Some of you are geese, who only cry out, and have no power to hurt, some are dogs who can both bark and bite. We see that food is provided for you; but you ought chiefly to attack those who deserve it. This is most pleasing to the people; then if you will, then you may bark on suspicion when it seems probable that some one has committed a crime. That may be allowed. But if you act in such a way as to accuse a man of having murdered his father, without being able to say why or how; and if you are only barking without any ground for suspicion, no one, indeed, will break your legs; but if I know these judges well, they will so firmly affix to your heads that letter 1 to which you are so hostile that you hate all the Calends too, that you shall hereafter be able to accuse no one but your own fortunes.
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THE ORATION FOR SEXTUS ROSCIUS OF AMERIA.
1 The letter was K, which was branded on the forehead of those who were convicted of bringing false accusations, being the first letter of the word kalumnia as it was originally spelt. It was also the first letter of the word kalendae and on the calends of each month debts were accustomed to be got in and bonds were liable to be paid.
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