Cicero, pro S. Roscio Amerino (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. S. Rosc.].
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I imagine that you, O judges, are marvelling why it is that when so many most eminent orators and most noble men are sitting still, I above all others should get up, who neither for age, nor for ability, nor for influence, am to be compared to those who are sitting still. For all these men whom you see present at this trial think that a man ought to be defended against all injury contrived against him by unrivalled wickedness; but through the sad state of the times they do not dare to defend him themselves. So it comes to pass that they are present here because they are attending to their business, but they are silent because they are afraid of danger.

2 What then? Am I the boldest of all these men? By no means. Am I then so much more attentive to my duties than the rest? I am not so covetous of even that praise, as to wish to rob others of it. What is it then which has impelled me beyond all the rest to undertake the cause of Sextus Roscius? Because, if any one of those men, men of the greatest weight and dignity, whom you see present, had spoken, had said one word about public affairs, as must be done in this case, he would be thought to have said much more than he really had said.

3 But if I should say all the things which must be said with ever so much freedom, yet my speech will never go forth or be diffused among the people in the same manner. Secondly, because anything said by the others cannot be obscure, because of their nobility and dignity, and cannot be excused as being spoken carelessly, on account of their age and prudence; but if I say anything with too much freedom, it may either be altogether concealed, because I have not yet mixed in public affairs, or pardoned on account of my youth; although not only the method of pardoning, but even the habit of examining into the truth is now eradicated from the State.

4 There is this reason, also, that perhaps the request to undertake this cause was made to the others so that they thought they could comply or refuse without prejudice to their duty; but those men applied to me who have the greatest weight with me by reason of their friendship with me, of the kindnesses they have done me, and of their own dignity; whose kindness to me I could not be ignorant of whose authority I could not despise, whose desires I could not neglect.

ch. 2


On these accounts I have stood forward as the advocate in this cause, not as being the one selected who could plead with the greatest ability, but as the one left of the whole body who could do so with the least danger; and not in order that Sextus Roscius might he defended by a sufficiently able advocacy, but that he might not be wholly abandoned. Perhaps you may ask, What is that dread, and what is that alarm which hinders so many, and such eminent men, from being willing, as they usually are, to plead on behalf of the life and fortunes of another? And it is not strange that you are as yet ignorant of this, because all mention of the matter which has given rise to this trial has been designedly omitted by the accusers.

6 What is that matter? The property of the father of this Sextus Roscius, which is six millions of sesterces, which one of the most powerful young men of our city at this present time, Lucius Cornelius Chrysogonus, says he bought of that most gallant and most illustrious man Lucius Sulla, whom I only name to do him honour, for two thousand sesterces. He, O judges, demands of you that, since he, without any right, has taken possession of the property of another, so abundant and so splendid, and as the life of Sextus Roscius appears to him to stand in the way of and to hinder his possession of that property, you will efface from his mind every suspicion, and remove all his fear. He does not think that, while this man is safe, he himself can keep possession of the ample and splendid patrimony of this innocent man; but if he be convicted and got rid of, he hopes he may be able to waste and squander in luxury what he has acquired by wickedness. He begs that you will take from his mind this uneasiness which day and night is pricking and harassing him, so as to profess yourselves his assistants in enjoying this his nefariously acquired booty.

7 If his demand seems to you just and honourable, O judges, I, on the other hand, proffer this brief request, and one, as I persuade myself, somewhat more reasonable still.

ch. 3

First of all, I ask of Chrysogonus to be content with our money and our fortunes, and not to seek our blood and our lives. In the second place, I beg you, O judges, to resist the wickedness of audacious men; to relieve the calamities of the innocent, and in the cause of Sextus Roscius to repel the danger which is being aimed at every one.

8 But if any pretence for the accusation—if any suspicion of this act—if, in short, any, the least thing be found,—so that in bringing forward this accusation they shall seem to have had some real object,—if you find any cause whatever for it, except that plunder which I have mentioned, I will not object to the life of Sextus Roscius being abandoned to their pleasure. But if there is no other object in it, except to prevent anything being wanting to those men, whom nothing can satisfy, if this alone is contended for at this moment, that the condemnation of Sextus Roscius may be added as a sort of crown, as it were, to this rich and splendid booty,—though many things be infamous, still is not this the most infamous of all things, that you should be thought fitting men for these fellows now to expect to obtain by means of your sentences and your oaths, what they have hitherto been in the habit of obtaining by wickedness and by the sword; that though you have been chosen out of the state into the senate because of your dignity, and out of the senate into this body because of your inflexible love of justice—still assassins and gladiators should ask of you, not only to allow them to escape the punishment which they ought to fear and dread at your hands for their crimes, but also that they may depart from this court adorned and enriched with the spoils of Sextus Roscius?

ch. 4

Cicero, pro S. Roscio Amerino (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. S. Rosc.].
<<Cic. S. Rosc. 1 Cic. S. Rosc. 1 (Latin) >>Cic. S. Rosc. 12

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