Cicero, pro S. Roscio Amerino (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. S. Rosc.].
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On these accounts I have stood forward as the advocate in this cause, not as being the one selected who could plead with the greatest ability, but as the one left of the whole body who could do so with the least danger; and not in order that Sextus Roscius might he defended by a sufficiently able advocacy, but that he might not be wholly abandoned. Perhaps you may ask, What is that dread, and what is that alarm which hinders so many, and such eminent men, from being willing, as they usually are, to plead on behalf of the life and fortunes of another? And it is not strange that you are as yet ignorant of this, because all mention of the matter which has given rise to this trial has been designedly omitted by the accusers.

6 What is that matter? The property of the father of this Sextus Roscius, which is six millions of sesterces, which one of the most powerful young men of our city at this present time, Lucius Cornelius Chrysogonus, says he bought of that most gallant and most illustrious man Lucius Sulla, whom I only name to do him honour, for two thousand sesterces. He, O judges, demands of you that, since he, without any right, has taken possession of the property of another, so abundant and so splendid, and as the life of Sextus Roscius appears to him to stand in the way of and to hinder his possession of that property, you will efface from his mind every suspicion, and remove all his fear. He does not think that, while this man is safe, he himself can keep possession of the ample and splendid patrimony of this innocent man; but if he be convicted and got rid of, he hopes he may be able to waste and squander in luxury what he has acquired by wickedness. He begs that you will take from his mind this uneasiness which day and night is pricking and harassing him, so as to profess yourselves his assistants in enjoying this his nefariously acquired booty.

7 If his demand seems to you just and honourable, O judges, I, on the other hand, proffer this brief request, and one, as I persuade myself, somewhat more reasonable still.

ch. 3

First of all, I ask of Chrysogonus to be content with our money and our fortunes, and not to seek our blood and our lives. In the second place, I beg you, O judges, to resist the wickedness of audacious men; to relieve the calamities of the innocent, and in the cause of Sextus Roscius to repel the danger which is being aimed at every one.

8 But if any pretence for the accusation—if any suspicion of this act—if, in short, any, the least thing be found,—so that in bringing forward this accusation they shall seem to have had some real object,—if you find any cause whatever for it, except that plunder which I have mentioned, I will not object to the life of Sextus Roscius being abandoned to their pleasure. But if there is no other object in it, except to prevent anything being wanting to those men, whom nothing can satisfy, if this alone is contended for at this moment, that the condemnation of Sextus Roscius may be added as a sort of crown, as it were, to this rich and splendid booty,—though many things be infamous, still is not this the most infamous of all things, that you should be thought fitting men for these fellows now to expect to obtain by means of your sentences and your oaths, what they have hitherto been in the habit of obtaining by wickedness and by the sword; that though you have been chosen out of the state into the senate because of your dignity, and out of the senate into this body because of your inflexible love of justice—still assassins and gladiators should ask of you, not only to allow them to escape the punishment which they ought to fear and dread at your hands for their crimes, but also that they may depart from this court adorned and enriched with the spoils of Sextus Roscius?

ch. 4


Of such important and such atrocious actions, I am aware that I can neither speak with sufficient propriety, nor complain with sufficient dignity, nor cry out against with sufficient freedom. For my want of capacity is a hindrance to my speaking with propriety; my age, to my speaking with dignity; the times themselves are an obstacle to my speaking with freedom. To this is added great fear, which both nature and my modesty cause me, and your dignity, and the violence of our adversaries, and the danger of Sextus Roscius. On which account, I beg and entreat of you, O judges, to hear what I have to say with attention, and with your favourable construction.

10 Relying on your integrity and wisdom, I have undertaken a greater burden than, I am well aware, I am able to bear. If you, in some degree, lighten this burden, O judges, I will bear it as well as I can with zeal and industry. But if, as I do not expect, I am abandoned by you, still I will not fail in courage, and I will bear what I have undertaken as well as I can. But if I cannot support it, I had rather be overwhelmed by the weight of my duty, than either through treachery betray, or through weakness of mind desert, that which has been once honestly entrusted to me.

11 I also, above all things, entreat you, O Marcus Fannius, to show yourself at this present time both to us and to the Roman people the same man that you formerly showed yourself to the Roman people when you before presided at the trial in this same cause. [Note]

ch. 5

You see how great a crowd of men has come to this trial. You are aware how great is the expectation of men, and how great their desire that the decisions of the courts of law should be severe and impartial. After a long interval, this is the first cause about matters of bloodshed which has been brought into court, though most shameful and important murders have been committed in that interval. All men hope that while you are praetor, these trials concerning manifest crimes, and the daily murders which take place, will be conducted with no less severity than this one.

Cicero, pro S. Roscio Amerino (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. S. Rosc.].
<<Cic. S. Rosc. 1 Cic. S. Rosc. 7 (Latin) >>Cic. S. Rosc. 15

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