1. I imagine that you, O judges, are marvelling why it is that when so many most eminent orators and most noble men are sitting still, I above all others should get up, who neither for age, nor for ability, nor for influence, am to be compared to those who are sitting still. For all these men whom you see present at this trial think that a man ought to be defended against all injury contrived against him by unrivalled wickedness; but through the sad state of the times they do not dare to defend him themselves. So it comes to pass that they are present here because they are attending to their business, but they are silent because they are afraid of danger.  What then? Am I the boldest of all these men? By no means. Am I then so much more attentive to my duties than the rest? I am not so covetous of even that praise, as to wish to rob others of it. What is it then which has impelled me beyond all the rest to undertake the cause of Sextus Roscius? Because, if any one of those men, men of the greatest weight and dignity, whom you see present, had spoken, had said one word about public affairs, as must be done in this case, he would be thought to have said much more than he really had said.  But if I should say all the things which must be said with ever so much freedom, yet my speech will never go forth or be diffused among the people in the same manner. Secondly, because anything said by the others cannot be obscure, because of their nobility and dignity, and cannot be excused as being spoken carelessly, on account of their age and prudence; but if I say anything with too much freedom, it may either be altogether concealed, because I have not yet mixed in public affairs, or pardoned on account of my youth; although not only the method of pardoning, but even the habit of examining into the truth is now eradicated from the State.  There is this reason, also, that perhaps the request to undertake this cause was made to the others so that they thought they could comply or refuse without prejudice to their duty; but those men applied to me who have the greatest weight with me by reason of their friendship with me, of the kindnesses they have done me, and of their own dignity; whose kindness to me I could not be ignorant of whose authority I could not despise, whose desires I could not neglect.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
THE ORATION FOR SEXTUS ROSCIUS OF AMERIA.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.