9. And these things are trifles. Listen to what follows, and you will wonder, not that Oppianicus was at last condemned, but that he remained for some time in safety.  In the first place, remark the audacity of the man. He was anxious to marry Sassia, the mother of Habitus, her whose husband, Aulus Aurius, he had murdered. It is hard to say whether he who wished such a thing was the more impudent, or she who consented was the more heartless. However, remark the humanity and virtue of both of them.  Oppianicus asks, and most earnestly entreats Sassia to marry him. But she does not marvel at his audacity,—does not scorn and reject his impudence, she is not even alarmed at the idea of the house of Oppianicus, red with her husband's blood; but she says that she has a repugnance to this marriage, because he has three sons. Oppianicus, who coveted Sassia's money, thought that he must seek at home for a remedy for that obstacle which was opposed to his marriage. For as he had an infant son by Novia, and as a second son of his, whom he had had by Papia, was being brought up under his mother's eye at Teanum in Apulia, which is about eighteen miles from Larinum, on a sudden, without alleging any reason, he sends for the boy from Teanum, which he had previously never been accustomed to do, except at the time of the public games, or on days of festival. His miserable mother, suspecting no evil, sends him. He pretended to set out himself to Tarentum; and on that very day the boy, though at the eleventh hour he had been seen in public in good health, died before night, and the next day was burnt before daybreak.  And common report brought this miserable news to his mother before any one of Oppianicus's household brought her news of it. She, when she had heard at one and the same time, that she was deprived not only of her son, but even of the sad office of celebrating his funeral rites, came instantly, half dead with grief, to Larinum, and there performs funeral obsequies over again for her already buried son. Ten days had not elapsed when his other infant son is also murdered; and then Sassia immediately marries Oppianicus, rejoicing in his mind, and feeling confident of the attainment of his hopes. No wonder she married him, when she saw him so eager to propitiate her, not with ordinary nuptial gifts, but with the deaths of his sons. So that other men are often covetous of money for the sake of their children, but that man thought it more agreeable to lose his children for the sake of money.
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF AULUS CLUENTIUS HABITUS.
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