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The Political Significance of Cicero's Defence of Sextus Roscius Amerinus

The Political Significance of Cicero's Defence of Sextus Roscius Amerinus


This study explains the political significance of Cicero's defence of Sextus. What little is known about Sextus Roscius we learned from Cicero, the lawyer for his son: "Sextus Roscius, the father of my client was a citizen of the municipality of Ameria. By birth, rank, his financial means it was easy, not only in his town but even across the country, the first figure. The Kalends of June in the year 671 (81 BC). Had been set by Sulla, who had just seized power in Rome - just after the Civil War - as the term of the proscriptions and forfeitures. In mid-September of that year, Sextus Roscius, a wealthy landowner, citizen of Ameria, is found murdered at night in the neighborhood Subura, one of the shoals the most sordid of Rome and one of the most famous throughout the ancient world.

The suspect of the crime is none other than Sextus Roscius, the son of the victim, a young man, devoid of education, living in the fields, foreign affairs, unknown in Rome, who is accused of parricide, especially crime serious in the criminal law of Rome. The accusation is extremely serious. In Rome, killed his father was the worst crimes. The condemned man was whipped and then shut him in a sack with a hungry dog, a monkey, a rooster and a snake. Finally, the bag was thrown into the Tiber.

Sextus Roscius

Roscius was a very rich man whose land aroused strong desires. His fortune amounted to six million sesterces. Allowed in the privacy of many famous families such as Caecilii Metelli, the Scipio, the Servilii he had consistently shown support for the cause of the nobles and had always supported the party of Sulla. In fact, Sextus Roscius son was the victim of a conspiracy hatched in the dark by his own cousin Capito, jealous, who worked as foreman for his uncle. It was then murdered by his accomplice Magnus, his uncle and patron Sextus Roscius senior while the latter, leaving a banquet drunk and carefree, quietly returned home. With others, said Magnus, who lived not far from where the ambush, "discovered" the lifeless body of the rich landowner. He immediately notify his sponsor Capito by sending a sword of murder.

The two villains hastened to instruct Chrysogonus, freedman and favorite of Sylla. They had devised a plan to seize the assets of their parent. They proposed to this emancipation, whose power was immense, to join this project odious. They needed to get the dictator as the name of Roscius was placed on the tables of proscription, and that its assets were confiscated and sold. Chrysogonus got it all the more easily it is he who was responsible for establishing the famous lists. Thus the property of "banned" they fell into the hands of the state: the thirteen farms Sextus Roscius senior were auctioned. A buyer who offered six million sesterces was silenced by ...
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