Cicero : In Verrem 2.2

Sections 131-192

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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[53.] L   [131] And now it is worth our while to observe how censors were appointed in Sicily during his praetorship. For the censorship is, of all offices, the one which in Sicily the citizens take most care to entrust to the right man, because all Sicilians pay their annual tribute in proportion to their assessed wealth, and in making the assessment the censor is entrusted with complete power to value each property and fix the amount due. Consequently the community exercises the greatest care in selecting the person who is to be trusted so largely with its property, and on the other hand the competition for the office is especially keen in the community because of the great power conferred by it. [132] Verres decided that his dealings with this matter should be quite open; he would resort to no dishonest drawing of lots or cutting days out of the calendar. He certainly tried to do nothing underhand or fraudulent here; with the purpose of banishing from all his cities those eager and covetous desires for office that are the ruin of so many states, he announced that he would himself appoint the censors in every city. [133] Upon the praetor's declaring his great market open, there was a general rush to see him at Syracuse ; his official residence was a seething mass of excited human cupidity; nor was this surprising, when the polling-stations of all those cities were concentrated in a single house, and the fierce ambitions of an entire province shut up in a single room. Prices were openly ascertained and offers openly made, after which the two censors for each state were assigned by Timarchides. This person, by doing the work and interviewing the candidates himself, and bearing the unpleasantness of so laborious a piece of business, achieved the conveyance of all the profits to Verres without troubling him at all. How large the profits made by this man Timarchides were you have not so far had the opportunity of learning exactly; but still you did learn, at the first hearing, from the evidence of many witnesses, in how many rascally ways he plundered his victims.

[54.] L   [134] Now you may wonder how this freedman gained so much control of Verres' affairs; and therefore I will tell you briefly the sort of man he is, that you may appreciate both the iniquity of Verres in giving him a place on his staff, a place, moreover, of high rank and consideration, and also the disastrous consequences for the province. In the seduction of women, and all such licentious wickedness, I learnt that this fellow Timarchides was remarkably well constituted and adapted to further the evil debauches of this prince of scoundrels, to track out and visit and accost and pervert, and do anything else that such affairs demand, with unlimited cunning, boldness, and effrontery. I learnt, too, his remarkable skill in working out methods of stealing; for Verres had no quality but the greed that hung with ever-open mouth over his prey, no ingenuity or power of thought, so that any theft of his own devising was seen, as you have seen in Rome, to involve more violence than trickery. [135] But this fellow's amazing skill and rascality consisted in the clever way in which he would track or smell out the misfortunes and necessities of everyone in the province; take the trouble to find out everyone's opponents and enemies, and talk to them and lure them on; explore the aims and feelings and available resources of both sides; threaten where it was necessary, and encourage where it was desirable. All the professional and mercenary prosecutors were in his power; when he wanted to work up trouble for anyone, he did it with perfect ease ; decrees, orders, written authorities from Verres he would place on the market with the most accomplished skill. [136] Nor did he merely help to satisfy the greed of his master ; he bore himself in mind too; and it was not only that he used to pick up any coins that Verres might have let drop, and thus made a large sum of money for himself; he used also to collect the leavings of Verres' licentious pleasures. You must know, therefore, that for these three years it was not Athenio, who never captured a town, but Timarchides who was the real slave king over all the towns of Sicily ; that the wives and the children, the goods and the money of Rome's oldest and closest allies were at the mercy of Timarchides. Well, it was this Timarchides who, as I have said, received the bribes and distributed censors to the various cities: so long as Verres was praetor there was not even a pretence made of appointing censors by election. [55.] L   [137] Then here is a piece of impudence. Orders were given openly - for the act, we must not doubt, was legal - that each of the censors should contribute twelve hundred sesterces towards a statue of their praetor. One hundred and thirty censors were appointed; they made those other secret and illegal payments to secure their appointment, and these open and not illegal subscriptions towards the statue amounted to one hundred and fifty-six thousand sesterces. Why so much money, in the first place? And in the next place, why should your statue be subscribed for by censors? Do the censors in any way constitute an order, a corporate body, a definite class of persons ? Honours of this kind are either officially conferred by communities, or else, if by individuals, by definite classes of individuals, such as farmers, or merchants, or shipowners ; but why by censors, any more than by aediles ? In return for favours received? I see; then will you confess that these posts were begged from you - "bought " is more than you will dare to admit - that you conferred them on people as favours, instead of in the public interest? When you yourself confess to as much as that, can there be any question that you accepted the hatred and resentment of the whole population of the province, not to gain popularity or bestow judicious favours, but to make money ? [138] Naturally, the behaviour of these censors was like that of those members of our own government who have acquired their offices by bribery; they took care to discharge their functions so as to fill up the hole made in their finances. The assessment made during your praetorship was made in a way that brought the financial administration in every city to a standstill. For all the wealthiest men had their assessments reduced, while the poorest had theirs increased ; and the demands of the tribute imposed in consequence such a burden upon the humbler classes that even if no one had said anything the facts of the case would have exposed the conduct of this assessment, as we need only glance at the facts to see at once. [56.] L   For Lucius Metellus, the very man whom, after I had come to Sicily to collect evidence, the arrival of Lucius Laetilius turned suddenly into the friend and even the cousin of Verres - Metellus, I say, finding it wholly out of the question to adhere to Verres' assessment, ordered the employment of the assessment made in the praetorship of the gallant and incorruptible Sextus Peducaeus. Yes, for then the censors were chosen legally, elected by their own cities, and subject, if they misconducted themselves, to penalties fixed by law. [139] But under you, what censor need be afraid either of the law, by which, not having been lawfully appointed, he was not bound, or of being punished by you for selling to others what you had sold to him? Now let Metellus detain my witnesses, by all means; let him force others to eulogise the accused, as in many cases he has tried to do; I will only ask him to do what he is doing. For did ever one man inflict upon another such an insult, such a humiliation as this? Every four years the whole of Sicily is assessed ; it was assessed when Peducaeus was praetor; the fourth year following found you praetor, and it was assessed again; and the year after that Metellus forbids any reference to your assessment, tells us that he has decided to have an entirely fresh appointment of censors, and meanwhile orders the use of the assessment made by Peducaeus. Had this been done by your personal enemy, even so, if the province were satisfied, your enemy's verdict upon you would have been a serious matter. It was done in fact by your new friend, your volunteer cousin ; it was done because he could not do otherwise, if he meant to remain governor of Sicily or even to live there in safety. [57.] L   [140] After this, need you wait to hear the verdict of this court? Had Metellus deprived you of your office, he would have inflicted a lesser disgrace upon you than by thus cancelling your official proceedings and declaring them null and void. Nor was this the only matter in which he acted thus ; he had done the like before I reached Sicily, in other matters of high importance. He had ordered those curators of yours at Syracuse to make restitution to Heraclius, and those at Bidis to Epicrates, and Aulus Claudius to his ward at Drepanum ; and if Laetilius had not been so quick in reaching Sicily with that letter, Metellus would have nullified the whole of your three years of office in less than a month.

[141] Having referred to the money subscribed by the censors for your statue, I think I should also say something of the method of making money whereby you extracted it, ostensibly for providing statues, from the various cities. The total amount is, I observe, very large, not less than two million sesterces ; the personal and written evidence supplied by the cities will show it to come to fully as much as that. Verres indeed admits so much, nor can he help admitting it; and when the offences he does not deny are so serious, what are we to think of the offences he does deny ? Why, to what conclusion would you have us come? That all this money was spent on statues? Suppose that true: it remains quite intolerable that our allies should be robbed of enough money to set up a statue of this buccaneering ruffian in every alley-way, in places where, one would think, it was hardly safe to go. [58.] L   [142] But where, on what statues, has all that money of yours in fact been spent? It will be so spent, you will answer. We are to wait, I take it, for the five legal years of grace to elapse ; and if he has not so spent it meanwhile, then will come our time to prosecute him for extortion in connexion with these statues! He stands here charged now with a great number of serious offences ; and we find that, under this one head, he has laid hold of two million sesterces. If you are found guilty, it will not, I imagine, be your object to have this money spent on statues within the next five years; and if you are acquitted, no one will be such a fool, after your escape from all these grave charges, as to arraign you five years later for your behaviour about the statues. So, if the money has not yet been spent, and if it is also obvious that it is not going to be spent, we can now see that a method has been discovered whereby Verres, in this one department, collected and stole two million sesterces, and whereby all other governors, if this one's conduct receives your sanction, will be able to steal as large sums as they choose on the same pretext ; so that we shall palpably not be deterring people from stealing, but, by our sanction of stealing of particular kinds, applying respectable names to villainous actions. [143] For surely, if Verres had simply demanded the sum of one million sesterces from, shall we say, the people of Centuripa, and taken that sum away from them, there could really be no doubt that the proof of this fact must lead to his conviction. Well then, now that he has, from those very people, demanded, extracted, and taken away two million sesterces, he will surely not be acquitted simply because a note has been added that this money was paid for statues? No, I think not ; unless, of course, our object is not to discourage our officials from taking such payments but to encourage our allies to make them.

Now a man may take great pleasure in these statues, and be attracted by the honour and glory they confer; but for all that there are certain facts that he must accept. The money for them must not be applied to his private ends; the number of actual statues must not exceed a certain limit; and certainly they must not be exacted from unwilling donors. [59.] L   [144] On the first point, I should like to ask you whether the cities themselves usually either let the contracts for making the statues to the contractor who in each case made the most satisfactory tender, or appointed some agent to superintend their making; or whether they paid the money in cash to you or to some person at your orders. For if the making of the statues was carried out by the persons who paid you that honour, well and good; but if the fact is that the money for them was paid in cash to Timarchides, kindly drop this pretence of a thirst for monumental fame, now that you stand plainly convicted of being a thief.

And then again, can an unlimited number of statues be approved? Why, it cannot possibly. [145] Look at the matter thus. The city of Syracuse, if I may select it for mention, gave a statue of himself - that was in honour of him ; one of his father - that was a pretty, and remunerative, pretence that he was a good son ; and one of his son - that may be tolerated, for they had no aversion to the boy. But how often, and on how many pretexts, do you mean to get statues out of the Syracusans? You got one out of them to be erected in their market-place, you extorted another for their senate-house, you ordered a subscription for those to be set up in Rome; the same persons were to pay as corn-farmers - they paid ; the same again, as sharing in the contribution from Sicily as a whole - and they subscribed again. When you find, gentlemen, that one city has subscribed under all these headings, and that all the other cities have done the same, does not this simple fact urge you to recognise the need for some limit to be imposed on this passion for fame? But if it is further true that no city has done this of its own free will, that they all subscribed, nominally for your statues, under the pressure of command, intimidation, violence and ill-treatment - then, God help us, it should surely be plain enough to any man that, even if he has made up his mind that it is permissible to accept money for statues, he must also make up his mind that it is certainly not permissible to take that money by force. [146] Well, in the first place, I will call the whole of Sicily as a witness to this fact ; her united voice proves the forcible collection of a great sum of money for the nominal purpose of these statues. The embassies of all her cities, in that general petition nearly all of whose clauses have their origin in your acts of tyranny, have included the clause, "That they should not promise statues to any official unless and until he has left his province." [60.] L   How many praetors have governed Sicily ! How often the Sicilians have approached the Senate, in our fathers' times and within our own memory! And yet it is your praetorship that is the source and origin of this novel petition. [147] The novelty is remarkable in the mere form of the petition as well as in its substance. For the other requests in the petition, referring to the wrongs you did, are new themselves, but there is nothing new in the way in which they are put. Thus the Sicilians humbly entreat your honourable House that our governors shall in future sell the rights of collecting tithe as is provided by the law of Hiero. You were the first to do otherwise - well, let us pass on. They ask that governors shall not require fixed money payments instead of supplies demanded for their households. Here too is a request made now for the first time, due to your 3-denarius exaction ** ; however, there is nothing strange in the actual form of the request. They ask that no prosecution of absent persons be allowed; this arises from the ruin of Sthenius and the wrong done him by you. I will not deal with the other points. All the petitions of these Sicilians are such as to look like a collection of charges directed against you and you only. But though they refer to novel kinds of oppression, the form of their wording is familiar ; whereas this petition regarding statues must seem absurd to anyone who does not perceive its real meaning. [148] For they ask not that no one else should oblige them to erect the statues, but. that they should not be allowed to do so of themselves. What can this mean? You are asking me not to allow you to do a thing which it is in your power to do or not do; ask me rather that no one shall compel you to promise or do it against your will. "That is of no use to me," is the reply, "for they will all say they did not compel me; if you would save me, apply compulsion to me, so that I am simply not allowed to make the promise." You, Verres, are the praetor whose rule has given rise to this petition, in making which they imply, nay, they declare openly, that they subscribed for your statues quite against their will, under the stress of fear and ill-treatment. [149] Why, if they did not say so, would you not have to confess to it yourself? Look carefully at your intended line of defence, and you will see at once that. you have to make this confession about the statues. [61.] L   I am informed that your case is being prepared by your able advocates, that they are being primed and instructed by you, on the following lines. Whenever any notably impressive and respectable witness from Sicily has given his evidence with unusual heat, as a number of important persons have to a large extent done, you promptly say to your counsel, "He hates me because he is a farmer {arator}." - I gather, then, that you gentlemen ** mean to class all the members of this farmer class together, declaring that they have come here full of spite and hostility because Verres was especially forcible in handling the corn-tithes. Well then, the farmers are all your enemies and opponents, are they ? They all desire your ruin, do they? All is well, you think, when the best and most respectable division of the human race, the class by which, more than by any other, both the empire as a whole and that particular province are held together, is your mortal enemy? [150] But let that pass; I will deal elsewhere with the farmers' feelings and the farmers' wrongs; for the present, I accept your admission that they are your mortal enemies, Naturally, you say, because of the tithes. Yes, yes, very well: I do not ask whether you deserve their enmity or not. Now then, what is the meaning of those gilt equestrian statues near the temple of Vulcan that are so particularly offensive to the eyes and feelings of Rome? I observe that an inscription states that one of these statues was presented by the farmers. If they gave this statue to do you honour, they are not your enemies; let us, then, believe their evidence; they were thinking of your honour then, they are thinking of their consciences now. If, on the other hand, they were frightened into giving it, you have to admit that you, as governor, extorted the money, nominally for statues, by violence and intimidation. Choose the alternative that suits you!

[62.] L   [151] I should be glad, for my part, to drop this charge about the statues at this point, if you would only grant me what would be most to your credit, that the farmers subscribed for the statue of their own accord to do you honour. Allow me this and instantly you have cut away the main prop of your defence, being then unable to allege that the farmers are angry and hostile. What an amazing position, what a miserable and hopeless line of defence! That the accused man, after being the governor of Sicily, should have to deny, when his accuser is willing to allow, that the farmers, of all people, have set up a statue to him of their own free will, that the farmers think well of him, feel friendly towards him, and hope for his escape! Your believing this is what he is afraid of; for it is the evidence of the farmers that is crushing him. [152] I will stress, then, what he does let you believe. You must certainly conclude that the persons who are, as he would have you suppose, his deadly enemies have not subscribed money to honour and commemorate him of their own free will. And to make the whole matter clear without more ado, you, Verres, shall ask any one you please of the witnesses I shall call who come from Sicily, Roman citizen or Sicilian - yes, even the man you shall regard as your deadliest enemy, the man who shall declare that you robbed him - whether he personally subscribed for your statue ; and you will find nobody who says No, for every one of them did subscribe. [153] Then will anyone doubt, do you think, that a man who is bound to be your deadly enemy, who has sustained the heaviest wrongs at your hands, paid the money supposed to be for your statue because he was ordered and forced to pay it, and not because he wished to pay it or felt he ought to pay it? The amount of this money, gentlemen, of this vast sum that has been so brazenly extorted from unwilling givers, I have neither calculated nor been able to calculate - how much was extorted from the farmers, and how much from the business men carrying on business at Syracuse and Agrigentum, at Panhormus and Lilybaeum. What you do know by now, from his own confession as well as otherwise, is that it was extorted from persons who were entirely unwilling to pay it.

[63.] L   [154] Let us now consider the Sicilian cities, the test of whose willingness may be applied very easily. Or - were even the Sicilians unwilling to subscribe ? We can hardly believe that! It is surely well understood that Gaius Verres, governor of Sicily, finding it impossible to satisfy both parties, both Sicilians and Romans, let his actions be directed rather by his sense of duty towards our allies than by his desire for the goodwill of our own citizens. That is why an inscription which I have seen in Syracuse describes him as not merely the island's advocate but also as its Soter. And what does this word mean? It means so much that it cannot be rendered by any single Latin word; Soter in fact signifies "the Giver of Deliverance." He is, moreover, commemorated by the celebration of a festival, that noble Festival of Verres, which does not copy but takes the place of the Festival of the Marcelli, abolished by them at his command. In the marketplace at Syracuse rises his arch of honour, above which stands the naked figure of his son, and he himself on horseback surveys his province, stripped naked by him. His statues are everywhere, as if to prove that he set up nearly as many statues in Syracuse as he carried away from it. Even in Rome we see him glorified by the inscription, cut in huge letters on the pedestal of his statues, "Presented by the united people of Sicily." [155] In the face of all this, how can you make anyone believe that people have honoured you thus highly against their will? [64.] L   And here you must consider, as with the farmers just now, but a good deal more carefully still, what line you mean to take. It will matter a great deal whether you choose to have the Sicilians, individually and collectively, regarded as your friends or as your enemies. If as your enemies, what becomes of you ? What refuge will you find, what ground to stand on? You have just quarrelled with the farmers, the respectable and wealthy farmers, Sicilian and Roman alike; how will you deal now with the Sicilian cities? Will you declare the Sicilians your friends ? And how can you? Never before have they gone so far as to give evidence against anyone officially, in spite of the fact that a number of former governors of the province have been convicted and only two acquitted ; yet now here they are, with official letters, official instructions, official evidence. Were they giving you official eulogies, we should think it was more their own practice than your merits that made them do it; and as they are in fact officially denouncing your conduct, are they not showing us that their wrongs are so heavy that they have much preferred abandoning their own practice to being silent about your practices? [156] You are, therefore, obliged to admit the Sicilians to be your enemies; and in truth they have presented to the consuls a petition that is a strong attack upon you, and have besought me to undertake this case and defend them from destruction ; in spite of their praetor's prohibition and the obstacles put in their way by their four quaestors, they have made light of all threats from those persons and all dangers to themselves, if only they may so escape that destruction; and at the first hearing they gave their evidence with such impressive vehemence that Hortensius accused Artemo, the deputy and official witness from Centuripa, of being not a witness but a prosecutor. It is indeed true that Artemo was chosen deputy by his fellow-citizens, along with the respectable and trustworthy Andro, partly for his honourable and upright character, but partly also for his eloquence, that through him the many different wrongs done by Verres might be put before this Court in the clearest and most convincing way possible.

[65.] L   Halaesa, Catina, Tyndaris, Henna, Herbita, Agyrium, Netum, Segesta - all these have spoken ; no need to complete the list; you know how many spoke at the first hearing, and how much they had to say. These shall speak again now, and the others too. [157] And finally, there is one thing in this case which all men shall perceive, that the temper of the Sicilians is such that, if no punishment be inflicted upon yonder man, they see nothing for it but to desert their homes and dwellings, and to take their departure, or rather flight, from Sicily. Are these the men of whom you will persuade us that they freely subscribed vast sums of money to honour and glorify you? A likely tale, that while they would not have you go unpunished in your own country, they desired to have memorials of your appearance and illustrious name in theirs! What they did desire the facts will show. Indeed I feel that I have been marshalling too long, and in too great detail, my proofs of the Sicilians' feeling towards you, asking whether they wished to erect statues to you or were made to do it.

[158] Have we ever heard that what happened to you happened to any other man - that his statues in his province, statues set up in public places, and some of them even in sacred edifices, were attacked and thrown down by a united multitude? Think of all the bad rulers that Asia has had, that Africa has had, that Spain and Gaul and Sardinia have had, that Sicily herself has had ; yet has this court ever heard this told of any one of them? It is an unheard-of act, gentlemen ; and for Sicilians, for any Greeks at all, to behave thus is a sort of monstrosity. I should not believe this about the statues had 1 not seen them lying there, wrenched off their pedestals ; for it is the way of all Greeks to fancy that, in memorials of this kind, the honour bestowed on men is hallowed with a measure of divine consecration. [159] Thus it was that the Rhodians, who maintained the first war against King Mithridates almost single handed, whose walls and coasts and fleets faced his whole army and the main brunt of his attack, none the less, though they hated that king as no other people did, laid no hand upon the statue of him that stood in the most frequented part of their city, not even when that city was in actual danger. It might perhaps seem hardly fitting, when they were eager for the overthrow of the man himself, to preserve the image and likeness of him. But I found, when I was among them, that they have an inherited sense of the sanctity, as it were, of such things ; and they argued thus, that with the statue they had thought of the time when it was set up; with the man, of the time when he was fighting them and was their enemy. [66.] L   And now you see that the traditional reverence of the Greeks, which commonly protects the memorials of their enemies while they are actually at war with them, has yet, in a time of profound peace, been no protection to the statues of a governor representing the Roman People. [160] The people of Tauromenium, a treaty state, are a most inoffensive body of persons, whom their treaty has regularly shielded from any contact with oppression on the part of our officials ; yet they have thrown down Verres' statue without hesitation; and after knocking it over they decided to keep the pedestal in their market-place, thinking that the knowledge of the overthrow of his statue by the people of Tauromenium would tell more heavily against him than the belief that none had ever been set up. The people of Tyndaris overthrew his statue in their market-place, and from the same motive left the horse there riderless. At Leontini, wretched and poverty-stricken place though it is, his statue in the gymnasium was thrown down nevertheless. Need I speak of what the Syracusans did? The act was not theirs alone, it was shared by the district, almost by the whole province. What a swarming multitude of people assembled there, we have been told, on the day when his statues were knocked over and thrown down! And think of the actual spot, the famous ** and sacred spot facing Serapis himself, close to the entrance doorway of his temple! In fact, had Metellus not dealt severely with these proceedings, and by direct order and proclamation put a stop to such actions, not one vestige of this fellow's statues would have been left from end to end of Sicily.

[161] Nor am I afraid that any of these doings will be found to have been due to my instigation, or indeed to anything connected with my visit. They were all over not merely before I reached Sicily but before Verres reached Italy. All the time I was in Sicily, not one statue was thrown down. Now let me tell you what happened after I came away. [67.] L   At Centuripa it was decreed by the Senate and confirmed by the people that the quaestors should contract for the demolition of the statues of Verres and Verres' father and Verres' son, and that not less than thirty senators should be in attendance while the demolition was proceeding. Observe the sober dignity with which this community behaved. They would not have those statues in their city, the statues which they had been ordered and forced to present against their will, the statues of a man against whom they had sent to Rome, what they had never sent before, an officially instructed deputation to give their solemn testimony ; and they held that their action would have greater weight if it were seen to be the work of considered official policy, and not of mob violence. [162] When the people of Centuripa had by this deliberate official action removed the statues, Metellus heard of it, and was very angry ; sending for the magistrates and ten chief citizens of Centuripa, he threatened them with savage penalties if they failed to put the statues back. These men reported this to their Senate, whereupon the statues, which could do Verres' cause no good, were replaced ; but the decree which the people of Centuripa had passed about the statues was not rescinded.

Now there are some persons for whom certain allowances must be made ; but I simply cannot excuse foolishness on the part of a sensible man like Metellus. Why, did he think that Verres' case would be damaged by the mere overthrowing of his statues, a kind of thing for which the wind, or some accident, is often responsible? There was no ground here for prosecution, or even for criticism. What does give ground, then, for a prosecutor's attacks? The judgements, and the feelings, of human beings. [68.] L   [163] If Metellus had not forced the people of Centuripa to replace those statues, I should be addressing you thus: Look, gentlemen, how deep and bitter a resentment must have been burnt into the souls of our friends and allies by yonder man's oppression, when this entirely friendly and loyal city Centuripa, which is bound to the people of Rome by devotion so splendid that its affection is given, not only to Rome as a whole, but to any and every individual who but bears the name of "Roman" - when this city, with the deliberate authority of its government, has pronounced that statues of Gaius Verres should not be left within its walls. I should recite to you the decrees that Centuripa passed; I should sing the praises of the city, as I very honestly might ; I should remind you that the citizens of Centuripa, our honoured and loyal allies, are ten thousand in number, and that every one of them has made up his mind that no memorial of Verres must exist in their land. [164] That is how I should address you, if Metellus had not put those statues back ; and now I should like Metellus himself to say from what part of such an address his violent exercise of authority has debarred me. In my view, not one word need be changed. However completely the statues had been overthrown, I could not show you them lying prostrate ; I could only argue from the one fact, that this important city pronounced judgement that the statues of Gaius Verres should be demolished. Of this argument Metellus has not robbed me ; indeed, he has given me others ; for I might, if I chose, protest against the oppressive orders given to these allies and friends of ours, whereby they are not even allowed to judge for themselves what acts of benevolence they shall perform ; and I might ask you to guess how Metellus must have treated me in matters where he had power to hinder me, seeing the frank partisanship that he has displayed in this matter where he has not hindered me at all. However, I will not quarrel with Metellus, nor rob him of what all men grant him, his special immunity from being supposed ever to act with a deliberately evil purpose.

[69.] L   [165] Well, Verres, it is plain by now, too transparently plain for you to deny it, that no single statue was voluntarily given you by anyone, nor any money for providing statues that was not extracted and extorted by force. Now in discussing this charge I do not wish to insist only that you extorted two million sesterces for statues. Much more important is what this demonstrates, the strength of the hatred that has been felt and still is felt for you, by the farmers and by all the people of Sicily. And here I cannot guess what your line of defence is to be. "The Sicilians hate me, yes; for I have acted largely in the interests of the Roman section"? [166] Why, it is these who are your savagest enemies. "I have made enemies of the Roman citizens by protecting the interests and rights of our allies" ? Why, our allies are denouncing you for treating them as if we were at war with them. "The farmers are my enemies on account of the tithe" ? What about those farmers, then, whose land is exempt, free from tithe - why do they hate you? why do the farmers of Halaesa and Centuripa and Segesta and Halicyae hate you? What type or grade or class of men can I mention that does not hate you, whether they are Romans or Sicilians? So much so that, even if I could not say for what reasons they do hate you, I feel that I might well say one thing, that a man who is hated by all human beings cannot but be an object of hatred to this Court. [167] Or will you dare to say, that the question whether the farmers, whether indeed the Sicilians as a whole, think well of you, or what they do think of you, is irrelevant? You will not dare to say that ; nor can you if you would ; all talk about the unimportance of the Sicilians or the farmers is barred for you by those equestrian statues which you caused to be erected and provided with inscriptions, a little while before your return to Rome, hoping thus to check the fierce attacks of all your enemies and accusers - [168] for who would annoy you, or dare to call you to account, when he saw those statues, erected by the merchants, by the farmers, by united Sicily? What other class of persons is there in the province? Why, none. Very well, here is the province as a whole, and here are the several classes that compose it, not merely liking the man, but doing him honour. Now who will dare to touch him ! Is it possible, then, for you to say that the evidence of the farmers, the merchants and all the Sicilians must not be allowed to tell against you, when, by shielding yourself with these men's names inscribed upon your statues, you have been expecting to blot out all the odium and infamy that has come upon you? You sought the support of their word, to make your statues respectable - may I not have the support of their worth, to make my arguments convincing ?

[169] Perhaps, however, you derive some sort of confidence and comfort from having been popular with the revenue contractors {publicani} ? My watchfulness has made it impossible for this popularity at all to help your case ; and your intelligence has taken effective steps to make it actually tell against you. Let me in a few words, gentlemen, put the whole story before you. [70.] L   For collecting the pasture rents ** of Sicily the working director ** is one Lucius Carpinatius. This man, both for his own profit and possibly also with an eye to the shareholders' interests, worked his way very thoroughly into intimacy with Verres. He used to follow the praetor round from one market town to another, never leaving him ; and before long had become so closely connected with him, marketing his decrees and decisions, and putting through his pieces of jobbery, that he was looked on as a second Timarchides, [170] but even more deadly, from his custom of lending money at interest to those who wanted to buy something from Verres. And this system of loans was so managed, gentlemen, that the profits even from this source came to our friend here; for the sums that Carpinatius entered as paid to those to whom he made the loans he re-entered ** as received from Verres' secretary, or from Timarchides, or even from Verres himself ** ; besides which, he also lent in his own name large sums of Verres' money not entered in the accounts at all. [171] In the early days, before establishing this close connexion with Verres, Carpinatius had several times written to the company complaining of wrongs done by Verres; and Canuleius, whose work had to do with the harbour ** at Syracuse, sent the company a detailed list of numerous thefts Verres had committed in the matter of goods exported from Syracuse without paying the export tax, the same company being contractors for harbour dues as for pasture rents. The result was to provide us with a number of points from the company's records to quote and bring up against Verres.

[172] But it so happened that Carpinatius, being before long closely associated with Verres as his regular intimate - and by substantial reasons as well - subsequently wrote a number of letters to the company about the great services that Verres had been good enough to render to the company's interests. And indeed, by the time that Verres was regularly doing and ordering whatever Carpinatius asked of him, the latter was writing even more frequently to the company, hoping that if possible, the effect of his earlier letters would be completely wiped out. Finally, when Verres was about to leave Sicily, he wrote urging them to assemble in force and meet him on his arrival, to express their thanks, and to promise to execute zealously any commands he might have for them. The company accordingly observed the traditional practice of revenue-contractors, not because they thought he deserved any marks of respect, but because they felt it would pay them not to seem forgetful or ungrateful; they expressed their thanks to him, and told him that Carpinatius had frequently written to them about the services he had done them. [71.] L   [173] He replied that it had been a pleasure to him, and spoke in high terms of the good work of Carpinatius; and then he instructed one of his friends, who was at the time chairman of that company, to take the utmost care and precaution that the company's records should contain nothing that could possibly endanger his position or his character. Accordingly the chairman, after the main body of shareholders had dispersed, called a meeting of the directors ** and put this before them. This meeting passed a resolution that all records damaging to the reputation of Gaius Verres should be expunged, and that care should be taken to stop this action from being injurious to the said Gaius Verres. [174] If I prove that the directors did pass this resolution, if I establish the fact that in accordance with this resolution the records were expunged, what more would this Court have? Could I bring forward any issue more clearly decided in advance, or prosecute any person more clearly convicted in advance? Convicted, and by whose judgement? Why, by that of the persons who, if those who long for the restoration of severer tribunals are right, should be the members of these tribunals; the persons whose appointment thereto we are told the nation is now demanding ; the persons whose appointment thereto we see directed in a measure that is proposed not by a man of my own type, not by a man of equestrian antecedents, but by a man of most ancient nobility. ** [175] The tithe-contractors {decumani}, in other words the principal, we might almost say the senatorial, section of the revenue-contractors, agreed to doing away with those records. I have some of them who were at the meeting, whom I will call upon, and whom I will entrust with this matter, men of high standing and great substance, those very leaders of the equestrian order upon whose illustrious character the proposer of the measure most insisted and most rested his appeal. They will appear before you; they will tell you what they agreed to do; and it is certain that, if I know them rightly, they will tell you the truth; for they could do away with the records of their company, but they cannot do away with their own honour and conscience. So it comes to this: the Roman knights, whose own verdict pronounced this man guilty, did not wish to have him pronounced guilty by the verdict of this Court; it is now for this Court to consider whether it will rather be guided by their verdict or by their wishes.

[72.] L   [176] And now ask yourself, Verres, how much good the devotion of your friends, or your own designs, or the benevolence of your business allies can do you. I will speak with some little boldness, for I have now no fear of being thought to have spoken more like a prosecutor than like a fair-minded man. ** If the directors had not made away with those records as agreed by the tithe-contractors, I should be able to accuse you only of such misconduct as I had found actually recorded ; as it is, that resolution having been carried and the records made away with, it is open to me to say the worst I can of you, and to each member of this court to suspect the worst he will of you. I assert that you exported from Syracuse a great weight of gold, silver, ivory, and purple fabrics, a great deal of Maltese cloth and tapestries, a quantity of Delian wares, a large number of Corinthian vessels, a large quantity of corn and an immense amount of honey ; and that Lucius Canuleius, the agent for harbour business, wrote to his company complaining that no export tax had been paid on these goods. [177] Does this seem a serious enough charge? I can conceive none more serious. What defence to it will Hortensius make? Will he demand that I should produce this letter from Canuleius? Will he maintain that a charge of that kind is harmless unless backed by documentary evidence? I reply indignantly that the documents have been done away with, that by the resolution of the company the tokens and records of that man's pilferings have been snatched from my hands. Either he must contend that this never happened, or he must be ready to face every such assault. Do you say it did not happen? Good, that is the line to take; I am ready for you; here is a fair field for us, and no favour. I will now bring forward my witnesses; and I will bring forward a number of them together; they were with one another when the thing was done, let them be so now. When they are examined, they will be bound to speak truth, not only by the risk of perjury and infamy, but by their partnership in knowledge of the facts. [178] If it is thus established that the thing happened as I say it did, you will hardly be able to argue, Hortensius, that there was nothing in those documents to damage Verres. Not only will you not say that, but it will not even be possible for you to maintain that what I allege is not true in every detail. Well then, your schemes and favours have succeeded, as I said just now, in giving me a free hand to bring charges and each member of this court full power to believe them.

[73.] L   [179] In spite of this, I will invent nothing. I will bear in mind that I have undertaken not a prosecution of my own accord but a defence at the request of others; that you, gentlemen, are to hear me pleading a case not instigated by me but submitted to me; that I shall be doing my duty by the Sicilians if I conscientiously set forth such facts as I learnt in their country and heard from their own lips; my duty by my own nation, if I refuse to be terrified by any man's violence or any man's power ; my duty by this court, if my honesty and assiduity enable its members to pronounce a true and upright decision ; my duty to myself, if I adhere rigidly to the principles of conduct by which my career has always been regulated. [180] And therefore there is no reason for you, Verres, to fear my inventing charges against you. Nay, you may in one respect congratulate yourself: there are many crimes of yours known to me about which, because they are either too foul or too incredible, I shall keep silence. I will simply deal with this affair of the revenue company as a whole. Not to keep you in suspense, I will ask - Was that resolution agreed to? When I have arrived at that fact, I will ask - Were the documents destroyed? That also being established, I need say no more, for the court will at once be convinced of this - that if those same knights who then passed that resolution in order to help Verres were sitting here now as judges to try him, they would without question find him guilty, since they know that the letters giving information of his robberies were written to them and were destroyed in accordance with their resolution. Those knights, who feel so warmly towards him, and have been treated with so much consideration by him, would be unable to avoid convicting him ; and in view of this, gentlemen, can there possibly be any way open, or any justification, for his not being convicted by you? [181] And further, lest it should by some chance be thought that the proofs, thus made away with and torn from my grasp, have all of them been so well stowed away, and hidden away, and kept dark, that the assiduous efforts which I feel sure are expected of me have failed to track down or lay hold of any of them, I will say, gentlemen, that what it was reasonably possible for intelligence and foresight to discover has been discovered; you shall now behold the man caught red-handed. Having been concerned for perhaps the greater part of my life in cases connected with revenue-contractors, and having observed the customs of this section of the community with close attention, I believe I may say that practical experience has given me a fairly intimate acquaintance with them. [74.] L   [182] When therefore I found that the company's records had been made away with, I noted the years during which Verres had been in Sicily, and then looked to see, what was quite easy to discover, who during those years had been the company's directors and had had charge of the accounts. I knew it was the way of directors in charge of accounts, when handing these over to their successors, rather to like keeping copies of the documents for themselves. Knowing this, I first paid a visit to Lucius Vibius, a prominent member of the equestrian order who had, I found, been director in the very year that most called for investigation. My unexpected visit took him altogether by surprise. I examined everything I could, and asked questions about everything. I found just two papers, sent to the company by Canuleius from the port of Syracuse, which contained a return for several months of goods exported on behalf of Verres, that had paid no export tax; these papers I therefore put under seal at once. [183] They were of the sort that I was especially anxious to discover among the company's records ; but what I had come upon was only enough to produce before you as a specimen of the rest. Still, whatever these papers may contain, and however little that may seem to be, one thing at least will be obvious, that from what you see you are bound to draw inferences about the rest. Kindly read us this paper first, and then that one. ( Papers written by Canuleius. )

Now I do not ask you where you got those 400 casks of honey, or all that Maltese cloth, or those 50 dining-room couches, or all those chandeliers. I do not, I repeat, at present ask where you got them all; what I do ask is what you wanted them all for. Never mind the honey; but why so much Maltese cloth, as if you meant to have enough over to equip all your friends' wives; and why so many couches, as if you meant to furnish all their country houses? [75.] L   [184] Moreover, the return contained in these papers is for a few months only; so you must allow, gentlemen, for the full three years. My contention is that, from these brief papers found in the hands of a single director of the company, you can fairly infer the nature of the man's piratical career in the province, the number and variety and boundless extent of his greedy desires, and the amount of money he secured, not only in cash but also invested in such forms as those here mentioned. [185] The story of all this shall be told in clearer detail later on; for the moment I ask you to note this point. On the export transactions mentioned in what has been read the writer states that the company has lost sixty thousand sesterces, due from the 5 per cent tax on exports from Syracuse. In a few short months, therefore, as these contemptible scraps of paper inform us, our praetor exported contraband goods to the value of one million nine hundred thousand sesterces from one town alone. Now ask yourselves, the country being Sicily, an island with ports of departure all round it, the probable amount thus exported from the other localities - from Agrigentum, from Lilybaeum, from Panhormus, from Thermae, from Halaesa, from Catina, from all the other towns, and particularly from Messana, which he reckoned the safest spot for him, and in which he always felt easy and comfortable, having chosen the Mamertines as his consignees for everything that might need to be guarded with special care or sent out of the country with special secrecy After the detection of these papers, all the rest were carried off and stowed away with particular care ; however, we on this side, wishing everyone to appreciate the reasonable spirit in which we are dealing with this matter, are satisfied with these papers before us.

[76.] L   [186] We will now go back to the company's accounts of receipts and expenditure, which they had no respectable means of suppressing, and to your friend Carpinatius. I was at Syracuse looking through the company's accounts kept by Carpinatius, in which a number of items showed that persons who had paid sums of money to Verres had borrowed for the purpose from Carpinatius - a fact that will be clearer than daylight to you, gentlemen, the moment I bring forward the actual persons who made these payments; for you will see that the dates at which they bought release from their critical situations by bribery correspond, not only year for year but month for month, with the company's accounts. [187] While noting these particular facts, with the accounts open in my hands, I suddenly caught sight of some erasures that suggested recent injuries to the tablets. As soon as this suspicion struck me, I transferred my eyes and attention to these special items. There were sums entered as received from Gaius Verrucius son of Gaius ; but whereas up to the second ''r"' the letters were plainly untouched, all after that were written over an erasure; and there was a second, a third, a fourth, a large number of items of the same character. Since these erasures on the tablets manifestly indicated some conspicuously villainous and dirty proceeding, I proceeded to ask Carpinatius who this Verrucius was with whom he had such extensive money transactions. The man hesitated, shuffled, went red in the face. As the law exempts the accounts of revenue-contractors from liability to removal to Rome, and as I wished to have the facts cleared up and corroborated as far as I could, I brought an action against Carpinatius before Metellus, and took the company's accounts along to the court-house. A large crowd gathered; and since Carpinatius was notorious as a partner of Governor Verres and as a money-lender, there was great and general curiosity to know what the account-books contained. [77.] L   [188] I stated my charge before Metellus, saying that I had inspected the company's accounts; that they included a large one, with a great many entries, under the name of Gaius Verrucius; and that by comparing the months and years I had discovered that no such Verrucius had kept any sort of account with Carpinatius either before the arrival of Gaius Verres or after his departure. I demanded therefore that Carpinatius should tell me who this Verrucius was, merchant or banker or arable or pastoral farmer, and whether he was still in Sicily or had gone away. The whole audience shouted that there had never been in Sicily anyone called Verrucius. I insisted that he should answer me and say who this was, where he was, and where he came from, and why the company's slave who wrote up the accounts, when he wrote the name of Verrucius, always went wrong at one particular point. [189] And I did not make these demands because I thought it right that he should be forced to answer my questions against his will; my purpose was to make quite plain to everyone the peculations of Verres, the misconduct of Carpinatius, and the audacity of them both. So I left the man there before the praetor, speechless and dazed and half dead with the terrors of his guilty conscience, and proceeded to make a copy of the accounts, there in the market-place with a great crowd looking on. Men of position in the district helped with the writing, and every letter and erasure was transferred, reproduced exactly, from the accounts to my books. [190] The whole thing was then examined and compared with scrupulous care, and signed and sealed by certain gentlemen of high standing.

If Carpinatius would not answer me then, will you answer me now, Verres, and say who you suppose this Verrucius is who is almost one of your own clan ? I see the man was in Sicily during your praetorship, and the account is enough to show me that he was rich, so it is out of the question that you in your own province were not acquainted with him. Or rather, for the sake of brevity and clearness, step forward, gentlemen, and unroll this facsimile transcript of the accounts, so that instead of following out the tracks of his voracity the world may now see it at home in its lair. [78.] L   [191] Do you see the word 'Verrucius' ? Do you see how the first letters are all right? Do you see the last part of the name, how the tail-bit there is sunk in the erasure like a pig's tail in mud? Well, gentlemen, the accounts are what you see they are; what are you waiting for, what more would you have? You yourself, Verres, why are you sitting there doing nothing ? Either you must show us Verrucius, you know, or you must confess that Verrucius is you.

Famous orators of the past, like Crassus and Antonius, were celebrated for their brilliant way of undermining the prosecutor's case and bringing up a mass of arguments to support the accused. But the fact is that they had not only better brains than the advocates of to-day but also better luck. For in those days no man was such an offender that no grounds were left for a defence of him; no man lived so evil a life that every part of it was utterly foul; no man was caught misconducting himself so unmistakably that the shamelessness of his act would be thought less than the shamelessness of his denying it. [192] But in this case, what is Hortensius to do? Is he to palliate the charges of greed against his client by eulogising his respectability ? Why, that client is an immoral, licentious, filthy scoundrel. Is he to divert your attention from his scandalous immorality by dwelling upon his bravery? Why, a lazier man, a greater coward, a fellow who so plays the man among women and the degraded contemptible woman among men, is not to be produced anywhere. Is it said that he is good-natured? No one is more rude and unfeeling and overbearing. Is it said that his bad points do no hurt to anyone ? No one was ever more harsh and treacherous and brutal. With such a client, and with such a case, what would any Crassus or Antonius do? So much as this, surely, Hortensius: they would not undertake the case at all, nor lose their name as men of honour for the sake of a man who sticks at nothing. For they always came into court with their hands free and unshackled, and never so committed themselves that they could only avoid the shamelessness of defending a scoundrel by being thought ungrateful for refusing to defend him. **

Part 3


53.(↑)   See Divinatio, § 30, and the full handling of the subject in Book III. § 195-220.

54.(↑)   Cicero here addresses Verres' patroni.

55.(↑)   Or perhaps "crowded."

56.(↑)   Rents of state lands.

57.(↑)   i.e, of the company of revenue contractors. The 'magister' or Chairman of Directors would live in Rome: Carpinatius was one of many sub-managers who directed operations in the various districts.

58.(↑)   i.e., on the "received" side of the account.

59.(↑)   The accounts showed that Verres himself was lending money to his victims.

60.(↑)   i.e., he was director of the collection of harbour dues.

61.(↑)   Lit. "tithe-contractors", evidently the wealthiest and most influential section of the company, in which the pasture-rents and harbour-dues contracts were a subsidiary undertaking : see § 175.

62.(↑)   Lucius Aurelius Cotta.

63.(↑)   i.e., to have used an unfair, mean, ungentlemanly line of argument - viz. that "worse remains behind."

64.(↑)   It is implied that Hortensius is hampered by being under obligations to Verres.

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