Cicero, in Verrem (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Ver.].
<<Cic. Ver. 2.2.70 Cic. Ver. 2.2.76 (Latin) >>Cic. Ver. 2.2.82

2.2.73 Verres, in a rage, attacks him with pretty violent language, and even began to threaten him severely, for bringing such a charge, and trying to excite such odium against him.

ch. 30

Minucius, who lived as a merchant at Syracuse, in such a way as always to bear in mind his rights and his dignity and who knew that it became him not to increase his property in the province at the expense of any portion of his liberty, gave the man such answer as seemed good to him, and as the occasion and the cause required. He said that he would not speak in defence of his client when the bench of judges was sent away and dismissed. And so he left the bar. And all the other friends and advocates of Sopater, except the Sicilians, did the same.

2.2.74 Verres, though he is a man of incredible effrontery and audacity, yet when he was thus suddenly left alone got frightened and agitated. He did not know what to do, or which way to turn. If he adjourned the investigation at that time, he knew that when those men were present, whom he had got rid of for the time, Sopater would be acquitted; but if he condemned an unfortunate and innocent man, (while he himself, the praetor, was without any colleagues, and the defendant without any counsel or patron,) and rescinded the decision of Caius Sacerdos, he thought that he should not be able to withstand the unpopularity of such an act. So he was quite in a fever with perplexity. He turned himself every way, not only as to his mind, but also as to his body; so that all who were present could plainly see that fear and covetousness were contending together in his heart. There was a great crowd of people present, there was profound silence, and eager expectation which way his covetousness was going to find vent. His attendant Timarchides was constantly stooping down to his ear.

2.2.75 Then at last he said, “Come, state your case.” Sopater began to implore him by the good faith of gods and man, to hear the cause in company with the rest of the bench. He orders the witnesses to be summoned instantly. One or two of them give their evidence briefly. No questions are asked. The crier proclaims that the case is closed. Verres, as if he were afraid that Petilius, having either finished or adjourned the private cause on which he was engaged, might return to the bench with the rest, jumps down in haste from his seat; he condemned an innocent man, one who had been acquitted by Caius Sacerdos, without hearing him in his defence, by the joint sentence of a secretary, a physician, and a soothsayer.

ch. 31


Keep, pray keep that man in the city, O judges. Spare him and preserve him, that you may have a man to assist you in judging causes; to declare his opinion in the senate on questions of war and peace, without any covetous desires. Although, indeed, we and the Roman people have less cause to be anxious as to what his opinion in the senate is likely to be: for what will be his authority? When will he have either the daring or the power to deliver his opinion? When will a man of such luxury and such indolence ever attempt to mount up to the senate-house except in the month of February? [Note] However, let him come; let him vote war against the Cretans, liberty to the Byzantines; let him call Ptolemy king; let him say and think everything which Hortensius wishes him. These things do not so immediately concern us—have not such immediate reference to the risk of our lives, or to the peril of our fortunes.


What really is of vital importance, what is formidable, what is to be dreaded by every virtuous man, is, that if through any influence this man escapes from this trial, he must be among the judges; he must give his decision on the lives of Roman citizens; he must be standard-bearer in the army of that man [Note] who wishes to possess undisputed sway over our courts of justice. This the Roman people refuses; this it will never endure; the whole people raises an outcry, and gives you leave, if you are delighted with these men, if you wish from such a set to add splendour to your order, and an ornament to the senate-house, to have that fellow among you as a senator, to have him even as a judge in your own cases, if you choose; but men who are not of your body, men to whom the admirable Cornelian laws do not give the power of objecting to more than three judges, do not choose that this man, so cruel, so wicked, so infamous should sit as judge in matters in which they are concerned.

ch. 32


In truth, if that is a wicked action, (which appears to me to be of all actions the most base, and the most wicked,) to take money to influence a decision in a court of law, to put up one's good faith and religion to auction; how much love wicked, flagitious, and scandalous is it, to condemn a man from whom you have taken money to acquit him?—so that the praetor does not even act up to the customs of robbers, for there is honour among thieves. It is a sin to take money from a defendant; how much more to take it from an accuser! how much more wicked still to take it from both parties! When you had put up your good faith to auction in the province, he had the most weight with you who gave you the most money.—That was natural: perhaps some time or other some one else may have done something of the same sort. But when you had already disposed of your good faith and of your scruples to the one party, and had received the money, and had afterwards sold the very same articles to his adversary for a still higher price, are you going to cheat both, and to decide as you please? and not even to give back the money to the party whom you have deceived?

Cicero, in Verrem (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Ver.].
<<Cic. Ver. 2.2.70 Cic. Ver. 2.2.76 (Latin) >>Cic. Ver. 2.2.82

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