The two still imperfectly extant, the Pro Roscio Comoedo of 76, and the Pro Tullio of 72 B.C., form, together with two other speeches dating from before his visit to the East, the Pro Quinctio and Pro Roscio Amerino, and, with his juvenile treatise on rhetoric known as the De Inventione, the body of prose composition which represents the first of his four periods.
Both were alike bloody and unscrupulous; and the rule of the Senate meant corruption and imbecility, and the rule of the democracy meant anarchy. "Unum hoc dico: nostri isti nobiles, nisi vigilantes et boni et fortes et misericordes erunt, iis hominibus in quibus haec erunt, ornamenta sua concedant necesse est." Pro Roscio Amerino, sec. 48.
One requested to see pleasant Plautus, & that he would shew them in what habite hee went, and with what countenaunce he lookt, when he ground corne in the mill. Another had halfe a moneths minde to Ouid and his hooke nose. Erasmus who was not wanting to that honourable meeting, requested to see Tully in that same grace and maiestie he pleaded his Oration pro Roscio Amerino.