Pro Q. Roscio Comoedo M. Tulli Ciceronis Oratio


   After his speech for Sextus Roscius of Ameria (Pro Sex. Roscio Amerino), which was delivered in A.U.C. 674, Cicero went to Athens, where he remained eighteen months; and after his return he did not employ himself at first as an advocate, but devoted himself rather to philosophical studies. But three years later, A.U.C. 677, when his friend Roscius, the comic actor, was interested in a cause, he returned to the bar. The subject of the action in which this speech was delivered was this: -- A man of the name of Fannius Chaerea had articled a young slave to Roscius, on condition that Roscius was to teach him the art of acting, and that he and Fannius were afterwards to share his earnings. The slave was afterwards killed, and Roscius brought an action against the man who had killed him, Quintus Flavius by name, and received as damages a farm worth 100,000 sesterces--for his half-share in the slave, according to his own account, but as the full value of the slave according to Fannius; but the fact was that Fannius also had brought an action against Flavius, and had recovered similar damages. Fannius sued Roscius for 50,000 sesterces, as his share of the damages which he, Roscius, had received from Flavius, suppressing the fact of his having obtained a similar sum himself. The beginning of this speech is lost, and also a considerable portion at the end.

-- "Introduction: The Speech for Quintus Roscius the Actor," The Orations of M. Tullius Cicero; vol. I, trans. C.D. Yonge. George Bell & Sons; London: 1903.

   Some other relevant points not discussed in the above introduction are brought up in the Loeb introduction to this text, and are excerpted as follows:
   "An action for damages for the value of Panurgus (i.e. the slave) was begun by Roscius against Flavius, in which Fannius acted as Roscius's cognitor (agent). But before the trial actually came on, Roscius came to a settlement (decisio) with Flavius to accept a farm, which, later on, under his good management became valuable, and now Fannius claims that half the value of the farm belongs to him, on the ground that the settlement was made on behalf of the partnership and not on account of Roscius only."
   "The mutilated character of the speech makes it almost impossible to gather what were the exact facts, nor does Cicero's manner of presenting them help. Indeed, it seems as if he deliberately evades direct statements, and seeks every opportunity for eloquent digression (such as the comparison of the characters of Roscius and Fannius). Indeed, Roscius's appointing Fannius his agent in the original action against Flavius and then going behind his back to make a private settlement, is a fact that needs much explanation, and Cicero's endeavor to prove that the second-hand evidence of Cluvius (brought up by Cicero in §43) is really more trustworthy because it is second-hand is scarcely convincing. [As author J. H. Freese brought up earlier in his Loeb introduction, it is not clear why Cluvius does not himself testify, as Cicero has relied on two senators to whom Cluvius is alleged to have spoken to about this matter, but Cicero's rhetorical manner suggests, at least to Freese, that Cicero felt its weakness. -- Webmaster] Moreover, the absence of any clear statement as to dates or as to what the proceedings before Piso as arbiter actually were make perplexity greater, while many of the references to Roman law are in themselves obscure and many of the figures as given in the MSS. extremely doubtful.
   At the same time it should be carefully borne in mind that the speech was addressed to C. Piso as iudex who had already, when sitting as arbiter, become acquainted with the facts of the case, a knowledge of which Cicero may therefore justly assume and make references which to us must remain obscure."

-- Excerpts from "Introduction to Pro Q. Roscio Comoedo Oratio;" Cicero VI, LCL #240, trans. J. H. Freese. Harvard UP; Cambridge, Mass.: 1984.

Pro Q. Roscio Comoedo M. Tulli Ciceronis Oratio Latin Text The Latin text source is M. Tulli Ciceronis Scripta Omnia, pt. II vol. I; ed. C.F.W. Mueller. Teubner; Leipzig: 1901.
English Text
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