Cicero, pro S. Roscio Amerino (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. S. Rosc.].
<<Cic. S. Rosc. 65 Cic. S. Rosc. 74 (Latin) >>Cic. S. Rosc. 80


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


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.

77 The only remaining alternative is that he managed it by means of slaves. Oh ye immortal gods, how miserable and disastrous is our lot. That which under such an accusation is usually a protection to the innocent, to offer his slaves to the question, that it is not allowed to Sextus Roscius to do. You, who accuse him, have all his slaves. There is not one boy to bring him his daily food left to Sextus Roscius out of so large a household. I appeal to you now, Publius Scipio, to you Metellus, while you were acting as his advocates, while you were pleading his cause, did not Sextus Roscius often demand of his adversaries that two of his father's slaves should be put to the question? Do you remember that you, O Titus Roscius, refused it? What? Where are those slaves? They are waiting on Chrysogonus, O judges; they are honoured and valued by him. Even now I demand that they be put to the question; he begs and entreats it.

Cicero, pro S. Roscio Amerino (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. S. Rosc.].
<<Cic. S. Rosc. 65 Cic. S. Rosc. 74 (Latin) >>Cic. S. Rosc. 80

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