MARCUS Livius DRUSUS, became tribune of the people in 91 B.C. He was a thoroughgoing conservative, wealthy and generous, and a man of high integrity. With some of the more intelligent members of his party (such as Marcus Scaurus and L. Licinius Crassus the orator) he recognized the need of reform. At that time an agitation was going on for the transfer of the judicial functions from the equites to the senate; Drusus proposed as a compromise a measure which restored to the senate the office of judices, while its numbers were doubled by the admission of 300 equites. Further, a special commission was to be appointed to try and sentence all judices guilty of taking bribes. But the senate was lukewarm, and the equites, whose occupation was threatened, offered the most violent opposition. In order, therefore, to catch the popular votes, Drusus proposed the establishment of colonies in Italy and Sicily, and an increased distribution of corn at a reduced rate. By help of these riders the bill was carried. Drusus now sought a closer alliance with the Italians, promising them the longcoveted boon of the Roman franchise. The senate broke out into open opposition. His laws were abrogated as informal, and each party armed its adherents for the civil struggle which was now inevitable. Drusus was stabbed one evening as he was returning home. His assassin was never discovered.
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