Cicero, in Verrem (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Ver.].
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There is a woman, a citizen of Segesta, very rich, and nobly born, by name Lamia. She, having her house full of spinning jennies, for three years was making him robes and coverlets, all dyed with purple; Attalus, a rich man at Netum; Lyso at Lilybaeum; Critolaus at Enna; at Syracuse Aeschrio, Cleomenes, and Theomnastus; at Elorum Archonides and Megistus. My voice will fail me before the names of the men whom he employed in this way will; he himself supplied the purple—his friends supplied only the work, I dare say; for I have no wish to accuse him in every particular, as if it were not enough for me, with a view to accuse him, that he should have had so much to give, that he should have wished to carry away so many things; and, besides all that, this thing which he admits, namely, that he should have employed the work of his friends in affairs of this sort.

2.4.60 But now do you suppose that brazen couches and brazen candelabra were made at Syracuse for any one but for him the whole of that three years? He bought them, I suppose; but I am informing you so fully, O judges, of what that man did in his province as praetor, that he may not by chance appear to any one to have been careless, and not to have provided and adorned himself sufficiently when he had absolute power.

ch. 27

I come now, not to a theft, not to avarice, not to covetousness, but to an action of that sort that every kind of wickedness seems to be contained in it, and to be in it; by which the immortal gods were insulted, the reputation and authority of the name of the Roman people was impaired, hospitality was betrayed and plundered, all the kings who were most friendly to us, and the nations which are under their rule and dominion, were alienated from us by his wickedness.

2.4.61 For you know that the kings of Syria, the boyish sons of King Antiochus, have lately been at Rome. And they came not on account of the kingdom of Syria; for that they had obtained possession of without dispute, as they had received it from their father and their ancestors; but they thought that the kingdom of Egypt belonged to them and to Selene their mother. When they, being hindered by the critical state of the republic at that time, were not able to obtain the discussion of the subject as they wished before the senate, they departed for Syria, their paternal kingdom. One of them—the one whose name is Antiochus—wished to make his journey through Sicily. And so, while Verres was praetor, he came to Syracuse.

2.4.62 On this Verres thought that an inheritance had come to him, because a man whom he had heard, and on other accounts suspected had many splendid things with him, had come into his kingdom and into his power. He sends him presents—liberal enough—for all domestic uses; as much wine and oil as he thought fit; and as much wheat as he could want, out of his tenths. After that he invites the king himself to supper. He decorates a couch abundantly and magnificently. He sets out the numerous, and beautiful silver vessels, in which he was so rich; for he had not yet made all those golden ones. He takes care that the banquet shall be splendidly appointed and provided in every particular. Why need I make a long story of it? The king departed thinking that Verres was superbly provided with everything, and that he himself had been magnificently treated. After that, he himself invites the praetor to supper. He displays all his treasures; much silver, also not a few goblets of gold, which, as is the custom of kings, and especially in Syria, were studded all over with most splendid jewels. There was also a vessel for wine, a ladle hollowed out of one single large precious stone, with a golden handle, concerning which, I think, you heard Quintus Minutius speak, a sufficiently capable judge, and sufficiently credible witness.

2.4.63 Verres took each separate piece of plate into his hands, praised it—admired it. The king was delighted that that banquet was tolerably pleasant and agreeable to a praetor of the Roman people. After the banquet was over, Verres thought of nothing else, as the facts themselves showed, than how he might plunder and strip the king of everything before he departed from the province. He sends to ask for the most exquisite of the vessels which he had seen at Antiochus's lodgings. He said that he wished to show them to his engravers. The king, who did not know the man, most willingly sent them, without any suspicion of his intention. He sends also to borrow the jeweled ladle. He said that he wished to examine it more attentively; that also is sent to him.

ch. 28


Now, O judges, mark what followed; things which you have already heard, and which the Roman people will not hear now for the first time, and which have been reported abroad among foreign nations to the furthest corners of the earth. The kings, whom I have spoken of, had brought to Rome a candelabrum of the finest jewels, made with most extraordinary skill, in order to place it in the Capitol; but as they found that temple not yet finished, they could not place it there. Nor were they willing to display it and produce it in common, in order that it might seem more splendid when it was placed at its proper time in the shrine of the great and good Jupiter; and brighter; also, as its beauty would come fresh and untarnished before the eyes of men. They determined, therefore, to take it back with them into Syria, with the intention, when they should hear that the image of the great and good Jupiter was dedicated, of sending ambassadors who should bring that exquisite and most beautiful present, with other offerings, to the Capitol.

Cicero, in Verrem (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Ver.].
<<Cic. Ver. 2.4.56 Cic. Ver. 2.4.61 (Latin) >>Cic. Ver. 2.4.67

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