Cicero, pro S. Roscio Amerino (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. S. Rosc.].
<<Cic. S. Rosc. 64 Cic. S. Rosc. 73 (Latin) >>Cic. S. Rosc. 79

70 The state of the Athenians is said to have been the wisest while it enjoyed the supremacy. Moreover of that state they say that Solon was the wisest man, he who made the laws which they use even to this day. When he was asked why he had appointed no punishment for him who killed his father, he answered that he had not supposed that any one would do so. He is said to have done wisely in establishing nothing about a crime which had up to that time never been committed, lest he should seem not so much to forbid it as to put people in mind of it. How much more wisely did our ancestors act! for as they understood that there was nothing so holy that audacity did not sometimes violate it, they devised a singular punishment for parricides in order that they whom nature herself had not been able to retain in their duty, might be kept from crime by the enormity of the punishment. They ordered them to be sown alive in a sack, and in that condition to be thrown into the river.

ch. 26

71

O singular wisdom, O judges! Do they not seem to have cut this man off and separated him from nature; from whom they took away at once the heaven, the sun, water and earth, so that he who had slain him, from whom he himself was horn, might be deprived of all those things from which everything is said to derive its birth. They would not throw his body to wild beasts, lest we should find the very beasts who had touched such wickedness, more savage; they would not throw them naked into the river, lest when they were carried down into the sea, they should pollute that also, by which all other things which have been polluted are believed to be purified. There is nothing in short so vile or so common that they left them any share in it.

72 Indeed what is so common as breath to the living, earth to the dead, the sea to those who float, the shore to those who are cast up by the sea? These men so live, while they are able to live at all, that they are unable to draw breath from heaven; they so die that earth does not touch their bones; they are tossed about by the waves so that they are never washed; lastly, they are cast up by the sea so, that when dead they do not even rest on the rocks. Do you think, O Erucius, that you can prove to such men as these your charge of so enormous a crime, a crime to which so remarkable a punishment is affixed, if you do not allege any motive for the crime? If you were accusing him before the very purchasers of his property, and if Chrysogonus were presiding at that trial, still you would have come more carefully and with more preparation.

73 Is it that you do not see what the cause really is, or before whom it is being pleaded? The cause in question is parricide; which cannot be undertaken without many motives; and it is being tried before very wise men, who are aware that no one commits the very slightest crime without any motive whatever.

ch. 27

Be it so; you are unable to allege any motive. Although I ought at once to gain my cause, yet I will not insist on this, and I will concede to you in this cause what I would not concede in another, relying on this man's innocence. I do not ask you why Sextus Roscius killed his father; I ask you how he killed him? So I ask of you, O Caius Erucius, how, and I will so deal with you, that I will on this topic give you leave to answer me or to interrupt me, or even, if you wish to at all, to ask me questions.

74 How did he kill him? Did he strike him himself, or did he commit him to others to be murdered? If you say he did it himself, he was not at Rome; if you say he did it by the instrumentality of others, I ask you were they slaves or free men? who were they? Did they come from the same place, from Ameria, or were they assassins of this city? If they came from Ameria, who are they, why are they not named? If they are of Rome, how did Roscius make acquaintance with them? who for many years had not come to Rome, and who never was there more than three days. Where did he meet them? with whom did he speak? how did he persuade them? Did he give them a bribe? to whom did he give it? by whose agency did he give it? whence did he get it, and how much did he giver? Are not these the steps by which one generally arrives at the main fact of guilt? And let it occur to you at the same time how you have painted this man's life; that you have described him as an unpolished and country-mannered man; that he never held conversation with any one, that he had never dwelt in the city.

75 And in this I pass over that thing which might be a strong argument for me to prove his innocence, that atrocities of this sort are not usually produced among country manners, in a sober course of life, in an unpolished and rough sort of existence. As you cannot find every sort of crop, nor every tree, in every field, so every sort of crime is not engendered in every sort of life. In a city, luxury is engendered; avarice is inevitably produced by luxury; audacity must spring from avarice, and out of audacity arises every wickedness and every crime. But a country life, which you call a clownish one, is the teacher of economy, of industry, and of justice.

ch. 28

76

But I will say no more of this. I ask then by whose instrumentality did this man, who, as you yourself say, never mixed with men, contrive to accomplish this terrible crime with such secrecy, especially while absent? There are many things, O judges, which are false, and which can still be argued so as to cause suspicion. But in this matter, if any grounds for suspicion can be discovered, I will admit that there is guilt. Sextus Roscius is murdered at Rome, while his son is at his farm at Ameria. He sent letters, I suppose, to some assassin, he who knew no one at Rome. He sent for some one—but when? He sent a messenger—whom? or to whom? Did he persuade any one by bribes, by influence, by hope, by promises? None of these things can even be invented against him, and yet a trial for parricide is going on.



Cicero, pro S. Roscio Amerino (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. S. Rosc.].
<<Cic. S. Rosc. 64 Cic. S. Rosc. 73 (Latin) >>Cic. S. Rosc. 79

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