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13. [35]

There are three things, as I think, which are at the present time hindrances to Sextus Roscius:—the charge brought by his adversaries, their audacity, and their power. Erucius has taken on himself the pressing of this false charge as accuser; the Roscii have claimed for themselves that part which is to be executed by audacity; but Chrysogonus, as being the person of the greatest influence, employs his influence in the contest. On all these points I am aware that I must speak. [36] What then am I to say? I must not speak in the same manner on them all; because the first topic indeed belongs to my duty, but the two others the Roman people have imposed on you. I must efface the accusations; you ought both to resist the audacity, and at the earliest possible opportunity to extinguish and put down the pernicious and intolerable influence of men of that sort. [37] Sextus Roscius is accused of having murdered his father. O ye immortal gods! a wicked and nefarious action, in which one crime every sort of wickedness appears to be contained. In truth, if, as is well said by wise men, affection is often injured by a look, what sufficiently severe punishment can be devised against him who has inflicted death on his parent, for whom all divine and human laws bound him to be willing to die himself, if occasion required? [38] In the case of so enormous, so atrocious, so singular a crime, as this one which has been committed so rarely, that, if it is ever heard of, it is accounted like a portent and prodigy—what arguments do you think, O Caius Erucius, you as the accuser ought to use? Ought you not to prove the singular audacity of him who is accused of it? and his savage manners, and brutal nature, and his life devoted to every sort of vice and crime, his whole character, in short, given up to profligacy and abandoned? None of which things have you alleged against Sextus Roscius, not even for the sake of making the imputation.


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