Cicero Murder Trials

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with and introduction by Alan Dershowitz
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In Cicero’s Rome, the rule of law, such as it was, became acceptable in reaction to the lawlessness that had allowed aggrieved parties to strike out physically against their victimizers.  There were no official prosecutors, and any citizen could bring criminal charges.  If the judges found a prima facia case, it could proceed to trial, which if successful could result in death or other punishment to the accused and an award of his property to the accuser.  The defendant could be represented by an orator, who spoke for him and cross-examined witnesses against him.

The greatest of these Roman orators was Marcus Tullius Cicero, known to history as Cicero.  Several of his orations in notorious murder cases have been preserved and they make remarkable reading, even two millennia later.

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