Cicero : In Verrem 2.1

Sections 103-158

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.

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[40.] L   [103] But now let us come to his illustrious career as praetor. Let us proceed to offences that are more familiar to this audience than to us who have thought out and prepared the case we have come here to conduct. In dealing with these I shall doubtless not succeed in escaping criticism for want of thoroughness. Complaints like this will be common: ''He has not referred to such-and-such an instance, with which I was concerned ; he has not touched on such-and-such an act of injustice done to me, or done to my friend, things with which I was concerned." To all those who are acquainted with the man's perversions of justice - which is as much as to say, to the entire Roman nation - I wish to offer this emphatic defence of myself. It is not any want of thoroughness that will cause me to pass over a great deal; but there are some things I wish to reserve untouched for my witnesses' evidence ; and there are many that considerations of brevity and economy of time I feel make it necessary to leave out. I must also confess with regret that, since Verres never let one minute go by without doing something wrong, I have simply been unable to acquaint myself with every villainy he has perpetrated. In listening to me, therefore, as I deal with the crimes of his praetorship, I would have you look under both heads, those namely of judicial decisions and the maintenance of public buildings, for mention of such crimes only as most befit the dignity of a man who can never be fitly charged with anything trifling or even moderately serious. [104] For as soon as he became praetor he rose, after taking his auspices, from the embraces of Chelidon, to receive the city praetorship as his department, a result of the lot that was more gratifying to him and Chelidon than it was to the Roman nation. ** And first let us see the light in which the composition of his edict ** displays him.

[41.] L   During the praetorship of Gaius Sacerdos, ** there died one Publius Annius Asellus. He, being the father of an only child, a daughter, and not having been registered, ** had taken the step, which his natural feelings prompted and there was no law to forbid, of making his daughter his heir: and she was so accordingly. All the arguments were in the child's favour - equity, the father's wishes, the edicts of past praetors, and the legal usage existing at the date of Asellus's death. [105] Verres after his election - whether somebody advised him of the facts or set him on, or his own natural acuteness in these matters led him without guidance or information to such an immoral proceeding, is more than I can say; I merely tell you the reckless and unscrupulous thing he did - Verres called on Lucius Annius, the reversionary heir (for I cannot believe the suggestion that Annius called on him first); told him that he could, by means of his edict, get him the inheritance ; and showed him what could be done about it. Annius was disposed to do business, and Verres reckoned on getting his price for it. But in spite of his extreme audacity he nevertheless made secret proposals to the girl's mother; to be bribed not to make an innovation in his edict suited him better than to bring into play a clause so immoral and brutal. [106] The child's guardians did not like the idea of paying him money, and that a large sum, on their ward's behalf, not seeing how they could enter it in their accounts, nor how they could pay it without risk to themselves. Nor did they suppose him capable of such villainy; and though often pressed, they refused their consent. Listen, if you please, to the equitable clause in his edict composed to suit the person for whom he was getting this inheritance at the cost of its owner's child. "Since I understand that the Voconian Law . . ." Now who would ever suspect that Verres would be the enemy of women ? Has he, I wonder, done a little to hurt them in order to avoid the impression that the whole of his edict was composed to suit Chelidon's tastes? He tells us that he is taking measures against greed: and who more fit to do so, in our own time, or at any time in our history ? Was ever man so untouched by greed as he is? Pray let us hear the rest; it is really delightful to see the man's high moral tone, and his knowledge of law, and his impressive personality ; read, please. " Any man who, since the censorship of Aulus Postumius and Quintus Fulvius or any following year . . . has done or shall do so." [107] "Has done or shall do"? Did ever such an expression occur in an edict before? Did an edict ever before attach illegality, or liability to punishment, to an act that cannot be attacked as wrong after the edict was issued, and could not be avoided ** before it was issued? [42.] L   The law, the statute-book, and all the experts consulted, declared that Publius Annius had made a will that was neither wrong nor neglectful nor unfeeling. But had it been so, there was still no justification, after his death, for making any legal innovation applicable to his will. It appears that the Voconian law enjoyed your approval. You might well have followed the example of Quintus Voconius himself, then : for his law did not deprive any girl or woman of her position of heiress if she had it already ; it merely enjoined that no one, registered after the year of the censors named, should make a girl or woman his heiress in future. [108] In the Voconian Law we do not find "Has done or shall do"; nor in any law is a past action made subject to censure, except such as of their own nature are criminal and vile, so that they ought to have been avoided at all costs even if no law forbade them. And even so we often find that a law prohibiting such actions precludes prosecution of those who have already committed them: the Cornelian laws against forgery of wills, for instance, and coining, and a number of others, in which no new legal principle is set up for the community, but it is provided that what has always in fact been an immoral action shall become subject to criminal proceedings before the community after a fixed date. [109] But where a man makes some innovation in civil law, he must surely allow all acts previously committed to be legally valid. Look at the Lex_Atinia#lex lex Atinia de usucapione Law, the Furian, the Fusian, the Voconian Law itself, as I have said, and all the others that are concerned with civil rights: in all of them you will find the same thing, provisions that are to be binding on the community after the law comes into force. Even those who attach most weight to the praetor's edict say that an edict is a law valid for twelve months : you make your edict operate more widely ** than a law can. If the validity of a praetor's edict ends on the 1st of January, why does its validity not also begin from the 1st of January ? Nobody can use his edict to make a forward encroachment on the year in which another man will be praetor: is he to make a backward encroachment on the year in which another man has been praetor? [110] Moreover, had you framed this clause to improve the law and not the prospects of an individual, you would have done it more carefully. [43.] L   You write "Any person who has made or shall make his heir . . ." What of his bequeathing away more than comes to the heir or heirs? ** That by the Voconian law is legal for a person not registered at a census : why do you not guard against this action, since it belongs to the same class? Because your wording is not meant to apply to a class, but to an individual: which shows at once that your motives have not been legal, but financial. Had your edict been made to apply to the future only, it would have been less abominable ; it would still have been wrong ; but in that case, while it might have been censured, it could not have been attacked as criminal, for nobody would have transgressed it. As the matter stands, the character of the clause would show anyone that it was put in to benefit not the community but the reversionary heir of Publius Annius. [111] That is why, after all the verbiage and the profit-hunting preamble with which you adorned the clause, no subsequent praetor, you will find, has reproduced it in his edict. Not only so, but nobody has even been afraid of this being done. Since your praetorship there are many who have made their wills in the same fashion ** : among these is a wealthy woman named Annaea, who, not having been registered, with the approval of many of her family made her daughter her heir. Now is not this a really emphatic condemnation of the man's immoral conduct? Gaius Verres devises a regulation of his own, and nobody has been afraid of finding any praetor inclined to carry that regulation on! You, Verres, are indeed the one known case of a man who has not been content with improving the wills of the living, but must also annul the wills of the dead. [112] You yourself removed the clause from your Sicilian edict, merely expressing your intention to apply the principles of your city edict to meet any unforeseen contingencies. What you meant to be a reserve line of defence in future has proved your chief stumbling-block ** : by your own act, in your provincial edict, you denied that any weight was to be attached to your own judgement.

[44.] L   Now I have no doubt that, just as this affair causes distress and resentment to me, in whose heart my daughter holds a chief place, so it is with each one of you, who are stirred by a like affection and tenderness for your own daughters: for indeed it is our daughters that nature bids us make the great source of our happiness and object of our devotion, nor can any other thing better deserve to have lavished on it all our care and tenderness. [113] Cruel savage! why have you done this foul wrong to dead Publius Annius? Why have you tortured his very bones and ashes with the agony of knowing how you tore away from his child the possessions that law and statute and his fatherly wishes would pass on to her, and conveyed them to the man on whom it suited you to bestow them? Shall those with whom we share our good things while we live be robbed by some praetor of goods and happiness when we are dead? "I will not permit," the man tells us, "either legal action or occupation." ** Will you then pluck the child's fringe from her dress, ** and pull off the badges of her freedom as well as her fortune? Does it surprise us that the people of Lampsacum drew the sword against a man like this ? Or that his departure from his province was a stealthy flight from Syracuse ** ? Did we feel the wrongs of others as we feel our own, no trace of him would have been suffered to remain in our forum. ** [114] A father gives something to his daughter, you prohibit it; the laws allow it, yet you interfere! He makes, out of his own property, a perfectly legal gift : what fault can you find with that? None, as I hold. But I will not stand in your way. Interfere, if you can, if you find anyone to listen to you, if anyone proves capable of obeying your orders. Are you to rob the dead of their power of choice; the living, of their property ; living and dead, of their legal rights? Would not the Roman nation have struck you down for this, had it not kept you for this present hour of judgement ?

Ever since praetor's law was first set up, we have always had the following provision in force: That if no written will is produced, possession shall be given to that person who would have had the best claim to inherit if the deceased had made no will. The equity of this may easily be shown: but it is enough to point out, in so every-day a matter, that all previous decisions had observed this principle, and that the clause stating it is ancient and is always taken over. ** [45.] L   [115] Now let us note another innovation by which Verres' edict replaces the ancient usage : and at the same time let us decide to send the younger generation to him for training in civil law while there is still someone who can teach it to them; his ability and his legal knowledge are both really remarkable. Before he became praetor, a man named Minucius died. No will made by him was forthcoming, and by law the estate would go to the Minucian clan. ** If Verres' edict had contained what the edicts of all previous and subsequent praetors have contained, possession would have been given to the clan accordingly ; and if anyone believed himself to be the real heir by the terms of the will not at the time forthcoming, he could sue for it directly, or else take adequate security for the value of the property and the intermediate returns from it and assert his claim to it by the contract process. ** That is the way in which the law has been worked, if I am right, both in our fathers' days and in our own. Let us see the improvement made by Verres. [116] He composed a clause for his edict so worded that anyone can see how it was framed to meet the case of one particular person. Everything is there but the person's name. He gives the whole case, indeed, in detail : what he neglects is law, usage, equity, and all preceding edicts. ( Extract from the city edict. "If the succession to an estate shall be disputed . . . unless the party in possession shall agree to the contract proposed." ) ** Now how can it affect the praetor which of the two parties is in possession? Is not the point to be settled which of the two ought to be in possession? You do not, then, eject the man in possession, because he is in possession: would you then refuse the same man possession if he were not? That point you nowhere deal with ; nor does your edict provide for anything else at all besides the case for which you got paid. Here now is an absurdity. [117] "If the succession to an estate shall be disputed, and if there shall be produced before me a written will sealed with the full number of seals ** required by law, I will give possession in accordance with the written will." So far this is adopted from previous edicts: but now what should follow is "If a written will shall not be produced . . ." ** What does Verres say ? That he will give possession to the man who claims to be heir! What difference then does it make whether the will is produced or not? ** Should the claimant produce it, you would refuse possession if it was deficient by one seal in the number legally required: and yet will you give possession if the man produces no written will at all? What comment is possible? That no subsequent praetor ever adopted this clause in his edict? It is truly astonishing that no one should have felt inclined to have his character compared to that of Verres. Nor does the clause occur in his own Sicilian edict - of course, he had got his money by then: as in the clause I spoke of just now, so here; his edict in Sicily, so far as concerns giving possession of inheritances, is identical with those of all city praetors - except himself. ( Extract from the Sicilian edict. If the succession to an estate is disputed . . . )

[46.] L   [118] And what, in heaven's name, can be said in defence of that? ** I ask you again, Verres, with reference to this clause dealing with giving possession of inheritances, what I asked you just now about the clause dealing (for the benefit of Annius) with the right of women to inherit: I ask why you would not adopt those clauses in your provincial edict. Did you consider that people who live in the provinces deserved fairer treatment than we here? Or is one thing fair in Rome and another in Sicily? It certainly cannot be argued, in this connexion, that a provincial edict must show many changes : that does not, in any case, apply to granting possession of inheritances, nor to the right of women to inherit. For I note, under both heads, that not only all other praetors, but you yourself too, have used word for word the same language in your provincial edicts as is regularly used at Rome. It is only the clauses which, to your great disgrace, you were bribed to insert in your edict at Rome - only these, I note, that you removed from your Sicilian edict, in order not to acquire a bad name in your province without being paid for it.

[119] And just as, between his election and his entry upon office, he composed the whole of his edict to suit those who were trafficking in justice with him to serve their own ends, so during the tenure of his office he had no scruple about giving decisions that contradicted the edict itself. The result was that Lucius Piso ** filled a pile of note-books with records of the cases in which he vetoed decisions by Verres as inconsistent with Verres' own edict. I imagine you have not forgotten this - what a streaming crowd of people would regularly gather round Piso's judgement seat during Verres' year of office. But for his having Piso for a colleague, Verres would have been buried in the forum under a shower of stones. As it was, the wrongs he did appeared more tolerable because people found, in the equitable character and legal knowledge of Piso, an always available refuge, of which they could make use without trouble or un pleasantness or expense or even an advocate's help. [120] Pray recall to your memories, gentlemen, the wanton character of Verres' administration of the law, the lack of uniformity in his decisions, the trafficking that went on ; how empty were the houses of all the experts in civil law whom it is the practice to consult, how densely crowded was the house of Chelidon. As often as that woman came up to him and whispered in his ear, he would call back the parties to a case that he had already judged, and alter his judgement ; at other times he would, without the least scruple, deliver in one case a judgement directly opposed to that which he had delivered in the previous case a few minutes before. [121] Hence those people whose indignation went so far as to make them humorists : some of these made the remark you have often heard repeated, that ius verrinum ** was of course poor stuff : others were still sillier, only that their irritation passed them off as good jesters, when they cursed Sacerdos ** for leaving such a miserable hog behind him. I should not recall these jokes, which are not particularly witty, nor, moreover, in keeping with the serious dignity of this Court, were it not that I would have you remember how Verres' offences against morality and justice became at the time the subject of common talk and popular catchwords. [47.] L   [122] As to his behaviour towards ordinary people in Rome, should I speak first of its snobbery or its cruelty? Cruelty is admittedly the more terrible and savage quality. Well then, do you think, gentlemen, that this audience has forgotten Verres' way of having ordinary Roman folk flogged till the blood ran? The thing was brought before a public meeting by a tribune of the plebs, who then produced before the eyes of the Roman people a man whom Verres had had flogged. This subject I mean to give you an opportunity of considering in its proper place. ** [123] His snobbery is doubtless already familiar to you all, the contemptuous way in which he looked down upon any poor man and treated him as no better than a slave. Publius Trebonius bequeathed his property to several honest and respectable persons, one of whom was his own freedman. His brother Aulus Trebonius was among the outlawed ; and wishing to provide for him, he stipulated in his will that his heirs should swear to see to it that at least half of their respective shares came to the outlawed Aulus. The freedman did swear this ; but the other heirs approached Verres, and pointed out that they ought not to swear to perform an action that would violate the Cornelian law forbidding the assistance of outlawed persons. Their request to be exempted from taking the oath was granted; and Verres gave them possession - an action that I will not condemn, for it would indeed have been unfair that an outlawed man in distress should have anything out of his brother's estate given to him. The freedman had felt that he would be guilty of a crime if he failed to swear as his old master's will required ; [124] and because he did, Verres refused to give him possession of his inheritance, that he might not be able to help his old master who was outlawed, and at the same time might be liable to punishment for following the instructions in his other old master's will. Well, Verres, you give possession to a man who has not sworn the oath; I raise no objection ; a praetor has the right to do that. But you take that right away from a man who has sworn it; what precedent have you for that? Suppose he does help the outlawed man - there is the law and its penalty. What difference does it make to the praetor's decision? Do you condemn the freedman for being willing to help his old master then in sore need? Or for choosing to carry out the dying wishes of his other old master to whom he owed everything ? Which of these two offences do you condemn? Yes, and on that occasion this perfect gentleman, sitting in his chair of office, observed, "A freedman the heir of a knight with a fortune like that! " What self-restraint the freedman class showed in letting him leave his chair alive !

[125] I could produce hundreds of his decisions whose disregard for precedent and equity makes it plain, without any comment from me, that money has had a hand in them. But I will only ask you to listen to a single one of them, which was put before you at the first hearing: from it you may guess what the rest must be. [48.] L   There was a man called Gaius Sulpicius Olympus, who died during the praetorship of Gaius Sacerdos, I rather think before Verres began canvassing for the praetorship. He left his property to Marcus Octavius Ligus; Ligus claimed the estate, and enjoyed undisputed possession of it so long as Sacerdos remained praetor. After Verres had entered upon office, in accordance with a clause in his edict that had not appeared in the edict of Sacerdos, the daughter of the Sulpicius whose freedman Sulpicius Olympus had been proceeded to claim from Ligus one-sixth of the estate. Ligus not being in Rome, his brother Lucius appeared for him, supported by his friends and relatives. Verres announced that unless they came to some arrangement with the lady, he would make an order for her to take possession. Lucius Gellius, who was supporting Ligus, argued that Verres' edict could not be held to apply to any estate inherited before the date of his praetorship, and that had the present regulation been in force then, Ligus might not have chosen to claim the estate. The equity of this plea and the respect due to those who urged it were no match for money. Ligus arrived in Rome. [126] He felt sure that, if he himself had an interview with Verres, the justice of his case and his personal influence would have an effect on the man. Calling on him at his house, he went into the facts, pointing out the length of time the estate had now been his ; with the readiness of an intelligent man pleading a thoroughly just cause, he used a number of arguments that might have told with anyone; and finally proceeded to urge him not to think so little of his importance, or care so little for his goodwill, as to do him so grave an injustice. The fellow began at this to abuse Ligus for straining and exciting himself so much about a property that had only come to him by the chance of inheritance: Ligus ought to consider Verres' point of view as well as his own: Verres' own needs were considerable, and also those of the hounds he kept about him. I cannot tell the story more clearly than you have heard Ligus himself giving it in his evidence. [127] What have you to say then, Verres? Shall even these witnesses not be believed, or is their evidence irrelevant? Shall we not believe Marcus Octavius Ligus ? or Lucius Ligus ? Who then will believe us, or whom shall we believe ? What can evidence prove, if it cannot prove this? Or is what they say no great matter? It is no less a matter than the claim set up by a city praetor, in the discharge of his office, that the praetor shall be co-inheritor with everyone who inherits an estate. Can we fail to picture the brazen way in which he would present his demands to all those other persons of lower station, rank, and importance, to those simple folk up from country towns, or to those freedmen whose freedom he never would recognise, when we hear that, from a man so distinguished as Marcus Octavius Ligus in position and rank and name, in character and ability and fortune, he did not hesitate to demand a bribe in return for his decision in court ? [49.] L   [128] His conduct in dealing with the maintenance of public buildings I need hardly describe. Some of his victims have already described it, and there are others who can. Facts, notorious and convincing, have been produced, and more shall follow. The knight Gnaeus Fannius, own brother of the Quintus Titinius ** who is one of your judges, has testified to his having paid you money. Read the evidence. Evidence of Gnaeus Fannius. Gentlemen, do not believe what Fannius says : Quintus Titinius, do not, I repeat, believe what Gnaeus Fannius your own brother says. For he says what is unbelievable ; he is attempting to charge Gaius Verres with unscrupulous greed for money - a charge that we feel is appropriate to anyone else rather than to him. We have heard Quintus Tadius, an intimate friend of Verres' father, and not unconnected, by birth and name, with Verres' mother: Tadius has produced his own accounts, showing that he has paid money to Verres. Read these. ( Accounts of Quintus Tadius. ) And this. ( Evidence of Quintus Tadius. ) Are we not to trust the accounts, or the evidence, even of Tadius? What, then, do we mean to go upon in trying a case? If we should set everyone free to commit every kind of offence and injury, how otherwise should we do it than by refusing to accept the evidence given by respectable persons, and the accounts kept by honourable gentlemen ? [129] And now how shall I deal with a thing that was day after day the subject of indignant discussion throughout Rome - that impudent theft of his, or rather, that unheard of and extraordinary act of open robbery? To think of the temple of Castor, that famous and glorious memorial of the past, that sanctuary which stands where the eyes of the nation may rest upon it every day, in which the Senate not seldom meets, and which is daily thronged with those who come to take counsel upon matters of high import: and then to think that there Verres has a memorial of his criminal audacity graven for ever upon the lips of men!

[50.] L   [130] From the consulship of Lucius Sulla and Quintus Metellus, ** gentlemen, the contractor for the upkeep of the temple of Castor had been one Publius Junius. He died, leaving a young son, not yet of age. Lucius Octavius and Gaius Aurelius during their consulship ** had made contracts for temple maintenance, the execution of which they had not had time, in all cases, to certify, nor had the two praetors, Gaius Sacerdos and Marcus Caesius, to whom this duty had been assigned. The Senate therefore decreed that Gaius Verres and Publius Caelius, the new praetors, should examine and pronounce upon those contracts not already dealt with. How Verres misused the powers thus entrusted to him you have already learnt from Gnaeus Fannius and Quintus Tadius. But open and unashamed as all his depredations were, he chose to leave us an especially striking demonstration of his methods of robbery ; something that we might not hear of now and then, but daily see for ourselves. [131] He inquired who was responsible for handing over the temple of Castor in good repair; Junius himself he knew was dead, and he wanted to know on whom the duty now devolved. He was told that it was the son, who was still a minor. He had always been in the habit of saying openly that minors, male or female, were a praetor's safest prey ; and here, he told himself, was a most desirable piece of business put straight into his hands. In so large and elaborate a building, even were it in sound and good repair, he calculated on finding some means of working a profitable job for himself. [132] The temple contract was to be transferred to Lucius Habonius: this man, as it happened, was by the will of Junius made one of the boy's guardians, and with him a quite comfortable settlement had been reached ** about the details of the transfer. Verres told Habonius to come and see him, and asked him whether his ward had failed in any detail of the transfer that he should be required to make good. Habonius replied, what was true, that his ward was having no trouble about the transfer ; that no statues or offerings were missing ; and that the building itself was in sound condition throughout. Verres began to feel that it would be a shame to abandon a great elaborate building like that without lining his own pockets richly - at a minor's expense, too. [51.] L   [133] He went himself into the temple of Castor, and surveyed the sacred edifice : he saw the whole roof beautifully panelled, and everything else in fresh and sound condition. He turned round, and asked what he had better do. Then one of the hounds, of whom he told Ligus ** he kept a large pack round him, observed, "Look you, Verres, there is no job you can work here, unless perhaps you would like to demand that the pillars be made exactly plumb." The hopeless ignoramus inquired what "plumb" signified: and they told him that practically no pillar could possibly be exactly plumb. "Why, damn it all," says Verres, " let's do that; let us demand that the pillars be made exactly plumb." [134] Habonius was familiar with the wording of the contract, which merely gave an inventory of the number of pillars and said nothing about their being plumb ; and also he reckoned that it would not pay him to take over the contract on those conditions, since he might have to hand over to his successor on the same conditions later on. He therefore maintained that he had no right to claim this, and that it ought not to be required. Verres told Habonius to hold his tongue, at the same time hinting that he would have some chance of sharing in the profits. He had no trouble in suppressing this unassuming and easy-going person, and stated definitely that he would make the requirement about the pillars as mentioned.

[135] This new and, for young Junius, unexpectedly disastrous development was promptly reported to the boy's stepfather Gaius Mustius (recently deceased), to his uncle Marcus Junius, and to another of his guardians, an honest man named Publius Titius. These three carried the matter to that eminent and most trustworthy and excellent man Marcus Marcellus, himself one of the guardians. Marcellus went to see Verres, and, like the honourable and conscientious man he was, urged Verres at considerable length not to think of so gross an injustice as to turn a boy like Junius out of the property his father had left him. Verres, who already had in anticipation a vision of himself devouring his prey, was untouched either by the fairness of the plea or by the importance of the pleader, and answered accordingly that he would insist on the thing being done as he had indicated. [136] The guardians, perceiving the difficulty of making any appeals to him, and finding every pathway of approach steep, not to say completely blocked, since he was a man with whom neither law nor equity nor compassion, neither the arguments of a relative nor the wishes of a friend nor anyone's influence or goodwill, counted for anything at all - the guardians decided that their best course (and the idea would have occurred to anyone) was to ask the help of Chelidon, the woman who, so long as Verres was praetor, not only controlled the civil law and all the private controversies of the nation, but also lorded it in all these matters of maintenance contracts.

[52.] L   [137] Yes, they went to see Chelidon: Gaius Mustius, knight and collector of revenue, as honourable a man as lives; the boy's uncle, the honest and upright Marcus Junius; and his guardian Publius Titius, respectable and conscientious, than whom no man of his rank is esteemed more highly. Ah, Verres, how many there are to whom your praetorship has brought pain and misery and shame! To speak of nothing else, I bid you think simply of the feelings of shame and disgust with which such men must have entered the dwelling of a harlot. For no consideration would they have brought themselves to stoop so low, had not regard for duty and friendship compelled them. They went, as I have said, to see Chelidon. Her house was full: decisions, judgements, methods of procedure - none ever heard of before - were being applied for : "make him give me possession,"   "don't let him take it from me,"   "don't let him pronounce against me,"   "get him to award me the property." Some were paying her cash, others were signing promissory notes: the house was filled, not with a courtesan's visitors, but with the crowd that attends a praetor's court. [138] As soon as they were allowed, the gentlemen I have named approached the woman. The speaker was Gaius Mustius; he explained the facts, asked for help, and promised her money. Her reply, for a woman of that type, was not ill-natured : she would gladly do her best, and would be sure to talk to him about it - let them return later. They left her, and returned the next day; she then told them that the man was inexorable, and that he said there was a really big sum of money to be made out of this business.

[53.] L   I am afraid that some of our audience who were not present at the first hearing may suppose that this story is my own invention, its exceptional ugliness makes it so incredible. [139] You, gentlemen, have heard it all before. It has been told on oath by Publius Titius, guardian of young Junius. It has been told by his guardian and uncle Marcus Junius. It would have been told by Mustius, if he were still alive, and it has been heard recently from his lips. It has been told by Lucius Domitius, who, though he knew I had heard it from Mustius before the latter's death, since I was very familiar with him - the fact is that Mustius, with my sole support, won a case in which nearly the whole of his fortune was involved - though, as I was saying, Domitius knew this, and that I knew Mustius to have been in the habit of reporting everything to him, none the less he held his tongue about Chelidon as long as he could, and made an evasive answer to my question. ** There was so much modesty in this young noble of high rank and reputation, that for some time, press him as I might, he made any answer rather than mention Chelidon's name, asserting to begin with that the friends of Junius had been sent to see Verres, and only uttering Chelidon's name finally when he could no longer help it. [140] Do you feel no shame, Verres, that your conduct as praetor has been wholly governed by a woman whose very name Domitius feels it hardly decent for him to mention ? [54.] L   Rejected by Chelidon, they could do nothing but resolve to undertake the obligation ** themselves. They agreed with the guardian Habonius to pay two hundred thousand sesterces for an operation whose real cost was barely forty thousand sesterces. Habonius reported this to Verres, observing that in his opinion this was a fairly large and shameless sum. Verres, who had had a good deal more than that in his mind, made some unpleasant remarks to Habonius, and told him that he could not possibly accept an arrangement like that ; and not to make a long story of it, he declared that he was going to call for tenders. ** [141] The guardians knew nothing of this ; they imagined that their arrangement with Habonius had quite settled the matter, and had no fear that anything still worse might befall their ward. Verres wasted no time; he proceeded with the tenders without any previous advertisement or announcement of the day for tendering, at a most unsuitable time, right in the middle of the Roman Games, with the forum all decorated. Habonius accordingly cancelled the agreement with the other guardians. They hastened to the spot, nevertheless, at the day fixed; and Junius, the uncle, made his bid. Verres turned pale: his looks, his voice, his very power of thought failed him. He began to wonder what to do. If the ward were to secure the contract, and it thus escaped the person whom he had himself put up to secure it, there was no plunder for him to get. He arrived at a plan: and what was it? Oh, nothing ingenious; nothing that anyone could describe as "Dishonest, yes, but clever." You are to look for no artful dodge, nothing of the wily old bird, from Verres. You will find everything quite plain and obvious, nothing but stupid reckless impudence. [142] " If the ward secures the contract, my prey is snatched from my grasp. How do we stop that, then? How? why, let us prohibit the ward from bidding for it." What now becomes of the practice, observed universally by consuls, censors, praetors, and even quaestors, in selling property upon personal and landed security ** - the practice of allowing most favoured treatment to the owner of the property, who stands to lose by its sale? Verres here excludes from the right of bidding that person alone to whom alone, one might almost say, the right should be allowed. Why, what does this mean? Can anyone be hoping, or trying, to lay hands in spite of me upon my own money ? Here is a contract to be made for doing a repair for which I shall have to pay ; and I undertake myself to do it. You, who let out the contract, can see that the work is done properly : personal and real security is given ** to the state: and even if you think the security insufficient, does that mean that you, as praetor, may give anyone you please leave to plunder my property, without allowing me to make a move to protect my own pocket ?

[55.] L   [143] It is worth your while, gentlemen, to note the text of the contract: you will recognise the author of that clause in the edict relating to inheritance. ( Text of the Contract. "In the matter of the ward lunius. . . ." ) Kindly read it more distinctly. ( "Gaius Verres, city praetor, has further provided. . . ." ) Improvements on the censors' forms of contract! Oh well, in a number of old contracts we find that sort of thing: "The censors Gnaeus Domitius and Lucius Metellus have further provided,"   "the censors Lucius Cassius and Gnaeus Servilius have further provided." Gaius Verres is after something of the same kind. Tell us then, what is this futher provision: read it out. "Any person who from the censors Lucius Marcius and Marcus Perperna ** . . . must not take him as partner nor allow him to share in the undertaking nor himself secure the contract." Why this arrangement? To prevent the work's being badly done? Well, you have the power of seeing to that. To ensure the contractor's having the necessary capital? Well, but security, personal and real, had been offered to the state, and more still would have been offered if you had required it. Here let me ask this. [144] Even if the actual facts, the shamefulness of the wrong you were doing, left you unmoved ; if the ruin of that boy, and the tears of his kinsmen, and the risk to Decimus Brutus whose land was involved, and the personal authority of the boy's guardian Marcus Marcellus - if all this counted for nothing with you: yet did it not even occur to you that this piece of your misconduct was of a kind that you would be able neither to deny (having entered the contract in your books) nor, admitting it, to justify in any sort of way ? The contract was let for five hundred and sixty thousand sesterces, though the guardians declared loudly that for forty thousand sesterces they were prepared to carry out the work so as to satisfy even that tyrannical rascal. [145] How much, after all, was there to do? Exactly what you yourselves, gentlemen, saw done. A scaffold was moved up to each of those pillars that you can now see freshly whitened; they were taken down and replaced, without further expense, stone for stone as before. This was the undertaking for which your contractor received five hundred and sixty thousand sesterces! Yes, and I assert that of those pillars there are some that he never touched : I assert that there is one from which he merely scraped off the old stucco ** and applied fresh. Well, if I had supposed it cost so much to whiten pillars, I should certainly never have been a candidate for the aedileship . **

[56.] L   [146] However, to give it the appearance of a business arrangement and not a robbery of that boy, we have the clause, "Any portion of the structure cut away in the course of the restoration must be replaced." What was there to cut away, when he simply put each stone back in its place? "The contractor mill be required to give security for possible damage during restoration to the successor of the original contractor." ** A good joke, to require Habonius to give security to himself! " The cost shall be paid in cash." And from whose property ? That of the person who declared distinctly that he would do for forty thousand sesterces what you have paid your contractor five hundred and sixty thousand sesterces to do! From whose property, I ask again? That of a boy under age, whose tender years and orphan condition called for the praetor's protection, even though he had had no guardians. He did have guardians, who tried to protect him, and you, Verres, have stolen not only his patrimony but the property of the guardians too. "The work must be carried out soundly with the proper material for each part of it." [147] What do you mean by "proper material for each part of it'? A certain amount of marble had to be cut and brought to the right spot by means of the proper appliance. That was all: there was no stone and no timber brought there: all that this contract involved was paying some masons for a few days' work, plus the cost of the scaffolding appliances. Which would you reckon the bigger undertaking, gentlemen, to construct a single complete new pillar without using any old stone again, or to put four of those pillars back where they were? Nobody can doubt that constructing one new one is far the bigger thing. Now I will prove to you that in a private house pillars just as large as these, though they had to be brought a long way over bad roads, have been erected round the rain-pool for twenty thousand sesterces apiece. [148] But it is silly, when his conduct is so obviously shameless, to argue in great detail about it ; especially as by the whole wording of the contract he openly showed his contempt for what everyone would say or think, even adding at the end "The contractor may retain any unused old material" - as if any old material at all were taken away from that operation, when the whole thing was done with old material. It may be suggested that it did not follow, if the minor were not allowed to have the contract, that the matter must come into the hands of Verres : any member of the public might have undertaken the business. No, they were all barred from it as obviously as the minor himself. The day Verres fixed for the undertaking to be completed was the 1st of December, and he let the contract about the 13th of September; everyone was barred by the shortness of the time allowed. [57.] L   [149] Well, but then, how did Habonius keep within the time? Nobody made any trouble for Habonius either on the 1st of December, or a week later, or a fortnight later : in fact Verres had left for his province some time before the work was completed. After his prosecution, he first said for some time that he could not certify that the work had been duly carried out; then, when Habonius pressed him, he referred him to me, saying that I had the memorandum-book under seal. Habonius asked me for it, and sent his friends to support him: his request was granted at once. Verres did not see what to do. If he refused to give the certificate, he thought he might thus have some sort of defence for himself ** : but then he was aware that Habonius was likely in that case to expose the whole business - though what could be clearer than it now is? To have one less witness against him, he gave Habonius his certificate - in the fourth year after the date prescribed for the completion of the work! [150] Had any contractor from the general public come forward, he would not have enjoyed such favourable treatment : all the other contractors were not only barred by the time-limit, but afraid to trust themselves to the discretion of a powerful person who would be feeling that his prey had been torn from his grasp. There is no need to argue where that money must in fact have gone - he tells us himself. In the first place, when Decimus Brutus, who had paid down that five hundred and sixty thousand sesterces out of his own purse, pressed him forcibly about it, he, not being able to stand the pressure any longer, returned one hundred and ten thousand sesterces out of the five hundred and sixty thousand sesterces to Brutus, after the contract had been let? and security accepted for its completion ** : which it is impossible to think that he would have done if the affair no longer concerned him. Secondly, the cash ** was paid to Cornificius, who, as he cannot deny, was his own clerk. Finally, Habonius's own accounts proclaim the fact that the spoils fell to Verres. Read them aloud. ( Accounts of Habonius. )

[58.] L   [151] I may add that in this connexion Hortensius, during the first hearing, complained of the young Junius having been brought into court for you to see, wearing his toga praetexta, and having stood beside his uncle as the latter gave his evidence. Hortensius insisted loudly that I was playing to the gallery, and trying to arouse ill-feeling, by thus bringing the boy forward. Now may I ask, Hortensius, what there was about the lad calculated to appeal to the public and excite its ill-will ** ? One would think I had brought forward the son of some man like Gracchus or Saturninus, ** that his very name, and recollections of his father, might inflame the passions of the unsophisticated multitude. He was in fact the son of a very ordinary Roman called Publius Junius ; and his dying father fancied that he had left him to the care, not only of his guardians and kinsmen, but also of the law, of the kindly justice of our magistrates, and of the courts of which you, gentlemen, are members. [152] Despoiled, by that criminal and wicked robber's hand, of his patrimony and his entire fortune, this boy has come into court for one purpose, if no other - to see the man who had made him go threadbare these many years now dressed himself, after all, a little more shabbily ** still. So it was not his youth, Hortensius, but his cause, not his clothes but his misfortunes, that you thought would appeal to the public: you were less concerned by his coming here wearing a toga praetexta ** than by his not wearing his bulla. ** Nobody was much moved by seeing him wear the clothes that custom and the privilege of free birth allowed him; but the boy's jewel that his father had given him, the sign and token of his happier fortune - seeing how that robber had torn ths from him, the people did then feel concern and distress indeed. [153] And if the people wept then, so did I, so did you, Hortensius, so did these who will presently give their verdict: and for this reason, that the cause concerns us all, and the danger threatens us all, and it is by the rescuing hands of us all that this wickedness must be extinguished like some destroying fire. For we are the fathers of little children, and no one of us can tell how long he has to live: we must take counsel, ere we die, and make provision that their lonely years of childhood may have as strong a rampart as we can build round them. For who can protect our children in their early years against the wickedness of our magistrates? Their mothers, to be sure. And a strong defence indeed little Annia found her mother, great lady though the mother was! Much she could do, with her cries for help to gods and men, to stay Verres from robbing her infant daughter of all that the child's father had bequeathed her! Will guardians save them? An easy thing indeed, with a praetor such as this, with whom Marcus Marcellus pleaded for his ward Junius, to find that his eloquence, his earnest wishes, his personal influence, all went for nothing !

[59.] L   [154] Do we now ask how Verres has behaved in distant Phrygia, or in the remote regions of Pamphylia; or how in the war against the sea-robbers, he has played the robber himself: Verres, whose black deeds of piracy we find done here in the heart of Rome? Can we doubt his jobbery over the plunder taken from our enemies, seeing how he has enriched himself with spoil from the spoils that Lucius Metellus ** took for us, and paid his contractor more money for whitening four of those pillars than Metellus paid for the building of them all? Need we wait to hear what the witnesses from Sicily shall tell us? Has anyone looked at that temple without becoming a witness to your rapacity and injustice and reckless wickedness? Has anyone walked along the road from the statue of Vertumnus to the Circus Maximus without being reminded of your rapacious greed at every step he took? The repair of that road, the route for sacred coaches and processions, you have enforced so thoroughly ** that you would not risk going over it yourself. Is anyone expected to believe that, once salt water lay between you and Italy, you had any mercy on our allies, when you have not shrunk from letting Castor's temple be the witness of your thefts ? Upon that temple the eyes of Rome rest daily ; and upon it the eyes of your judges will rest, as they pronounce their verdict upon you.

[60.] L   [155] He conducted criminal as well as civil cases during his praetorship ; and the following occurrence should not be passed unnoticed. A charge involving a fine was brought before him as praetor against Quintus Opimius, who was nominally prosecuted because, when tribune of the plebs, he had used his veto in violation of the Cornelian law, but really because, during his year of office, he had made a speech offensive to some man of high rank. If I chose to tell the full story of this trial, I should have to name, and cause pain to, a great many people. This my case does not require me to do; and I will merely observe that a handful of arrogant persons (I cannot describe them more mildly), assisted by Verres, with heartless levity brought Quintus Opimius to utter ruin.

[156] Does Verres still complain of my unfairness in dispatching the first hearing of his trial in nine days only, when Quintus Opimius, a senator of Rome, was completely stripped, by the court over which Verres presided, of property and money and personal treasures in three short hours ? a miscarriage of justice that has led to repeated motions in the Senate that all fines for this class of offence, and all prosecutions of this class, should be abolished. ** And then again, in conducting the sale of Opimius's property, the amount of which Verres robbed him, and the naked and scandalous way in which he did it, would make a long story : but I tell you this, gentlemen - that unless I prove the fact to you, out of the ledgers of honest men, you may regard the whole thing as an invention of my own to meet the present emergency. [157] And now shall the man who sought to profit by the ruin of a senator of Rome at whose trial he had presided, and to carry home spoils and march off with trophies from such a source - shall this man have power to pray heaven to avert ruin in any shape from his own head ?

[61.] L   Enough; for I make no reference to the notorious supplementary ballot ** for members of the court over which Junius presided. Why, how could I venture to throw doubt upon the records you have produced in court? No light task that; I am deterred from it not merely by respect for your character, Verres, and the character of the members of that court, but by your clerk's golden ring. ** I will allege nothing so hard to prove as that. But I will repeat what I will show that many men of high standing have heard you say - that you ought to be forgiven for producing a forged record ; for the hatred against Gaius Junius was so intense that, had you not taken precautions, you would then have been ruined yourself. [158] This is the kind of precaution that Verres has learnt to take for himself and his own safety : he takes records, private and official, inserts what never happened and erases what did, and is always scratching out or altering or interpolating something. Indeed he has gone so far that he cannot even avoid the consequences of his crimes except by committing fresh crimes. The insane scoundrel thought that he could manage a supplementary ballot of the same kind for the judges who were to try himself, by the help of Quintus Curtius, president of his own ** criminal court. Had I not had the strong help of the people, who supported my resistance to this move with loud shouts of anger and abuse, Curtius would have proceeded to draw, by means of this supplementary ballot, upon your own panel, to which it was important for me to have the freest possible access, and would without the least justification have secured for his own court the men whom Verres selected for removal. **

Part 2


60.(↑)   Instead of his going to the temple to take his auspices, as praetor-elect, before the drawing of lots, he bade the augur attend him in the chamber where he and his mistress were lying: an irreligious proceeding that unfortunately, though appropriately, was followed by his securing the sphere of duty in which he could do most harm. (Or the meaning may be that he took no auspices, but substituted the embraces of his mistress.)

61.(↑)   The edictum perpetuum, or code of regulations regarding all matters that came within the praetor's jurisdiction, revised by each praetor (usually with close respect to the principles followed by his predecessors) at the beginning of his tenure of office, and supposed to be binding on him throughout his tenure. It was meant to interpret, to supplement, and to define the application of existing statute law (leges).

62.(↑)   The preceding year 75. He preceded Verres both as city praetor and as propraetor of Sicily.

63.(↑)   The Lex Voconia apparently forbade a man to make a woman his heir. But it seems that any man who had not been registered at the last census was not subject to this law.

64.(↑)   i.e., there was no reason for anyone to avoid it, since it was neither wrong nor illegal then.

65.(↑)   Because retrospectively.

66.(↑)   i.e., more than half the whole estate.

67.(↑)   Text uncertain here: the true original has possibly the sense "who have been in the same position."

68.(↑)   i.e., the general proviso that the city edict might be applied was intended to enable Verres to apply it where convenient, and it was meant of course to refer to the clause of that edict now in question as well as to the rest: but this, Cicero argues, does not make up for the damaging effect of omitting the clause from the Sicilian edict.

69.(↑)   Part of the clause in the edictum. The praetor would not allow the woman even to bring an action seeking to establish her claim to the property: nor would he allow her to have, or to remain in, provisional occupation of the property pending its final assignment.

70.(↑)   The right of bringing a civil action before the city praetor was a privilege of the citizen ; and the toga praetexta was the dress of the child of free citizen parents.

71.(↑)   This town was fairly friendly with Verres, who ought to have been able to go away openly from it at least.

72.(↑)   i.e., all his judgements would have been annulled.

73.(↑)   Each praetor takes it over from his predecessor's edict without question, and incorporates it in his own edict.

74.(↑)   There can have been no children or brothers of the deceased.

75.(↑)   These are two forms of procedure, both obscure to us in some details, by which an action regarding the ownership of property could be instituted. See the excursus in Long's edition, pp. 194-198.

76.(↑)   Verres apparently, in this clause, gave the party in possession the right to bar any action against him by another claimant. The method of doing so would be to refuse 'sponsionem facere', "to make a contract," by which each party to a suit agreed to pay up if the decision went against him. Evidently Verres' friend was in possession of Minucius's estate.

77.(↑)   i.e., witnessed by the full number of witnesses.

78.(↑)   The clause was evidently completed as in § 114.

79.(↑)   i.e, the wishes of the deceased will not weigh much with Verres in any case.

80.(↑)   The reversion (to the traditional clause) in the Sicilian edict.

81.(↑)   One of the other praetors that year. An appeal, on such technical grounds, was possible from the decision of any magistrate to any other not lower in rank.

82.(↑)   'lus Verrinum', "Verres' administration of the law" : 'ius verrinum', "pork gravy."

83.(↑)   Verres' predecessor, "Mr. Priest," who ought to have sacrificed this particular animal.

84.(↑)   Verres' cruelty in Sicily is the subject of Book V.

85.(↑)   The difference of family name between the two brothers is no doubt due to the adoption of one of them into another family.

86.(↑)   80 B.C.

87.(↑)   75 B.C.

88.(↑)   By the boy's other guardians.

89.(↑)   See § 126.

90.(↑)   When being cross-examined as a witness by Cicero.

91.(↑)   Of making the pillars plumb, or paying for its being done.

92.(↑)   For the work of restoring the pillars.

93.(↑)   Enforced sale by the State is meant. The law would require purchasers to offer security for their ultimate payment of the purchase-money.

94.(↑)   By the purchaser of the contract, for his power to carry it out.

95.(↑)   It can only be conjectured that the complete clause added by Verres prohibited in general terms the exact action now taken by the guardians of Junius.

96.(↑)   Possibly tectorium here is "paint" or "whitewash."

97.(↑)   The aediles had the care of public buildings, and were expected to spend their own money on them to some extent.

98.(↑)   'Damni infecti', lit. "harm that is not done." The new contractor for maintenance is to be secured against the contractor for restoration doing damage which the new contractor would have to make good.

99.(↑)   By alleging that he was ready to proceed against Habonius for breach of contract.

100.(↑)   These two details are to show how fully the business had (ostensibly) passed out of Verres' hands into those of Habonius.

101.(↑)   The whole 560,000 sesterces.

102.(↑)   Against Verres.

103.(↑)   Both were popular leaders and accounted martyrs in the people's cause.

104.(↑)   This was the convention for accused persons.

105.(↑)   The mark of his youth.

106.(↑)   The gold locket which free-born children wore, and which young Junius, it is suggested, has been reduced, by poverty, to selling.

107.(↑)   Consul in 119, and restorer of the temple of Castor, where he dedicated trophies of the Dalmatian war.

108.(↑)   The contractor for the upkeep of this road bribed Verres to let him scamp his work.

109.(↑)   Probably this refers to the proposed practical repeal of Sulla's regulations limiting the activity of the tribunes : the law was to remain, but no action was to be taken against those who broke it.

110.(↑)   For the trial of Oppianicus. Junius was accused of tampering with the ballot in order to secure a venial court. Verres as praetor urbanus had a general charge of all these ballots.

111.(↑)   i.e., Verres' signature, which Cicero suggests was forged and sealed by his clerk.

112.(↑)   'Suae' refers to Curtius, not to Verres. Where no praetor was available to preside over a quaestio, a president was chosen from among the members of the court.

113.(↑)   Namely, the most honest men, who would be most hostile to Verres. Cicero made Curtius resort to some other panel to fill the vacancies in his court. He implies that Curtius would have tampered with this ballot.

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