Cicero, pro S. Roscio Amerino (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. S. Rosc.].
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If you, O Erucius, had so many and such strong arguments against a criminal, how long you would speak; how you would plume yourself,—time indeed would fail you before words did. In truth, on each of these topics the materials are such that you might spend a whole day on each. And I could do the same; for I will not derogate so much from my own claims, though I arrogate nothing, as to believe that you can speak with more fluency than I can. But I, perhaps, owing to the number of advocates, may be classed in the common body; the battle of Cannae [Note] has made you a sufficiently respectable accuser. We have seen many men slain, not at Thrasymenus, but at Servilius. [Note]

90 “Who was not wounded there with Phrygian [Note] steel?”
I need not enumerate all,—the Curtii, the Marii, the Mamerci, whom age now exempted from battles; and, lastly, the aged Priam himself, Antistius, [Note] whom not only his age, but even the laws excused from going to battle. There are now six hundred men, whom nobody even mentions by name because of their meanness, who are accusers of men on charges of murdering and poisoning; all of whom, as far as I am concerned, I hope may find a livelihood. For there is no harm in there being as many dogs as possible, where there are many men to be watched, and many things to be guarded.

91 But, as is often the case, the violence and tumultuous nature of war brings many things to pass without the knowledge of the generals. While he who was administering the main government was occupied in other matters, there were men who in the meantime were curing their own wounds; who rushed about in the darkness and threw everything into confusion as if eternal night had enveloped the whole Republic. And by such men as these I wonder that the courts of justice were not burnt, that there might be no trace left of any judicial proceedings; for they did destroy both judges and accusers. There is this advantage, that they lived in such a manner that even if they wished it, they could not put to death all the witnesses; for as long as the race of men exists, there will not be wanting men to accuse them: as long as the state lasts, trials will take place. But as I began to say, both Erucius, if he had these arguments to use which I have mentioned, in any cause Of his, would be able to speak on them as long as he pleased, and I can do the same. But I choose, as I said before, to pass by them lightly, and only just to touch on each particular, so that all men may perceive that I am not accusing men of my own inclination, but only defending my own client from a sense of duty.

ch. 33


I see therefore that there were many causes which urged that man to this crime. Let us now see whether he had any opportunity of committing it. Where was Sextus Roscius slain?—at Rome. What of you, O Roscius? Where were you at that time?—at Rome. But what is that to the purpose? many other men were there too. As if the point now were, who of so vast a crowd slew him, and as if this were not rather the question, whether it is more probable that he who was slain at Rome was slain by that man who was constantly at Rome at that time, or by him who for many years had never come to Rome at all?

93 Come, let us consider now the other circumstances which might make it easy for him. There was at that time a multitude of assassins, as Erucius has stated, and men were being killed with impunity. What!—what was that multitude? A multitude, I imagine, either of those who were occupied in getting possession of men's property, or of those who were hired by them to murder some one. If you think it was composed of those who coveted other men's property, you are one of that number,—you who are enriched by our wealth; if of those whom they who call them by the lightest name call slayers, inquire to whom they are bound, and whose dependents they are, believe me you will find it is some one of your own confederacy, whatever you say to the contrary, compare it with our defence, and by this means the cause of Sextus Roscius will be most easily contrasted with yours.

94 You will say, “what follows if I was constantly at Rome?” I shall answer, “But I was never there at all.” “I confess that I am a broker, but so are many other men also.” “But I, as you yourself accuse me of being, am a countryman and a rustic.” “It does not follow at once, because I have been present with a troop of assassins, that I am an assassin myself.” “But at all events I, who never had even the acquaintance of assassins, am far removed from such a crime.” There are many things which may be mentioned, by which it may be understood that you had the greatest facilities for committing this crime, which I pass over, not only because I do not desire to accuse, but still more on this account,—because if I were to wish to enumerate all the murders which were then committed on the same account as that on which Sextus Roscius was slain, I fear lest my speech would seem to refer to others also.

ch. 34

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