Cicero : Pro Sex. Roscio

Sections 1-78

This speech was delivered for Sextus Roscius of Ameria, in 80 B.C.

The translation is by J.H. Freese (1930). Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each section. Click on ** to go to the translator's footnotes.

[1.] L   [1] Gentlemen of the jury, you probably wonder why, when so many eminent orators and illustrious citizens remain seated, it is I, rather than any of them, who have risen to speak, though neither in age, nor ability, nor authority, can I be compared with them. All those whom you see here supporting the accused are of opinion that in this case an unjust charge, concocted by an unexampled act of villainy, should be repelled, but dare not undertake the task themselves owing to the unfavourable conditions of the times. Hence it is that they are present in fulfilment of a duty, but remain silent because they are desirous of avoiding danger. [2] What then? Am I the boldest of all? By no means. Or am I so much more eager to render a service than the rest? I am not so eager even for that title to praise, as to wish others to be deprived of it. What then was the reason that impelled me, more than anyone else, to undertake the defence of Sextus Roscius? The reason is this. If any of those whom you see here, in whom the highest authority and dignity are vested, had risen to speak and uttered a word about public affairs - a thing impossible to avoid doing in a case like this - it would be made out that he had said much more than he really did. [3] On the other hand, as for me, even if I were to say freely all that there is to be said, my words will by no means be spread abroad in the same manner and become public property. In the next place, no word of theirs can pass unnoticed, owing to their rank and dignity, nor can any rashness of speech be allowed in their case owing to their age and ripe experience ; whereas, if I speak too freely, my words will either be ignored, because I have not yet entered public life, ** or pardoned owing to my youth, although not only the idea of pardon, but even the custom of legal inquiry has now been abolished from the State. ** [4] A further reason is this: while perhaps the way in which others were asked to speak on behalf of Roscius may have been such that they fancied they were at liberty either to consent or refuse without violating their obligations, I have been pressed to do so by men whose friendship, acts of kindness and rank have the greatest weight with me, whose goodwill towards myself I was bound not to ignore, nor to disdain their authority, nor to slight their wishes.

[2.] L   [5] It is for these reasons that I have come forward to undertake the defence in this cause. I have been chosen before all others, not as the most gifted orator, but as the only one left who could speak with the least risk; I have been chosen not that Sextus Roscius might be adequately defended, but to prevent his being altogether abandoned.

You may perhaps ask, what is the meaning of that terror, that dread, which prevents so many and such eminent men from consenting, in accordance with their constant practice, to plead the cause of one whose civil rights and property are at stake. It is not surprising that you are still in ignorance of this, since the accusers have purposely avoided mentioning the real reason that has brought about this trial. [6] What then is this reason? The property of the father of my client Sextus Roscius is valued at 6,000,000 sesterces, ** and it is from a most valiant and illustrious citizen, Lucius Sulla (whose name I mention with respect), that a young man, at the present time perhaps the most powerful in the State, claims to have bought the same for 2000 sesterces - I mean Lucius Cornelius Chrysogonus. What he demands from you is this, that because the excuse for his demand was his illegal seizure of this rich and splendid property of another, ** and because the existence of Sextus Roscius appears to be a hindrance and an obstacle to his enjoyment of it, you should therefore remove all uneasiness from his mind and put an end to his apprehension. As long as Sextus Roscius is alive, Chrysogonus thinks himself unable to retain possession of the large and rich inheritance of an innocent man like my client ; but if he is condemned and driven out of his country, he hopes to be able to squander and dissipate in luxury and extravagance what he has obtained by crime. He calls upon you to remove this anxiety from his mind, which torments and stings him night and day, and to avow yourselves his supporters in securing this ill-gotten booty.

[7] If this demand seems to you fair and honourable, gentlemen, I, on the other hand, put forward another demand, which is modest, and, I feel convinced, very much more reasonable.

[3.] L   In the first place, I request Chrysogonus to be satisfied with our wealth and property, and not to ask for our life-blood ; secondly, I ask you, gentlemen, to resist the villainy of audacious rascals, to alleviate the misfortunes of the innocent, and in the cause of Sextus Roscius to avert a danger which threatens us all. [8] But if any ground for the accusation, any suspicion of guilt or even the slightest thing can be discovered, which would make them appear to have had at least some reason for bringing the charge, and lastly if you find any other explanation of it than the booty of which I have spoken, we make no objection to the life of Roscius being abandoned to their passion. But if the only issue is that of satisfying the wants of those who are never satisfied, if the only object of the present struggle is to crown the seizure of that rich and splendid booty by the condemnation of Sextus Roscius, is it not the greatest of all these indignities that you should be thought capable of helping them, by your vote given under oath, to obtain what they themselves had formerly been accustomed to obtain by crime and the sword ? You were elected into the senate from the rest of the citizens owing to your merit, and have been summoned from the senate to form this court owing to your strict sense of justice ** ; is it from you that these fellows, assassins and gladiators, demand not only that they may escape the punishment which they ought to fear and dread from you owing to their misdeeds, but also that they may leave the court adorned and enriched with their spoils ?

[4.] L   [9] Of crimes so great and so atrocious as these I feel that I can neither speak in appropriate language, nor make my complaint with sufficient impressiveness, nor give vent to my indignation with sufficient freedom ; my poor abilities, my youth, and the times in which we live prevent the use of appropriate language, impressiveness, and freedom of speech. A further obstacle is the excessive nervousness imposed upon me by my natural modesty, by your dignity, the power of my opponents, and the peril of Sextus Roscius. For these reasons, gentlemen, I beg and implore you to listen to my words with attention and kindly indulgence. [10] Relying on your integrity and good sense, I feel that I have taken upon myself a burden heavier than I can bear. If you lighten this burden to some extent, I will bear it as well as I can, gentlemen, by dint of zeal and energy ; but if I am abandoned by you - which I do not expect - I will not lose courage, but will accomplish to the best of my ability the task which I have undertaken. But if I cannot accomplish it, I prefer to succumb to the burden of duty rather than to renounce through treachery or abandon through lack of courage a task which has once been imposed upon me in reliance upon my good faith.

[11] You also, Marcus Fannius, I earnestly request to show yourself to us and the republic to-day such a man as you did on a previous occasion to the people, when you presided over a similar court.

[5.] L   You see what a crowd has assembled at this trial; you are aware what everyone expects, what everyone eagerly desires - strict and severe sentences. After a long interval this is the first trial for murder that has taken place, although in the meantime there have been a large number of atrocious assassinations ; everyone hopes that, under your praetorship, this court will prove most (?) worthy of ** open crimes and daily bloodshed. [12] The vehement appeal which accusers are accustomed to make in other trials, we, the accused, make to-day. We ask Marcus Fannius, and you, gentlemen, to punish crimes with the utmost severity, to resist the most audacious of men with all your courage, and to bear in mind that, unless you show the real spirit by which you are animated, human passion, villainy, and audacity are likely to break bounds to such an extent that murders will be committed, not only in secret, but even here in the forum before your tribunal, Marcus Fannius, at your feet, gentlemen of the jury, and amidst the benches themselves on which you sit. [13] For what is the aim of this trial, if not that murder may be committed with impunity ? They are the accusers, who have laid hands upon the property of my client, he is the defendant, to whom they have left nothing but ruin; they are the accusers, who profited by the murder of my client's father, he is the defendant, to whom his father's death brought not only sorrow, but also poverty ; they are the accusers, who passionately desired to murder my client, he is the defendant who is obliged to present himself even before this tribunal with an escort, for fear he may be killed in this very same spot before your eyes ; lastly, they are the accusers, whose trial the people demands, he is the defendant, who is the sole survivor of their infamous massacre.

[14] And that you may more readily understand, gentlemen, that the actual deeds are more outrageous than my description of them, we will put before you the course of events from the beginning ; you will then find it easier to appreciate the misfortunes of this completely innocent man, the audacity of his enemies, and the deplorable condition of the State.

[6.] L   [15] Sextus Roscius, my client's father, was a citizen of the free town of Ameria ** ; by birth, descent, and fortune he was easily the chief man, not only in his own town, but also in the neighbourhood, while his influence and relations of hospitality with those of the highest rank enhanced his reputation. For he not only enjoyed relations of hospitality ** with the Metelli, Servilii, and Scipios, but also private intercourse and intimacy with those families, whose names I mention with the respect due to their high character and dignity. Well, then, of all the advantages of his position this was the only one which he bequeathed to his son, whose inheritance is in the hands of brigands belonging to his family, who have seized it by force, while the honour and life of the innocent son are defended by the guests and friends of the father. [16] Since the latter had always supported the nobles, especially in the latest disturbances, ** when the position and safety of all persons of distinction were in danger, he, more than anyone else in the neighbourhood, defended their party and upheld their cause by his efforts, zeal, and influence. In fact, he thought it his duty to fight for the honour of those to whom he owed it that he was reckoned a most honourable man among his fellow-citizens. After their victory had been established and we were no longer at war, when proscription was rife and those who were supposed to have belonged to the opposite party were being seized in every quarter, he was constantly in Rome, and showed himself every day in the forum before the eyes of all, as if he were triumphing in the victory of the nobles rather than fearing that it might prove disastrous to him.

[17] A long-standing feud had existed between him and two other Roscii of Ameria, one of whom I see sitting on the accusers' benches, while I hear that the other is in possession of three farms that belong to my client ; and had he been able to be as much on his guard against this hostility, as he was continually in fear of it, he would be alive to-day. For, in fact, his fears were not unfounded. For those two Titi Roscii - one of whom is surnamed Capito, while the other, who is present, is called Magnus - are men of the following character. The first is reputed to be a famous and experienced gladiator, ** who has won many victories, the second has recently betaken himself to the other as trainer, and although, so far as I know, before this last coup he was only a novice, he now easily surpasses the master himself in villainy and audacity.

[7.] L   [18] Now, while my client was at Ameria, and that Titus Roscius Magnus at Rome ; while the son was always engaged upon his farms, and, in accordance with his father's wish, devoted himself to the management of the estate and a country life, whereas Magnus was constantly at Rome, the father, while returning one evening from supper, was killed near the baths of Pallacina. ** I hope what I have stated leaves no doubt on whom suspicion of having committed the crime falls ; but unless the facts themselves change what is still only suspicion into certainty, you are welcome to decide that my client is implicated in the murder.

[19] After Sextus Roscius had been killed, the news was first brought to Ameria by one Mallius Glaucia, a man of no means, a freedman, a client and intimate acquaintance of this Titus Roscius, and brought, not to the son, but to his father's enemy, Titus Capito. Although the murder had been committed after the first hour of the night, the messenger reached Ameria at daybreak. During the night, in ten hours, with relays of light vehicles, he rapidly covered fifty-six miles, not only to be the first to bring the longed for message to the enemy, but also to show him the still reeking blood of his enemy and the dagger just pulled out of his body. [20] Four days after these events, the affair was reported to Chrysogonus in Sulla's camp at Volaterrae. ** Roscius's fortune was known to be large, the excellence of his estate (for he left thirteen farms ** nearly all on the borders of the Tiber) and my client's helplessness and isolation were dwelt upon. It was represented that, since his father, a man of such distinction and popularity, had been killed without any difficulty, it would be very easy to get rid of the son, unsuspicious as he was, living in the country, and unknown in Rome. The Roscii promised their assistance for this purpose. [8.] L   [21] Not to detain you longer, gentlemen, the partnership was formed.

Although at this time proscription was no longer mentioned, and even those who had formerly been kept away by fear returned, thinking that they were now out of danger, the name of Sextus Roscius, a zealous supporter of the nobles, was entered on the proscription-list **; Chrysogonus became the purchaser. ** Three farms, perhaps the best known, were handed over to Capito as his own property, and he is in possession of them this very day. As for the rest of the property, this Titus Roscius, as he himself says, seized it in the name of Chrysogonus. This property, valued at 6,000,000 sesterces, was bought for 2000 sesterces. I am convinced, gentlemen, that all this took place without Sulla's knowledge. [22] For at the time when he is repairing the past and preparing for the possible emergencies of the future ; when he alone possesses the means of establishing peace and the power of waging war ; when all eyes are fixed upon him alone, and he alone is absolute ruler ; when he is distracted by so many and such important affairs that he cannot even breathe freely, we ought not to be surprised if something escapes his notice, especially as so many are on the look-out for the time when he is busy and are watching for an opportunity, as soon as he is off his guard, to start some such plan as this. Add to this that, although he is "fortunate," ** as he really is, no one can be so fortunate as not to have some dishonest slave or freedman in a large household.

[23] Meanwhile, the excellent Titus Roscius, the agent of Chrysogonus, comes to Ameria ; he seizes my client's farms, and before the unhappy man, overwhelmed with grief, had rendered all the last tokens of respect to his father, strips and throws him out of his house, and drives him headlong from the hearth and home of his fathers and his household gods, while he himself becomes the owner of an ample property. Having formerly lived in penury on his own scanty means, when he came into possession of what belonged to another, he became (as is generally the case) arrogant and extravagant. He openly carried much away to his own house, secretly removed more, distributed much with a liberal and lavish hand among those who had helped him, and sold by auction ** what was left.

[9.] L   [24] This seemed so outrageous to the inhabitants of Ameria that the whole town was filled with tears and lamentations. They saw many sorrowful incidents occurring at the same time; the cruel murder of Sextus Roscius, a most prosperous fellow-citizen ; the scandalous poverty of his son, to whom that impious robber had not even left, out of so rich an inheritance, the right of way to the family burying-place ** ; the infamous purchase of the property, seizure, theft, robbery, donations. There was no one who would not have preferred to dare everything rather than see Titus Roscius riding the high horse and lording it over the property of Sextus Roscius, a most excellent and honourable man. [25] Accordingly the decurions ** immediately issued a decree, in accordance with which their ten chief members were to approach Sulla and inform him what kind of man Sextus Roscius was, to lodge a complaint regarding the iniquitous crimes of these men, and beg him to be good enough to see that the reputation of the dead father and the fortune of the innocent son might be protected. I ask you to listen to the terms of the decree.

{ The decree of the decurions is read. }

The delegation reached the camp. It is easy to see, gentlemen, that, as I have said before, all these infamous crimes were committed without the knowledge of Sulla. For Chrysogonus immediately went to meet the delegates in person and deputed certain men of rank to beg them not to approach Sulla and to promise them that Chrysogonus would do everything they wished. [26] For he was so alarmed, that he would have preferred death to Sulla being informed of what had taken place. The delegates, men of the good old stock, judged other men's character by their own, and when Chrysogonus assured them that he himself would remove Roscius's name from the proscription-list, hand over the unoccupied ** farms to the son, and Titus Roscius Capito, who was one of the ten delegates, further guaranteed that the promise would be carried out, they believed these assurances, and returned to Ameria without having laid their case before Sulla. At first these men ** began to put off the matter day by day and defer it till the morrow, then to act more sluggishly, to do nothing, and befool the delegates; finally, as it was quite easy to see, they began to contrive a plot against the life of my client, thinking that they could no longer retain possession of the property of another while the real owner was alive.

[10.] L   [27] As soon as he perceived this, on the advice of his friends and relatives my client took refuge in Rome, and betook himself to Caecilia, the sister of Nepos, the daughter of Balearicus (whose name I mention with respect), ** formerly an intimate friend of his father, a woman in whom, gentlemen, even today, as has always been the general opinion, there still survive, to serve as a model, traces of the old sense of duty. She took into her house Sextus Roscius, when he was destitute, driven out of his home and expelled from his property, fleeing from the daggers and threats of brigands, and assisted her friend, now overwhelmed with misfortune, whose safety was despaired of by all. Thanks to her courage, loyalty, and vigilance, his name was entered while he was alive in the list of the accused, instead of in the list of the proscribed after his death.

[28] In fact, when these men perceived that the life of Sextus Roscius was protected with the utmost vigilance and that no opportunity offered for putting him to death, they formed the villainous and audacious plan of accusing him of parricide ; of procuring some experienced accuser for the purpose, who might be able to say something on a matter in which there was not even the least ground of suspicion ; and lastly, since they could not bring any real charge against him, of employing the state of the times as a weapon. They said to themselves, "that public opinion, since no trials had taken place for so long a time, demanded the condemnation of the first person brought to trial ; that, owing to the influence of Chrysogonus, my client would find none to defend him ; that no one would say a word about the sale of the property and that partnership ; that by the mere name of parricide and the odiousness of the charge he would be removed without difficulty, since he would find no one to defend him." [29] In pursuance of this plan, or rather folly, they have handed over to you to murder the man whom, in spite of their desire to do so, they have been unable to slay with their own hands.

[11.] L   What am I to complain of first? from what point, gentlemen, am I to start by preference? What assistance am I to look for or from whom? Am I to implore the protection of the immortal gods, or that of the Roman people, or yours, gentlemen, who at this moment possess the sovereign power? [30] The father atrociously murdered, his house besieged by enemies, his property taken away, seized, and plundered, his son's life endangered, often assailed by treachery and the sword - what kind of crime seems to be missing among so many misdeeds? Yet they crown and aggravate them by other impious acts. They invent an incredible charge, bribe with my client's own money witnesses and accusers to appear against him, and reduce the wretched man to the alternative of choosing whether he prefers to offer his throat to Titus Roscius ** or to be sewn up in a sack ** and lose his life by a most infamous death. They thought that defenders would fail him, in fact, they have. But a man who will speak freely, who will loyally defend him - and this is enough in this case - will certainly not fail him, gentlemen. [31] Perhaps, in undertaking this case, I may have acted rashly under the impulse of youth ; since, however, I have once undertaken it, though threats, terrors, and dangers of every kind menace me on every side, by Hercules ! I will meet them and undergo them. ** I have deliberately made up my mind, not only to say all that I consider has to do with the case, but also to say it as I please, boldly, and freely ; no consideration shall arise of such importance, gentlemen, as to make it possible for fear to exert greater influence over me than honour. [32] For is there a man so indifferent as to keep silence and take no notice at the sight of such atrocities ? You murdered my ** father, although he was not proscribed ; after he had been killed, you entered his name in the proscription-list ; as for me, you drove me out of my house by force; as for my patrimony, you are in possession of it. What more do you want ? have you come to these benches fully armed either to murder or secure the condemnation of Sextus Roscius ?

[12.] L   [33] By far the most audacious man that we have recently had in the State was Gaius Fimbria, ** and also the maddest, as is generally agreed by all except those who are mad themselves. He contrived that, at the funeral of Gaius Marius, the most venerable and illustrious man in the State, Quintus Scaevola, ** should be wounded ; this is neither the place to say much in his praise, nor, if it were, could more be said than what is retained in the memory of the Roman people. Later on, being informed that Scaevola might possibly recover, Fimbria laid an accusation against him. When he was asked whatever was the reason why he was going to accuse a man whom no one could even praise as adequately as his merit deserved, he is said to have answered, like the madman that he was, "because he had not received the whole of the weapon in his body." ** The Roman people never saw a more disgraceful spectacle than this, unless it be the murder of this same Scaevola, which had such an effect that it brought ruin and disaster on the whole body of citizens, on those by whom, because he desired to save them by means of an amicable settlement, he was himself slain. [34] In the present case is there not a striking resemblance to the words and deeds of Fimbria ? You accuse Sextus Roscius. Why? Because he has escaped from your hands, because he has not allowed himself to be killed. The crime of Fimbria, because it was committed in the case of Scaevola, seems more infamous ; is the crime against Roscius just because it is committed by Chrysogonus, to be endured? For, by the immortal gods, what is there in this case that needs a defence ? What point requires the talent of a lawyer or greatly needs the eloquence of an orator? Let us unfold the whole case, gentlemen, and examine it after it has been put before your eyes; by this means you will most readily understand on what the whole issue depends, what ought to be the subject of my speech, and what course it befits you to follow.

[13.] L   [35] As far as I can judge, there are three obstacles by which Sextus Roscius is faced to-day : the accusation brought by his adversaries, their audacity, and their power. The accuser Erucius has undertaken the fabrication of the charge ; the Roscii have claimed the role of the audacious villains ; but Chrysogonus, who has the greatest influence, uses the weapon of power against us. I feel that it is my duty to discuss each of these three points. How then am I to proceed ? [36] I must not discuss them all in the same way, for the reason that the first point concerns my own duty, whereas the Roman people has assigned the two others to you. I have to refute the charge; it rests with you to resist audacity, to smother and extinguish the dangerous and intolerable power of men of this kind at the very first opportunity.

[37] My client is accused of having killed his father - a criminal and impious act, O immortal gods! of such a nature that all kinds of guilt seem to be included in this single evil deed. In fact, if, as is well said by philosophers, filial duty is often violated by a look, what punishment sufficiently severe can be found for one who has brought death upon his father, for whom all laws human and divine bound him to suffer death himself, if circumstances demanded ?

[38] In the case of a crime so grave, so atrocious, so unusual, and one which has been so rarely committed that, whenever it is heard of, it is regarded as a portent and monstrosity, what arguments, I ask you, do you think you ought to employ, Erucius, in your capacity of accuser? Ought you not to show the remarkable audacity of the man who is accused of it, his savage manners and brutal nature, a life given up to every kind of vice and infamy, in short, a character depraved, abandoned, and utterly ruined? You have brought none of these imputations against my client, not even for the sake of throwing them in his teeth. **

[14.] L   [39] Sextus Roscius killed his father. What kind of man is he then ? a depraved youth led astray by worthless companions? He is more than forty years old. He is doubtless a veteran assassin, a man of audacity and experienced in committing murder ? But you have not heard this even hinted at by the accuser. No doubt, then, it was riotous living, enormous debts, and his unbridled desires that drove him to commit this crime ? As for the charge of riotous living, Erucius himself has cleared him from that by saying that he hardly ever took part in any festive gathering ; as for debts, he never had any ; further, as for greed, how could it exist in one who has always lived in the country and occupied himself with the cultivation of his land, with which the accuser himself has reproached him - a kind of life which is entirely removed from the passion of avarice, but inseparable from duty ? [40] What then suggested such an act of madness as that to Sextus Roscius ? "His father disliked him," says the accuser. His father disliked him ? why? There must have been a valid, strong, and obvious reason, for it is as improbable that a son should be hated by his father without many strong and cogent reasons, as it is incredible that death should be inflicted upon a father by his son unless he had numerous and weighty motives for the act. [41] To return to our point: let us ask what vices there can have been in an only son sufficiently shocking to make his father dislike him. But it is clear that he had no vices. Was his father mad, then, seeing that he hated, without reason, the son whom he had begotten? On the contrary, he was a man of a most steadfast character. Consequently, it is evident indeed that, if the father was not out of his mind nor his son a profligate, the father had no reason to hate his son, nor the son to murder him.

[15.] L   [42] "I do not know," says the accuser, "what reason there was for this hatred ; I only know that it existed, since previously, when he had two sons alive, he wanted the one who is now dead to be always with him, but sent away the accused to his farms in the country." And what happened to Erucius in bringing a malicious and frivolous accusation is exactly my experience in defending an excellent cause. He could find no proofs to support his false charge, I can discover no means of disproving and refuting such trifling allegations. [43] What is that you say, Erucius ? Did Sextus Roscius hand over so many fine and productive farms to his son to cultivate and look after merely for the sake of getting him out of the way and punishing him ? What? do not the heads of households who have children, especially those of Roscius's class from the country towns, think it most desirable for themselves that their sons should devote them selves as much as possible to the management of the estate and spend a large part of their labour and pains on cultivating the farms? [44] Or did he send him away with the intent that he might remain on the estate and merely have his food given him at the country house while at the same time he was deprived of all advantages ? ** What? if it is established that Roscius not only superintended the cultivation of the farms, but, even during his father's lifetime, was allowed to have the usufruct of certain estates, will you, in spite of this, continue to call his life a banishment to the country to get him out of the way? You see, Erucius, how far your reasoning differs from the facts of the case and the truth. What fathers are in the habit of doing, you find fault with as something novel ; what is an act of kindness you denounce as inspired by hatred ; what a father has granted his son as a mark of esteem, you assert is intended as a punishment. [45] Not that you do not understand this, but you can find so few arguments, that you think yourself obliged not only to speak against us, but even against the nature of the facts, ** the custom of mankind, and generally received opinions.

[16.] L   Well, but, you say, whereas Roscius had two sons, he never sent one of them away, but left the other to live in the country. I beg you, Erucius, to take what I am going to say in good part, for I do not mean to reproach you, but to remind you. [46] If it has not been your lot to be born of a father about whom there is no mistake, ** from whom you could have learnt what was the feeling of a father towards his children, at least nature has given you no small share of humanity, combined with a taste for learning, so that you are not a stranger to literature. To take an example from the stage, I ask you whether you really think that the old man in the play of Caecilius ** thinks less of Eutychus, who lives in the country, than of the other, Chaerestratus (I think that was his name); that he keeps the one with him in the city as a token of esteem, while he has sent the other into the country as a punishment. [47] "Why go off into such irrelevancies?" you will say. As if it would be difficult for me - without "going off" very far - to bring forward by name as many as you please of my fellow-tribesmen or neighbours, who desire that their favourite sons should devote themselves to agriculture! But it is a breach of good manners to take as examples men who are well known, ** since it is uncertain whether they would like their names to be given; besides, none of them is likely to be better known to you than Eutychus, and certainly it makes no difference to the argument, whether I quote the name of this young man in the comedy or of anyone from the territory of Veii. ** I think, in fact, that these fictions of the poets are intended to give us a representation of our manners in the characters of others and a vivid picture of our daily life. [48] Come now, carry your mind back, if you please, to realities and con sider what pursuits are most esteemed by heads of households, not only in Umbria and the neighbourhood, but in our old municipal towns ; and you will assuredly find that, for lack of well-grounded accusations, you have made out what does the highest credit to Roscius to be a crime and a fault. [17.] L   And it is not only in obedience to their fathers' wishes that sons devote themselves to agriculture, but I myself, and, unless I am mistaken, each of you also knows many, who of their own accord are inspired by zeal for everything connected with agriculture, and consider this country life, which you think should be made a subject for shame and accusation, to be most honourable and most agreeable. [49] As for this Roscius himself, what do you think of the zeal and knowledge shown by him in rural matters? As I learn from his relatives here, most honourable men, you are not shrewder in your own trade of accuser than he is in his. But I suppose, since it is the good pleasure of Chrysogonus, who has not left him a single farm, if he likes, he will be able to forget his trade and give up his interest in it. Although it is disgraceful and an indignity, he will bear it with equanimity, gentlemen, if your verdict enables him to retain his life and honour ; but what is intolerable is, that he has been reduced to this distress owing to the number and excellence of his farms, that the pains he has taken to cultivate them will be specially prejudicial to him, and, as if it were not enough misfortune to have cultivated them for others and not for himself, that he should be accused for having cultivated them at all.

[18.] L   [50] In truth, Erucius, you would have made an absurd accuser if you had been born in the times when men were summoned from the plough to be made consuls. For, seeing that you think it a crime to superintend the cultivation of the land, you would assuredly have considered the well-known Atilius, ** whom the deputation found sowing his field with his own hand, a most base and dishonourable man. But by heaven! our ancestors had a very different opinion of Atilius and others like him. And it was by acting on such principles that, in place of a very small and poor State, they have left us one that is very great and prosperous. For they cultivated their own lands diligently, they did not covetously desire those of others ; and by such conduct they added lands and cities, and nations to the republic, and made this dominion and the name of the Roman people greater. [51] I do not bring forward these facts in order to make a comparison between them and those which we are now examining ; my object is to make it understood that, as in the times of our ancestors men of the highest rank and character, who at any time might be summoned to take the helm of the State, nevertheless spent very much time and trouble on the cultivation of their lands, so a man ought to be excused if he confesses himself a rustic, since he has always lived in and clung to the country, especially since there was nothing he could do which would be more agreeable to his father, more pleasant to himself, or really more honourable.

[52] So then, I suppose, Erucius, this violent hatred of the father against the son is shown by his allowing him to remain in the country! Is there anything else? "Certainly there is," says he; "for he intended to disinherit him." I am glad to hear that ; what you say now may have something to do with the case, for I think that even you admit the following arguments to be trifling and absurd: ? "He never went to any entertainments with his father;" of course not, seeing that he rarely came into town." People very seldom asked him to their house;" there is nothing surprising in that, seeing that he did not live in the city, and could not return their invitation. [19.] L   But you yourself are aware that such arguments are worthless. Now let us consider what we began to speak of, which is the strongest proof of hatred that can possibly be found: [53] "the father intended to disinherit the son." I do not ask for what reason, I ask how you know it. Certainly you ought to have stated and enumerated all the reasons, and it would have been the duty of a conscientious accuser, whose object it was to convict anyone of such a crime, to set forth all the vices and transgressions of the son, by which the father could have been so enraged as to bring himself to overcome his natural feelings, to drive out of his mind that love so deeply rooted in it, and, lastly, to forget that he was a father, which it seems to me could never have happened without the gravest transgressions on the part of my client. [54] However, I give you permission to pass over these faults, which by your silence you admit are nonexistent; as for your affirmation that he intended to disinherit his son, you certainly ought to prove it. What then can you bring forward to convince us that such was his intention? You can say nothing that agrees with the truth, but at least invent something plausible that you may not be clearly convicted of doing what you are openly doing - of insulting the misfortunes of Roscius and the dignity of judges so eminent as these. The father intended to disinherit the son: for what reason? "I do not know."   Did he disinherit him? ?? "No."   Who prevented him ? "He was thinking of it."   Thinking of it? to whom did he say that? "To nobody."   What, I ask, is an accusation of this kind and such imputations as you are not only unable to prove but do not even attempt to prove - what are they but an abuse of the court, the laws, and your dignity, gentlemen, in order to secure gain and gratify extravagant desires? [55] There is not one of us, Erucius, who does not know that no personal enmity exists between you and Roscius; everybody is aware why you appear in court as his enemy ; everybody knows that you have been prevailed upon by my client's money. So then what is there to say ? ** And yet, however eager for gain you were, you ought to have thought that the opinion of the jury about you and the Remmian law ** must carry some weight.

[20.] L   It is a useful thing that there should be a number of accusers in the State, so that audacity may be held in check by fear, but only on condition that they do not openly play the fool with us. So-and-so is innocent; but although he is free from guilt, he is not free from suspicion. Although it is a misfortune for him, still, I could to a certain extent pardon one who accuses him. For since the accuser is able to state something to incriminate the accused and create suspicion against him, he may not appear to be openly fooling us or knowingly slandering us. [56] This is the reason why we are all ready to allow that there should be as many accusers as possible, because an innocent man, if he is accused, can be acquitted, and one who is guilty, unless he is accused, cannot be condemned ; but it is more serviceable that an innocent man should be acquitted than that a guilty man should not be brought to trial. The food for the geese of the Capitol ** is contracted for at the public expense, and dogs are kept there, to give the alarm in case thieves should break in. Certainly they cannot distinguish thieves from others, yet they give the alarm if any persons enter the Capitol by night, because this looks suspicious, and although they are merely animals, if they make a mistake, it is rather on the side of caution. But if the dogs should bark by daylight as well, when people come to worship the gods, I imagine they would have their legs broken, for being on the alert even at a time when there is no room for suspicion. It is just the same in the case of the accusers. [57] Some of you are geese, who only cackle but cannot do any harm, others are dogs, who can both bark and bite. We take care that food is provided for you, ** but you ought especially to attack those who deserve it ; this is most agreeable to the people. Next, when there is a probability that someone has committed a crime, if you have any suspicions, you may bark, if you like ; that also is permissible. But if you act in such a manner as to endeavour to prove that a son has murdered his father, without being able to say why or how, if you only bark when there is no cause for suspicion, certainly your legs will not be broken, but, if I know these gentlemen well, they will brand your forehead with that letter, ** which is so odious to you accusers that you even hate all the Kalends, so deeply that in future you will have no one to accuse but your own ill-luck.

[21.] L   [58] What then have you given me to refute, my worthy accuser ? What grounds for suspicion have you given these gentlemen? '' He was afraid of being disinherited." I hear you say so, but no one gives any reason why he should have been afraid of this. "* His father intended to disinherit him." Prove it. There is no proof; you neither give the name of anyone whom he consulted or informed of his intention, nor the reasons which caused such a suspicion to arise in your mind. When you bring an accusation in this manner, Erucius, do you not openly declare : "I know what I have received, I do not know what I am to say ; my only consideration has been the assertion of Chrysogonus that no one would undertake the defence of this man, that no one in times like these would dare to utter a word about the purchase of the goods or the partnership" ? It was this delusive hope that led you into this self-deception ; by heaven! you would not have said a word, if you had thought that anyone would reply to you.

[59] It would have been worth your while, gentlemen, if you noticed it, to consider this man's carelessness in making his accusation. When he saw who were the men sitting on these benches, I cannot help thinking that he asked whether so and so was likely to undertake the defence ; that he never even thought of me, because I had never pleaded in a criminal case before. Finding that no one of ability or experience would defend, he began to show such indifference that, when it occurred to him, he sat down, then he walked about, ** sometimes called for his slave (I suppose to order supper); in fact, he treated you who sit in judgement and the general public with no more respect than if he had been absolutely alone.

[22.] L   [60] At last he concluded and sat down; I got up. He seemed to breathe again, because no one rather than myself was going to speak. I began to speak. I observed, gentlemen, that he was joking and paid no attention, until I mentioned the name of Chrysogonus ; as soon as I referred to him my man immediately jumped up ; he seemed to be astonished. I understood what had stung him. I mentioned Chrysogonus a second and a third time. After that, men continued running hastily hither and thither, I suppose to inform Chrysogonus that there was someone in Rome who was bold enough to speak contrary to his will, that the case was being carried on differently from what he expected, that the purchase of the goods was revealed, that the partnership was being severely criticised and his influence and power disregarded, that the jurymen were attending carefully, that the people thought the matter scandalous. [61] Since you have been mistaken in these matters ; since you see that everything is changed, that the cause of Sextus Roscius is being pleaded, if not adequately, at least with freedom ; since you see that he whom you thought abandoned is being defended, that those who you thought would give him up are acting as judges, show us again, at last, your old shrewdness and sagacity, confess that you have come here hopefully, because you imagined that you would find here the opportunity for robbery rather than the home of justice. **

The trial deals with a case of parricide ; the accuser has given no account of the motive which induced the son to kill his father. [62] In the case of the most trifling offences and less flagrant misdemeanours, such as we know are more frequent and now of almost daily occurrence, the object of the first and fullest inquiry is to find out the motive of the offence ; but in a case of parricide Erucius does not think such an inquiry necessary. In the case of such a crime, gentlemen, even when many motives appear to coincide and to be consistent with each other, it is not believed without due consideration, the matter is not decided by idle conjectures, no untrustworthy witness is listened to, nor is the verdict determined by the accuser's ability. In addition to the commission of many crimes and a most abandoned life, it must be proved that the accused has shown extraordinary audacity, and not only audacity, but the height of frenzy and madness. But even if all this be proved, unmistakable traces of the crime must be forthcoming : where, how, by whose means, the time at which it was committed. And unless these proofs are many and evident, assuredly an act so criminal, so atrocious, and so wicked cannot be believed. [63] For the power of human feeling is great; the ties of blood are very strong ; nature herself cries out against such suspicions ; it is undoubtedly an unnatural and monstrous phenomenon, that a being of human form and figure should exist so far surpassing the beasts in savagery as to have most shamefully defrauded of the light of day those to whom he is indebted for that sweetest of all sights, whereas even the beasts are united among themselves by the ties of birth, rearing, and of nature herself. **

[23.] L   [64] Not many years ago, it is said, a certain Titus Caelius, a well-known citizen of Tarracina, ** went to bed after supper in the same room as his two grownup sons, and was found dead in the morning with his throat cut. As no slave nor free man could be found, on whom suspicion might have fallen, while the two grown-up sons who slept near their father declared that they had not noticed anything, they were indicted for parricide. What could be so suspicious ? that neither of them had observed anything ? that someone had dared to venture into that room, at the very time when the two sons were there, who could easily have seen the crime and offered resistance ? [65] Moreover, there was no one who might have been reasonably suspected. However, the judges having been convinced that the young men had been found asleep when the door was opened, ** they were acquitted and cleared of all suspicion. In fact, there was no one who thought that a man could have existed capable of going to sleep immediately after he had violated all laws human and divine by an impious crime, because those who have committed such a deed are not only unable to rest peacefully, but cannot even breathe without fear.

[24.] L   [66] Do you not know of those sons ** who, according to the traditions handed down to us by the poets, slew their mother to avenge their father? Even though they are said to have acted in obedience to the commands and oracles of the immortal gods, yet you read how the Furies harass them and never allow them to rest, because they could not even fulfil their duty to their father without committing a crime. For the truth is this, gentlemen: the blood of a father and mother has great power, restraining force, ** and sanctity ; a single drop of this blood produces a stain, which not only cannot be washed out, ** but penetrates even to the heart, to be succeeded by the height of frenzy and madness. [67] For you must not think, as you often see in plays, that those who have committed any impious and criminal act are harassed and terrified by the blazing torches of the Furies. It is their own evil deed, their own terror that torments them more than anything else; each of them is harassed and driven to madness by his own crime ; his own evil thoughts and the stings of conscience terrify him. These are the Furies which never leave the wicked, which dwell in their hearts, which, night and day, exact expiation for parents from sons stained with guilt.

[68] It is owing to the enormity of the crime that, unless the act of parricide is beyond a doubt, it appears incredible ; unless a man's youth has been disgraceful, his life polluted with shameful acts of every kind, his extravagance lavish accompanied by shame and disgrace, his audacity unrestrained, his rashness not far removed from madness. To this should be added hatred on his father's part, the fear of paternal reproof, bad friends, slaves as accomplices, a favourable opportunity, a suitably chosen place for the purpose. I would almost say that the jury must see the son's hands sprinkled with the father's blood, if they are to believe a crime so great, so atrocious, and so cruel. **

[69] This is the reason why, the less credible parricide is, unless it is clearly demonstrated, it should be punished all the more severely, if it is proved beyond a doubt.

[25.] L   And so, while from many other things we can understand that our ancestors have surpassed other nations, not only in arms, but also in wisdom and prudence, this is especially shown by the fact that they devised a remarkable punishment for the undutiful. In this matter, consider how in sagacity they excelled those who are reputed to have been the wisest men of all other nations. [70] According to tradition, Athens, while she possessed the hegemony of Greece, was the most sagacious of all the states ; moreover, the wisest of her citizens is said to have been Solon, the man who drew up the laws which are still in force among them at the present day. When he was asked why he had not fixed a punishment for a man who had killed his father, he answered that he thought no one would be guilty of such a crime. He is said to have acted wisely in not appointing any penalty for a crime which until then had never been committed, for fear he might appear to suggest rather than prevent it. How much wiser were our ancestors ! Aware that nothing was so sacred that it might not some day be violated by an act of audacity, they thought out a remarkable punishment for parricides, with the object of deterring from crime, by the greatness of the punishment, those whom nature alone had been unable to keep loyal to duty : they ordered that they should be sewn alive into a sack, and then thrown into a river.

[26.] L   [71] A remarkable instance of wisdom, gentlemen! Do they not seem to have removed and torn such a man out of the whole scheme of nature, when they suddenly deprived him of the sky, the sun, earth, and water, so that one who had killed him to whom he owed his birth might be without all those elements to which it is said that all existing things owe their birth? They did not want to throw the body to wild beasts, lest beasts too, that had touched anything so monstrous, should be rendered more savage towards us ; they did not want to throw such men, thus naked, into a river, lest, carried down into the sea, they might pollute that very element, by which all that is polluted is supposed to be cleansed ** ; in a word, there is nothing so common or worthless that they left them any share in it. [72] For what is so common as breath to the living, earth to the dead, the sea to those tossed by the waves, the shore to those cast up by the sea? They live, while life lasts, without being able to draw breath from heaven; they die without earth coming in contact with their bones ; they are tossed by the waves without ever being cleansed by washing ; lastly, they are cast ashore without being able, after death, to find rest even on the rocks.

It is of so great a crime that you accuse Roscius, a crime for which so remarkable a punishment has been imposed ; do you think, Erucius, that you can prove it to men such as these, if you cannot even bring forward a reason for the crime? If you were accusing him before the purchasers of his property themselves, and Chrysogonus were presiding at the trial, you should nevertheless have come more carefully prepared. [73] Do you not see what is the nature of the case, or before whom it is being pleaded? It is a question of parricide, which no one attempts to commit without many motives ; it is pleaded before men of the greatest shrewdness, who know that no one commits even the most trifling misdemeanour without a motive.

[27.] L   Very well; you cannot bring forward any motive. Although it ought to be considered at once that I have won my case, I will not insist upon my right, and will make a concession to you in this case, which I would not make in any other, so convinced am I of my client's innocence. I do not ask you to say why Sextus Roscius killed his father, I ask you how he killed him. Yes, I ask you how, O Gaius Erucius, and I will so deal with you that, although it is my time for speaking, ** I will give you full permission to answer, to interrupt, or, even if you desire it, to ask me questions. How did he kill him? [74] Did he strike the blow himself, or entrust the task to others? If you maintain that he did it himself, I answer that he was not in Rome; if you say that he did it by the hands of others, I ask you, who were they? Slaves or free men? If free men, who are they ? from the same place Ameria, or some of these assassins from Rome? If from Ameria, who are they? why are their names not given? if from Rome, how did Roscius, who for several years did not come to Rome and never stayed there more than three days, make their acquaintance ? Where did he meet them? how did he get an interview with them ? how did he persuade them? He gave them a bribe. To whom, and through whom, did he give it? where did the money come from, and how much was it? Is it not by following up all such traces that the starting point of the crime is usually reached? And at the same time do not forget how you described the life of my client: you said that he was a boor and a savage, that he never talked to anyone, that he had never stayed in the town of Ameria. [75] In speaking of this, I pass over what might have been a very strong argument in favour of his innocence - that rustic manners, frugal living, a rough and uncivilised life are not generally the birthplace of such crimes. As you could not find every kind of crop or tree on every soil, so every kind of life does not produce every evil deed. The city creates luxury, from which avarice inevitably springs, while from avarice audacity breaks forth, the source of all crimes and misdeeds. On the other hand, this country life, which you call boorish, teaches thrift, carefulness, and justice.

[28.] L   [76] But I leave these reflections aside. I put this question : this man, who, as you yourself say, never mixed among men, by whose help was he able to perpetrate so mysterious a crime, and that too in his absence? An accusation is often false, gentlemen, but yet based upon facts that afford ground for suspicion ; in reference to these, if anything suspicious is found, I will admit that there is guilt. Sextus Roscius is killed at Rome, at the time when his son was in the territory of Ameria. I suppose he, who knew nobody in Rome, sent a letter to some assassin there. "He sent for someone."   Whom? when? "He sent a messenger."   Whom or to whom? " He persuaded someone by a bribe, by his influence, by promises and the expectations he raised."   None of these alternatives can even be fabricated, and yet it is a charge of parricide that is being pleaded.

[77] There remains the alternative that he committed the crime by the agency of slaves. O immortal gods, what a misfortune ! What a calamity ! That which, as a rule, in an accusation of such a kind, proves the salvation of an innocent man - the offer to put his slaves on the rack - is not permitted to Sextus Roscius! You, the accusers of my client, have in your possession all his slaves ; out of so numerous a household, not even a single boy has been left to attend to his daily meals. I now appeal to you, Publius Scipio, and to you, Marcus Metellus ** : when you were supporting him and acting on his behalf, did he not several times demand two of his father's slaves from his adversaries for the purpose of putting them to the torture? do you not remember that Titus Roscius refused ? Well? where are those slaves? Gentlemen, they are in the suite of Chrysogonus, by whom they are highly esteemed and valued. Even now, I demand that they be put to the question, my client begs and entreats you. [78] What are you about ? Why do you refuse ? Hesitate now, gentlemen, if you can, to decide by whom Sextus Roscius was killed ; whether it was by him who, owing to the death of his father, finds himself in poverty and in the midst of snares, who is not even allowed the opportunity of making an inquiry into his father's death, or whether it was those who shirk any inquiry, are in possession of the dead man's property, who live in murder and by murder. ** Everything in this case, gentlemen, is pitiable and scandalous, but nothing harsher or more unfair than this can be brought forward - that a son should not be allowed to put his father's slaves to the question in regard to his death. Is he not even to remain master of his own slaves long enough for them to be questioned ? I will shortly deal with this topic ; for all this has to do with the two Roscii and I promised to speak of their audacity as soon as I had refuted the accusations of Erucius.

Following sections (79-154)


1.   He had held no public office and this was the first causa publica (criminal case) in which he was engaged.

2.   It was very courageous on Cicero's part to make this statement, really a veiled attack upon Sulla. His venturing to attack Chrysogonus, a favourite and influential freedman of the dictator, was equally courageous, as also was his onslaught upon Naevius in Pro Quinctio.

3.   1000 sesterces are commonly said to equal about £8, but, owing to changes in the value of money, their present equivalent would be much higher.

4.   Chrysogonus is ironically supposed to make this excuse.

5.   To make up for the reduced number of senators resulting from the civil wars, Sulla added 300 of the noblest equites to that body. The functions of iudices in criminal trials originally belonged to the senators, were transferred to the equites by Gaius Gracchus, and restored to the senate by Sulla. The words 'propter severitatem' have been much discussed. Perhaps the iudex, to whom the quaestio inter sicarios fell, had the first pick of the senators, and secured those who were distinguished by their strict justice to form his consilium iudicum.

6.   i.e. best fitted to deal with (reading 'dignissimam' with Madvig and Clark). Among other numerous conjectures are "inimicissimam; remissionem sperant laturam; in manifestis . . . sanguine non dimissum iri sperant" (G. Landgraf in Rheinisches Museum, 1901). The reading of the mss. is 'dimissui' or 'dimissius'. A noun 'dimissus' in the sense of

7.   An Umbrian mountain town (mod. Amelia) on a hill about fifty miles north of Rome, between the valleys of the Tiber and Nar. A municipium possessed the right of Roman citizenship, but was governed by its own laws and administered on the Roman model.

8.   Hospitium refers to the relations of hospitality enjoyed from very ancient times when there were no inns by the Roscii with the families mentioned. Such hospitium went down to their descendants. "Domesticus usus et consuetudo" refers to ordinary social intercourse, about which there was nothing binding as in the case of hospitium, which could not be dissolved except by a formal act.

9.   The Civil War between Marius and Sulla.

10.   Cicero uses the word rather in the sense of "cut-throat" or "ruffian."

11.   Near the Circus Flaminius.

12.   In Etruria, a very strong position on the top of a lofty hill. Here the remnants of the Marian party resisted the attacks of Sulla for two years.

13.   Fundus, properly an estate on which there is a building ("ager cum aedificio fundus dicitur," Digest, i. 16. 211).

14.   Not the tabulae set up by Sulla after the battle at the Colline Gate containing the names of those on whose head a price was set, but the proscriptions legalised by the lex Valeria, which authorised Sulla to order the punishment of death. The lex Cornelia de proscriptione contained certain alterations in detail, such as that the goods of the proscribed and of those who fell in the enemy's army should be sold for the benefit of the State and their sons and grandsons deprived of the ius honorum. An end was put to these proscriptions on June 1, 81. Thus the elder Roscius's name was not in the lists before this date, he was not one of the old proscripti, since that date was past, but was "in proscriptorum numerum relatus" in order that his goods might be sold. He was not proscriptus according to the law. Mommsen on the meaning of the word proscriptio remarks : "It is a general term for any kind of notice, and not confined as a technical term to the regular penal code of the Romans. Sulla made it a word that inspired terror, but it was not a legal word in that sense. In legal language (without any addition such as hominum) it simply meant the surrender and confiscation of a man's estate (not outlawry) which could be sold for the benefit of the State (from proscribere, to advertise, give notice of sale)."

15.   Manceps is one who purchases anything from the State, or agrees to pay a certain sum by way of rent.

16.   Alluding to Sulla having taken the name of Felix after he had put the younger Marius to death.

17.   Auctio, as contrasted with sectio, is the sale of individual pieces of property.

18.   When the Romans sold any land on which their kinsmen were buried, they reserved the right of road to their graves. lf the Proper was sold without such reservation being made, the owner lost the right of access.

19.   The senate of free towns (municipia) such as Ameria were called decuriones ; the decem primi were a special committee of ten.

20.   As they would be, if the name of Roscius was struck off the proscription list, and their confiscation and sale thereby annulled.

21.   Chrysogonus and Capito.

22.   See § 147.

23.   Magnus, who is present.

24.   Parricides were sewn up in a sack and thrown into the sea.

25.   Others translate: "I will help and assist him."

26.   Cicero here puts himself in the place of his client.

27.   A violent demagogue. In the war against Mithradates he was legate of L. Valerius Flaccus, and when the latter was killed in a mutiny he undertook command. In 84 the soldiers deserted to Sulla, who had made peace with Mithradates. Fimbria fled to Pergamum and committed suicide.

28.   Q. Mucius Scaevola, pontifex maximus, a great lawyer, consul 95 B.C. He proposed the lex Licinia Mucia prohibiting non-citizens from claiming the franchise. In 82, having been proscribed by the Marian party, he was killed by the praetor Damasippus. A first-class orator and jurist, he wrote a large work on the Ius Civile.

29.   When a gladiator was defeated, if the spectators shouted "recipe ferrum", he had to offer his breast for the death-blow.

30.   That is, reproaching him for something you cannot prove.

31.   Others render commodis by "comforts of life."

32.   Or, "the natural course of things."

33.   An allusion to the bad reputation of Erucius's mother; also a freedman legally had no father: cf. Ulpian, frag. iv. 2 "qui matre quidem (certa), patre autem incerto nati sunt, spurii appellantur."

34.   Caecilius Statius (died 166 B.C., a Roman writer of comedy, by some ancient critics considered superior to Plautus. His model was Menander, whom he freely imitated. The play here referred to is Menander's 'Hypobolimaios' (Subditivus), the supposititious child.

35.   Or "known personally," i.e. either to me or to others.

36.   Veii in Etruria, an early rival of Rome, was destroyed by Camillus in 396 B.C. and its territory occupied by Roman settlers.

37.   Said to refer to C. Atilius Serranus, consul 257 B.C. According to Pliny (Nat. Hist. xviii. 20) when a deputation came to offer him the consulship, he was found sowing his land himself, whence his surname. But coins call him Sarranus, whence it has been conjectured that he was called

38.   Cicero pretends to dismiss the subject: "You wanted money. Why say more?" Then after a pause he corrects himself and reminds Erucius that the jury and the law might have something to say.

39.   It is not known when this law was passed or by whom. It dealt with the offence of calumnia, bringing a charge against anyone, while knowing it to be false. If an accuser was proved guilty of this, the law established certain penalties, amongst them being branded on the forehead with the letter K (the initial letter of 'calumnia' when correctly spelt, as also of Kalendae: see § 57). This rendered him subject to infamia (loss of political rights) and he could not again come forward as an accuser.

40.   The sacred geese were fed at the public expense, because their cackling saved the Capitol from capture by the Gauls (390 B.C.), while the dogs had failed to give warning. The comparison between the 'accusatores' and the geese is not accurate, because the sacred geese were not supposed to a watch, and prosecutors received no salary from the state.

41.   The fees received by people like Erucius from private persons, in this case the two Roscii.

42.   See § 55. The interest on debts had to be paid on the Kalends (first day of the month).

43.   Orators indulged in lively gesticulation and movements - flinging their arms about, stamping their feet, striding up and down ; cf. § 89 "quo te modo iactares !"

44.   Or, "expecting to find robbers, not jurymen."

45.   Halm compares De finibus, iii. 62 "etiam in bestiis vis naturae perspici potest: quarum in fetu et in educatione laborem cum cernimus, naturae ipsius vocem videmur audire."

46.   Tarracina (mod. Terracina), formerly called Anxur, was about sixty miles south-east of Rome, on the Via Appia. The story is repeated in Valerius Maximus (viii. 1. 18).

47.   Or, "sleeping with the door open." The Latin may bear either meaning ; it is merely a question which rendering appears more suitable.

48.   Orestes and Alcmaeon.

49.   Others render necessitas "a strong tie of kinship."

50.   Macbeth, v. 1, 86 "Out, damnéd spot."

51.   Another reading is praerupta "hasty," "headlong."

52.   Acerbum. Others render "unnatural," from the idea of sourness, unripeness (not ripe as it should be),

53.   Washing in running or sea-water was supposed to purify a person from blood-guiltiness.

54.   It was usual to leave the altercatio (the interposition of questions to upset an opponent, a kind of cross-examination) until counsel had finished his speech, but Cicero is so confident of winning his case that he expresses his readiness to let it take place during the time allowed for his own speech.

55.   Two of the advocati of Roscius, when he demanded his slaves to put to the torture from the praetor Fannius before the trial took place. It is uncertain who they were. Perhaps Scipio is P. Cornelius Scipio Nasica, praetor in 94, a grandson of the Scipio Nasica who slew Tiberius Gracchus.   In the mss. the name Metellus has no praenomen ; if this be M., he may be Marcus Metellus, praetor in 69, brother of Q. Metellus Creticus.   The advocatus gave advice and attended court to give moral support, but he was not allowed to speak ; this was left to the patronus.

56.   in (amidst) caede, as sicarii: ex (as the result of) caede as sectores.

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