33.  I see therefore that there were many causes which urged that man to this crime. Let us now see whether he had any opportunity of committing it. Where was Sextus Roscius slain?—at Rome. What of you, O Roscius? Where were you at that time?—at Rome. But what is that to the purpose? many other men were there too. As if the point now were, who of so vast a crowd slew him, and as if this were not rather the question, whether it is more probable that he who was slain at Rome was slain by that man who was constantly at Rome at that time, or by him who for many years had never come to Rome at all?  Come, let us consider now the other circumstances which might make it easy for him. There was at that time a multitude of assassins, as Erucius has stated, and men were being killed with impunity. What!—what was that multitude? A multitude, I imagine, either of those who were occupied in getting possession of men's property, or of those who were hired by them to murder some one. If you think it was composed of those who coveted other men's property, you are one of that number,—you who are enriched by our wealth; if of those whom they who call them by the lightest name call slayers, inquire to whom they are bound, and whose dependents they are, believe me you will find it is some one of your own confederacy, whatever you say to the contrary, compare it with our defence, and by this means the cause of Sextus Roscius will be most easily contrasted with yours.  You will say, “what follows if I was constantly at Rome?” I shall answer, “But I was never there at all.” “I confess that I am a broker, but so are many other men also.” “But I, as you yourself accuse me of being, am a countryman and a rustic.” “It does not follow at once, because I have been present with a troop of assassins, that I am an assassin myself.” “But at all events I, who never had even the acquaintance of assassins, am far removed from such a crime.” There are many things which may be mentioned, by which it may be understood that you had the greatest facilities for committing this crime, which I pass over, not only because I do not desire to accuse, but still more on this account,—because if I were to wish to enumerate all the murders which were then committed on the same account as that on which Sextus Roscius was slain, I fear lest my speech would seem to refer to others also.
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.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.