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1 § 59. A causa publica was one which concerned the State (populus), and dealt with an offence not against an individual (privatus), but against the whole citizen-body. Willful murder was such an offence, as it threatened the public safety.
7 These were situated close to the circus Flaminius.
13 13. He received this name because he owed his freedom to L. Cornelius Sulla. See Verr. 2. 4. 25, and cp. App. Bell. Civ. n 100: 'Sulla set free and distributed among the people the youngest and strongest of the slaves of the proscribed, in number more than 10,000, and declared them Roman citizens, and called them Cornelii after himself, in order that he might have 10,000 men among the citizens ready to carry out his orders.' The name Chrysogonus often occurs in inscriptions as that of freedmen, and was also borne by a slave of Verres; see Verr. 2. 1.92.
14 Volaterra was one of the last towns which (after a two years' siege, B.C. 80) surrendered to Sulla. Cp. Strabo, 5.2.6: "There some of the Etruscans and those who were proscribed by Sulla assembled; they formed four cohorts of an army, were besieged for two years, and then surrendered the place under a truce."
15 Sall. Cat. 51. 32: nostra memoria victor Sulla cum Damasippum et alios eius modi, qui malo rei publicae creverant, iugulari iussit, quis non factum eius laudabat? homines scelestos et factiosos, qui seditionibus rem publicam exagitaverant, merito necatos aiebant. Sed ea res magnae initium cladis fuit: nam uti quisque domum aut villam, postremo vas aut vestimentum alicuius concupiverat, dabat operam ut is in proscriptorum numero esset . . . neque prius finis iugulandi fuit, quam Sulla omnes suos divitiis explevit.
21 Tabula proscriptionis. The publication of the list was supported by a 'lex de proscriptione' (§ 125). Cicero, referring there to this lex, says: 'sive Valeria est sive Cornelia, non enim novi. . . 'and in § 128 he disclaims exact knowledge of it: 'opinor esse in lege . . .' Why this vagueness? It is certain that a lex Valeria existed, having been duly passed in the Comitia Centuriata on the motion of L. Valerius Flaccus as interrex, conferring the dictatorship on Sulla and ratifying Sulla's acts (Cic. de Leg. Agr. 3. 5). Was there, as Cicero implies, a lex Cornelia on the same lines, so that the one might be confused with the other? Two views have been held: (1) Sulla may have issued an autocratic enactment, together with the proscription-list, regulating its operation; afterwards the phrase 'lex Cornelia' may have been applied to this enactment when it had been legalised by the lex Valeria; (2) Sulla may have supplemented the lex Valeria by a subsequent lex Cornelia announcing further regulations as to the proscribed persons, e.g. the regulations (§ 126) as to men slain within the outposts of Sulla's opponents, and (§ 128) as to the day up to which the list held good: together with other provisious (Verr. 2.1.123; Livy, Epit. 89). Whichever view is correct, the two titles would refer to closely allied ordinances, both virtually due to Sulla; Cicero refers to them as not needing to be distinguished, for he is as it were speaking thus: 'My duty does not require me to be acquainted with the exact basis of legality on which my opponents justify their treatment of my client. I only say that nothing in their lex--whatever its title--that has reached my ears, justifies them at all.' Possibly, as editors have suggested, he is speaking of this lex with veiled sarcasm as a piece of autocracy, a parody of law.
23 The property of a proscribed person was sold as public property sub hasta (originally the symbol of booty won in battle), i.e. by public auction, and was always sold as an undivided whole. Such a sale was called sectio; the purchaser, sector: cp. Gaius, Inst. 4. 146, sectores vocantur qui publica bona mercantur. The meaning of the word sector is very obscure, and was so even to the ancient grammarians, who derived it froni sequi, sectari, and explained sectores as sectatores bonorum. The derivation from secare (§ 80, sectores bonorum et collorum) seems more correct; but the theory that the purchasers were called sectores because they used to 'cut up' the entire property which they had bought into small divisions so as to sell it again, is surely a false one. (It is expressly contradicted by § 103: testimonium dicturus est is, qui et sector est et sicarius, hoc est, qui et illorum ipsorum bonorum, de quibus agitur, emptor atque possessor est, et eum hominem occidendum curavit de cuius morte quaeritur.) Since the purchaser of a property had to undertake the debts with which it was encumbered, Mommsen explains the word, with great probability, in reference to the percentage which was deducted from the price of a property, in consideration of its being saddled with debts. Thus purchasers who, instead of the full price, offered 50 per cent. of the price, would justly be called 'cutters off' (sectores). The property of Milo, for instance, on account of its indebtedness, was sold semuncia, i.e. for 1/24th of its value.
26 In § 17 Cicero only says possidere audio: but later on (§§ 21, 99, 108, 115, 117) he asserts it as a fact. We must, however, suppose that Capito did not come into possession of the three praedia immediately after the sale; for, if so, he could hardly have appeared amongst the decem primi of Ameria in Sulla's camp.
31 In municipia and colonias the Senate (variously named senatus, ordo, curia) usually consisted of 100 members, divided into decuries (decuriones), whence the whole body was called ordo decurionum. The decem primi who stood at the head of the decuries formed a special committee, and used to represent the community on embassies.
36 Sulla's own enactment provided against this; cp. Vell. Pat. 2. 28. 4, adiectum etiam, ut bona proscriptorum venirent exclusique paternis opibus liberi etiam petendorum honorum iure prohiberentur. But Cicero himself suggests that his opponents anticipated such an occurrence; §§ 145 sub fin., 146.
41 It is remarkable that Cicero has not noticed the inconsistency involved in this plan of his opponents. If the elder Roscius had really been proscribed, his murder could not legally be punished, for the lex Cornelia promised even rewards to those who killed the proscribed, 'even if it be the slave who slays his master, or the son who slays his father,' Plut. Sull. 31 ; while if he had not been proscribed, the sale of his property must have been illegal. (Richter.)
49 That Erucius was assisted by additional accusers (subscriptores） cannot be inferred from § 17, sedere in accusatorum subselliis, and § 87, qui cum accusatoribus sederes, where the plural refers generally to his opponents (cp. 6.30): see on the contrary, § 95, sederes cum accusatore; § 110, si accusator voluerit testimonium iis denuntiare. Nor does the singular prove that Erucius acted alone.
56 § 149. It is generally supposed that the consul of B.C. 61 is meant, who attained to this office only two years later than Cicero; but Drumann (Rom. Hist. v.237, note 84), with greater probability, thinks that the consul of B.C. 53 is meant, "who was now sixteen years of age, reckoning from the age at which the consulship was usually obtained, and had only lately assumed the toga virilis."
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