Tuesday, 12 October 2010



In this, his first extract from the works of the great Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.), Sabidius turns to the last of his scheduled speeches against Gaius Verres, published by Cicero in 70 B.C. when he was still in the early stages of his political career. With the exception of the "In Verrem" (Against Verres), it was not Cicero's practice to prosecute cases, but  it seems that he had been sufficiently moved by the entreaties of the Sicilians and the evidence of the scandalous abuses of Verres' rule to make an exception. In any case, at this stage in his career, Cicero was seeking to establish himself as a 'liberal' thorn in the side of the Roman establishment, i.e. the 'Optimates' group in the Senate, associated with the former dictator Sulla (died 78 B.C.), of whom Verres was very probably a henchman, and this prosecution thus suited his wider political ambitions. Cicero was chosen by the Sicilians to represent them, not just because of his reputation as a brilliant forensic orator, but because of the many connections he had made in the island during his service as quaestor there in 75 B.C. Verres had been appointed to the position of Propraetor in Sicily in 73 B.C. His governorship should have been for one year only, but the effect of the slave insurrection in Italy, led by Spartacus (73-71 B.C.), led to a shortage of available replacements, and Verres' powers were extended for two further years, i.e. until 70 B.C. This gave him a, literally, golden opportunity to fleece the unfortunate island, both financially and of its art treasures. The standards of Roman provincial government at this time were notoriously low, but by any standards Verres' rule was shameful.

Nevertheless, Verres had every expectation that he would escape a successful prosecution, since the jury in the extortion court (the 'Quaestio repetundarum') had, since a law of Sulla in 81 B.C., been made up entirely of senators, and thus likely to be sympathetic to him; he had the means to bribe the court massively, as was expected; and his senior defence lawyer, Quintus Hortensius, had just been elected as Consul-designate for 69 B.C. Despite all these advantages, however, the tactical skill and oratorical brilliance of Cicero forced Verres into exile in the middle of the trial, in August 70 B.C., the court then being required simply to pass a formal verdict against him and to assess the damages. The five orations which Cicero had prepared for the second part of the trial - the so-called 'second pleading' or 'Actio Secunda' - were therefore never delivered; however, Cicero decided to publish them, no doubt after a few embellishments had been added, in order to increase his reputation. This they certainly did; indeed, on top of the unexpected result of the trial against Verres, they caused a sensation in Roman political and literary circles. The political and dramatic aspects of Cicero's courageous impeachment of Verres have recently been brought to life by Robert Harris in his masterly historical novel "Imperium" (2006), which readers are encouraged by Sabidius to read.

Translation of Cicero is a joy, since the sentence structures which he employs can be followed by the translator without clumsiness, and the need to rephrase, with the placing of more literal translations into parenthesis, is significantly less than in the case of many other prose writers. There is no doubt that reading of  Cicero has a positive influence, not only on one's understanding of the Latin language, but also on the quality of one's writing in one's own language.  In his book "From the Gracchi to Nero" (1959), H.H.Scullard writes of him: "In his speeches Cicero raised Latin prose to its highest point in this sphere. A rich vocabulary, amplitude of expression and great attention to the rhythm of his clauses produced a sonorous and majestic style, which might be varied with subtle strokes of irony, wit, or bitter invective. This result was not reached by mere natural talent; oratory was now a skilled and technical art, and Cicero not only studied the theory, but also wrote upon it."

The extracts translated below are compelling and exciting to read. The subject matters of the Fifth Oration, as highlighted in these extracts, are Verres' conduct as a military governor and his irresponsible cruelty in executing the citizens of Sicilian allied states. These are matters which depend least on detailed argumentation and afford him the greatest scope for his devastating rhetorical prowess. The intention is no longer to furnish proofs of Verres' guilt - something which would largely have been achieved by that stage in the trial - but to  cast him as an object of indignation, scorn, and hatred. In the earlier part of these extracts, it is difficult to take Verres seriously, as he cavorts drunkenly about on the shore of the Island of Syracuse with his lady friends. He is almost the 'pantomime villain'. And there is something farcical, too, about the crewmen eating palm roots, and the pirates on their 'tourist' visit to Syracuse. But with the trumped up charges against, and executions of, the luckless Sicilian naval captains, the atmosphere changes. One begins to realise that Verres is really a very nasty piece of work indeed, and this chilling feeling is exacerbated by the appalling contracts negotiated with the grieving parents by his henchmen, Timarchides and Sextius, to shorten the execution process and to permit a decent burial of the victims.

Verres lived, no doubt, in a comfortable exile overseas, and appears to have succeeded in retaining most of the art treasures for which he had ransacked Sicily. By a quirk of history, both he and his accuser died in 43 B.C. as victims on the Second Triumvirate's proscription list, and at the behest of the same man, Mark Antony. In Cicero's case he had mortally offended Antony by the virulence of his attacks upon him in the Philippic Orations; Verres, on the other hand, had refused to part with certain Corinthian bronzes which Antony coveted.

The text employed for this translation of  the Fifth Verrine Oration is edited by R.G.C.Levens, in the Methuen Classical Texts series, (1946). Of the 189 sections in this work, Sabidius has selected the following for translation: 1-4; 25-29; 42-46; 60-64; and 80-130.

EXTRACT A. SECTIONS 1-4. Cicero warns the judges that Hortensius, Verres' defending counsel, will seek to distract their attention away from the real issues in the case by concentrating on Verres' military record. 

Section 1.  Despite Verres' record of rapacity, Cicero must take seriously a defence based on his military record.

I see that it is doubtful to none of you, O judges, but that Gaius Verres most openly plundered every thing in Sicily, sacred and profane, both as an individual and in the name of the republic, and that, without any scruple but also (any) concealment, he engaged in every kind of stealing and pillaging. But a certain lofty and very splendid defence of him is presented to me; this, judges, it is necessary for me to consider well in advance how (lit. in what manner) I shall resist. For his cause is set out thus, that by his valour and singular vigilance at a critical and perilous period of time he preserved the province of Sicily in safety (lit. safe) from runaway slaves and from the dangers of war.

Section 2.  The defence will argue that a good general needs to be preserved for the good of the republic.

What am I to do, judges? Whither am I to direct the method of my accusation? Whither am I to turn myself? For to all my attacks the name of a certain good general is opposed like a wall. I know the argument (lit. ground); I see where Hortensius will make a display of himself. He will recount the dangers of the war, the critical times of the state, the shortage of generals; then he will beg from you, then he will even maintain as of right (lit. by virtue of his own right) that you do not allow such a general to be taken from the Roman people on the testimonies of Sicilians, nor that you consent to see his glory as a general destroyed by accusations of avarice.

Section 3.  How Marcus Antonius defended Manius Aqulius. 

I cannot dissemble, judges; I fear lest Gaius Verres on account of this special valour in military matters may    (prove to) have done with impunity everything which he has done. For it occurs to me (lit. it comes into my mind) how much force, how much weight the plea of Marcus Antonius was considered to have had at the trial of Manius Aquilius; he, as he was not only skilful in speaking but also daring, his speech having almost concluded, himself seized Manius Aquilius and placed (him) in the sight of all, and tore away his tunic from his chest so that the Roman people and the judges might see the wounds which he had received (lit. having been received) on the front of his body; at the same time he said much about that wound which he had received on his head from the general of the enemy, and he worked up those who were to be doing the judging to such an extent that they greatly feared that this man whom fortune had snatched from the darts of the enemy, although he himself had not spared himself, should appear to have been saved not to (receive) the praise of the Roman people but to (endure) the cruelty of the judges.

Section 4.  Cicero agrees that he must examine Verres' military record.

Now the same method and approach is to be tried by those of the defence (team), the same (object) is  sought. "He may be a thief, he may be a temple robber, he may be the chief of all forms of vice and criminality; yet he is a good general and a fortunate (one), and must be preserved for the sake of the critical emergencies (lit. times) of the republic." I shall not dispute with you in my full right, I shall not say something which I ought perhaps to maintain, since the court is (governed) by a specific law - that we ought to be told by you, what you may have done bravely in the military sphere but how (lit. in what manner) you kept your hands away from foreign monies: I shall not, I say, argue thus, but I shall so ask, in the manner which I understand that you wish, what and how great were your services in the war.

EXTRACT B.  SECTIONS 25-29. With biting sarcasm, Cicero demolishes Verres' supposed reputation as a great general, and shows him to be idle, corrupt, addicted to excessive luxury, and a promoter of riotous living and debauchery. 

Section 25.  Verres cannot be compared to the great Roman generals of the past.

I wish, judges, to be prompted (lit. for it to be suggested to me) by him, since I am speaking of his military renown, if, by chance, I pass over anything. For I seem to myself to have spoken already of all his actions undertaken, which indeed relate to a suspicion of a war with the runaway slaves; certainly I have omitted nothing knowingly. You have (before you) the man's judgment, diligence, vigilance, and his guardianship and defence of the province. My main purpose is (lit. it relates mainly to this) that, as there are many classes of generals, you should realise from which class that man is, so that no one in so great a shortage of brave men could any longer be unaware of such a commander. Not comparable to the wisdom of Quintus Metellus, nor to the swiftness in a thing being done of that great man, the former Africanus, nor to the singular resourcefulness of the latter one who was in later times, nor to the method and discipline of Paullus, nor to the vigour and courage of Gaius Marius; but know, I beg (you), that another class of general should be very carefully preserved and maintained.

Section 26.  Verres chooses Syracuse as the location for his sybaritic activities.

Firstly, judges, learn how easy and pleasant to himself that man by his intelligence and resource made the exertion of travel, which is quite the most (strenuous) thing in military service, and in Sicily especially essential. Firstly, in the winter season he had arranged for himself this very splendid remedy against the severity of the cold and the violence of storms and floods. He had chosen the city of Syracuse, of which its setting and the nature of its soil and climate are said to be such that there was not ever a day with so great and turbulent a storm that men could not see the sun at some time in this day. Here that gallant commander lived in such a  way during the winter that no person could easily see him not only out of his house but not even out of his bed, so the shortness of the day consisted of (lit. was bounded by) banquets, and the length of the night of debaucheries and scandals.

Section 27.  Verres sells justice in his bed-chamber.

But, when it began to be spring [the beginning of which he was used to date not by the West Wind nor by any star, but he supposed that spring began when he had seen rose-petals], he gave himself to labour and to marches; in these he proved himself patient and active to such an extent that no one ever saw him sitting on a horse. For, as was the custom among the kings of Bithynia, he was carried in a litter borne by eight men, in which was a diaphanous cushion from Malta, stuffed with rose(-petals); furthermore, he himself had one garland on his head, (and) another round his neck, and he applied to his nostrils a network sachet (woven) of the finest linen thread, with tiny meshes full of rose(-petals). His journey, having been thus completed, when he had come to a particular town, he was carried by the same litter right into his bedroom. Thither came the magistrates of the Sicilians, (thither) came Roman knights, a thing which you have heard from many men under oath; disputes were submitted in secret, (and) a little afterwards decisions were obtained in public. Then, when he had, for a little while, dispensed justice in the bedroom, by price, not by equity, he considered that the remaining time was now owed to Venus and to Liber.

Section 28.  Verres' record of drunken debauchery.

In this speech it seems to me that the outstanding and singular diligence of this famous general ought not to be omitted. For, know that there is in Sicily no town out of  those towns in which the praetors are accustomed to stay and to hold their assize, in which town there was not a woman from some not ignoble family selected for him to gratify (lit. for the sake of) his lust. And so, some (lit. not none) from that number were openly employed at his banquets; if they were more modest, they came at an (appointed) time, (and) they avoided the light (of day) and the assembled company. But these banquets were not (held) with that silence associated with (lit. of) the praetors and generals of the Roman people, nor with that decorum which is customary to  be in place at the banquets of magistrates, but with the greatest clamour and outcry; sometimes (lit. not never) the business even descended (lit. was brought) to fighting and blows (of the hand). For that severe and diligent praetor, although he had never obeyed the laws of the Roman people, obeyed carefully those laws which were laid down for drinking parties (lit. drinking-cups). And so the outcomes were of such a kind that one man was carried out bodily (lit. between hands) from the banquet as if from a battle, another was left (on the ground) as if dead, (and) most lay (such) that they were sprawling without sense and without any feeling; so that anyone, when he had viewed the scene, would have supposed that he was seeing not the banquet of a praetor, but a battle of Cannae of debauchery.

Section 29.  Verres avoids travelling during the summer months.

But, when high summer had begun to be (felt), which time all the praetors of Sicily have always been accustomed to spend on journeys, on the grounds that they think that then the province is especially meet to be travelled over, since the corn is on the threshing floor, also because households are gathered together and the size of the slave-body is noticed and the exertion of the work is particularly irksome  (to them), the supply of corn comes to their attention, and the time of year does not hinder: then, I say, when the other praetors keep on the move, that general of an entirely new kind made a camp for himself in the most beautiful permanent spot in Syracuse.

EXTRACT C.   SECTIONS  42-46.  Cicero begins to expand upon the catalogue of crimes and abuses committed by Verres during his governorship. He uses the episode of the ship built for his personal use by the people of Messana to show how he misappropriated funds intended for the defence of the province and how he had plundered the island of so many of its most valuable treasures.

Section 42.  Verres' management of the fleet will allow Cicero to demonstrate the full catalogue of his crimes.

Very well then (lit. let it be so); he has acquired no credit from the war of the runaway slaves or from the suspicion of a war, for there was neither a war of this kind nor the danger of a war in Sicily, nor were precautions taken by him (lit. was it provided against by him), lest there was any such war (lit. thing). But, certainly, against the war with the pirates he had a well equipped fleet and (displayed) remarkable diligence with regard to it, and so the province was excellently defended by him. (On the contrary), I shall speak, judges, in such a way about the war with the pirates, in such a way about the Sicilian fleet, that I can assure you of this even beforehand, that under this one heading are included all his greatest crimes, avarice, high treason, insanity, lust, cruelty. Attend to this carefully, I beg (you), as you have done hitherto, while I briefly explain (the facts).

Section 43.  The purpose of the fleet was not to defend Sicily but to provide Verres with profits.

In the first place, I declare that naval matters were managed in such a way not in order that the province should be defended, but that money should be sought in the name of a fleet. Although it had been the custom of former praetors, that (the costs of) ships and a fixed number of sailors and soldiers were levied on the cities, you imposed none of these (costs) on the very important and very wealthy city of the Mamertines (i.e. Messana). What money the Mamertines gave you secretly for this purpose, we shall seek (to obtain) from their own records and witnesses at a later stage, if it (then) seems good (to you).

Section 44.   The Mamertines avoid making their required contributions by building a ship for Verres' personal ownership.

But I assert that a very great merchant vessel, the likeness of a trireme, built openly at the public expense in your name, (and) on state business, was given and presented to you, all Sicily, knowing (of this) through the agency of the burgomaster and senate of the Mamertines. This ship, laden with Sicilian booty, when it was, itself, also a part of the booty, put into Velia, at the same time as he left (the province), with very many articles and those ones which he did not wish to send to Rome with the rest of his thefts, because they were the most celebrated (of his treasures) and pleased him the most. I, myself, judges, have recently seen this vessel at Velia, and many others have seen (her), a most beautiful and highly ornamented ship: indeed, she seemed to all those who had beheld her to be awaiting the exile and to be investigating her master's flight.

Section 45.  Hortensius must acknowledge that Verres owned this ship.

How will you reply to me at this point? Unless perchance you say something which, although it it can in no way be approved, yet is indeed necessary to be said in a trial concerning monies being extorted, that the ship was built with your money. Dare at least to say this which is necessary; do not (lit. be unwilling to) fear, Hortensius, that I shall ask you how it was lawful for a senator to build a ship; those are old and dead laws, as you are accustomed to call (them), which forbid (it). There was once such a republic, there was (once) such severity within law-courts, that an accuser would have regarded such a thing (as) worthy to be presented among the most serious crimes. "For what (need) did you have ( lit. for what need is there to you) for a ship? If, at any time you set out anywhere on public business, ships are provided at public expense for your protection and your conveyance; but you cannot set out anywhere on your own account nor to send for things across the seas from those countries in which it is not permitted that you have anything (lit. it is permitted that you have nothing). Then, why have you acquired by purchase anything contrary to the laws?"

Section 46.  The purpose of this ship was to transport Verres' plunder back to Italy.

This charge would have had weight in that ancient severity and dignity of the republic; now, not only do I not charge you with this offence, but I do not even reprove (you) with that general censure. Did you think that this would never be discreditable, never grounds for an accusation, never invidious that a mechant ship was being built openly for you in a most frequented place in a province which you were holding with supreme command? What do you suppose they said who saw (it), what (do you suppose) they thought who heard (of it)? That you were going to take that ship to Italy empty? That (you) were going to set up a shipping (business) when you had reached Rome? Nor could anyone even suspect this, that you had a coastal farm in Italy, and that you were preparing a merchant vessel for the purpose of crops being moved. Were you willing that  the conversation of everyone about you should be of such a kind that they would openly say that you were preparing that ship to carry your plunder from Italy, and to go to and fro for those thefts which you had left behind?

EXTRACT  D.   SECTIONS 60-64.   This extract gives more examples of how Verres enriched himself by misappropriating the funds he was entitled to collect from Sicilian cities for naval protection; and there is an account of what he does when a pirate ship falls into his hands. 

Section 60.  Verres was the first Roman praetor to handle the cities' naval taxes personally.

You have the trusty assistance of one city, lost and sold at a price: now learn of robbery first devised by him. Each city was accustomed always to give all the money (to be spent) on the fleet for corn, for pay, and for other things (to be provided) to its ship's captain. He did not dare to let it happen that he be accused by the sailors, and he was bound to render an account to his citizens, and in this whole transaction he was involved not only with (all) the trouble but also at his own risk. This was, as I say, always done not in Sicily alone but in all provinces, even with regard to the pay and expenses of the allies and of the Latins at the time when we were accustomed to employ their auxiliaries: Verres (is) the first man, after our dominion  had been established, to have ordered that all this money was paid by the cities to him, so that a person whom he himself had appointed could handle this money.

Section 61.  Verres finds various ways of profiting by abusing his naval responsibilities.

To whom can it be doubtful why (lit. on account of what thing) you (are) the first man to have changed the ancient custom of all, and to have disregarded the very great convenience of the money being handled by others, and to have undertaken so great a difficulty with (the risk of) accusation and such a troublesome task with (the risk of) suspicion? After that, other methods of making money are established, see how many (based) on this one matter of the fleet: to receive money from the cities in order not to provide sailors, to make sailors exempt for a fixed price, to profit from all the pay of those exempted, (and) not to give to the rest what he ought (to pay); learn of all this from the testimonies of the cities. Read (the evidence).[THE TESTIMONIES OF THE CITIES ARE READ).]

Section 62.  He collects money from the cities for the provision of crewmen, and from the crewmen for their discharge.

What a man is this, what impudence is this, judges, what audacity! To impose on the cities sums of money in proportion to the number of crewmen (each should have provided), (and) to establish a regular price, six hundred sesterces, for the discharge of sailors! (Anyone) who had given this money had gained release for the whole summer, and the defendant pocketed what he had received in the name of each sailor for pay  and maintenance. By this means, a double source of gain occurred for (each) one. And this most insane man at a time of such great incursion by pirates and so great a danger to the province acted so openly that both the pirates knew (of it) and the whole province was a witness (to it).

Section 63.  Verres displays unwonted energy when a pirate ship laden with booty is captured. 

When, on account of the exceptional avarice of the defendant, there was a fleet (only) in name in Sicily, indeed in very truth empty ships to carry booty for the praetor, not (to apply) fear to the pirates; yet, when Publius Caesetius and Publius Tadius were sailing with their ten half-filled ships, they, I shall not say, captured, but took in tow (lit. led away) a certain ship of the pirates, evidently handicapped and weighed down by its burden (of cargo). This ship was full of the most handsome young men, full of much silver plate and coin with much quilted material. This one vessel was not taken by our fleet, but was found at Megaris, which is a place not far from Syracuse.  When this was announced to the defendant, although he was lying, drunk, on the sea-shore with a whole lot of women, he roused himself, however, and immediately sent to the quaestor and his own legate several men (as) guards, in order that every thing might be shown to him undamaged as soon a possible.

Section 64.   How Verres disposes of this captured booty.

The vessel is brought to Syracuse; an execution is expected by everyone. The defendant, as if plunder were being brought to him, not plunderers having been captured, if any were old or ugly he considers them in the category of enemies, (but) any, who had something of beauty, (young) age, and skill, he leads (them) all away:
some (lit. not none) he distributes to his secretaries, his son and  his staff, six musical men he sent to some friend of his in Rome as a present. That whole night is spent in the ship being unloaded. No one sees the pirate chief himself, concerning whom an execution ought to have been inflicted. (Even) today everyone assumes (lit. has it thus) - what (the fact) of the matter is you must have your own ideas (lit. ought to attain conjectures) - that the defendant secretly received money from the pirates on account of the pirate chief.

EXTRACT  E.   SECTIONS 80-130.  In order to enjoy the company of a wealthy Sicilian woman at his beach resort in Syracuse, Verres appoints her husband, Cleomenes, to command the Sicilian fleet. Because most of the ships in this fleet have been so depleted of men and provisions by Verres' peculation, it suffers a disastrous defeat at the hands of the pirates, after Cleomenes has fled the scene. In order to avoid the risk that any of the ships' captains should give evidence against him in the context of this disaster, Verres decides to have them tried and executed on false charges. Cicero mercilessly exposes the wickedness and cruelty of Verres' conduct, and emphasises the need for the court to condemn him.   

Section 80.   Verres erects a tented pleasure-garden on the Island of Syracuse.

Enriched by this such great booty, enriched by these slaves, this silver plate and those robes, he began to be no more diligent towards the fleet being ornamented, the crewmen being recalled and provisioned, although this business could have been not only conducive to the safety of the province but also of himself. For at the height of summer, at which time other praetors have been accustomed to go the rounds of the province and to move from place to place, or even to sail at a time of so great a fear of pirates and danger to himself, at that time he was not content for the purpose of his luxury and his lust with his own kingly residence (which was (that) of king Hiero, which the praetors are accustomed to use); he ordered, something which I have stated previously, tents to which use he had been accustomed in the summer months, erected with curtains made of canvas, to be placed on the sea-shore, which shore is on the Island of Syracuse beyond the fountain of Arethusa, close  to the very entrance and mouth of the harbour, a really pleasant place and (one) removed from onlookers.

Section 81.   The guests at Verres' banquets.

Here the praetor of the Roman people, the guardian and defender of the province, lived during the days of summer, such that there were banquets of women daily, (while) no man reclined there except himself and his youthful son - though I had spoken correctly that, without exception, there was no man, although those (two)  were (there). Sometimes (lit. not never) also his freedman Timarchides was invited, but the women (invited were) wives of high rank, except one, the daughter of an actor, Isidorus, whom the defendant, on account of his love (for her) had abducted from a Rhodian flute-player. There was a certain Pippa, the wife of Aeschrio the Syracusan, concerning which woman very many lampoons, which were made about his desire for her, are quoted throughout all Sicily.

Section 82.  In order that he should enjoy the company of Nice without any complications,  Verres appoints her husband Cleomenes commander of the fleet.

There was Nice, with a very beautiful face, as it is said, the wife of Cleomenes, the Syracusan. Her husband loved her but he could not, nor did he dare, to oppose his lust, and at the same time he was bound by many gifts and good offices from him. But, at that time, the defendant, although you know what impudence there is in respect of the man, yet, when her husband himself was in Syracuse, could not have his wife with him for so many days on the sea-shore with an entirely free and easy mind. Accordingly, he devises a novel expedient (lit. thing): he consigned the ships, which his legate had commanded, to Cleomenes; he orders Cleomenes, a Syracusan, to preside over and to command the fleet of the Roman people. He did this such that the he would not only be away from home, while he was sailing, but also he would be absent willingly with great honour and profit, he himself meanwhile, her husband having been removed and sent away, might have her with him, not more freely than before - for what man ever opposed his lust? - but at any rate with his mind a little easier, if he got rid of him not as a husband but as a rival.

Section 83.  If Verres was too pre-occupied with his loose living to take command of the fleet, what about his senior officers or colleagues from cities in close alliance with Rome!  

Cleomenes, a Syracusan, receives the ships of our allies and friends. What matter shall I accuse or complain of first? That the power, the prestige, the authority of a legate, of a quaestor, and, finally, of a praetor was given to a Sicilian man? If (all) that business of feasts and women was preventing you (from taking command),  where (were) your quaestors, where were your legates, where (was) the corn valued at three denarii (per peck), where (were) the mules, where (were) the tents, where (were) the so numerous and so splendid badges of honour conferred and bestowed by the senate and people of Rome on their magistrates and legates, and, lastly, where (were) your prefects, where (were) your tribunes?  If there was no Roman citizen worthy of that employment, what (about) the cities which had always remained in the friendship and trust of the Roman people? What (about) the city of Segesta, what (about the city of ) Centuripa? (cities) which both by services, good faith and longstanding (alliance), and even by kinship, are connected to the name of the Roman people.

Section 84.  Cleomenes' appointment is an insult to other Sicilian cities.

O immortal gods! What (shall we say)? If Cleomenes, a Syracusan, has been ordered to command the crewmen, the ships, and the ships' captains of these very cities, has not all the honour due to merit, fairness and (former) services been taken away by the defendant? Have we waged any war in Sicily but that we have not employed the Centuripans as allies and the Syracusans as enemies? And I wish these (remarks) to be related as a memory of the past, not as an insult to the city. Therefore, that most illustrious man and consummate general, Marcus Marcellus, by whose valour Syracuse was captured, and (by whose) clemency it was preserved, wished no Syracusan to live in that part of the city which is on the Island; to this day, I say, it is not permitted that a Syracusan lives in that area; for it is a place which even a few men can defend. Therefore, he was not willing to entrust it to men who were not above suspicion (lit. the most faithful), (and), at the same time, because on that side of the city there was access to ships from the deep (sea); therefore (lit. on account of which thing) he did not consider that the key to that place should be entrusted to those who had often excluded our armies.

Section 85.  Verres ignores the safeguards applied by Rome's ancestors to the position of Syracuse.

See what is the difference between your lust and the sense of responsibility of our ancestors, between your passion and frenzy and their wisdom and prudence. They took away from the Syracusans access to the shore,  you have conceded (to them) maritime power; they were not willing for a Syracusan to live in that part (of the city), to which ships could approach, you wanted a Syracusan to command our fleet and our ships; you gave a part of our sovereignty to those from whom our ancestors took away a part of their own city, and you ordered those allies, by whose help the Syracusans are obedient to us (lit. hearkening to our command), to be obedient to a Syracusan (lit. to be hearkening to the command of a Syracusan).

Section 86.   Verres 'reviews' his fleet.

Cleomenes goes out from the harbour in a Centuripan quadrireme; a Segestan vessel follows, (then) a Tyndaritan (one), (then one) from Herbita, (one) from Heraclia, (one) from Apollonia, (and one) from Haluntium, a fine fleet in appearance, but helpless and useless because of the discharge of its fighting men and rowers. That diligent praetor surveyed the fleet under his orders for as long as the length of time it took to sail past (the scene of) his most infamous revelry; however, he himself, who had not been seen for many days, then indeed for a short time gave himself to the sailors as a spectacle. The praetor of the Roman people stood wearing slippers with a purple cloak and a tunic reaching down to his ankles, leaning on   one of his women on the shore. By then, very many Sicilians and Roman citizens had often seen the defendant in this dress.

Section 87.  Cleomenes models his behaviour on that of Verres, but the crewmen are famished; then, the pirates are sited.

After the fleet had proceeded a little way and had arrived eventually at Pachynum on the fifth day, the sailors, having been compelled by hunger, gathered the roots of wild palms, of which there were a great quantity in these parts, as (there are) in a great part of Sicily and, miserable and wretched (as they were), supported themselves on these; but Cleomenes, who considered himself another Verres, not only in self-indulgence and loose living, but also in power, caroused similarly for whole days, a tent having been pitched on the sea-shore. But, behold, Cleomenes (being) drunk, the rest famishing, it is suddenly reported that ships of the pirates are in the harbour of Odyssea (for thus this place is named); but our fleet was in the harbour of Pachynum. Cleomenes, however, because it was a land stronghold, not in fact but in name, hoped that he could make up the proper complement of sailors and rowers from those soldiers that he might withdraw from that place.  The same system of that most grasping man was revealed in the case of garrisons as in the case of fleets; for very few were left, the rest (had been) dismissed.

Section 88.   Cleomenes flees, and orders the other ships to follow him.

(As) commander, Cleomenes in his Centuripan quadrireme, ordered the mast to be erected, the sails to be spread, the cables to be cut, and, at the same time, commanded the signal to be given that the rest should follow him. This Centuripan vessel was incredibly swift under sail; for with the defendant (as) praetor, no one could know what each ship could do with oars; although on account of his honouring of, and good-will towards, Cleomenes, rowers and soldiers were lacking much less in this quadrireme. Almost flying, the quadrireme had hastened away out of sight, when the other ships then in that one spot were still striving to get under way.

Section 89.   Some of the other ships wish to resist, but lament the disappearance of Cleomenes in his powerful flagship.

There was (some) spirit among those left behind; although they were few, they cried out that in whatever way the operation might treat them, yet they wished to fight, and whatever of life and strength hunger had left them (lit. had made a remnant), they wished especially to deliver this with the sword.  But if Cleomenes had not flown away so far in advance, there would have been at least some means for resisting.  For that was the only ship with a deck, and so large that it could have been a bulwark to the rest, which, if it had been engaged in a battle with the pirates, would have appeared to have the likeness of a city amongst those piratical skiffs; but at that time (being) helpless (and) deserted by their leader and the prefect of the fleet, of necessity, they began to hold the same course (as he had).

Section 90.  The pirates capture the hindmost Sicilian ships.

So, the rest sailed in the direction of Helorus, as Cleomenes himself (had done), yet they were not (so much) fleeing from the an attack of the pirates as following their commander. Then, as each (was) last in flight, so she was first in danger; for the pirates attacked each last ship first. So, the ship of the Haluntinians is captured first, of which Phylarchus, a Haluntian man of noble birth, was in command, whom the Locrians later ransomed at the public expense from those pirates; from him, under oath, you learned about this whole matter and its cause at the former pleading. Next, the Apollonian ship is taken, and her captain, Anthropinus, is slain.

Section 91.   Cleomenes and the other captains abandon their ships at Helorus; the pirates capture these and burn them.

While these things are being done, in the meantime Cleomenes had already arrived at the coast of Helorus; already he had cast himself from the ship on to the land, and had left his quadrireme tossing about in the surf. The rest of the ships' captains, when their commander had scrambled on to the land, since they themselves could neither resist nor escape by sea in any way, their ships having been beached at Elorus, followed Cleomenes. Then, Heracleo, the leader of the pirates, (being) suddenly victorious, beyond (all) his hopes, not through his own valour, but through the avarice and loose living of the defendant, ordered a most beautiful fleet of the Roman people, having been driven on to the shore and abandoned, when it first became evening, to be set on fire and burned.

Section 92.  The news of the disaster spreads through Syracuse;  Cleomenes hides.

O (what) a wretched and bitter time for the province of Sicily! O that event calamitous and fatal to many innocent people! O the singular worthlessness and infamy of the defendant! The night was one and the same on which the praetor (was burning) with the flame of the most shameful passion, (and) the fleet of the Roman people was burning with the fire of the pirates. In the dead of night, the grave news of this disaster is brought to Syracuse; people run (lit. it is run) to the praetor's house, to which his women had led him back from that splendid banquet with song and music a little before. Cleomenes, although it was night, yet he does not dare to be seen in public; he shuts himself in his home; nor was his wife present, so that she could comfort the man in his misfortunes.

Section 93.   A disturbance arises.

But the discipline of this noble commander in his own house was so strict that with regard to so great an event and such grave news, no one could be admitted, (and) there was no one who dared either to wake him if asleep, or to disturb (him) if awake. But now, the affair being known by everyone, a vast multitude was running hither and thither in every part of the city. A beacon-fire, having risen from (some) watch-tower or hill,  did not give notice of the arrival of the pirates, as was always the custom formerly, but the flame from the very fire of the ships announced both the calamity which had been received (lit. having been received) and the danger remaining. When the praetor was sought and it was clear that no one had reported the news to him, a tumultuous concourse and a charge towards his house takes place with shouting.

Section 94.  Verres fears for his life.

Then, the defendant having been roused, he hears of the whole business from Timarchides, he takes up his military cloak [it was now almost light], (and) proceeds into the middle (of the crowd), full of wine, sleep and debauchery. He is received by all with a shout of such a kind that a resemblance to the dangers of Lampsacus
revolved before his eyes; this (danger) seemed even greater than that, because in a situation of equal hated, this crowd was very great. Then the defendant's sea-shore (activity) was mentioned, then those flagitious banquets, then his women were called out by name by the crowd, then they asked the defendant openly where he had been (and) what he had done for so many days together, during which he had never been seen, then Cleomenes, having been appointed commander by him, was demanded, nor was anything nearer happening than that the precedent of Utica concerning Hadrian was transferred to Syracuse, so that two tombs of villainous governors would have been placed in two provinces. However, regard for the critical hour was had by the multitude, (regard) for the disturbance was had, regard for the common dignity and credit was had, because that body of Roman citizens at Syracuse, (is) such as to be thought the most worthy not only in that province, but also in this republic.

Section 95.    The mob occupy the forum, and the pirates decide to 'visit' Syracuse.

They, themselves, encourage each other, since he, then half-asleep, is still stupefied, they take arms, they fill the whole forum and the Island, which is a great part of the city.

The pirates, having stayed off Helorus only for that single night, when they had left our ships still smoking,  begin to make for Syracuse; as they, indeed, had often heard that nothing could be finer than the walls and harbour of Syracuse, they had determined that, if they did not see these things, with Verres (as) praetor, they would never see them.

Section 96.  The pirates enter the harbour of Syracuse.

And, firstly, they come to those summer quarters of the praetor, at that very part of the shore where the defendant, his tents having been pitched, had set up his camp of pleasure during those days. After they found this place empty and understood that the praetor had removed his camp from that place, they at once began, without any fear, to penetrate into the harbour itself. When, judges, I say into the harbour - for it is necessary to be explained carefully (by me) for the sake of those who do not know the place - I mean that the pirates had come into the innermost part of the city; for that town is not bounded by the harbour, but the harbour itself is surrounded and enclosed within the city, so that the innermost walls are not washed by the sea, but the harbour itself flows into the heart of the city.

Section 97.   The pirates sail around unscathed.

Here, with you (as) praetor, Heracleo, the pirate, with four small skiffs, sailed at his will. O gods immortal! a piratical skiff, when the representative and official insignia of the power of the Roman people were in Syracuse, came as far as the forum of the Syracusans and all the quays of the city, whither the most glorious fleets of the Carthaginians, when they were most powerful at sea, having often attempted (it) in many wars, could not ever come near, nor could that naval glory of the Roman people, invincible before you (being) praetor, ever penetrate so far in the Punic and Sicilian wars; this place is of such a kind that  the Syracusans (saw) an enemy, armed and victorious, in their city, (and) in their forúm, before they saw any enemy ship in their harbour.

Section 98.   Before Verres, this harbour was impregnable.

Here, with you (as) praetor, the small ships of the pirates sailed about, whither the fleet of the Athenians, alone in the memory of men, got in with three hundred ships by force and number; here, the strength of that city was first broken and humbled: in this harbour, it is considered that a shipwreck (was) made of the nobility, power (and) pride of the Athenians.   Did a pirate penetrate to a place such that as soon as he reached (it) he left a large part of the city not only on his flank but also in his rear? He sailed past the whole Island, which at Syracuse is a city with its own name and with its own walls, in which place our ancestors, as I have said before, had forbidden (any) Syracusan to dwell, because they understood that the harbour would be in the power of those who occupied that part of the city.

Section 99.   The pirates brandish the palm roots on which the Sicilian crewmen had been forced to live.

And how (lit. in what way) did he wander through (it)? They brandished the roots of the wild palms, which they had found in our ships, so that all could know of the defendant's dishonesty and the calamity of Sicily. That Sicilian soldiers, the children of those cultivators of the soil, whose fathers had raised by their labour so much corn that they were able to supply the Roman people and the whole of Italy, that they born in the island of Ceres, where crops are said to have been first discovered, should have had to make use of that food from which their ancestors, delivered the rest of the world also, crops having been discovered! With you (as) praetor, Sicilian soldiers were fed on the roots of palms, pirates on Sicilian corn!

Section 100.  The pirates mock the power of Rome.  Verres' negligence is perceived as the cause of the disaster.

O pitiful and galling scene! That the pride of the city, the prestige of the Roman people, the concourse and multitude of the inhabitants should be (taken) for a laughing-stock by a pirate skiff! That a pirate should celebrate a triumph over a fleet of the Roman people in the harbour of Syracuse, when the oars of the pirates were besprinkling the eyes of that most inactive and most worthless praetor!

After the pirates had sailed out of the harbour, not affected by any fear but by satiety, then men began to ask the cause of this so very great disaster. All were saying and were arguing openly that it was to be very little wondered at that, if, (some) rowers and soldiers having been discharged, the rest having been destroyed by want and hunger, (and) with the praetor carousing with his women for so many days, such  a great disgrace and disaster should have been received.

Section 101.  The ships' captains give information about the lack of men and provisions and the flight of Cleomenes.

Moreover, this criticism and condemnation of the defendant was confirmed by the statements of those who had been appointed to command those ships by their own cities. Those left from that number had fled to Syracuse, the fleet having been lost, stated how many each knew to have been discharged from his own ship. The matter was clear, the outrageous conduct of the defendant was established not only by circumstantial proof but also by reliable witnesses. The man is informed (lit. made more sure) that nothing is done amongst those in the forum and in the assembly all that day except this, for it to be enquired form the ships' captains how (lit. in what manner) the fleet was lost; that they replied and were explaining to each one (who enquired), (that it was lost) thorough the release of rowers, the hunger of the rest, and the cowardice and flight of Cleomenes. After the defendant had heard this, he began to have this thought. He had already decided that a prosecution was sure to be instituted against him before this happened, as you have heard him say thus in the former pleading. He saw that, with those captains (as) witnesses against him, that he could in no way sustain this so great a charge. At first he adopts a foolish plan but still a humane one.

Section 102.  Verres forces the ships' captains to make depositions that everything was as it should have been in respect of their ships.

He orders the ships' captains to be summoned before him; they come. He takes them to task because they have held conversations of such a kind about him; he begs that each should say that he had had as many sailors as he ought (to have had); nor that any were discharged. They, of course, assure (him) that they will do what he wishes. The defendant does not delay, (but) he summons his friends immediately; he enquires of them one by one how many sailors each had had. Each one replies as he had been instructed. The defendant takes down (their answers) on to writing tablets; (being) a prudent man, he seals (these) up with the seals of his friends, in order that he may use this so-called deposition against this charge, if ever it should be needed.

Section 103.   Verres' associates tell him these depositions will not adequately protect him. 

I imagine that this senseless man would have been mocked by his own counsellors and warned that these  written records would profit him nothing, (and) there would be even more suspicion from such over-elaborate precautions (lit. from too much care) on the part of the praetor with regard to this charge. The defendant had already employed such folly in many instances, as even to order publicly whatever he wished to be expunged and inserted in the (municipal) records of cities; all these things he now understands profit him nothing, now that (lit. after) he is convicted by reliable documents, witnesses and mandates. When he sees this, that the written records of their admissions (and) his own depositions will be of no help to him, he forms the plan not of a shameless praetor - for even that might have been endured - but of a brutal and demented tyrant: he resolves that, if he wishes this charge to be weakened [for he did not think that it could be removed altogether], that all the ships' captains, the witnesses of his wrongdoing, had to be deprived of life.

Section 104.  Verres' anxieties about Cleomenes.

One thought occurred (to him): "What is to be done with Cleomenes? Shall I be able to inflict punishment upon (lit. direct attention to) those whom I ordered to be obedient to him (lit. to hearken to his command), and release him to whom I granted power and authority (over them)? Shall I be able to afflict with execution those who followed Cleomenes, (and) pardon Cleomenes who ordered (them) to flee with him and to follow him? Shall I be able to be severe towards those who had ships not only empty but also without decks, (and) lax towards him who alone had a decked ship and (one) less depleted (of men). Let Cleomenes perish as well!" What of those promises what of those vows of affection, what of those (clasped) hands and embraces, what of that companionship in the service of a woman on that most delightful shore? In no way could it happen that Cleomenes was spared.

Section 105.  Verres tells Cleomenes that he is going to execute the ships' captains, but will spare him.

He summons Cleomenes, (and) he says to him that he had decided to inflict execution upon all the ship's captains; that considerations of his own danger required and demanded such (action). "You alone I shall spare, and I shall take the blame for your error and  the censure for this inconsistency, rather than (that) I should be cruel towards you on the one hand, or, on the other hand, that I should allow so many and such important witnesses to be alive and unharmed." Cleomenes thanks him (lit. gives him thanks), approves his plan, says that it must be done thus, but reminds him of something which had escaped the defendant, that, with regard to Phalacrus, the ship's captain of Centuripa, it was not possible (for him) to be executed, on account of the fact that he had been together with himself on the Centuripan quadrireme. What, therefore, (is to be done)? That man from a city of such a kind, (and) a most noble young man, shall be left (as) a witness? "For the present," says Cleomenes, "it is necessary thus; but afterwards we shall arrange something lest he may be able to damage us."

Section 106.  Verres arrests the captains; an outcry arises.

After these things were settled and determined, the defendant suddenly advances from his headquarters, inflamed with wickedness, frenzy and cruelty; he comes into the forum, and orders the ships' captains to be summoned. (Because) they feared nothing, (and) were suspecting nothing, they hasten (there) at once. The defendant orders chains to be thrown on these miserable and innocent men. They invoke the good faith of the praetor, and ask why he was doing this. Then, the defendant gives this (as) the reason, because they had betrayed the fleet to the pirates. An outcry occurs, and astonishment on the part of the people that there should be so much shamelessness and audacity in the man that he should either attribute to others the origin of a calamity which had happened entirely on account of his avarice, or that, when he himself was thought an ally of the pirates, he should bring a charge of treason against others; and further, that this charge had been originated on the fifteenth day after the fleet had been lost.

Section 107.  Cleomenes' closeness to Verres creates a scandal.

When these things were happening thus, it was asked where Cleomenes was, not that anyone thought that he himself, such as he was, (was) worthy of punishment on account of that disaster; for what could Cleomenes have done? - for I cannot accuse anyone falsely - what, I say, could Cleomenes, to (any) great extent, have done, his ships having been depleted by the avarice of the defendant? And then they see him sitting at the side of the praetor and whispering familiarly in his ear, as he had been accustomed. But then it seemed a most scandalous matter to all that these most honourable men, chosen by their own cities, should have been thrown into irons and chains, (but) that Cleomenes on account of his partnership in debauchery and infamy should be  a most familiar (friend) to the praetor.

Section 108.  A prosecutor is appointed; the fathers of the captains come to Syracuse to defend their sons.

However, an accuser is appointed against them, a certain Naevius Turpio, who, Gaius Sacerdos (being) praetor, was convicted of injustices,a man well suited to the audacity of the defendant, (and) whom that man was accustomed to employ on tithes, in prosecutions on capital charges, and in very sort of judicial chicanery,as a fore-runner and emissary.

The parents and relatives of these wretched young men come to Syracuse, greatly disturbed by this sudden news of their misfortune; they see their sons bound with chains, since they were bearing on their necks and shoulders the punishment for the defendant's avarice; they appear in court, they defend (them), they raise an outcry, they appeal to your good faith, which was nowhere, nor ever had been. (As) a father there came forward, Dexo of Tyndaris, a most noble man (and) your host. Since you saw him, in whose house you had been, who you had called host, (a man held) in such great respect, sunk in misery, could not his tears, (could) not his old-age, (could) not the rights and the name of host have recalled you from wickedness to some degree of decent feeling?

Section 109.  Verres' treatment of Sthenius shows what a monster he is.

But why do I recount the rights of a host in the case of such an inhuman monster? He, who had entered in the list of those accused in his absence Sthenius of Thermae, his host, whose house he plundered and stripped during this hospitality, (and) condemned to death, his defence unheard, are we now seeking the claims and the duties of hospitality from him? Are we dealing (lit. is there any business for us) with a cruel man or with a savage and inhuman monster? Could not the tears of a father for the danger of an innocent son move you? Since you had left your father at home, (and) you had your son with you, did neither your son being present remind you of the affection of children nor your father being absent of paternal indulgence?

Section 110.  Despite the falseness of the charges, no real defence is permitted.

Your friend Aristeus, the son of Dexo, was in chains. Why (was this) so? "He had betrayed the fleet." On account of what bribe? "He had abandoned (his ship)."  What (about) Cleomenes? "He had been cowardly." But you had previously presented him with a garland for his courage. "He had discharged the sailors." But you had received from all (of them) the price of their discharge.  Another father from another district was Eubulida of Herbita, a man renowned in his own city and of noble birth; because he had injured Cleomenes in his son being defended, he was left almost destitute. But what was there that anyone could say or plead in his defence? "It is not permitted to name Cleomenes." But the cause compels (it). "You will die if you name (him)"; for the defendant never threatened with half-measures. But there were no rowers. "Are you accusing the praetor? Break his neck!" If it is permitted to name neither the praetor nor the praetor's rival, since the whole case turns on these two, what is to be (done)?

Section 111.  Heracleus is accused even though he was on sick leave.

Heracleus of Segesta, a man born into a most noble position in his home (town), also pleads his cause. Listen, judges, as your humanity demands; for you will hear of the great difficulties and injuries (inflicted on) the allies. I would have you know that this Heracleus had been in such a position that he did not sail at that time because of a serious disease in his eyes, and, by the order of the man who held the power, had remained on leave at Syracuse. He certainly neither betrayed the fleet nor fled, terrified with fear, nor deserted his post; in fact, (if he had), it would have been appropriate for him to be punished at the time when the fleet was leaving Syracuse. However, he was in the same position, as if he had been apprehended in some manifest crime, (and) not even case a false charge could be brought against him.

Section 112.  Furius, seeing he is sure to die, defends himself courageously.

There was among those ships' captains a man of Heraclia, a certain Furius (for they had some Latin names of this kind), a man distinguished and renowned, not only in his own home (town), (but) after his death throughout Sicily. In this man there was enough courage not only to insult the defendant freely (for indeed, since he saw that he must die, he understood that he could do this without risk), but, his death having been announced, when his mother was weeping in the prison night and day, he wrote (down) the defence (statement) of his cause; now there is no one in Sicily that does not have it, that has not read it, (and) that is not made aware of your wickedness and cruelty from that written plea. In it, he tells how many sailors he received from his city, how many he discharged and at what price each one, (and) how many he had (left) with him; he speaks likewise of other ships; since he said these things in front of you, his eyes were lashed with rods. His death having been pronounced, he easily endured the pain of body; he cried out, something which he left in writing, that it was a shameful crime that the tears of an unchaste woman concerning the safety of Cleomenes should matter more to you than (those) of a mother concerning his life.

Section 113.  Furius says that alive he can only accuse Verres of corruption; when he is dead, his shade will be able to accuse Verres of murder.

Afterwards I see that this is also stated, which, if the Roman people have judged you correctly, he now at the very point of death truly (lit. not falsely) predicted of you (judges), that Verres could not extinguish the witnesses  by killing (them); that from the shades below he should be a weightier witness before wise judges than if he were produced alive in court; for that then, if he were alive, he would only be a witness to his avarice, but now, when he had thus been killed, to his wickedness, shamelessness (and) cruelty. Now this (passage) is very splendid: that, when your case were being tried, not only a crowd of witnesses but the avenging spirits of the innocent and the Furies (that pursue) the impious would come (up) from the infernal shades; that he therefore regarded his own misfortune (to be) a lighter one, because he had already seen beforehand the keen edge of your axes and the visage and the hand of Sextus, your executioner, when, in an assembly of Roman citizens, Roman citizens were struck with an axe at your command.

Section 114.  Verres condemns the captains to death; he does not involve his quaestor or legate in this trial.

In short. (lit. lest (there are) many (words)), judges, he made full use of that freedom which you gave to the allies at the moment of the most bitter punishment (associated with) the most wretched servitude.

He condemns (them) all immediately with the approval of his advisors; yet in such an important case (involving) so many men the defendant summons neither Titus Vettius, his quaestor, to him in order to take his advice, nor his legate, Publius Cervius, an admirable man, who, because he was a legate in Sicily, the defendant (being) praetor, was the first man to be rejected by him (as) a judge, but he condemns (them) all, with the advice of robbers, that is, his retinue.

Section 115.  All the people of Sicily are alarmed by what this decision implies for their future security.

Hereupon, all the Sicilians, our most ancient and faithful allies, endowed with the greatest benefits by our ancestors, were seriously disturbed and were terrified at the dangers to themselves and to their fortunes in general: they report with indignation that that clemency and mildness of our rule should be converted into such great cruelty and inhumanity, that so many men should be condemned at one time for no crime, and that that that wicked praetor should seek the defence of his own robberies by the most shameful murder of innocent men. It seems, judges, that nothing can be added now to such wickedness, insanity and cruelty, and it seems right and proper that nothing (can be). For, if, when it may compete with the wickedness of others, it will surpass (them) all by far and away.

Section 116.  Phalacrus, the captain of Cleomenes' quadrireme, escapes execution, but has to bribe Verres' freedman to avoid a beating.

(But) he, indeed, competes with himself; he does this in order, always, to outdo his preceding crime with a new wickedness. I had said that Phalacrus, the Centuripan, had been made an exception by Cleomenes, because Cleomenes had sailed in his quadrireme; still, as that young man was alarmed, because he saw that his case was the same as those who had perished, (though) innocent, Timarchides comes to the man; he says that that there is no danger to him from the axe, (but) he warns he should beware lest he is beaten with rods. In short (lit. lest (there are) many (words)), you have heard the young man himself say that he paid money to Timarchides on account of this fear.

Section 117.  The Roman people demand that Verres is accused of appropriately serious charges.

These (charges) are trifling in such a criminal. A ship's captain, a most noble man from a most noble city, ransomed (himself) at a price from fear of the rods: it is a human (thing to do). Another gave money lest he be condemned: it is a common (thing to do). The Roman people does not wish Verres to be accused on commonplace charges, it demands new charges, it requires something unheard of; it thinks that the trial is happening not with regard to a praetor of Sicily but with regard to a most wicked tyrant.

The condemned men are shut up in prison; the punishment for them is determined, (and punishment) is inflicted on the wretched parents of the captains; they are prohibited from going to their sons, and bringing food and clothing to their children.

Section 118.  The captains' parents have to pay bribes to the prison janitor to bring food and clothing to their children in prison, and for the 'privilege' of a relatively merciful execution.

These fathers, whom you see, lay on the threshold, and the wretched mothers spent their nights at the door of the prison, excluded from a last embrace of their children; they begged for nothing else but to be permitted to catch on their lips the final breath of their sons. The janitor of the prison, the executioner of the praetor, was there, the (minister of) death and the fear (of death) of  allies and of Roman citizens, the lictor Sextius, to whom certain gain was provided from every groan and agony. "So that you may visit him, you must (lit. will) give so much, so that it may be permitted to you to take food inside (the prison), so much." No one refused. "What (now)? What will you give so that I shall bring death to your son with one blow of the axe? Lest he be tortured for longer, lest he be struck more often, lest his life be removed with some feeling of pain?" Even for this purpose money was given to the lictor.

Section 119.  The parents even have to pay bribes for the right to bury their sons.

O great and intolerable agony! O terrible and bitter ill-fortune! Parents were compelled to purchase not the life of their children but the swiftness of their death. And the young men themselves were also speaking with their (good friend) Sextius about that blow, about that one stroke, and at last the children begged this of their parents, that money be given to the lictor for the sake of their suffering being alleviated. Many and terrible agonies have been invented for parents and relatives, many; but yet death should be the last. It will not be (so). Is there anything further by which cruelty can progress? It shall be found; for the bodies of their children, when they have been struck down and killed, shall be exposed to wild animals. If this is a grievous thing for parents, let them purchase at a price permission to bury.

Section 120.  The negotiations about burial take place while the victims are yet living.

You have heard Onasus the Segestan, a man of noble birth, say that he paid money to Timarchides for the burial of the captain Heracleus; so that you may not be able to say this, "For fathers come (to court) angry, their sons having been lost," a man of the top rank, a man of the noblest birth, states (this), and he does not state (it) about his son. Now as to this, who was in Syracuse at that time but that he did not hear, but that he does not know, that those compacts for burial of Timarchides were made even with those men (still) living?  Did they not speak openly with Timarchides, were not all the relatives of all the men called in, (and) were not the funerals of men (still) living made a subject of open bargaining?

Section 121.  The captains are executed; but Verres' rejoicing is premature.

All these matters having been settled and decided, they are brought forth from prison, (and) tied (to the stake). Who at that time was so hard-hearted, who so inhuman, except you alone, so as not be moved by their (young) age, by their noble birth, by their misfortunes? Who was there but that he did not weep, but that he did not consider that calamity of theirs in such a way that he thought (it was), however, not the predicament (lit. fortune) of others, but a common danger?  They are struck by an axe. You rejoice and triumph amid the groans of all; you rejoice that the witnesses to your avarice have been removed. You were mistaken, Verres, you were violently mistaken, when you thought that you could wash out the stains of your thefts and crimes in the blood of our innocent allies; you were borne headlong in your frenzy to suppose that you could heal the wound of your avarice by the remedies of cruelty. In truth, although those witnesses of your wickedness are dead, yet their relatives are backward neither in (punishing) you nor in (avenging) them; however, from that very body of naval captains, some are alive and are here, whom, as it seems to me, fortune has saved for the vengeance due to those innocent men and for this trial.

Section 122.   Two captains are present  to give evidence against Verres.

Phylarchus the Haluntian is present, who, because he did not flee with Cleomenes, was overwhelmed by the pirates and captured: his misfortune was his security, since if he had not been captured by the pirates he would have fallen into the hands of this plunderer of our allies. He speaks in evidence about the discharge of the sailors, about the want (of provisions), about the flight of Cleomenes. Phalacrus the Centuripan is here, (a man) born in a most honourable city in a most honourable rank; he tells the same thing, he differs in no respect.

Section 123.  Is Cicero wrong to feel so strongly the injustices of Verres' crimes?

In the name of the immortal gods! in what mind can you sit (there), judges, or in what manner can you hear these things? Am I losing my senses, or do I grieve unduly (lit. more than is sufficient) amid such a disaster and the distress of our allies, or does this most bitter torture and agony of innocent men affect you also with an equal sense of pain?  For when I say that a Herbitan, when I (say that) a Heraclian, was struck with an axe, the indignity of that misfortune revolves before my eyes. That the citizens of those peoples, that the sons of those lands, from whom a very great quantity of corn is sought every year for the Roman people by their efforts and labours, (and) who were both brought up and educated by their parents in the expectation of our rule and justice, should have been reserved for the wicked inhumanity of Gaius Verres and for his fatal axe!

Section 124.  The rights of our Sicilian allies availed them nothing in the face of Verres' implacable cruelty.

When (the thought) of that Tyndaritan man, when (the thought) of the Segestan man, comes into my mind, then I consider at the same time the rights of those cities and their services (to us). Those cities, which Publius Africanus even thought fit to be adorned with the spoils of the enemy, those Gaius Verres has stripped not only of those ornaments but also of their most noble citizens  by his abominable wickedness. Behold what the people of Tyndaris will freely state: "We are counted among the seventeen (loyal) states of Sicily, we in all the Punic and Sicilian wars always followed the friendship and alliance of the Roman people, all means of assistance in war and (all) services in peace, have been rendered at all times by us to the Roman people." Much, indeed, have these rights availed them under the authority and power of the defendant!

Section 125.   Under Verres, our allies have been treated like enemies.

Scipio once led your sailors against Carthage, but now Cleomenes leads an almost dismantled ship against the pirates; Africanus shared with you the spoils of the enemy and the rewards of glory, but now having been plundered, through Verres, your ship having been towed away by the pirates, you yourselves are regarded in the class and number of enemies. What (more) indeed (can I say)? What benefits did that relationship of the Segestans to us, not only handed down to us in documents nor commemorated in words, but adopted and proved by their many services (to us), bring (them) in the end under the rule of the defendant? To be sure, it was in this privilege, judges, that  a young man of the highest rank was surrendered from his father's bosom to Sextius, the defendant's executioner. This city, to which our ancestors have granted the most extensive and the most valuable lands, (and) which they wished to be exempt from tribute, this (city) obtained from you not even this (much) of the right that (belongs to) kinship, to loyalty, to ancient relationship (and) to reputation, that it might beg release from the death and bloody execution of one most honourable and most inncocent citizen.

Section 126.  The Sicilians look to this court for justice.

Whither shall the allies flee for refuge? Whom shall they implore? By what hope, finally, will they be retained, in order that they may wish to live, if you abandon them? Shall they come to the senate? Why? To inflict punishment on Verres? It is not a usual course, (it is) not a function of the senate. Shall they flee for refuge to the Roman people? The excuse of the people is easy; for they will say that they have passed a law in the interests of the allies, and that they have appointed you (as) guardians and vindicators of that law. This, therefore, is the only place to which they can flee, this (is) the haven, this (is) the citadel, this (is) the altar of the allies; to which, indeed, they do not now have recourse in such a manner as they were accustomed (to do) before in respect of their property being restored. They are seeking to reclaim not silver, not gold, not clothing, not slaves, not the ornaments which have been torn from their cities and shrines; (as) ignorant men, they fear that the Roman people now condones these things and is willing that they happen thus. For we have now been experiencing (this) for many years, and we are silent, although we see all the wealth of all the nations falling into the hands of a few men. This we seem to tolerate and to permit with the more equanimity of mind, because none of these (robbers) is dissembling, no one troubles that his covetousness should be seen to be hidden.

Section 127.  Despite the systematic despoiling of Rome's provinces, Verres' are not concerning with the restoration of their property. 

In our most beautiful and most decorated city, what statue, what painted picture is there which has not been taken and carried away from our defeated enemies? But the villas of those men are adorned and filled with the most numerous and the most beautiful spoils of our most faithful allies. Where do you think is the wealth of foreign nations, which are now wanting, when you can see Athens, Pergamum, Cyzicus, Miletus, Chios, Samos, in short all Asia, Achaea, Greece (and) Sicily so shut up in a few villas? But all this, as I say, your allies are now abandoning and ignoring, judges. They took care that by their services and their loyalty they were not plundered by the Roman people inn its public capacity; although they could not then resist the covetousness of a few (individuals), yet they were able, to some extent, to satisfy (it); but now the means, not only of resisting (it) but also of supplying (it) has already been removed. And so, they are not concernrned with their property; they are not seeking to recover, they are abandoning their money in the name of which this court is called; (it is) in this dress (that) they now appeal to you.

Section 128.  Sthenius is looking for his life sentence to be revoked, and Dexo and Eubulida want Verres to be condemned as a consolation for the murder of their sons.

Behold, behold, judges, the squalour and shabbiness of our allies.

Sthenius the Thermitan, here (whom you see) with (his) long hair and (mourning) robe, his whole house having been stripped bare, makes no mention of your robberies; he claims to recover from you his very person, nothing further; for, by your lust and wickedness, you have removed (him) entirely from his native land, in which he was a leading citizen through his many virtues and services. Dexo here, whom you see, demands from you, not (those things) which you seized from Tyndaris at the public expense, not (those things) which (you seized) from him privately, but only, wretched man (that he is), his best and most innocent son; he does not wish to carry back home a sum of money from your assessed damages, but, from your downfall, consolation for the ashes and bones of his son. Eubulida here, so advanced in years (lit. great from birth), has undertaken this very great fatigue and journey at an extreme age, not to recover anything of his belongings, but in order that he may see you condemned with the same eyes with which he had seen the bleeding neck of his son.

Section 129.   Even the mothers and children of the deceased have begged me to assist them in prosecuting Verres.

If it had been permitted by Lucius Metellus, judges, the mothers and sisters of those wretched men were going to come; one of them, when I arrived at Heraclea at night, came to meet me with all the matrons of that city and with many torches, and so, calling me her saviour, naming you (as) her executioner, (and) invoking the name of her son, she threw (herself), wretched (as she was), at my feet, as if I could raise her son from the  lower regions. In the other cities, aged (lit. great from birth) mothers, and also the small children of those poor men, did this in like manner; the age of each of these established a claim on my zeal and industry, and your good faith and compassion.

Section 130.  Cicero's wish is to ensure that no future Roman governor can profit from the judicial murder of allied citizens, but he needs the court's help to do that.

Therefore, judges, Sicily has brought to me this complaint beyond all others; I have come hither, induced by tears, not by ambition, in order that false condemnation, that imprisonment, that chains, that floggings, that axes, that the torture of our allies, that the blood of innocent men, that, lastly also, the bloodless bodies of the dead, (and) that the grief of parents and relatives, cannot be a source of profit to our magistrates. If, through your good faith and integrity, I remove (lit. shall have removed) this fear from Sicily  by the condemnation of the defendant, I shall think that enough in (the discharge) of my duty, (and) enough to satisfy the wishes of those who have sought this (assistance) from me, will have been done.


1 comment:

  1. I've written a poem about this text & have found your trans v interesting. I need help with a title ....in latin. Maybe you cd email me on zen180888@zen.co.uk?