Cicero, pro S. Roscio Amerino (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. S. Rosc.].
<<Cic. S. Rosc. 133 Cic. S. Rosc. 141 (Latin) >>Cic. S. Rosc. 149

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.

143 But all this that I have been now saying, as I mentioned before, is said on my own account, though the republic, and my own indignation, and the injuries done by these fellows, have compelled me to say it. But Roscius is indignant at none of these things; he accuses no one; he does not complain of the loss of his patrimony; he, ignorant of the world, rustic and down that he is, thinks that all those things which you say were done by Sulla were done regularly, legally and according to the law of nations. If he is only exempted from blame and acquitted of this nefarious accusation, he will be glad to leave the court.

144 If he is freed from this unworthy suspicion, he says that he can give up all his property with equanimity. He begs and entreats you, O Chrysogonus, if he has converted no part of his father's most ample possessions to his own use; if he has defrauded you in no particular; if he has given up to you and paid over and weighed out to you all his possessions with the most scrupulous faith; if he has given up to you the very garment with which he was clothed, and the ring off his finger; if he has stripped himself bare of everything, and has excepted nothing—he entreats you, I say, that he may be allowed to pass his life in innocence and indigence, supported by the assistance of his friends.

ch. 50


“You are in possession of my farms,” says he; “I am living on the charity of others; I do not object to that, both because I have a calm mind, and because it is inevitable. My own house is open to you, and is closed against myself. I endure that. You are master of my numerous household; I have not one slave. I submit to that, and think it is to be borne.” What would you have more? What are you aiming at? Why are you attacking me now? In what point do you think your desires injured by me? In what point do I stand in the way of your advantage? In what do I hinder you? If you wish to slay the man for the sake of his spoils, you have despoiled him. What do you want more? If you want to slay him out of enmity, what enmity have you against him whose farms you took possession of before you knew himself? If you fear him, can you fear anything from him who you see is unable to ward off so atrocious an injury from himself? If, because the possessions which belonged to Roscius have become yours, on that account you seek to destroy his son, do you not show that you are afraid of that which you above all other men ought not to be afraid of; namely, that sometime or other their father's property may be restored to the children of proscribed persons?

Cicero, pro S. Roscio Amerino (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. S. Rosc.].
<<Cic. S. Rosc. 133 Cic. S. Rosc. 141 (Latin) >>Cic. S. Rosc. 149

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