For some time, one of the hot issues of the day in Rome was citizenship for the Italian allies. While the Romans had previously been fairly liberal in granting different allies full citizenship, lately they had been satisfied to grant only second class, or Latin, citizenship. Unfortunately, the Italian allies were not nearly as satisfied with this and were agitating for full rights. The attempt to extend citizenship had cost a Roman politician named Gaius Gracchus his life. When another Roman, Marcus Livius Drusus, proposed full citizenship and was assassinated, Italian frustration boiled over into open rebellion. This revolt, known as the Social War, or war of the allies (9l-88 B.C.E.), saw Rome faced with a formidable Italian enemy trained in Roman tactics. In fact, it was so formidable that the Senate did the one thing it could to defuse the rebellion: it granted full citizenship to any Italians who remained loyal or immediately laid down their arms. This clever move stripped the rebellion of much of its support. The Senate then called on two of its ablest generals, Marius and Sulla, to finish the job. In the end, the rebellion was put down, but the Italians had gained full citizenship, definitely a step forward for Rome and Italy.
World History Blog
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