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

48 Come now; turn your thoughts, if you please, to reality, and consider not only in Umbria and that neighbourhood, but in these old municipal towns, what pursuits are most praised by fathers of families. You will at once see that, from want of real grounds of accusation, you have imputed that which is his greatest praise to Sextus Roscius as a fault and a crime.

ch. 17

But not only do children do this by the wish of their fathers, but I have myself known many men (and so, unless I am deceived, has every one of you) who are inflamed of their own accord with a fondness for what relates to the cultivation of land, and who think this rural life, which you think ought to be a disgrace to and a charge against a man, the most honourable and the most delightful.

49 What do you think of this very Sextus Roscius? How great is his fondness for, and shrewdness in rural affairs! As I hear from his relations, most honourable men, you are not more skillful in this your business of an accuser, than he is in his. But, as I think, since it seems good to Chrysogonus, who has left him no farm, he will be able now to forget this skill of his, and to give up this taste. And although that is a sad and a scandalous thing, yet he will bear it, O judges, with equanimity, if, by your verdict, he can preserve his life and his character; but this is intolerable, if he is both to have this calamity brought upon him on account of the goodness and number of his farms, and if that is especially to be imputed to him as a crime that he cultivated them with great care; so that it is not to be misery enough to have cultivated them for others not for himself, unless it is also to be accounted a crime that he cultivated them at all.

ch. 18



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