Cicero, pro S. Roscio Amerino (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. S. Rosc.].
<<Cic. S. Rosc. 106 Cic. S. Rosc. 115 (Latin) >>Cic. S. Rosc. 121

112 Why do you undertake a commission, if you are either going to neglect it or to turn it to your own advantage? Why do you offer yourself to me, and by feigned service hinder and prevent my advantage? Get out of the way, I will do my business by means of some one else. You undertake the burden of a duty which you think you are able to support; a duty which does not appear very heavy to those who are not very worthless themselves.

ch. 39

This fault therefore is very base, because it violates two most holy things, friendship and confidence; for men commonly do not entrust anything except to a friend, and do not trust any one except one whom they think faithful. It is therefore the part of a most abandoned man, at the same time to dissolve friendship and to deceive him who would not have been injured unless he had trusted him.

113 Is it not so? In the most trifling affairs be who neglects a commission, must be condemned by a most dishonouring sentence; in a matter of this importance, when he to whom the character of the dead, the fortunes of the living have been recommended and entrusted, loads the dead with ignominy and the living with poverty, shall he be reckoned among honourable men, shall he even be reckoned a man at all? In trifling affairs, in affairs of a private nature, even carelessness is accounted a crime, and is liable to a sentence branding a man with infamy; because, if the commission be properly executed, the man who has given the commission may feel at his ease and be careless about it: he who has undertaken the commission may not. In so important an affair as this, which was done by public order and so entrusted to him, what punishment ought to be inflicted on that man who has not hindered some private advantage by his carelessness, but has polluted and stained by his treachery the solemnity of the very commission itself? or by what sentence shall he be condemned?

114 If Sextus Roscius had entrusted this matter to him privately to transact and determine upon with Chrysogonus, and to involve his credit in the matter if it seemed to him to be necessary—if he who had undertaken the affair had turned ever so minute a point of the business to his own advantage, would he not, if convicted by the judge, have been compelled to make restitution, and would he not have lost all credit?

115 Now it is not Sextus Roscius who gave him this commission, but what is a much more serious thing, Sextus Roscius himself, with his character, his life, and all his property, is publicly entrusted by the senators to Roscius; and, of this trust, Titus Roscius has converted not some small portion to his own advantage, but has turned him entirely out of his property; he has bargained for three farms for himself; he has considered the intention of the senators and of all his fellow-citizens of just as much value as his own integrity.

ch. 40


Moreover, consider now, O judges, the other matters, that you may see that no crime can be imagined with which that fellow has not disgraced himself. In less important matters, to deceive one's partner is a most shameful thing, and equally base with that which I have mentioned before. And rightly; because he who has communicated an affair to another thinks that he has procured assistance for himself. To whose good faith, then, shall a man have recourse who is injured by the want of faith in the man whom he has trusted? But these offences are to be punished with the greatest severity which are guarded against with the greatest difficulty. We can be reserved towards strangers; intimate friends must see many things more openly; but how can we guard against a companion? for even to be afraid of him is to do violence to the rights of duty. Our ancestors therefore rightly thought that he who had deceived his companion ought not to be considered in the number of good men.

117 But Titus Roscius did not deceive one friend alone in a money matter, (which, although it be a grave offence, still appears possible in some degree to be borne) but he led on, cajoled, and deserted nine most honourable men, betrayed them to their adversaries, and deceived them with every circumstance of fraud and perfidy. They who could suspect nothing of his wickedness, ought not to have been afraid of the partner of their duties; they did not see his malice, they trusted his false speech. Therefore these most honourable men are now, on account of his treachery, thought to have been incautious and improvident He who was at the beginning a traitor, then a deserter—who at first reported the counsels of his companions to their adversaries, and then entered into a confederacy with the adversaries themselves, even now terrifies us, and threatens us, adorned with his three farms, that is, with the prizes of his wickedness. In such a life as his, O judges, amid such numerous and enormous crimes, you will find this crime too, with which the present trial is concerned.

118 In truth you ought to make investigation on this principle; where you see that many things have been done avariciously, many audaciously, many wickedly, many perfidiously, there you ought to think that wickedness also lies hid among so many crimes; although this indeed does not lie hid at all, which is so manifest and exposed to view, that it may be perceived, not by those vices which it is evident exist in him, but even if any one of those vices be doubted of, he may be convicted of it by the evidence of this crime. What then, I ask, shall we say, O judges? Does this gladiator seem entirely to have thrown off his former character? or does that pupil of his seem to yield but little to his master in skill? Their avarice is equal, their dishonesty similar, their impudence is the same; the audacity of the one is twin-sister to the audacity of the other.

ch. 41

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