Sextus Rosicus Trial

80BC - Sextus Roscius Trial

  • Created by: Abby
  • Created on: 21-12-12 10:57

The Trial - Overview

Cicero's first major trial - he was just 26.

Trial took place in 80BC just after proscriptions had finished.

Pro Roscio is the speech Cicero gave in defense of Sextus Roscius.

Sextus Roscius claimed that he was unjustly accused of killing his father. Those who made the accustaion were close to Sulla and would have benefited greatly from the recent instability.

Not clear when Cicero's speech was published so accounts may have been influenced. If Sulla was still in place of power then it is unlikely the speech would be the exact speech Cicero gave as it was too exposing.

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The Trial - More Detail

The trial was the launch pad for Cicero's career. Cicero kept a journal of the trial, which gives a vaild account of the events, however is likely to be very biased towards Cicero given his personality.

Cicero wasn't the first person to be asked to defend Roscius and he wasn't going to take the job, however when Caesar was brought up he took it as it was said the defence would help him be better than Caesar. In Cicero's mind there was always a competition between the two as they were similar ages.

 Crisoginas is Sulla's freedman. Cicero verbally attcks him against all warning, he was a very dangerous enemy and wouldn't hesitate in killing those who got on his bad side.

During the trial Cicero appeals to all classes of Romans by using language that everyone could understand. This hadn't been done before as the lower classes weren't thought of as important.

During the trial Cicero needed evidence from the great store of files, however he was refused entery so stole the files he needed. This was not uncommon.

During the trial Cicero uses the repetition of 'Que Bono?' to get his point across. This meant 'who benefited?' which put the jury on trial as well.

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Cicero During Trial - card one

Cicero was honest and a fair man. He didn't threaten or bribe the jury like most Romans to get ahead in his career or to win the trial. Throughtout his career this is something about him that can be applauded.

Cicero talked down to the plebs, however he spoke in a language that they understood and didn't find offensive. He included them in the trial. Cicero was also able to engratiate himself with the Jury and speak to both classes with respect.

From the trial we can see a lot about the young Cicero's personality. We can tell he was: calm; head strong; flamboyant; articulate; elequent; intimidating; stragegic; persistant, tenacious; reasurring, honest; patriotic; arrogant; vain; clever; complex.

During the trial Cicero made everything personal. By using examples of gossip, innuendo and embellishing the truth Cicero made his speech tantalizing and crowd pleasing.

From early on in the speech Cicero places himself in the politics oof Rome.

Cicero was a child prodigy and had an exclusive education along with wealth. Cicero's Dad helped his career by allowing Cicero to see the inner workings of politics from an early age.

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Cicero During The Trial - card two

During the trial Cicero focused on the corruption in Rome. Further on in his career this is a recurring theme. We see that Cicero is always trying to fight for a honest Rome.

As a novus homo Cicero needed political connections. During the trial you could say he acted foolishly by speaking out so aggressivly against those in high power when he should have been treading carefully so early on in his career.

Cicero thought the key to success was in defending. When you were prosecuting then your whole career was on the line as if you lost you would be physically branded.

Cicero was legally forbidden to charge for his legal services, however the law could be got round as he was paid in favours and support. For the Roscius trial Cicero was given a rather big 'loan'.

Cicero's actions nearly always had a political agenda. He was dangerously ambitious and set his sights high. His whole life was laid out so he would become one of the best.

It was because of the trial that Cicero left Rome for a while. It is said that there was a death threat on his head, however it was more likely he needed to recover from the strain the trial had put on him.

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