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Early in the fourth century BCE, the army was radically reorganized, following the disastrous defeat by the Gauls at the Battle of Allia in 390 BCE. In the early fifth century BCE, the Roman legion had consisted of 3,000 heavily armed foot soldiers. Over the course of the fourth century BCE, this was increased to 6,000 heavy infantry troops and 2,400 light infantry. In 366 BCE, the annual draft was split between the two consuls, each commanding a legion of 4,200 men. The legion still comprised lines of heavily and less heavily armed soldiers.

In the event, Crassus and Pompey agreed to act together, and both were elected. The pair then repealed much of the legislation introduced by Sulla. The senate monopoly on the courts was abolished; in future, criminal juries were to consist of both senators and wealthy nonsenators. The power of the tribunes and censors was restored, and two elected censors at last made good the promise to grant Roman citizenship to the Italian population. Both censors were supporters of Pompey, and the move greatly enhanced Pompey’s popularity.

During the Spanish Wars of 154 to 133 BCE, when the native tribes sought to free themselves from Roman oppression, Tiberius served as quaestor to the Roman army in Spain. In 137 BCE, he saved 20,000 defeated Roman troops from slaughter by negotiating with the victorious city of Numantia. On his return to Rome,Tiberius saw that Roman society was polarized between a small group of very rich aristocrats, many of whom were corrupt, and a mass of landless peasants. Much public land had been illegally appropriated by large landowners after the Second Punic War, leaving many rural areas more or less depopulated of peasants.

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