Cicero : In Verrem 2.1

Sections 1-57

This speech was delivered against C. Verres, in 70 B.C.

The translation is by L.H.G. Greenwood (1928). Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each section. Click on ** to go to the translator's footnotes.

[1.] L   [1] Jurors : You are probably none of you unaware that it has during these last few days been the common talk, and the belief of this nation, that Gaius Verres would make no defence at the second hearing, and would not appear in court. The spreading of this report was not due solely to his own definite and deliberate intention not to appear, but also to the universal impression that no man, convicted by so many witnesses of crimes so abominable, could be so recklessly and insanely impudent as to venture to look his judges in their faces, or to show his own face to the people of Rome. [2] But he is still Verres, true to his name as ever, daring the worst without hesitation, and hearing the worst without reluctance. He is here before us, he replies to me, his defence continues: with his vile offences openly brought home to him, he has not even allowed himself, by holding his tongue and keeping away, the credit of some attempt to make, after all, a decent end to his indecent career. Very well, gentlemen. I am not sorry that I am to reap the reward of my hard work, and you the reward of your courage. Had Verres carried out his original intention of not appearing, the heavy toil that I have undergone, in shaping and building up my case as prosecutor, would receive somewhat less recognition than my interests demand ; and the credit due to you, gentlemen, would be seriously weakened and obscured. [3] But the Roman people is looking for something better from you than the condemnation of a man who has refused to answer the charge; nor can it be satisfied that you should display your courage by punishing a man whom nobody has ventured to defend. No, no, let him appear by all means, let him make his reply ; let him be defended by all the wealth, and by all the energy, of the mightiest in the land. Against my exertions let there be arrayed the passionate eagerness of all his great friends ; against your integrity, his money ; against the steady testimony of our witnesses, the threats of his powerful advocates. Never can these hostile forces be openly crushed until they have stood up to fight against us. [4] Had Verres stayed away from his condemnation, it would be felt that he had rather begrudged you your credit than done his best for himself.

[2.] L   For indeed, in these days, no surer means of securing our country's welfare can be devised than the assurance of the Roman people that - given the careful challenging of judges by the prosecutor - our allies, our laws, our country can be safely guarded by a court composed of senators ; nor can a greater disaster come upon us all than a conviction, on the part of the Roman people, that the Senatorial Order has cast aside all respect for truth and integrity, for honesty and duty. [5] And I feel in consequence that I have undertaken to rescue an important part of our body politic, a part that is sick unto death and almost beyond recovery; and that, in so doing, I have worked for your credit and your good name not less than for my own. For I set about allaying the unpopularity and eliminating the hostile criticism of our courts ; intending that, when this case had been decided as the Roman people would have it decided, the stronger position thus gained for our courts might be attributed, in some small measure, to my exertions ; and that, finally, whatever the decision were, the present controversy about the courts should at last be terminated. [6] For undoubtedly, gentlemen, the issue in the present case is nothing less than this. The man accused is a criminal of the worst kind. If he is found guilty, people will cease to say that money is the chief power in these courts: but if he is acquitted, we shall cease to hesitate about putting the courts into other hands.

Yet his acquittal, after all, is a thing of which he himself is no longer hopeful, and Rome no longer afraid. It is his matchless effrontery in appearing here, in answering his accusers, that some find surprising. To me, remembering the rest of his reckless and insane career, even this is nothing to cause surprise. The thought of retribution for his evil deeds, for his sins against heaven and his crimes against man, is distracting his mind and expelling good sense and sanity. [3.] L   [7] He is being swept into madness by those executions of Roman citizens, whom he either beheaded, or imprisoned till they died, or, while they appealed in vain for their rights as free men and Romans, crucified. The gods of our fathers are haling him off to punishment, because he was found capable of tearing sons from their fathers' arms to be dragged to execution, and of making parents buy of him the right to bury their children. And all the shrines and sacred places whose sanctity and worship he has defiled, and all the images of the gods that are not merely removed from their own temples but stowed away by him in dark neglected corners, these leave his mind no quietness, no freedom from the ravings of insanity. [8] I feel, moreover, that he is not presenting himself for a mere verdict of condemnation ; that, being involved in the guilt of so many crimes, he cannot be satisfied with that penalty for greed which other men suffer. It must be some unique punishment which this savage and monstrous creature craves, The demand is not simply that he should be found guilty, and the property that he stole be restored to its owners: there must also be expiation for the violated sanctity of the immortal gods; his punishment must atone for the torturing of Roman citizens, for the blood of many an innocent man that he has shed. [9] It is no common thief, but a violent robber ; no common adulterer, but the ravager of all chastity ; no common profaner, but the grand enemy of all that is sacred and holy ; no common murderer, but the cruel butcher of our citizens and our subjects, whom we have haled before your judgement-seat : so vile, that I conceive him to be the one man in history who, arraigned as he is arraigned, could gain, not lose, by a verdict of condemnation.

[4.] L   For who cannot see that, though he were acquitted in despite of gods and men, yet no power can deliver him from the hands of the people of Rome? Who cannot perceive that we senators shall be fortunate indeed, if the people of Rome may be appeased by the punishment of this one man, and shall not pronounce the heavier judgement, that plunged deep in evil deeds though Verres is - though he has despoiled sanctuaries, butchered a multitude of innocent persons, slain and tortured and crucified citizens of Rome, and taken bribes to let pirate chiefs go free - yet he is no guiltier than those who, sworn to vote truly, have voted for the acquittal of this man loaded with so many monstrous and horrible crimes? [10] This man's case offers no liberty for misconduct to anyone: no, gentlemen, none: the accused is such, the times are such, this court is such, and even - if it will not seem a presumptuous thing to say to an audience like this - the prosecutor is such, that neither stealth can effect without detection, nor force effect with impunity, the escape of a man so guilty, so abandoned, so clearly convicted of the charges brought against him. Before such a bench of judges as this, shall I fail to prove that Gaius Verres has acquired wealth illegally? Will such gentlemen as these succeed in disbelieving this multitude of senators and knights, of civic bodies, of respectable inhabitants of that noble province, of public and private records? Will they succeed in refusing what the people of Rome so strongly desires? [11] Suppose that they do: if I am able to bring him alive before another court, I shall find others to convince that in his quaestorship he embezzled public money assigned to the consul Gnaeus Carbo, others whom I can make believe what you were told at the first hearing, that he used another man's name to embezzle money from the city quaestors : there will also be some to censure his unscrupulous tampering with various accounts, whereby he abstracted as much as he conveniently could from the total of the Sicilian tithe-corn: there will also, gentlemen, possibly be some who hold that one of his peculations should be punished quite severely, that of the memorials of Marcus Marcellus and Publius Africanus, nominally the gifts of those great men, but really, as all held, the gifts of the Roman nation ; of which memorials he did not hesitate to strip the holiest sanctuaries and the cities of our allies and friends.

[5.] L   [12] Suppose that he eludes the Embezzlement Court also. Then let him ponder that matter of the enemy captains whom he was bribed to set free; let him consider his reply when questioned about the men whom he secretly substituted for those captains and kept shut up in his house; let him ask himself not only how he is to answer the charge we bring, but how he is to explain away his own admissions ; let him remember how, during the first hearing, terrified by the angry clamour of the hostile public, he confessed that he had failed to have those pirate captains beheaded, and had been afraid at the time that he would be charged with taking bribes to set them free; let him admit what cannot be denied, that when no longer in office, after his return to Rome, he kept those pirate chiefs alive and unharmed at his own house until I interfered to prevent it. Let him show if he can, before the Treason Court, that this conduct was even legal, and I will concede that it was his positive duty. Suppose that he escapes this danger too. I will then approach that tribunal to which I have long been invited by the voice of the Roman nation: [13] for the rights of the free man and the citizen it holds, and justly holds, to be within its own jurisdiction. Granted that Verres' violence may break the ranks of senatorial bodies, force a path through every Criminal Court, and escape the rigour of your judgement: believe me, the cords will bind him more tightly when he stands before the Roman people. The Roman people will believe those Roman knights who, called to give evidence before you, affirmed that a Roman citizen, though he produced respectable men as his guarantors, ** was crucified before their own eyes. [14] All the thirty-five Tribes will believe a man of so much responsibility and distinction as Marcus Annius, who has stated that, in his presence, a Roman citizen was beheaded. The people of Rome will listen to the words of so important a person as the knight Lucius Flavius, who has given evidence on oath that his acquaintance Herennius, a banker from Africa, was beheaded at Syracuse, although upwards of a hundred Roman citizens identified him there, and pleaded for him with tears in their eyes. Honour, dignity, and conscience will confirm the words of a man so distinguished in all respects as Lucius Suettius, who has testified on oath before you to the cruel and violent death inflicted on many Roman citizens in the stone-quarries ** by Verres' orders. ** As I conduct that prosecution from the high place where the favour of the Roman people has set me, I have no fear that violence of any kind will rescue him from the Roman people's verdict, nor that any other spectacle that I offer them as aedile can appear to them more splendid or afford them greater pleasure.

[6.] L   [15] Accordingly, in dealing with this Court, let all the world do its worst: for in this case, gentlemen, no room for misconduct is now left to any of you, save at great risk to yourselves. My own line of action, familiar to you from what has happened already, has been planned and thought out for what is still to come. I showed my love of my country from the moment when I returned, after a long interval, to my former practice, and at the request of allies and friends of Rome, who were also my own acquaintances, prosecuted this bold miscreant. My action was so cordially approved by persons of high character and distinction, including several of yourselves, that they refused to the man who had been Verres' quaestor, and who had a personal quarrel with Verres justified by the harm Verres had done him, not only the opportunity of prosecuting him, but even, though he asked for it, that of supporting the prosecution. [16] I went off to collect evidence in Sicily : in which matter my energy was indicated by the earliness of my return ; my carefulness, by the crowd of documents and witnesses I secured; my conscientious regard for propriety, by the way in which, though I was a senator visiting Roman allies in the province where I had been a quaestor, and though I was the champion of the whole community, I nevertheless stayed at the houses of my old hosts and personal acquaintances, rather than with those who had appealed to me for help. Nowhere did my coming cause trouble or expense, official or unofficial, to anyone. I pushed my inquiries with no more advantage than the law allowed me, neglecting that which the enthusiasm of Verres' victims was ready to give me. [17] Upon my return from Sicily to Rome, Verres and his friends, with characteristic good taste and delicacy, tried to discourage my witnesses by circulating stories of my having accepted a heavy bribe to make my prosecution a sham: and although none of the witnesses believed this - those from Sicily being men who had learnt my character when I was quaestor in the province, and those from Rome men of shining reputation, to whom my character, and that of each of my supporters, is as familiar as their own is familiar to the world - none the less I did feel misgivings lest my honour and integrity should be distrusted, until we came to the challenging of the judges.

[7.] L   In the challenging of judges, I well knew that in our time there had been those who had not escaped the suspicion of underhand dealing, active and strenuous as they had proved themselves in their conduct of the prosecution itself. [18] As the result of my own challenging, it is agreed that never, since the present form of government ** was established, has a court of such illustrious and acknowledged merit assembled. The credit for this Verres claims to share with me: Verres, who rejected Publius Galba as a judge, and kept in Marcus Lucretius, and when his advocate asked him why he had allowed his intimate friends Sextus Peducaeus, Quintus Considius, and Quintus Junius to be rejected, replied that it was because he knew they were too independent in the way they thought and voted! [19] Well then, the challenging of the judges being over, I began to hope that part of my burden was now resting upon you, and to feel that my honesty and watchfulness had been approved by those whom I did not know as well as by those whom I did. Nor was I mistaken; for at my election, in spite of the vast sums of money that Verres lavished to secure my defeat, the Roman people expressed their judgement that, since the man's money had not so prevailed with me as to damage my honour, it must not so prevail with them as to damage my success. And indeed, gentlemen, on the day when you were first called together, and took your seats to try this man, was there anyone so hostile to the Senatorial Order, anyone so eager for new arrangements, new courts, and new judges, as not to be deeply impressed by the sight of you thus assembled? [20] The very fact of this noble spectacle was a reward to me for my patient endeavours; but I gained more than this. Before my first speech had lasted for an hour, I had cut short, in the mind of this wealthy scoundrel and immoral spendthrift, his hopes of bribing the judges who were to try him. On the first day of the trial, when that great multitude of witnesses was called into court, it became clear to the people of Rome that if Verres were acquitted the country was lost. The following day took from his friends and defenders not merely all hope of success, but all disposition to continue the defence. The third day prostrated the man so completely that he feigned illness, and began to think, not about what reply to make, but how to avoid replying at all. The charges brought on the rest of the days that followed, and the evidence produced from both Rome and Sicily, crushed and overwhelmed him so thoroughly that during this interval for the Games everyone regarded his case not as adjourned but as already settled against him. **

[8.] L   [21] The result is, gentlemen, that so far as I am concerned my case is won ; for it is not a triumph over Gaius Verres, but the vindication of the honour of Rome, on which my heart has been set. My duty has been to have good reason for undertaking the prosecution ; and what reason could be more honourable than to be selected and appointed by so famous a province to defend it? My duty has been to think of our country; and what could help our country better than meeting the unpopularity of our courts by bringing a man to trial whose condemnation would be enough to secure, for our whole Order, the approval and favour of the Roman people? My duty has been to prove, and to make it believed, that the man thus brought to trial is guilty ; and is there one single Roman who has not come away from the first hearing convinced of this, that if we could gather together in one the crimes and robberies and wicked deeds of every man found guilty in the past, they could hardly be held equal, or comparable, to the tithe of what this man has done? [22] You, gentlemen, you must take thought and make provision for what concerns the credit, the good name, the safe existence of you all. Your eminent merit makes misconduct impossible for you, save at the cost of extreme injury and danger to the state. For the Roman people cannot hope that, if you cannot give a righteous verdict, there may be other members of the Senate who can: it can only despair of the whole Senatorial Order, and therefore look round for some other type of man, and some other method of administering justice. If you think this no great matter, because you regard your judicial duties as a heavy and irksome burden, you must in the first place remember that it is one thing to cast this burden off of your own accord, and another thing, through inability to prove yourselves honest and conscientious in the eyes of Rome, to have your judicial powers taken from you ; and then you must further consider the grave risks we shall run when we appear before those men whom, through hatred of us, the Roman people will desire to set up as judges of our conduct. [23] Yes, and I will tell you one thing, gentlemen, that I have discovered. You must know that there are certain persons possessed by such hatred of our Order that they are already saying, openly and often, that they wish for the acquittal of Verres, thorough scoundrel as they know him to be, simply for the sake of having the Senate deprived, with ignominy and shame, of its judicial rights. I have felt bound to enlarge on this topic to you, gentlemen, not through any fear of mine that you cannot be trusted, but because of the new-born hopes of Verres and his friends, which have suddenly dragged him back to this court-house from the city gate, and thus led some people to suspect that he had some good reason for so hasty a change in his plans.

[9.] L   [24] I have now to see to it that Hortensius has no ground for a new form of protest, for saying that any man's case is ruined by his prosecutor's refusing to make a speech, and that nothing endangers the happiness of innocent persons so gravely as the silence of their assailants ; no ground for offering an unwelcome commendation of my ability, by saying that, if I had made a long attack, I should have helped the man I was attacking, and that I have ruined him by not making one ; and I will therefore oblige him by delivering a continuous speech, not because it is needed, but because I would learn whether he objects more strongly to my silence then or to my speaking now. [25] You, Hortensius, will now be watching carefully, I daresay, to see that I do not forgo one hour of the time that the law allows me. Unless I use every minute of my full legal time, you will be protesting, and calling heaven and earth to witness, that Gaius Verres is being treated unfairly because the prosecutor refuses to go on speaking as long as he lawfully may. May I, then, not lawfully decline a privilege that the law has conferred on me for my own benefit? It certainly is for my own benefit that a certain amount of time was allowed me as prosecutor, enough to set forth my charges and expound my case. If I fail to use it, I do you no wrong ; I merely detract, to some extent, from my own rights and my own advantage. "Yes," you say, "but the case ought to be properly investigated." To be sure; and why? Because otherwise, however guilty the accused may be, he cannot be convicted. Is this your grievance, then, that I have done something to make his conviction more difficult? People may often be acquitted when their cases have been investigated : when they have not, it is impossible to convict. [26] Ah, you say, but I am doing away with the object of the second hearing. Yes, with the most troublesome provision of the law, this compulsory double pleading - an arrangement devised either for my benefit more than for yours, or at least quite as much for mine as for yours ; for if it is an advantage to speak twice, the advantage is certainly shared by both sides; and if the great thing is to refute the arguments of the last speaker, this arrangement of a second pleading is for the benefit of the prosecutor. After all, if I am not mistaken, it was Glaucia's law that first provided for the adjourned hearing: before that time, the case could either be settled at once or postponed for further inquiry. ** Well now, which provision do you consider the milder? Surely the old one, which might either hasten an acquittal or delay a conviction. It is this, the old Acilian law, that I am reviving for your benefit - a law under which many a man, after a single prosecution, a single pleading of his case, a single hearing of evidence, has been found guilty of offences not nearly so plainly proved, not nearly so grave, as these of which you ** are now being convicted. Imagine yourself pleading, not under the existing rigorous law, but under the older and more indulgent. I will prosecute, you will reply, the witnesses will be called ; and I will submit such an issue for the verdict of the Court that, however much postponement the law might allow, these gentlemen would be ashamed not to give their verdict forthwith.

[10.] L   [27] And after all, granted that the case must be tried, has it not been fully tried already ? We are pretending ignorance, Hortensius, of what our experience at the Bar has repeatedly shown to us. In cases of this type, where anyone is alleged to have stolen or appropriated anything, who cares much what we pleaders say ? Is not the judges' whole concern with the evidence of the witnesses and written records? I stated, at the first hearing, that I would prove that Gaius Verres had illegally appropriated forty million sesterces. Well, should I have proved it any more clearly by a narrative of the following kind? "There was a man of Halaesa named Dio, whose son inherited a large property from a relative during the praetorship of Gaius Sacerdos; the fact was not disputed at the time, and caused Dio no trouble. Verres had no sooner touched the soil of Sicily, than he promptly wrote from Messana summoning Dio, set up some of his own gang to allege, what they knew to be false, that the property in question was forfeited to Venus of Eryx, and announced that he would try the case himself." [28] I might go on to give a full account of the whole affair, and then finally state, what actually happened, that Dio paid up one million sesterces to secure his unquestionable rights, and that, besides this, Verres had his stables emptied of his studs of mares, and his house stripped of all the plate and tapestry it contained. I might state these facts, and you might deny them ; but our speeches would matter very little. What would be the time, then, for a judge to prick up his ears and arouse his attention? Why, it would be when Dio himself came forward, and likewise all those persons who had dealings with Dio in Sicily at the time when, during the actual course of his case, it was found that he had borrowed money, called in his debts, and sold his land; it would be when the accounts of those honest gentlemen were produced in court ; when those who lent Dio money testified to having heard at the time that he was borrowing it to pay over to Verres; when the excellent men who were Dio's friends, hosts and protectors, testified to having heard exactly the same thing. [29] It was while all this was happening, I take it, that you, gentlemen, would be listening, as indeed you were; it was then that you would feel the real trial was taking place. At the first hearing I conducted the whole of my case in such a fashion that, out of the whole body of charges, there was no single one for which any of you felt the need of a continuous speech from the prosecutor. I maintain that no detail of the witnesses' evidence was unintelligible to any of you, or required the addition of any pleader's eloquence. [11.] L   And indeed you will remember that my own procedure in examining my witnesses was first to introduce and expound each of the various charges, so that I never examined a witness until I had clearly stated the whole facts of the charge concerned. The result is, not only that the charges we brought are grasped clearly by yourselves, who have to pronounce the verdict, but also that the Roman people have become familiar with the entire case for the prosecution.

Yet why should I speak of my conduct as though I had been led to it by my own inclination, and not by the unfairness of you and your friends, Hortensius? [30] Upon my asking for no more than 110 days to collect evidence in Sicily, you tried to block my way with a prosecutor who asked for two days less to do the same in Achaia. ** After robbing me of three months particularly well fitted for judicial proceedings, ** you reckoned on my leaving all the rest of the year free for you; you intended us to take up all the time allowed us, and then, forty days later, after the interval for the two sets of Games, you would begin your speech; and after that the time was to be spun out till we no longer had Manius Glabrio as president, nor the majority of these gentlemen as members of the Court, but had to appear before a new president and new judges. [31] Had I not discovered all this - had not everyone, friend and stranger alike, pointed out to me that the object of your plots and your schemes and your intrigues was to push back the proceedings to that later date - it is likely indeed that, if I had felt inclined ** to spend my full time over my speech for the prosecution, I should have been deterred by the fear that I should run short of charges to bring ; that my eloquence would fail me; that my voice or my strength would give way ; that I should be unable to attack a second time the man whom nobody had ventured to defend at the first hearing! I have justified, to the Court and to the people of Rome, the plan I adopted; there is no one who supposes that the shameless unfairness of my opponents could possibly have been thwarted otherwise. What a fool I should have been, indeed, if I had wilfully fallen into the trap of waiting for the very day on which the contractors for Verres' escape ** had their eyes fixed, when they inserted in their contract the caveat "provided that the case shall come on after the 1st of January."

[32] But I must now take careful account of the time allowed me for my speech, since I intend to set forth the case in full. [12.] L   I shall therefore pass over the notoriously vile and immoral "first act " of Verres' career. He shall hear nothing from me of the sins of his boyhood, no tales of his unclean youth - what that was like you either remember or can infer from the faithful copy of himself that he has brought into the world. ** I will pass over all that I cannot refer to without indecency, and will take into account what it is proper for me to tell, as well as what it is proper for him to be told. Please indulge my sense of modesty so far as to allow me the liberty of holding my tongue about some small part of his shameless career. [33] All those earlier years, up to the time when he entered upon public office and political life, may remain free and clear for him, so far as I am concerned. Let nothing be said about the drunken orgies that lasted all night ; let there be no mention of pimps and gamblers and seducers; let his inroads on his father's purse and his defilements of his own manhood, be passed by without a word ; let him score, so far as the evidence for his earlier infamy goes; let us consider that the rest of his life enables me to sacrifice all this material for prosecution. [34] Fourteen years ago, Verres, you became quaestor to the consul Gnaeus Papirius. ** I call you to account for all you have done from that day to this. Not one hour, it will be found, has been free from robbery and crime, from cruelty and wickedness. These years you spent as quaestor, as legate in Asia, as City Praetor, and as praetor of Sicily ; and I shall therefore distribute my speech for the prosecution into four corresponding parts. [13.] L   In accordance with a decree of the Senate, your sphere of duty as quaestor was determined by lot. ** A consular department fell to you; you were to accompany the consul ** Gnaeus Carbo and be his quaestor. At that time, civil strife prevailed : I am not going to say anything about the side you ought to have taken ; but one thing I do say, that at such a crisis, and the lot having fallen as it did, you ought to have made up your mind which side you did mean to take and to support. Carbo was annoyed that the lot had given him as quaestor a particularly lazy and self-indulgent man; none the less, he loaded him with every sort of kindness and attention. To cut the story short: funds were allotted and paid over to the quaestor; he left for his province, and joined the consular army in Gaul with his welcome supply of money. The moment he saw his chance - note the man's first step as a public official and administrator - this precious quaestor embezzled the public money, and deserted his consul, his consul's army, and his sacred duty. ** [35] Ah, I see what I have done. He is lifting up his head, and hoping that some flimsy defence can be patched up for him, on this charge, through the goodwill of those who hold the late Gnaeus Carbo's memory in abhorrence ; he hopes that such persons will be pleased by this desertion and betrayal of his consul. As though his action were inspired by eagerness to support the aristocracy, and by zeal for their cause! As though he did anything but openly fleece consul, army, and province, and then take to his heels in consequence of this impudent robbery! An unintelligible act indeed! and likely to suggest that Gaius Verres deserted to the aristocracy - his own party, of course ! - because he could not bear political upstarts, and that he was quite uninfluenced by financial motives !

[36] Let us see how he presented his accounts: he will prove to us himself why he ran away from Carbo; he will give evidence against himself.   [14.] L   Note first their conciseness :

    Received   :   2,935,417 sesterces
    Expended -   soldiers' pay, corn, legates, proquaestor, commander's private staff   :   1,635,417 sesterces
    Balance left at Ariminum   :   600,000 sesterces

Is that the way to present accounts? Have you or I, Hortensius, has anyone in the world, ever presented them like that? Confound the man's unscrupulous impudence ! What does this mean? Among all the thousands of accounts that have been presented, is there any parallel for this style of thing ? Even so, that six hundred thousand sesterces, which he could not set down, even untruly, as paid to anyone, which he enters as left at Ariminum, the six thousand that really was left over, was never handled by Carbo or seen by Sulla or paid back to the Treasury. He chose Ariminum for his purpose, because, at the date when he made his return, this town had been taken and plundered: not suspecting, what he will now learn to his cost, that enough people of the town had survived the disaster to give evidence for us about this matter. [37] Read the documents again. Statement of accounts rendered to the City Quaestors, Publius Lentulus and Lucius Triarius. Read this.   "In accordance with the decree of the Senate . . ." ** It was to have the chance of rendering his accounts like this that he joined the Sullan party so suddenly, not to restore the power and dignity of the aristocracy. But had you run off empty-handed, even so your abominable flight would be reckoned a criminal act of treachery to your consul. Oh, you say, Carbo was a bad consul, a traitor and a rebel. Others thought so, perhaps; but when did you begin to think so? Not till after he had trusted you with his money, his supply of corn, the whole of his account-books, and his army. Had you objected to him before that, you would have done what Marcus Piso did the year after. The lot had assigned him as quaestor to the consul Lucius Scipio, but he neither took charge of any money nor went to join Scipio's army; he managed to hold his political views without violating either his personal honour, or the traditions of Rome, or the loyalty imposed by the lot. [15.] L   [38] The fact is that if we are prepared to reduce all these principles to chaos and confusion, we shall fill life with danger and resentment and hostility at every turn - if the decisions of the lot are to lose all their sanctity, if men are not to feel bound to one another by sharing in good or bad fortune, if we are not to respect the customs and traditions of our fathers. That man must be everyone's personal enemy who has behaved like a public enemy to his own friends. No wise man ever felt that a traitor ought to be trusted. Sulla himself, who might have been expected to welcome the man, detached him from his person and from his army, stationing him at Beneventum, among people who he knew were thoroughly on his own side, in a place where the fellow would be able to do no harm to the main interests of the Sullan cause. Later on, to be sure, he treated him liberally, and let him have the properties of certain proscribed persons in the district of Beneventum to plunder; he gave him, not the trust due to a friend, but the fee due to a traitor. [39] There may be those who detest the memory of Carbo : but what such persons have now to consider is not the fate they desired should befall him, but the danger to themselves suggested by behaviour like that of Verres. ** All of us must be injured by it, all of us alarmed, all of us endangered. No acts of treachery are harder to detect than those which lurk under the false show of loyal service, or some nominal fidelity to a personal obligation. With an open enemy, it is easy to be on your guard and escape him; but this hidden peril, in your own circle and under your own roof, not only does not reveal itself, but overwhelms you before you have time to think how to deal with it. [40] Can such things be? You were sent as quaestor to join the army ; not only the money but the consul's person, was entrusted to you; you were admitted to a share in all his actions and secrets; you were treated like his son in the old Roman way: and in a moment you can forsake and desert him and join his enemies? Unnatural prodigy of crime, deserving to be banished to the furthest corners of the earth! For a being that has wrought a thing like this cannot rest content with this single wickedness: it must for ever be seeking to compass some such purpose, for ever be busy with some such piece of unscrupulous treachery. [41] And we find him accordingly, when appointed acting quaestor by Gnaeus Dolabella after Gaius Malleolus was killed - and I am not sure that the personal tie here was not closer even than that with Carbo, or that the lot's decision should be accounted more binding than a decision freely taken - we find him behaving to Dolabella just as he behaved to Carbo. Charges that really applied to himself he transferred to Dolabella, and furnished a full account of the case against him to the personal enemies who were prosecuting him ; and he showed himself his bitter enemy, and a thorough scoundrel, by himself giving evidence against the man whose legate and proquaestor he had been. Poor Dolabella had enough to make him unhappy in his abominable betrayal by Verres, and in the villainous and lying evidence Verres had given against him: but much the greatest part of his sufferings arose from the dislike of himself excited by the thefts and outrages that Verres had committed. [16.] L   [42] What shall be done with a man like this? For what possible use should you keep so treacherous and savage a creature? He has shown no more respect, no more fidelity, to Dolabella who chose him than to Carbo to whom the lot assigned him ; both Carbo and Dolabella he has not only failed but deliberately betrayed and assaulted. I would ask you, gentlemen, to judge the gravity of those charges not so much by the length of time I devote to them as by the seriousness of the facts themselves ; for I must hasten on, if I am to be able to carry out my plan of putting the whole case fully before you. [43] Having therefore described the man's performances as quaestor, and brought out clearly his dishonesty and criminal conduct during his first tenure of office, I ask your attention for the rest of the story. That part of it which belongs to the time of the Sullan proscriptions, with its acts of pillage, I shall omit; I will not allow Verres to extract from our national misfortunes any arguments in his support ; I will prosecute him only for offences that are definitely and exclusively his own. I will therefore rule out all charges against him that would belong to this period of Sulla's power; let us now examine his splendid record as legate.

[17.] L   [44] Upon the allotment of Cilicia to Gnaeus Dolabella as his province, merciful Heaven! with what greed, what importunities Verres extorted from him that appointment as legate! And indeed this proved for Dolabella the first step to the worst of his disasters. Rome once left behind, the behaviour of Verres, at every stage of his journey, made him seem less like a Roman governor than a kind of human pestilence In Achaia - I pass over all minor misdeeds, some of which may possibly have occasional parallels in what other men have done; I will mention only what is unique, only what would seem incredible in anyone else who was charged with it - he demanded a sum of money from the chief magistrate of Sicyon. But let us not accuse Verres of that; others have done the same. The magistrate refusing, Verres punished him. Wrong, to be sure, but not without precedent. [45] But note the method of punishment, and you will wonder to what species of human being you are to assign him. He ordered a fire of moist green wood to be made in a confined spot: and there this free-born man, a man of high rank in his own town, one of the allies and friends of Rome, was put through the agonies of suffocation, and left there more dead than alive. What statues and pictures he carried off from Achaia I will not state here; there is another part ** of my speech reserved for dealing with this side of his greedy character. You have been told that at Athens a large amount of gold was carried away from the temple of Minerva. The fact was stated at Dolabella's trial: stated? the very weight was given. In this enterprise, you will find, Verres did not simply take part : he took command.

[46] He reached Delos. There one night he secretly carried off, from the much-revered sanctuary of Apollo, several ancient and beautiful statues, and had them put on board his own transport. Next day, when the inhabitants of Delos saw their sanctuary stripped of its treasures, they were much distressed ; for, to show how ancient, and how much venerated by them, that sanctuary is, they believe it to be the birthplace of Apollo himself. However, they dared not say a word, fearing that Dolabella himself might be concerned in the outrage. [18.] L   Then so tremendous a storm suddenly came on, gentlemen, that Dolabella was prevented from starting when he intended, and almost from staying in the town, it was being lashed by such huge waves. In that storm this pirate's ship, with its load of sacred statues, was driven ashore by the waves and went to pieces. The statues of Apollo were found lying on the beach: by Dolabella's order, they were put back where they came from; the storm abated, and Dolabella left Delos.

[47] I have no doubt, Verres, that destitute as you have always been of human feelings and religious principle, yet now, in your hour of anxiety and danger, the thought of your crimes recurs to you. Is it possible that any agreeable hope of escaping can present itself to you, when you remember how impious and criminal and wicked your behaviour has been towards the gods in heaven? You dared to rob Apollo - Apollo of Delos? Upon that temple, so ancient, so holy, so profoundly venerated, you sought to lay your impious and sacrilegious hands ? Even though as a boy you did not receive the kind of education and training that would enable you to learn or understand the records of literature, could you not even take in later, when you came to the actual spot, the story of which both tradition and literature inform us: [48] how after long wanderings the fugitive Latona, being pregnant, and the time of her delivery now fully come, found refuge in Delos, and there brought forth Apollo and Diana ? Because men believe this story, they hold the island sacred to those deities ; and the reverence felt for it is, and has always been, so strong, that not even the Persians - though they had declared war upon all Greece, gods and men alike, and their fleet, to the number of a thousand ships, had put in at Delos - yet not even they sought to profane, or to lay a finger upon, anything therein. Was this the sanctuary that you in your utter folly and wickedness dared to devastate ? Was ever such devouring greed known before, greed capable of such destruction of what is high and holy? And if at the time you did not think of this, can you not even now reflect that there is no retribution too terrible to be due, and overdue, for the evil that you have done ?

[19.] L   [49] Once he had reached Asia, what need to go through the list of his dinner and supper parties, the horses and other presents made to him? ** I am not going to attack a man like Verres for every-day offences. But I do assert that he carried off statues of great beauty from Chios, and also from Erythrae and Halicarnassus. From Tenedos - I make no reference to the money he seized - Tenes himself, the god for whom the people of Tenedos feel special reverence, who is said to have founded the city, and after whom Tenedos is named - this very Tenes himself, I say, a beautiful work of art, which you have, on one occasion, seen in the Comitium, ** - this he carried off, amid the loud lamentations of the citizens. [50] And then mark how he stormed and sacked the ancient and glorious temple of Juno of Samos : how it plunged the Samians in grief, and distressed all Asia! how the story spread through the world, so that not one of you has not heard it! A deputation from Samos went to Asia to complain to Gaius Nero about this outrage, and they were told that grievances of this kind, having reference to legates of the Roman people, must be submitted not to the local governor, but at Rome. ** The pictures, the statues he robbed that island of! I recognised the statues myself the other day in his house, on going there to do my sealing. ** [51] Where are those statues now, Verres? I mean those we saw in your house the other day, standing by all the pillars, and in all the spaces between the pillars too, yes, and even set about your shrubbery in the open air. Why did they stay there in your house as long as you expected to be tried by a fresh president, and by the judges you had balloted for ** to take these gentlemen's places, and then, later on, when you found that we on this side meant to employ the witnesses that suited us, and not the time that suited you ** did you leave not one statue in your house, except the two in the middle of it - and they too were carried off from Samos? Did it never occur to you that on this point I was likely to subpoena your special friends who had continually been at your house, and make them say whether they knew of the previous existence of statues not now there? [20.] L   [52] What conclusion did you expect these gentlemen to draw about you, when they found you now trying to frustrate, not the prosecutor, but the quaestor and the dealer ** ? The Court has heard, at the first hearing, the evidence given on this matter by Charidemus of Chios : how, being in command of a warship, by Dolabella's orders he acted as escort when Verres was leaving Asia, was with Verres at Samos, and knew at the time about the pillaging of the sanctuary of Juno and the city of Samos; and how later he was officially prosecuted, before his own countrymen in Chios, by Samian representatives, and was acquitted on the ground that he had clearly proved the actions complained of by the Samian representatives to be the work of Verres and not his own.

[53] You are aware, gentlemen, that Aspendus is an old and famous town in Pamphylia, full of fine statuary. I shall not allege that from this town this or that particular statue was removed. My charge is that Verres did not leave one single statue behind ; that from temples and public places alike, with the whole of Aspendus looking on, they were all openly loaded on wagons and carted away. Yes, even the famous Harper of Aspendus, about whom you have often heard the saying that is proverbial among the Greeks, of whom it was said that he made "all his music inside" ** - him too Verres carried off and put right inside his own house, so as to get the reputation of having beaten the Harper himself at his own game. ** [54] At Perga there is, as we know, a very ancient and much revered sanctuary of Diana: I assert that this too has been stripped and plundered by him, and that all the gold from the figure of Diana herself has been pulled off and taken away.

You villain, you knave, and you fool, what is the meaning of this? You visited these allied and friendly cities with the rights and the rank of legate; but had you forcibly invaded them as a general at the head of an army, even so, any statuary or works of art that you might take away from them you were surely bound to transport, not to your own town house or ** the suburban estates of your friends, but to Rome for the benefit of the nation. [21.] L   [55] Need I quote the example of Marcus Marcellus, who captured Syracuse, that treasury of art? Of Lucius Scipio, who conducted the war in Asia and overthrew that mighty monarch Antiochus? Of Flamininus, who conquered King Philip and Macedonia? Of Lucius Paulus, whose energy and bravery overcame King Perseus? Of Lucius Mummius, who took the beautiful city of Corinth, full of art treasures of every kind, and brought so many cities of Achaia and Boeotia under the empire and sovereignty of Rome? These were men of high rank and eminent character, ** but their houses were empty of statues and pictures ; while we still see the whole city, and the temples of the gods, and every part of Italy, adorned with the gifts and memorials that they brought us. [56] But there are some, I fear, to whom these instances may seem old-fashioned and already out of date ; for so universal, in those days, were these fine qualities of virtue and integrity, that my praise of them must be felt to extend beyond the great men themselves to the age in which they lived. Well, here among your judges sits Publius Servilius, the hero of very great deeds, through whose skill and valour our troops forcibly captured ** the ancient city of Olympus, ** a place full of riches and works of art. This I quote as a modern example of how a brave man should behave; for this enemy city of Olympus has been captured by Servilius as a general in the Roman army since ** the time when you, Verres, as quaestorian legate in that same part of the world, had the towns of allies and friends at peace with us plundered and devastated. [57] What you criminally and piratically stole from venerated sanctuaries we can see only in the private houses of you and your friends; the statues and objects of art, which, in accordance with the rights of war and his powers as general, Servilius removed from the enemy city that his strength and valour had captured, he brought home to his countrymen, displayed them in his triumphal procession, and had them entered in full in the official catalogue of the public Treasury. Let the national records inform us of the scrupulous care shown by this eminent man. Read them, please. (Statement of accounts submitted by Publius Servilius.) You see carefully stated in these records, not simply the number of the statues, but the size, shape, and attitude of each one of them. How surely the satisfaction of a gallant conqueror surpasses the pleasure derived from self-indulgence and from greed! I declare that Servilius had this captured treasure, the property of the nation, far more carefully identified and catalogued than you, Verres, ever had what you stole for yourself.

Following sections (58-102)


1.(↑)   Witnesses to the fact of his being a Roman citizen.

2.(↑)   The famous quarries of Syracuse.

3.(↑)   The offences mentioned in § 11-14 are all fully dealt with later, most of them in Book V.

4.(↑)   Sulla's constitution, now ten years old.

5.(↑)   This account of the proceedings at the first hearing is, of course, at least partly fictitious. Compare §§ 1-2. We do not know how many days the trial lasted before the defence was abandoned.

6.(↑)   i.e., postponement was (i.) optional, (ii.) shorter or longer, as the court might decide, than the precise period prescribed by Glaucia's law - the Lex Servilia of about 106 B.C.

7.(↑)   i.e., your client Verres.

8.(↑)   See Actio Prima, § 6.

9.(↑)   Verres' friends decided to prosecute, on a similar charge before the same court, an ex-governor of the province of Achaea, and by being ready to begin this case before Cicero was ready with his, to secure the time of the court for the rest of the year.

10.(↑)   Sc. "as I well might have felt (since it is the regular procedure) but for the discovery of the plot."

11.(↑)   Bribery-agents and the like, who agreed for a lump sum to secure Verres' acquittal: compare Actio Prima, § 23, for a somewhat similar contract.

12.(↑)   Produxit may mean " has brought into court."

13.(↑)   Gnaeus Papirius Carbo, one of the four Democrat leaders who seized Rome when Sulla left for the east in 87: the other three were Marius, Sertorius, and Cinna.

14.(↑)   The usual method: but the Senate might, in any year, assign particular spheres of duty to some or all of the quaestors.

15.(↑)   Really "proconsul" : consul often means this. Carbo was consul during 84. In 83 he went as proconsul to Cisalpine Gaul, to raise troops and secure that region, in view of Sulla's expected return : Verres went with him.

16.(↑)   Literally, "the lot and his sphere of duty." The lot was held to declare heaven's will, and to impose very sacred obligations on the person chosen by it.

17.(↑)   The first words of some piece of written evidence, possibly by the Ariminum witnesses.

18.(↑)   'In tali re' perhaps means "in similar circumstances."

19.(↑)   Book IV.

20.(↑)   These were all extracted from the inhabitants.

21.(↑)   Part of the Forum, where the old assembly of the curiae met. Verres had lent the aediles this statue to form part of the decorations for some festival show.

22.(↑)   Nero had no power to punish the legatus of the governor of another province. Cicero is not blaming him: but pointing out the seriousness of Verres' offence, and hinting, perhaps, that he is doing something to carry out Nero's suggestion to the Samians.

23.(↑)   Evidently to seal up, and secure against removal, objects that might be required as evidence at the trial.

24.(↑)   Ironically for "had expected to ballot for."

25.(↑)   The reference is to the plot described in Actio Prima, 88 26-31, and to Cicero's plan to frustrate it, 8 55. The "time that suited you" is the time that Cicero did not waste, at the first hearing, on a long continuous speech.

26.(↑)   The city quaestors confiscated and sold the property of condemned persons: the sector speculated in the purchase of it. Verres, expecting bankruptcy, was trying, illegally, to save what he could from the wreck.

27.(↑)   The proverb was applied to those who do things for their own pleasure and not that of others. The lifelike figure appeared to be enjoying his own music, inaudible to everyone else.

28.(↑)   Verres knew still better (as Long suggests) how to "play for himself alone."

29.(↑)   'The innuendo is that of § 51.

30.(↑)   And therefore entitled to outward splendours.

31.(↑)   Lit. " who by force, with his troops, by his skill, by his valour, took..."

32.(↑)   A pirate city on the coast of Lycia.

33.(↑)   In the year 77.

Following sections (58-102) →

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