This section tells of Roscius's political associations. He was a favorer of the nobility (Sulla's party), and therefore had nothing to fear from the proscription instituted by Sulla after his final victory over Marius. These facts are skillfully brought in at this point so as to prepare the jurors for the statement, made later, that the insertion of Roscius's name in the proscription list after his murder was manifestly part of a plot to get possession of his estate. They also prepare for the exoneration of Sulla (in sect. 12). since it was not to be supposed that he would have consented to the proscription of so zealous a member of his own party. Throughout the oration Cicero is under the necessity of holding the dictator blameless. cum, when, introducing the general situation ; tum, the particular circumstance. omni tempore, at all times, as opposed to the time of the Civil War: notice the emphatic position. hoc tumultu, this last disturbance (euphemistic): i.e. the final scenes of the Civil War of Marius and Sulla, which Cicero will not call bellum. cum, at a time when. in discrimen veniret (subj. of characteristic, not simply cum temporal), was at stake. rectum: render no more than right (thus giving the emphasis of its position). se pugnare, simply to fight-: object of putabat, while rectum is an adj. in pred. apposition with se pugnare. honestate, honestissimus refer respectively to the rank and dignity of these great families and the credit which his connection with them gave him in his own neighborhood. victoria, i.e. of Sulla's party. proscriberentur: the number of the proscribed in Sulla's time was 4,700. "Whoever killed one of these outlaws was not only exempt from punishment, like an executioner duly fulfilling his office, but also obtained for the execution a compensation of 22,000 denarii (nearly $2400); any one, on the contrary, who befriended an outlaw, even his nearest relative, was liable to the severest punishment. The property of the proscribed was forfeited to the state, like the spoil of an enemy ; their children and grandchildren were excluded from a political career, and yet, so far as of senatorial rank, were bound to undertake their share of senatorial burdens." (Mommsen.) At first only the names of those who had justly forfeited their lives were proscribed ; afterwards it became easy for friends and favorites of the dictator (like Chrysogonus, attacked in this oration) to put upon the list the names of innocent men, and even of men already dead, so as to work confiscation of their property. Sulla's proscriptions nominally ceased June 1, B.C. 81. erat Romae: this shows that he had no reason to fear the proscription. frequens: § 290 (191); B. 239; G. 325, R.6; H. 443 (497); H.-B. 245. ut . . . videretur, clause of result.
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text S. Rosc.
Defence of Roscius. ( Pro Sex. Roscio Amerino ) B.C. 80.
Roscius had not only no motive to commit the crime, but no means of committing it. Erucius is challenged to tell how Roscius could himself have killed his father or could have procured his death through others.
The sale of the property of the elder Roscius was illegal and his proscription in every way irregular. For this act Chrysogonus is to be blamed, not Sulla for Sulla was necessarily so much occupied with affairs of state that details of this kind escaped his attention.
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