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36. [102]

One of them sent a swift messenger from the very scene of murder to Ameria, to his partner and his tutor; so that if every one wished to conceal his knowledge of whom the guilt belonged to, yet he himself placed his wickedness visibly before the eyes of all men. The other (if the immortal gods will only let him) is going to give evidence also against Sextus Roscius. As if the matter now in question were, whether what he said is to be believed, or whether what he did is to be punished. Therefore it was established by the custom of our ancestors, that even in the most insignificant matters, the most honourable men should not be allowed to give evidence in their own cause. [103] Africanus, who declares by his surname that he subdued a third part of the whole world, still, if a case of his own were being tried, would not give evidence. For I do not venture to say with respect to such a man as that, if he did give evidence he would not be believed. See now everything is altered and changed for the worse. When there is a trial about property and about murder, a man is going to give evidence, who is both a broker and an assassin; that is, he who is himself the purchaser and possessor of that very property about which the trial is taking place, and who contrived the murder of the man whose death is being inquired into. [104] What do you want, O most excellent man? Have you anything to say? Listen to me. Take care not to be wanting to yourself; your own interest to a great extent is at stake. You have done many things wickedly, many things audaciously, many things scandalously; one thing foolishly, and that of your own accord, not by the advice of Erucius. There was no need for you to sit there. For no man employs a dumb accuser, or calls him as a witness, who rises from the accuser's bench. There must be added to this, that that cupidity of yours should have been a little more kept back and concealed. Now what is there that any one of you desire to hear, when what you do is such that you seem to have done them expressly for our advantage against your own interest? [105] Come now, let us see, O judges, what followed immediately after.


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