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 1 has made you a sufficiently respectable accuser. We have seen many men slain, not at Thrasymenus, but at Servilius. 2
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THE ORATION FOR SEXTUS ROSCIUS OF AMERIA.
1 There is a little dispute as to Cicero's exact meaning here. Some think there is a sort of pun on the similarity of sound between Cannensis and Cinnanensis and that allusion is intended to the destruction of Cinna's army, in which a great number of Roman knights were slain. Facciolati thinks that the battle of Cannae is mentioned, not on account of the battle itself but of what followed it; so that as, after the battle of Cannae, the dictator was forced to intrust arms even to slaves, now, after the proscriptions of Sulla, the most worthless men were allowed to put themselves forth as accusers.
2 The Lacus Servilius was at Rome, and was the place where Sulla murdered a great many Romans, and set up their heads, even the heads of senators, to public view; so that Seneca says of the lake, “id enim proscriptionis Sullanae spoliorum est.”
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