Sextus Roscius (fl. 1st century BC), tried in Rome for patricide in 80 BC, was defended successfully by the young Cicero in his first major litigation. The defense involved some risk for Cicero, since he accused Lucius Cornelius Chrysogonus, a freedman of Sulla, then dictator of Rome, of corruption and involvement in the crime.
Caecilia the priestess
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Before the trial, Roscius was sheltered by Caecilia, who appears to be Caecilia Metella Balearica Major, a former Vestal Virgin by this time (since she had her own house). This Caecilia was a relative of Sulla's wife Caecilia Metella Dalmatica, and had powerful connections among the Roman elite; her intercession for the young Julius Caesar saved his life and political career. In 80 BC, the Metelli were staunchly in Sulla's camp. Her brother was Quintus Caecilius Metellus Nepos, a former consul whose stepdaughter Mucia Tertia was now wife of Pompey; her cousins included Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus Pius, chief ally of Sulla. Her widowed brother-in-law was Appius Claudius Pulcher, consul 79 BC as another ally of Sulla.
References in popular culture
- The trial of Sextus Roscius is depicted in Steven Saylor's first Roma Sub Rosa mystery novel, Roman Blood.
- The trial is also depicted in Colleen McCullough's novel Fortune's Favorites, part of her Masters of Rome series.
- The trial is dramatized on the British Broadcasting Company's documentary series, "Time Watch", starring Paul Rhys as Cicero.
- Oration for Sextus Roscius of Ameria "Caecilia, the sister of Nepos, the daughter of Balearicus"
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