Cicero, pro S. Roscio Amerino (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. S. Rosc.].
<<Cic. S. Rosc. 32 Cic. S. Rosc. 42 (Latin) >>Cic. S. Rosc. 51

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

39

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

42

I know not, says he, what cause for displeasure there was; but I know that displeasure existed; because formerly, when he had two sons, he chose that other one, who is dead; to be at all times with himself, but sent this other one to his farms in the country. The same thing which happened to Erucius in supporting this wicked and trifling charge, has happened to me in advocating a most righteous cause. He could find no means of supporting this trumped-up charge; I can hardly find out by what arguments I am to invalidate and get rid of such trifling circumstances.

43 What do you say, Erucius? Did Sextus Roscius entrust so many farms, and such fine and productive ones to his son to cultivate and manage, for the sake of getting rid of and punishing him? What can this mean? Do not fathers of families who have children, particularly men of that class of municipalities in the country, do they not think it a most desirable thing for them that their sons should attend in a great degree to their domestic affairs, and should devote much of their labour and attention to cultivating their farms?

44 Did he send him off to those farms that he might remain on the land and merely have life kept in him at this country seat? that he might be deprived of all conveniences? What? if it is proved that he not only managed the cultivation of the farms, but was accustomed himself to have certain of the farms for his own, even during the lifetime of his father? Will his industrious and rural life still be called removal and banishment? You see, O Erucius, how far removed your line of argument is from the fact itself, and from truth. That which fathers usually do, you find fault with as an unprecedented thing; that which is done out of kindness, that you accuse as having been done from dislike; that which a father granted his son as an honour, that you say he did with the object of punishing him.

45 Not that you are not aware of all this, but you are so wholly without any arguments to bring forward, that you think it necessary to plead not only against us, but even against the very nature of things, and against the customs of men, and the opinion of every one.

ch. 16

Oh but, when he had two sons, he never let one be away from him, and he allowed the other to remain in the country. I beg you, O Erucius, to take what I am going to say in good part; for I am going to say it, not for the sake of finding fault, but to warn you.

46 If fortune did not give to you to know the father whose son you are, so that you could understand what was the affection of fathers towards their children; still, at all events, nature has given you no small share of human feeling. To this is added a zeal for learning, so that you are not unversed in literature. Does that old man in Caecilius, (to quote a play,) appear to have less affection for Eutychus, his son, who lives in the country, than for his other one Chaerestratus? for that, I think, is his name; do you think that he keeps one with him in the city do him honour, and sends the other into the country in order to punish him?

47 Why do you have recourse to such trifling? you will say. As if it were a hard matter for me to bring forward ever so many by name, of my own tribe, or my own neighbours, (not to wander too far off,) who wish those sons for whom they have the greatest regard, to be diligent farmers. But it is an odious step to quote known men, when it is uncertain whether they would like their names to be used; and no one is likely to be better known to you than this same Eutychus; and certainly it has nothing to do with the argument, whether I name this youth in a play, or some one of the country about Veii. In truth, I think that these things are invented by poets in order that we may see our manners sketched under the character of strangers, and the image of our daily life represented under the guise of fiction.



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