Cicero, pro S. Roscio Amerino (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. S. Rosc.].
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We lately had a most audacious man in this city, Caius Fimbria, a man, as is well known among all except among those who are mad themselves, utterly insane. He, when at the funeral of Caius Marius, had contrived that Quintus Scaevola, the most venerable and accomplished man in our city, should be wounded;—(a man in whose praise there is neither room to say much here, nor indeed is it possible to say more than the Roman people preserves in its recollection)—he, I say, brought an accusation against Scaevola, when he found that he might possibly live. When the question was asked him, what he was going to accuse that man of, whom no one could praise in a manner sufficiently suitable to his worth, they say that the man, like a madman as he was, answered, for not having received the whole weapon in his body. A more lamentable thing was never seen by the Roman people, unless it were the death of that same man, which was so important that it crushed and broke the hearts of all his fellow-citizens; for endeavouring to save whom by an arrangement, he was destroyed by them. [Note]

34 Is not this case very like that speech and action of Fimbria? You are accusing Sextus Roscius. Why so? Because he escaped out of your hands; because he did not allow himself to be murdered. The one action, because it was done against Scaevola, appears scandalous; this one, because it is done by Chrysogonus, is intolerable. For, in the name of the immortal gods, what is there in this cause that requires a defence? What topic is there requiring the ability of an advocate, or even very much needing eloquence of speech? Let us, O judges, unfold the whole case, and when it is set before our eyes, let us consider it; by this means you will easily understand on what the whole case turns, and on what matters I ought to dwell, and what decision you ought to come to.

ch. 13


There are three things, as I think, which are at the present time hindrances to Sextus Roscius:—the charge brought by his adversaries, their audacity, and their power. Erucius has taken on himself the pressing of this false charge as accuser; the Roscii have claimed for themselves that part which is to be executed by audacity; but Chrysogonus, as being the person of the greatest influence, employs his influence in the contest. On all these points I am aware that I must speak.

36 What then am I to say? I must not speak in the same manner on them all; because the first topic indeed belongs to my duty, but the two others the Roman people have imposed on you. I must efface the accusations; you ought both to resist the audacity, and at the earliest possible opportunity to extinguish and put down the pernicious and intolerable influence of men of that sort.

37 Sextus Roscius is accused of having murdered his father. O ye immortal gods! a wicked and nefarious action, in which one crime every sort of wickedness appears to be contained. In truth, if, as is well said by wise men, affection is often injured by a look, what sufficiently severe punishment can be devised against him who has inflicted death on his parent, for whom all divine and human laws bound him to be willing to die himself, if occasion required?

38 In the case of so enormous, so atrocious, so singular a crime, as this one which has been committed so rarely, that, if it is ever heard of, it is accounted like a portent and prodigy—what arguments do you think, O Caius Erucius, you as the accuser ought to use? Ought you not to prove the singular audacity of him who is accused of it? and his savage manners, and brutal nature, and his life devoted to every sort of vice and crime, his whole character, in short, given up to profligacy and abandoned? None of which things have you alleged against Sextus Roscius, not even for the sake of making the imputation.

ch. 14


Sextus Roscius has murdered his father. What sort of man is he? is he a young man, corrupted, and led on by worthless men? He is more than forty years old. Is he forsooth an old assassin, a bold man, and one well practised in murder? You have not heard this so much as mentioned by the accuser. To be sure; then, luxury, and the magnitude of his debts, and the ungovernable desires of his disposition, have urged the man to this wickedness? Erucius acquitted him of luxury, when he said that he was scarcely ever present at any banquet. But he never owed anything Further what evil desires could exist in that man who as his accuser himself objected to him has always lived in the country and spent his time in cultivating his land, a mode of life which is utterly removed from covetousness, and inseparably allied to virtue?

40 What was it then which inspired Sextus Roscius with such madness as that? Oh, says he, he did not please his father. He did not please his father? For what reason? for it must have been both a just and an important and a notorious reason. For as this is incredible, that death should be inflicted on a father by a son, without many and most weighty reasons; so this, too, is not probable, that a son should be hated by his father, without many and important and necessary causes.

41 Let us return again to the same point, and ask what vices existed in this his only son of such importance as to make him incur the displeasure of his father. But it is notorious he had no vices. His father then was mad to bate him whom he had begotten, without any cause. But he was the most reasonable and sensible of men. This, then, is evident, that, if the father was not crazy, nor his son profligate, the father had no cause for displeasure, nor the son for crime.

ch. 15

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