Cicero, pro S. Roscio Amerino (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. S. Rosc.].
<<Cic. S. Rosc. 44 Cic. S. Rosc. 52 (Latin) >>Cic. S. Rosc. 60

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?

55 There is not one of us, O Erucius, who does not know that you have no enmity against Sextus Roscius. All men see on what account you come here as his adversary. They know that you are induced to do so by this man's money. What then? Still you ought to have been desirous of gain with such limitations as to think that the opinion of all these men, and the Remmian [Note] law ought to nave some weight.

ch. 20

56

It is a useful thing for there to be many accusers in the city, in order that audacity may be kept in check by fear; but it is only useful with this limitation, that we are not to be manifestly mocked by accusers. A man is innocent. But although he is free from guilt he is not free from suspicion. Although it is a lamentable thing, still I can, to some extent, pardon a man who accuses him. For when be has anything which he can say, imputing a crime, or fixing a suspicion, he does not appear knowingly to be openly mocking and calumniating. On which account we all easily allow that there should be as many accusers as possible; because an innocent man, if he be accused, can be acquitted; a guilty man, unless or he be accused cannot be convicted. But it is more desirable that an innocent man should be acquitted, than that a guilty man should not be brought to trial. Food for the geese is contracted for at the public expense, and dogs are maintained in the Capitol, to give notice if thieves come. But they cannot distinguish thieves. Accordingly they give notice if any one comes by night to the Capitol; and because that is a suspicious thing, although they are but beasts, yet they oftenest err on that side which is the more prudent one. But if the dogs barked by day also, when any one came to pay honour to the gods, I imagine their legs would be broken for being active then also, when there was no suspicion. The notion of accusers is very much the same.



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