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28. [76]

But I will say no more of this. I ask then by whose instrumentality did this man, who, as you yourself say, never mixed with men, contrive to accomplish this terrible crime with such secrecy, especially while absent? There are many things, O judges, which are false, and which can still be argued so as to cause suspicion. But in this matter, if any grounds for suspicion can be discovered, I will admit that there is guilt. Sextus Roscius is murdered at Rome, while his son is at his farm at Ameria. He sent letters, I suppose, to some assassin, he who knew no one at Rome. He sent for some one—but when? He sent a messenger—whom? or to whom? Did he persuade any one by bribes, by influence, by hope, by promises? None of these things can even be invented against him, and yet a trial for parricide is going on. [77] The only remaining alternative is that he managed it by means of slaves. Oh ye immortal gods, how miserable and disastrous is our lot. That which under such an accusation is usually a protection to the innocent, to offer his slaves to the question, that it is not allowed to Sextus Roscius to do. You, who accuse him, have all his slaves. There is not one boy to bring him his daily food left to Sextus Roscius out of so large a household. I appeal to you now, Publius Scipio, to you Metellus, while you were acting as his advocates, while you were pleading his cause, did not Sextus Roscius often demand of his adversaries that two of his father's slaves should be put to the question? Do you remember that you, O Titus Roscius, refused it? What? Where are those slaves? They are waiting on Chrysogonus, O judges; they are honoured and valued by him. Even now I demand that they be put to the question; he begs and entreats it. [78] What are you doing? Why do you refuse? Doubt now, O judges, if you can, by whom Sextus Roscius was murdered; whether by him, who, on account of his death, is exposed to poverty and treachery, who has not even opportunity allowed him of making inquiry into his father's death; or by those who shun investigation, who are in possession of his property, who live amid murder, and by murder. Everything in this cause, O judges, is lamentable and scandalous; but there is nothing which can be mentioned more bitter or more iniquitous than this. The son is not allowed to put his father's slaves to the question concerning his father's death. He is not to be master of his own slaves so long as to put them to the question concerning his father's death. I will come again, and that speedily, to this topic. For all this relates to the Roscii; and I have promised that I will speak of their audacity when I have effaced the accusations of Erucius.


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