Cicero, Against Verres, 2.1.53-86: Latin Text with Introduction, Study Questions, Commentary and English Translation
Looting, despoiling temples, attempted rape and judicial murder: these are just some of the themes of this classic piece of writing by one of the world's greatest orators. This particular passage is from the second book of Cicero's Speeches against Verres, who was a former Roman magistrate on trial for serious misconduct. Cicero presents the lurid details of Verres' alleged crimes in exquisite and sophisticated prose. This volume provides a portion of the original text of Cicero's speech in Latin, a detailed commentary, study aids, and a translation. As a literary artefact, the speech gives us insight into how the supreme master of Latin eloquence developed what we would now call rhetorical "spin". As an historical document, it provides a window into the dark underbelly of Rome's imperial expansion and exploitation of the Near East. Ingo Gildenhard's illuminating commentary will be of particular interest to students of Latin at both high school and undergraduate level. It will also be a valuable resource to Latin teachers and to anyone interested in Cicero, language and rhetoric, and the legal culture of Ancient Rome.
diplomacy and justice: to w hom do objects of plunder and exploitation belon g? Cicero's Verrines h ave assumed arch etyp al importan ce in western thinking on the subject: see the highly accessible analysis by Miles M. M. (2008), Art as Plunder: The Ancient Origins of Debate about Cultural Property, New York, w h o explores Greek precedents, d evotes a significant part of h er discussion to Cicero's Verrines, and outlines continuities and changes in practice and the terms of the debate from late
his time as legate in Asi a, account books app arently existed . § 61 After looking into Verres' (lack of) accounting during his p ro-p raetorship, w hich w ill much preoccup y him in later books of the s econd actio, Cicero calls hims elf t o order and sets aside the topic for further treatm ent in future (see alia loco hoc cuius modi sit considerabimus). During his years in the Greek East, after all, it is Verres' keeping of accounts that Cicero us es as basis for his attack: the records p
prima), Verres w ithdrew into voluntary exile; he was found guilty in absentia without the need for a second h earing (actio secunda). The so-called Verrine Orations thus comprise the Divinatio in Caecilium (' Preliminary hearing against Caecilius'), w hich won him the 2 Cicero, Against Verres, 2.1.53-86 right to act as prosecutor of Verres; the decisive speech he gave during the first hearing (in Verrem 1); and the material Cicero prepared for the second hearing, repackaged into five
possibly a *hendiadys: 'legitimate grievance'. This is the only hint in Cicero's account that Philodamus may have overstepped the tightl y circumscribed boundaries w ithin which provincials could object to the d emands of their Roman superiors. per vim . . . imperavit. Hie: Gcero has conjured a moment of crisis: we have reached a point in the narrative where a resort to violence (per vim) looms. Verres is beyond reason and ready to enforce his will by any means necessary. But the physical
machina to help Ocero out of a tight spot in the argument, even though the inexorable workings of supernatural justice are a prevalent them e throughout the Verrines.80 dicet: Cicero imagines that Verres will repeat what Hortensius s aid byway of a (rude) interruption in the first proceeding, when Tettius gave his evidence. 79. Gundel, H. (1961), '3) C. Visellius Varro', Realencyclopi:idie 9 A 1, 355- 58. 80. On the different semantics of Fortuna see Gildenhard (2011) 40-49. 130 Cicero,