129 BC, who obtained a triumph over an Illyrian tribe and wrote one of the first treatises on Roman constitutional law. [http://www.villaivlilla.com/GensSempronia/sempronius-caius-tuditanus.htm] . The branch was allegedly named because one of the Sempronii had a head like a "tudes" (tudit-is) or mallet. (Festus, p. 352, ed. M tiller.)

The Sempronii Gracchi

Of these four major branches (stirps) of the plebeian Sempronii, the most influential were the Sempronii Gracchae, if only for the effects of the Brothers Gracchi on Roman politics. Various members of this stirps or branch include:

* Tiberius Sempronius Tib. f. Gracchus, Roman consul in 238 BC, first member of the Gracchae branch to become consul, and ancestor of all subsequent members.
* Tiberius Sempronius Tib. f. Tib. n. Gracchus, consul 215 BC and 213 BC (killed in ambush 212 BC), twice elected consul, and known as an effective general of volunteer slave troops after the defeat at Cannae. Son of the first Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus.
* Tiberius Sempronius T.f. Tib. n. Gracchus, augur (d. 174 BC
* Publius Sempronius Gracchus, tribune of the plebs.
* Tiberius Sempronius P.f. Tib. n. Gracchus or Tiberius Gracchus Major (d. 154 BC, politician and military commander; he was nephew of the consul in the Second Punic War and father of two reformist politicians.
* Lucius Manlius Acidinus Sempronianus, chosen to replace his relative a Sempronius as augur in 174 BC; apparently from this branch.
* Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus or Tiberius Gracchus (kd. 133 BC), son to the above and politician
* Gaius Sempronius Gracchus or Gaius Gracchus (suicided 121 BC), a politician and son of Tiberius Gracchus Major and brother to Tiberius Gracchus
* Sempronia Gracchae, the women of the Sempronia gens, notably
**Sempronia, the daughter of Tiberius Gracchus Major (wife of Scipio Aemilianus) and
**"Sempronia", her niece the daughter of Gaius Gracchus (mother of Fulvia).
* Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, a lover of Julia the Elder, banished for adultery to an island in 2.

References

* Publius Sempronius Tuditanus, censor 209 BC and consul 203 BC. [http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/txt/ah/Livy/Livy22.html See Livy 22.50] for his actions, and Livy 22.60 for the praise heaped on him by leading Roman senators, notably Titus Manlius Torquatus.
* [http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Gracchus The Gracchi consuls] ; it should be noted that the dates given for the brothers Tiberius Gracchus and Gaius Gracchus are almost certainly wrong, and there are other errors as well.

ee also

* Other Roman families: Scipio, Aemilius, Fabius.


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