Cicero, Pro Roscio Amerino 31-34

 

31. And perhaps in undertaking this cause I may have acted rashly, in obedience to the impulses of youth; but since I have once undertaken it, although forsooth every sort of terror and every possible danger were to threaten me on all sides, yet I will support and encounter them. I have deliberately resolved not only to say everything which I think is material to the cause, but to say it also willingly, boldly, and freely. Nothing can ever be of such importance in my mind that fear should be able to put a greater constraint on me than a regard to good faith. 32. Who, indeed, is of so profligate a disposition, as, when he sees these things, to be able to be silent and to disregard them? You have murdered my father when he had not been proscribed; you have classed him when murdered in the number of proscribed citizens; you have driven me by force from my house; you are in possession of my patrimony. What would you more? Have you not come even before the bench with sword and arms, that you may either convict Sextus Roscius or murder him in this presence?  

XII. 33. We lately had a most audacious man in this city, Gaius Fimbria, a man, as is well known among all except among those who are mad themselves, utterly insane. He, when at the funeral of Gaius Marius, had contrived that Quintus Scaevola, the most venerable and accomplished man in our city, should be wounded;--(a man in whose praise there is neither room to say much here, nor indeed is it possible to say more than the Roman people preserves in its recollection)--he, I say, brought an accusation against Scaevola, when he found that he might possibly live. When the question was asked him, what he was going to accuse that man of, whom no one could praise in a manner sufficiently suitable to his worth, they say that the man, like a madman as he was, answered,--for not having received the whole weapon in his body. A more lamentable thing was never seen by the Roman people, unless it were the death of that same man, which was so important that it crushed and broke the hearts of all his fellow-citizens; for endeavoring to save whom by an arrangement, he was destroyed by them. 34. Is not this case very like that speech and action of Fimbria? You are accusing Sextus Roscius: Why so? Because he escaped out of your hands, because he did not allow himself to be murdered. The one action, because it was done against Scaevola, appears scandalous; this one, because it is done by Chrysogonus, is intolerable. For, in the name of the immortal gods, what is there in this cause that requires a defense? What topic is there requiring the ability of an advocate, or even very much needing eloquence of speech? Let us, O judges, unfold the whole case, and when it is set before our eyes, let us consider it; by this means you will easily understand on what the whole case turns, and on what matters I ought to dwell, and what decision you ought to come to.

 

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