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

50

In truth, O Erucius, you would have been a ridiculous accuser, if you had been born in those times when men were sent for from the plough to be made consuls. Certainly you, who think it a crime to have superintended the cultivation of a farm, would consider that Atilius, whom those who were sent to him found sowing seed with his own hand, a most base and dishonourable man. But, forsooth, our ancestors judged very differently both of him and of all other such men. And therefore from a very small and powerless state they left us one very great and very prosperous. For they diligently cultivated their own lands, they did not graspingly desire those of others; by which conduct they enlarged the republic, and this dominion, and the name of the Roman people, with lands and conquered cities, and subjected nations.

51 Nor do I bring forward these instances in order to compare them with these matters which we are now investigating; but in order that that may be understood: that, as in the times of our ancestors, the highest and most illustrious men, who ought at all times to have been sitting at the helm of the republic, yet devoted much of their attention and time to the cultivation of their lands; that man ought to be pardoned, who avows himself a rustic, for having lived constantly in the country, especially when be could do nothing which was either more pleasing to his father, or more delightful to himself, or in reality more honourable.

52 The bitter dislike of the father to the son, then, is proved by this, O Erucius, that he allowed him to remain in the country. Is there anything else? Certainly, says he, there is. For he was thinking of disinheriting him. I hear you. Now you are saying something which may have a bearing on the business, for you will grant, I think, that those other arguments are trifling and childish. He never went to any feasts with his father. Of course not, as he very seldom came to town at all. People very seldom asked him to their houses. No wonder, for a man who did not live in the city, and was not likely to ask them in return.

ch. 19

53

But you are aware that these things too are trifling. Let us consider that which we began with, than which no more certain argument of dislike can possibly be found. The father was thinking of disinheriting his son. I do not ask on what account. I ask how you know it? Although you ought to mention and enumerate all the reasons. And it was the duty of a regular accuser, who was accusing a man of such wickedness, to unfold all the vice and sins of a son had exasperated the father so as to enable him to bring his mind to subdue nature herself—to banish from his mind that affection so deeply implanted in it—to forget in short that he was a father; and all this I do not think could have happened without great errors on the part of the son.

54 But I give you leave to pass over those things, which, as you are silent, you admit have no existence. At all events you ought to make it evident that he did intend to disinherit him. What then do you allege to make us think that that was the case? You can say nothing with truth. Invent something at least with probability in it; that you may not manifestly be convicted of doing what you are openly doing—insulting the fortunes of this unhappy man, and the dignity of these noble judges. He meant to disinherit his son. On what account? I don't know. Did he disinherit him? No. Who hindered him? He was thinking of it. He was thinking of it? Who did he tell? No one. What is abusing the court of justice, and the laws, and your majesty, O judges, for the purposes of gain and lust, but accusing men in this manner, and bringing imputations against them which you not only are not able to prove, but which you do not even attempt to?



Cicero, pro S. Roscio Amerino (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. S. Rosc.].
<<Cic. S. Rosc. 40 Cic. S. Rosc. 50 (Latin) >>Cic. S. Rosc. 57

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