17 He had an ancient quarrel with two Roscii of Ameria, one of whom I see sitting in the seats of the accusers, the other I hear is in possession of three of this man's farms; and if he had been as well able to guard against their enmity as he was in the habit of fearing it, he would be alive now. And, O judges, he was not afraid without reason. In these two Roscii, (one of whom is surnamed Capito; the one who is present here is called Magnus,) are men of this sort. One of them is an old and experienced gladiator, who has gained many victories, but this one here has lately betaken himself to him as his tutor: and though, before this contest, he was a mere tyro in knowledge, he easily surpassed his tutor himself in wickedness and audacity.
For when this Sextus Roscius was at Ameria, but that Titus Roscius at Rome; while the former, the son, was diligently attending to the farm, and in obedience to his father's desire had given himself up entirely to his domestic affairs and to a rustic life, but the other man was constantly at Rome, Sextus Roscius, returning home after supper, is slain near the Palatine baths. I hope from this very fact, that it is not obscure on whom the suspicion of the crime falls; but if the whole affair does not itself make plain that which as yet is only to be suspected, I give you leave to say my client is implicated in the guilt.
19 When Sextus Roscius was slain, the first person who brings the news to Ameria, is a certain Mallius Glaucia, a man of no consideration, a freedman, the client and intimate friend of that Titus Roscius; and he brings the news to the house, not of the son, but of Titus Capito, his enemy, and though he had been slain about the first hour of the night, this messenger arrives at Ameria by the first dawn of day. In ten hours of the night he travelled fifty-six miles in a gig; not only to be the first to bring his enemy the wished-for news, but to show him the blood of his enemy still quite fresh, and the weapon only lately extracted from his body.
20 Four days after this happened, news of the deed is brought to Chrysogonus to the camp of Lucius Sulla at Volaterra. The greatness of his fortune is pointed out to him, the excellence of his farms,—for he left behind him thirteen farms, which nearly all border on the Tiber—the poverty and desolate condition of his son is mentioned they point out that, as the father of this, man, Sextus Roscius a man so magnificent and so popular, was slain without any trouble this man, imprudent and unpolished as he was and unknown at Rome, might easily be removed. They promise their assistance for this business; not to detain you longer, O judges, a conspiracy is formed.
As at this time there was no mention of a proscription, and as even those who had been afraid of it before, were returning and thinking themselves now delivered from their dangers, the name of Sextus Roscius, a man most zealous for the nobility, is proscribed and his goods sold; Chrysogonus is the purchaser; three of his finest farms, are given to Capito for his own, and he possesses them to this day; all the rest of his property that fellow Titus Roscius seizes in the name of Chrysogonus, as he says himself. This property, worth six millions of sesterces, is bought for two thousand. I well know, O judges, that all this was done without the knowledge of Lucius Sulla;
22 and it is not strange that while he is surveying at the same time both the things which are past, and those which seem to be impending; when he alone has, the authority to establish peace, and the power of carrying on war; when all are looking to him alone, and he alone is directing all things; when he is occupied incessantly by such numerous and such important affairs that he cannot breathe freely, it is not strange, I say, if he fails to notice some things; especially when so many men are watching his, busy condition, and catch their opportunity of doing something of this sort the moment he looks away. To this is added, that although he is fortunate, as indeed he is, yet no man can have such good fortune, as in a vast household to have no one, whether slave or freedman, of worthless character.
23 In the meantime Titus Roscius, excellent man, the agent of Chrysogonus, comes to Ameria; he enters on this man's farm; turns this miserable man, overwhelmed with grief, who had not yet performed all the ceremonies of his father's funeral, naked out of his house, and drives him headlong from his paternal hearth and household gods; he himself becomes the owner of abundant wealth. He who had been in great poverty when he had only his own property, became, as is usual, insolent when in possession of the property of another; he carried many things openly off to his own house; he removed still more privily; he gave no little abundantly and extravagantly to his assistants; the rest he sold at a regular auction.
Which appeared to the citizens of Ameria so scandalous, that there was weeping and lamentation over the whole city. In truth, many things calculated to cause grief were brought at once before their eyes; the most cruel death of a most prosperous man, Sextus Roscius, and the most scandalous distress of his son; to whom that infamous robber had not left out of so rich a patrimony even enough for a road to his father's tomb; the flagitious purchase of his property, the flagitious possession of it; thefts, plunders, largesses. There was no one who would not rather have had it all burnt, than see Titus Roscius acting as owner of and glorying in the property of Sextus Roscius, a most virtuous and honourable man.