128 For I think it is set down in the law on what day these proscriptions and sales shall take place, forsooth on the first of January. Some months afterwards the man was slain, and his property is said to have been sold. Now, either this property has never been returned in the public accounts, and we are cheated by this scoundrel more cleverly than we think, or, if they were returned, then the public accounts have some way or other been tampered with, for it is quite evident that the property could not have been sold according to law. I am aware, O judges, that I am investigating this point prematurely, and that I am erring as greatly as if, while I ought to be curing a mortal sickness of Sextus Roscius, I were mending a whitlow; for he is not anxious about his money; he has no regard to any pecuniary advantage; he thinks he can easily endure his poverty, if he is released from this unworthy suspicion, from this false accusation.
129 But I entreat you, O judges, to listen to the few things I have still to say, under the idea that I am speaking partly for myself, and party for Sextus Roscius. For the things which appear to me unworthy and intolerable, and which I think concern all men unless we are prudent, those things I now mention to you for my own sake, from the real feelings and indignation of my mind. What relates to the misfortunes of the life, and to the cause of my client, and what he wishes to be said for him, and with what condition he will be content, you shall hear, O judges, immediately at the end of my speech. I ask this of Chrysogonus of my own accord, leaving Sextus Roscius out of the question.
First of all, why the property of a virtuous citizen was sold? Next, why the property of a man who was neither proscribed, nor slain in the garrisons of the opposite party, were sold; when the law was made against them alone? Next, why were they sold long after the day which is appointed by the law? Next, why were they sold for go little! And if he shall choose, as worthless and wicked freedmen are accustomed to do, to refer all this to his patrons, he will do himself no good by that For there is no one who does not know that on account of the immensity of his business, many men did many things of which Lucius Sulla knew very little.
131 Is it right, then, that in these matters anything should be passed over without the ruler knowing it? It is not right, O judges, but it is inevitable. In truth, if the great and kind Jupiter, by whose will and command the heaven, the earth, and the seas are governed, has often by too violent winds, or by immoderate tempests, or by too much heat, or by intolerable cold, injured men, destroyed cities, or ruined the crops; nothing of which do we suppose to have taken place, for the sake of causing injury, by the divine intention, but owing to the power and magnitude of the affairs of the world; but on the other hand we see that the advantages which we have the benefit of, and the light which we enjoy, and the air which we breathe, are all given to and bestowed upon us by him; how can we wonder that Lucius Sulla, when he alone was governing the whole republic, and administering the affairs of the whole world, and strengthening by his laws the majesty of the empire, which he had recovered by arms, should have been forced to leave some things unnoticed? Unless this is strange that human faculties have not a power which divine might is unable to attain to.
132 But to say no more about what has happened already, cannot any one thoroughly understand from what is happening now, that Chrysogonus alone is the author and contriver of all this, and that it is he who caused Sextus Roscius to be accused? this trial in which Erucius says that he is the accuser out of regard for honour
They think they are leading a convenient life, and one arranged rationally, who have a house among the Salentii or Brutii, from which they can scarcely receive news three times a year.
133 Another comes down to you from his palace on the Palatine; he has for the purposes of relaxation to his mind a pleasant suburban villa, and many farms besides, and not one which is not beautiful and contiguous; a house filled with Corinthian and Delian vessels, among which is that celebrated stove which he has lately bought at so great a price, that passers by, who heard the money being counted out, thought that a farm was being sold. What quantities besides of embossed plate, of embroidered quilts; of paintings, of statues, and of marble, do you think he has in his house? All, forsooth, that in a time of disturbance and rapine can be crammed into one house from the plunder of many magnificent families. But why should I mention how vast a household too was his, and in what various trades was it instructed?
134 I say nothing of those ordinary arts, cooks, bakers, and litter-bearers; he has so many slaves to gratify his mind and ears, that the whole neighbourhood resounds with the daily music of voices, and stringed instruments, and flutes. In such a life as this, O judges, how great a daily expense, and what extravagance do you think there must be? And what banquets? Honourable no doubt in such a house; if that is to be called a house rather than a workshop of wickedness, and a lodging for every sort of iniquity.
135 In what a style he himself flutters through the forum, with his hair curled and perfumed, and with a great retinue of citizens, you yourselves behold, O judges; in truth you see how he despises every one, how he thinks no one a human being but himself, how he thinks himself the only happy, the only powerful man. But if I were to wish too mention what he does and what he attempts, O judges, I am afraid that some ignorant people would think that I wish to injure the cause of the nobility, and to detract from their victory; although I have a right to find fault if anything in that party displeases me. For I am not afraid that any one will suppose that I have a disposition disaffected to the cause of the nobility.