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.
25 Therefore a decree of their senate is, immediately passed, that the ten chief men [Note] should go to Lucius Sulla, and explain to him what a man Sextus Roscius had been; should complain of the wickedness and outrages of those fellows, should entreat him to see to the preservation both of the character of the dead man, and of the fortunes of his innocent son, And observe, I entreat you, this decree— [here the decree is read] —The deputies come to the camp. It is now seen, O judges, as I said before, that these crimes and atrocities were committed without the knowledge of Lucius Sulla. For immediately Chrysogonus himself comes to them, and sends some men of noble birth to them too, to beg them not to go to Sulla, and to promise them that Chrysogonus, will do everything which they wish.
26 But to such a degree was he alarmed, that he would rather have died than have let Sulla be informed of these things. These old-fashioned men, who judged of others by their own nature, when he pledged himself to have the name of Sextus Roscius removed from the lists of proscription, and to give up the farms unoccupied to his son, and when Titus Roscius Capito, who was one of the ten deputies, added his promise that it should be so, believed him; they returned to Ameria without presenting their petition. And at first those fellows began every day to put the matter off and to procrastinate; then they began to be more indifferent; to do nothing and to trifle with them; at last, as was easily perceived, they began to contrive plots against the life of this Sextus Roscius, and to think that they could no longer keep possession of another man's property while the owner was alive.
As soon as he perceived this, by the advice of his friends and relations he fled to Rome, and betook himself to Caecilia, the daughter of Nepos, (whom I name to do her honour,) with whom his father had been exceedingly intimate; a woman in whom, O judges, even now, as all men are of opinion, as if it were to serve as a model, traces of the old-fashioned virtue remain. She received into her house Sextus Roscius, helpless, turned and driven out of his home and property, flying from the weapons and threats of robbers, and she assisted her guest now that he was overwhelmed and now that his safety was despaired of by every one. By her virtue and good faith and diligence it has been caused that he now is rather classed as a living man among the accused, than as a dead man among the proscribed.
28 For after they perceived that the life of Sextus Roscius was protected with the greatest care, and that there was no possibility of their murdering him, they adopted a counsel full of wickedness and audacity, namely, that of accusing him of parricide; of procuring some veteran accuser to support the charge, who could say something even in a case in which there was no suspicion whatever; and lastly, as they could not have any chance against him by the accusation, to prevail against him on account of the time; for men began to say, that no trial had taken place for such a length of time, that the first man who was brought to trial ought to be condemned; and they thought that he would have no advocates because of the influence of Chrysogonus; that no one would say a word about the sale of the property and about that conspiracy; that because of the mere name of parricide and the atrocity of the crime he would be put out of the way, without any trouble, as he was defended by no one.
29 With this plan, and urged on to such a degree by this madness, they have handed the man over to you to be put to death, whom they themselves, when they wished, were unable to murder.
What shall I complain of first? or from what point had I best begin, O judges? or what assistance shall I seek, or from whom? Shall I implore at this time the aid of the immortal gods, or that of the Roman people, or of your integrity, you who have the supreme power?