The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Horse Incident - Part III (The Conclusion)

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Another death on his hands, and Gaius was still a long ways from his goal of Campania. Furthermore, the latest death was causing some difficulties. In front of the standing court, the man's uncle brought an indictment against Gaius charging him with murder. Thus, Gaius would have to defend himself against the charges.

The Roman Appian Way

Gaius was placed in custody until his turn in court. He would be taken in front of the local Aedile who would act as judge. The killed man's uncle recruited several people to act as scriptores and they signed the complaint. The inscripto stated that Gaius killed the man without provocation after an argument.

"Magistrate, my name is Titus Sextus Genucius. I am here on behalf of my nephew Titus Decimus Genicius who was brutally murdered by one Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius. It all began with an argument over a horse. My dear nephew had lost a horse to thieves and he accused the mighty blacksmith of taking it," began the testimony of the accuser.

"My poor nephew's first attempt to retrieve the animal in question resulted in him losing his sword to Ferrarius. Later, when he attempted to retrieve the weapon, he got his sword back when the defendant thrust it into his heart. My nephew had no chance to defeat such an accomplished fighter, and lost his life in the attempt to retrieve his stolen horse and his stolen sword."

The three jurors sat quietly as the plaintiff described what happened to his nephew. He also outlined how he would show that the defendant, Gaius, was looking for a fight the entire time he was in town. After he finished his statement, Gaius got a chance to tell his story.

"I am a stranger in this place. I am travelling to Campania in search of help for my smithing guild. The road has been fraught with dangers and hazards. However, the fates in their fickle ways brought me to this place safely. Further, they gave me the mare in question. I do not question their motivations," began Gaius's response to the charges.

"When the deceased threatened me with harm in an effort to acquire the gentle animal, I offered to give him the mare. However, he treated me as if I were a bandit and attempted to take the animal by force. I disarmed him and sent him on his way. On the road, I had dealings with some highwaymen. Thus, I am somewhat experienced in the martial ways and dealing with armed assailants.

"Later, the man and four of his friends accosted me at my lodgings after I finished eating my evening meal. They challenged me to a fight. A fight in which I resisted participating. However, the accused spoke of his honor being besmirched. He would take no other result. The altercation was short, and I left his four companions mostly unharmed. However, in a show of good faith, I offered both the sword and the mare to the man. However, when I returned the sword in question to the Citizen Genucius, he attempted to use it upon me. In my defense, I reluctantly killed the man. In no way did I initiate the fight, nor did I wish to kill the plaintiff's nephew. The fates forced the issue upon me."

With the opening statements given. T. Sextus Genucius brought his witnesses. They were acquaintances of the dead man, and they had various descriptions of the fight in question. It was clear that several of the scriptores, who signed the indictment, did not see the fight in question. Upon cross examination, Gaius easily impeached these witnesses.

The three jurors listened intently to the prosecution's witnesses. Some of them gave a fairly accurate description of the events. However, they would miss key features and gave the benefit to their comrade over the stranger. The dead man had several acquaintances, but it did not seem he had too many close friends. The four that accompanied him on the day of his death did not appear for the prosecution. Gaius found this odd and began searching for the men.

During the prosecutorial testimony, a theme began to emerge. The Genicius family did not know much about horses. It was beginning to become apparent that the horse Gaius acquired from Horatius was not stolen from the individual in question. While Gaius still felt bad about having to kill the man, a different picture of the man was beginning to emerge from the witnesses. An image the uncle did not intend to paint.

When it was Gaius's turn to submit evidence, he did not know many people in the area. Further, there were not too many that would testify against the Genucius family. The family did not have any close friends, but the locals were loyal to the man they knew rather than the stranger in town.

The four men that came to the fight with T. Decimus Genucius were not to be found. It appeared that they were no longer in town. During the prosecution, Gaius looked all over for the men. It was beginning to look like they would not appear at the trial.

After a meager attempt at calling witnesses, Gaius was about to give up when one of the four appeared. It was the man that he saved from being accidentally impaled. Gaius called him to the stand.

"My name is Gnaeus Genucia Agricolus, I am a freedman once in employ of the Genucius family. I can testify that Decimus Genucius never had a horse stolen. In fact, he would regularly accost travelers and accuse them of stealing. Often, he would end up obtaining their horse or obtain a cash payment. This changed when he met the defendant."

Gn. Cenucia Agricolus went on to describe how Gaius was the first person to fight back. Thus, the deceased recruited him and three others to threaten Gaius. However, the plan did not work because Gaius would not frighten. Further, when the actual fight broke out, Gaius easily defended himself. It was Decimus's first defeat, and he was quite upset about it. However, he could not let it rest.

It turned out that the Genucius family had paid him a large sum to leave town and not testify. The former slave felt the Gaius had saved his life. Thus, he returned the money and decided to testify on behalf of the defense.

After the witness was cross-examined, the testimony stood. It did not take the jurors long to decide. Gaius was easily acquitted. He was free to leave.

Gaius had once felt bad for killing an innocent man. However, from the trial he learned that the man was anything but innocent. Gaius's faith in the fates and his trip was restored. He was considering turning back, but instead he pressed on towards Campania.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on May 17, 2009 9:13 PM.

"Hobbit I'm Not" - Part One was the previous entry in this blog.

"The God Wars" - Chapter Five: Scouting Mission is the next entry in this blog.

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