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.
78 What are you doing? Why do you refuse? Doubt now, O judges, if you can, by whom Sextus Roscius was murdered; whether by him, who, on account of his death, is exposed to poverty and treachery, who has not even opportunity allowed him of making inquiry into his father's death; or by those who shun investigation, who are in possession of his property, who live amid murder, and by murder. Everything in this cause, O judges, is lamentable and scandalous; but there is nothing which can be mentioned more bitter or more iniquitous than this. The son is not allowed to put his father's slaves to the question concerning his father's death. He is not to be master of his own slaves so long as to put them to the question concerning his father's death. I will come again, and that speedily, to this topic. For all this relates to the Roscii; and I have promised that I will speak of their audacity when I have effaced the accusations of Erucius.
Now, Erucius, I come to you. You must inevitably agree with me, if he is really implicated in this crime, that he either committed it with his own hand, which you deny, or by means of some other men, either freemen or slaves. Were they freemen? You can neither show that he had any opportunity of meeting them, nor by what means he could persuade them, nor where he saw them, nor by what agency he trafficked with them, nor by what hope, or what bribe he persuaded them. I show, on the other hand, not only that Sextus Roscius did nothing of all this, but that he was not even able to do anything, because he had neither been at Rome for many years, nor did he ever leave his farm without some object. The name of slaves appeared to remain to you, to which, when driven from your other suspicions, you might fly as to a harbour, when you strike upon such a rock that you not only see the accusation rebound back from it, but perceive that every suspicion falls upon you yourselves.
80 What is it, then? Whither has the accuser betaken himself in his dearth of arguments? The time, says he, was such that men were constantly being killed with impunity; so that you, from the great number of assassins, could effect this without any trouble. Meantime you seem to me, O Erucius, to be wishing to obtain two articles for one payment; to blacken our characters in this trial, and to accuse those very men from whom you have received payment. What do you say? Men were constantly being killed? By whose agency? and by whom? Do you not perceive that you have been brought here by brokers? What next? Are we ignorant that in these times the same men were brokers of men's lives as well as of their possessions?
81 Shall those men then, who at that time used to run about armed night and day, who spent all their time in rapine and murder, object to Sextus Roscius the bitterness and iniquity of that time? and will they think that troops of assassins, among whom they themselves were leaders and chiefs, can be made a ground of accusation against him? who not only was not at Rome, but who was utterly ignorant of everything that was being done at Rome, because he was continually in the country, as you yourself admit.
82 I fear that I may be wearisome to you, O judges, or that I may seem to distrust your capacity, if I dwell longer on matters which are so evident. The whole accusation of Erucius, as I think, is at an end; unless perhaps you expect me to refute the charges which he has brought against us of peculation and of other imaginary crimes of that sort; charges unheard of by us before this time, and quite novel; which he appeared to me to be spouting out of some other speech which he was composing against some other criminal; so wholly were they unconnected with either the crime of parricide, or the man who is now on his trial. But as he accuses us of these things with his bare word, it is sufficient to deny them with our bare word. If there is any point which he is keeping back to prove by witnesses, there also, as in this cause, he shall find us more ready than he expected.