Cicero, pro S. Roscio Amerino (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. S. Rosc.].
<<Cic. S. Rosc. 130 Cic. S. Rosc. 138 (Latin) >>Cic. S. Rosc. 145

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.

ch. 47


They who know me, know that I, to the extent of my small and insignificant power, (when that which I was most eager for could not be brought about, I mean an accommodation between the parties) laboured to ensure the victory of that party which got it. For who was there who did not see that meanness was disputing with dignity for the highest honours? a contest in which it was the part of an abandoned citizen not to unite himself to those, by whose safety dignity at home and authority abroad would be preserved. And that all this was done, and that his proper honour and rank was restored to every one, I rejoice, O judges, and am exceedingly delighted; and I know that it was all done by the kindness of the gods, by the zeal of the Roman people, by the wisdom and government, and good fortune [Note] of Lucius Sulla.

137 I have no business to find fault with punishment having been inflicted on those who laboured with all their energies on the other side; and I approve of honours having been paid to the brave men whose assistance was eminent in the transaction of all these matters. And I consider that the struggle was to a great extent with this object, and I confess that I shared in that desire in the part I took. But if the object was, and if arms were taken with the view of causing the lowest of the people to be enriched with the property of others, and of enabling them to make attacks on the fortunes of every one, and if it is unlawful not only to hinder that by deed, but even to blame it in words, then the Roman people seems to me not to have been strengthened and restored by that war, but to have been subdued and crushed.

138 But the ease is totally different: nothing of this, O judges, is the truth: the cause of the nobility will not only not be injured if you resist these men, but it will even be embellished.

ch. 48

In truth, they who are inclined to find fault with this complain that Chrysogonus has so much influence; they who praise it, declare that he has not so much allowed him. And now it is impossible for any one to be either so foolish or so worthless as to say: “I wish it were allowed me, I would have said...” You may say... “I would have done...” You may do... No one hinders you. “I would have decreed...” “Decree, only decree rightly, every one will approve.” “I should have judged...” All will praise you if you judge rightly and properly.

139 While it was necessary and while the ease made it inevitable, one man had all the power, and after he created magistrates and established laws, his own proper office and authority was restored to every one. And if those who recovered it wish to retain it, they will be able to retain it for ever. But if they either participate in or approve of these acts of murder and rapine, these enormous and prodigal expenses—I do not wish to say anything too severe against them; not even as an omen; but this one thing I do say; unless those nobles of ours are vigilant, and virtuous, and brave, and merciful, they must abandon their honours to those men in whom these qualities do exist.

140 Let them, therefore, cease at least to say that a man speaks badly, if he speaks truly and with freedom; let them cease to make common cause with Chrysogonus; let them cease to think, if he be injured, that any injury has been done to them; let them see how shameful and miserable a thing it is that they, who could not tolerate the splendour of the knights, should be able to endure the domination of a most worthless slave—a domination, which, O judges, was formerly exerted in other matters, but now you see what a road it is making for itself, what a course it is aiming at, against your good faith, against your oaths, against your decisions, against almost the only thing which remains uncorrupted and holy in the state.

141 Does Chrysogonus think that in this particular too he has some influence? Does her even wish to be powerful in this? O miserable and bitter circumstance! Nor, in truth, am I indignant at this, because I am afraid that he may have some influence; but I complain of the mere fact of his having dared this, of his having hoped that with such men as these he could have any influence to the injury of an innocent man.

ch. 49

Is it for this that the nobility has roused itself, that it has recovered the republic by arms and the sword—in order that freedmen and slaves might be able to maltreat the property of the nobles, and all your fortunes and ours, at their pleasure?

142 If that was the object, I confess that I erred in being anxious for their success. I admit that I was mad in espousing their party, although I espoused it, O judges, without taking up arms. But if the victory of the nobles ought to be an ornament and an advantage to the republic and the Roman people, then, too, my speech ought to be very acceptable to every virtuous and noble man. But if there be any one who thinks that he and his cause is injured when Chrysogonus is found fault with, he does not understand his cause, I may almost say he does not know himself. For the cause will be rendered more splendid by resisting every worthless man. The worthless favourers of Chrysogonus, who think that his cause and theirs are identical, are injured themselves by separating themselves from such splendour.

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