Against Verres/Second pleading/Book 2
|←Second pleading, book 1||Against Verres by , translated by C. D. Yonge
Second pleading, Book 2
|Second pleading, book 3→|
|Concerning his manner of deciding cases as a judge while in Sicily
Cicero divides his accusation of Verres, on account of his conduct in Sicily, under four heads, of which the first is judicial corruption and extortion. And in this branch of the accusation he does not attend to the chronological order of his offences, but takes the instances according to the different classes under which they seem to fall, and according to their importance.
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1Many things, O judges, must be necessarily passed over by me, in order that I may be able at last to speak in some manner of those matters which have been entrusted to my good faith. For I have undertaken the cause of Sicily; that is the province which has tempted me to this business. But when I took upon myself this burden, and undertook the cause of Sicily, in my mind I embraced a wider range, for I took upon myself also the cause of my whole order—I took upon myself the cause of the Roman people; because I thought that in that case alone could a just decision be come to, if not only a wicked criminal was brought up, but if at the same time a diligent and firm accuser came before the court. ²On which account I must the sooner come to the cause of Sicily omitting all mention of his other thefts and iniquities, in order that I may be able to handle it while my strength is yet unimpaired, and that I may have time enough to dilate fully on the business. And before I begin to speak of the distresses of Sicily, it seems to me that I ought to say a little of the dignity and antiquity of that province, and of the advantage which it is to us. For as you ought to have a careful regard for all the allies and provinces, so especially ought you to have a regard for Sicily, O judges, for many, and those the greatest, reasons:—First, because of all foreign nations Sicily was the first who joined herself to the friendship and alliance of the Roman people. She was the first to be called a province; and the provinces are a great ornament to the empire. She was the first who taught our ancestors how glorious a thing it was to rule over foreign nations. She alone has displayed such good faith and such good will towards the Roman people, that the states of that island which have once come into our alliance have never revolted afterwards, but many of them, and those the most illustrious of them, have remained firm to our friendship for ever. ³Therefore our ancestors made their first strides to dominion over Africa from this province. Nor would the mighty power of Carthage so soon have fallen, if Sicily had not been open to us, both as a granary to supply us with corn, and as a harbour for our fleets.
Wherefore, Publius Africanus, when he had destroyed Carthage, adorned the cities of the Sicilians with most beautiful statues and monuments, in order to place the greatest number of monuments of his victory among those whom he thought were especially delighted at the victory of the Roman people. 4Afterwards that illustrious man, Marcus Marcellus himself, whose valour in Sicily was felt by his enemies, his mercy by the conquered, and his good faith by all the Sicilians, not only provided in that war for the advantage of his allies, but spared even his conquered enemies. When by valour and skill he had taken Syracuse, that most beautiful city, which was not only strongly fortified by art, but was protected also by its natural advantages—by the character of the ground about it, and by the sea—he not only allowed it to remain without any diminution of its strength, but he left it so highly adorned, as to be at the same time a monument of his victory, of his clemency, and of his moderation; when men saw both what he had subdued, and whom he had spared, and what he had left behind him. He thought that Sicily was entitled to have so much honour paid to her, that he did not think that he ought to destroy even an enemy's city in an island of such allies. 5And therefore we have always so esteemed the island of Sicily for every purpose, as to think that whatever she could produce was not so much raised among the Sicilians as stored up in our own homes. When did she not deliver the corn which she was bound to deliver, by the proper day? When did she fail to promise us, of her own accord, whatever she thought we stood in need of? When did she ever refuse anything which was exacted of her? Therefore that illustrious Marcus Cato the wise called Sicily a storehouse of provisions for our republic—the nurse of the Roman people. But we experienced, in that long and difficult Italian war which we encountered, that Sicily was not only a storehouse of provisions to us, but was also an old and well-filled treasury left us by our ancestors; for, supplying us with hides, with tunics, and with corn, it clothed, armed, and fed our most numerous armies, without any expense at all to us.
6What more need I say? How great are these services, O judges, which perhaps we are hardly aware we are receiving,—that we have many wealthy citizens, that they have a province with which they are connected, faithful and productive to which they may easily make excursions, where they may be welcome to engage in traffic; citizens, some of whom she dismisses with gain and profit by supplying them with merchandise, some she retains, as they take a fancy to turn farmers, or graziers, or traders in her land, or even to pitch in it their habitations and their homes. And this is no trifling advantage to the Roman people, that so vast a number of Roman citizens should be detained so near home by such a respectable and profitable business. 7And since our tributary nations and our provinces are, as it were, farms belonging to the Roman people; just as one is most pleased with those farms which are nearest to one, so too the suburban character of this province is very acceptable to the Roman people. And as to the inhabitants themselves, O judges, such is their patience their virtue, and their frugality, that they appear to come very nearly up to the old-fashioned manners of our country, and not to those which now prevail. There is nothing then like the rest of the Greeks; no sloth, no luxury; on the contrary there is the greatest diligence in all public and private affairs, the greatest economy, and the greatest vigilance. Moreover, they are so fond of our nation that they are the only people where neither a publican nor a money-changer is unpopular. 8And they have born the injuries of many of our magistrates with such a disposition, that they have never till this time fled by any public resolution to the altar of our laws and to your protection; although they endured the misery of that year which so prostrated them that they could not have been preserved through it, if Caius Marcellus had not come among them, by some special providence, as it were, in order that the safety of Sicily might be twice secured by the same family. Afterwards, too, they experienced that terrible government of Marcus Antonius. For they had had these principles handed down to them from their ancestors, that the kindnesses of the Roman people to the Sicilians had been so great, that they ought to think even the injustice of some of our men endurable. 9The states have never before this man's time given any public evidence against any one. And they would have borne even this man himself, if he had sinned against them like a man, in any ordinary manner; or in short, in any one single kind of tyranny. But as they were unable to endure luxury, cruelty, avarice, and pride, when they had lost by the wickedness and lust of one man all their own advantages, all their own rights, and all fruits of the kindness of the senate and the Roman people, they determined either to avenge themselves for the injuries they had suffered from that man by your instrumentality or if they seemed to you unworthy of receiving aid and assistance at your hands, then to leave their cities and their homes, since they had already left their fields, having been driven out of them by his injuries.
10With this design all the deputations begged of Lucius Metellus that he would come as his successor as early as possible; with these feelings, they so often bewailed their miseries to their patrons; agitated by this indignation, they addressed the consuls with demands, which seemed to be not demands, but charges against that tyrant. They contrived also, by their indignation and their tears, to draw me, whose good faith and moderation they had experienced, almost from the employment of my life, in order to become his accuser; an action with which both the settled plan of my life and my inclination are utterly inconsistent (although in this business I appear to have undertaken a cause which has more parts of defence than of accusation in it). 11Lastly, the most noble men and the chief men of the whole province have come forward both publicly and privately; every city of the greatest authority—every city of the highest reputation—have come forward with the greatest earnestness to prosecute its oppressor for its injuries.
But how, O judges, have they come? It seems to me that I ought to speak before you now on behalf of the Sicilians with more freedom than perhaps they themselves wish. For I shall consult their safety rather than their inclination. Do you think that there was ever any criminal in any province defended in his absence against the inquiry into his conduct urged by his accuser, with such influence, and with such zeal? The quaestors of both provinces, who were so while he was praetor, stood close to me with their forces. 12Those also who succeeded them, very zealous for his interests, liberally fed from his stores, were no less vehement against me. See how great was his influence who had four quaestors in one province, most zealous defenders and bulwarks of his cause; and the praetor and all his train so zealous in his interest, that it was quite plain, that it was not Sicily, which they had come upon when stripped bare, so much as Verres himself, who had left it loaded, which they looked upon as their province. They began to threaten the Sicilians, if they decreed any deputations to make statements against him; to threaten any one who had gone on any such deputation, to make most liberal promises to others, if they spoke well of him; to detain by force and under guard the most damaging witnesses of his private transactions, whom we had summoned by word of mouth to give evidence.
13And though all this was done, yet know ye, that there was but one single city, that, namely, of the Mamertines, which by public resolution sent ambassadors to speak in his favour. But you heard the chief man of that embassy, the most noble man of that state, Caius Eleius, speak on his oath, and say, that Verres had had a transport of the largest size built at Messana, the work being contracted for at the expense of the city. And that same ambassador of the Mamertines, his panegyrist, said that he had not only robbed him of his private property, but had also carried away his sacred vessels, and the images of the Di Penates, which he had received from his ancestors, out of his house. A noble panegyric; when the one business of the ambassadors is discharged by two operations, praising the man and demanding back what has been stolen by him. And on what account that very city is friendly to him, shall be told in its proper place. For you will find that those very things which are the causes of the Mamertines bearing him good-will, are themselves sufficiently just causes for his condemnation. No other city, O judges, praises him by public resolution. 14The power of supreme authority has had so much influence with a very few men, not in the cities, that either some most insignificant people of the most miserable and deserted towns were found who would go to Rome without the command of their people or their senate, or on the other hand, those who had been voted as ambassadors against him, and who had received the public evidence to deliver, and the public commission, were detained by force or by fear. And I am not vexed at this having happened in a few instances, in order that the rest of the cities, so numerous, so powerful, and so wise,—that all Sicily, in short, should have all the more influence with you when you see that they could be restrained by no force, could be hindered by no danger, from making experiment whether the complaints of your oldest and most faithful allies had any weight with you. 15For as to what some of you may, perhaps, have heard, that he had a public encomium passed upon him by the Syracusans, although in the former pleading you learnt from the evidence of Heraclius the Syracusan what sort of encomium it was, still it shall be proved to you in another place how the whole matter really stands as far as that city is concerned For you shall see clearly that no man has ever been so hated by any people as that man both is and has been by the Syracusans.
But perhaps it is only the native Sicilians who are persecuting him: the Roman citizens who are trading in Sicily defend him, love him, desire his safety. First of all, if that were the case, still in this trial for extortion, which has been established for the sake of the allies, according to that law and forms of proceeding which the allies are entitled to, you ought to listen to the complaints of the allies. 16But you were able to see clearly in the former pleading, that many Roman citizens from Sicily, most honourable men, gave evidence about most important transactions, both as to injuries which they had received themselves, and injuries which they knew had been inflicted on others. I, O judges, affirm in this way what I know. I seem to myself to have done an action acceptable to the Sicilians in seeking to avenge their injuries with my own labour, at my own peril, and at the risk of incurring enmity in some quarters; and I am sure that this which I am doing is not less acceptable to our own citizens, who think that the safety of their rights, of their liberty, of their properties and fortunes, consists in tho condemnation of that man. 17On which account, while speaking of his Sicilian praetorship, I will not object to your listening to me on this condition, that if he has been approved of by any description of men whatever; whether of Sicilians or of our own citizens; if he has been approved of by any class of men, whether agriculturists, or graziers, or merchants; if he has not been the common enemy and plunderer of all these men,—if, in short, he has ever spared any man in any thing, then you, too, shall spare him.
Now, as soon as Sicily fell to him by lot as his province, immediately at Rome, while he was yet in the city, before he departed, he began to consider within himself and to deliberate with his friends, by what means he might make the greatest sum of money in that province in one year. He did not like to learn while he was acting, (though he was not entirely ignorant and inexperienced in the oppression of a province,) but he wished to arrive in Sicily with all his plans for plunder carefully thought of and prepared. 18Oh how correct was the augury diffused by common report and common conversation among the people in that province! when from his very name men augured in a jesting way what he would do in the province. Indeed, who could doubt, when they recollected his flight and robbery in his quaestorship—when they considered his spoliation of temples and shrines in his lieutenancy—when they saw in the forum the plunder of his praetorship—what sort of man he was likely to prove in the fourth act of his villainy?
And that you may be aware that he inquired at Rome not only into the different kinds of robbery which he might be able to execute, but into the very names of his victims, listen to this most certain proof, by which you will be able more easily to form an opinion of his unexampled impudence. 19The very day on which he reached Sicily, (see now whether he was not come, according to that omen bruited about the city,) prepared to sweep the province pretty clean, he immediately sends letters from Messana to Halesa, which I suppose he had written in Italy. For, as soon as he disembarked from the ship, he gave orders that Dio of Halesa should come to him instantly; saying that he wished to make inquiry about an inheritance which had come to his son from a relation, Apollodorus Laphiro. 20It was, O judges, a very large sum of money. This Dio, O judges, is now, by the kindness of Quintus Metellus, become a Roman citizen; and in his case it was proved to your satisfaction at the former pleading, by the evidence of many men of the highest consideration, and by the account-books of many men, that a million of sesterces had been paid in order that, after Verres had inquired into the cause, in which there could no possible doubt exist, he might have a decision in his favour;—that, besides that all herds of the highest-bred mares were driven away, that all the plate and embroidered robes which he had in his home were carried off; so that Quintus Dio lost eleven hundred thousand sesterces because an inheritance had come to him, and for no other reason. 21What are we to say? Who was praetor when this inheritance came to the son of Dio? The same man who was so when hers came to Annia the daughter of Publius Annius the senator,—the same who was so when his was left to Marcus Ligur the senator, namely Caius Sacerdos. What are we to say? Had no one been troublesome to Dio on the subject at the time?, No more than they had to Ligur, while Sacerdos was praetor. What then? :Did any one make any complaint to Verres? Nobody, unless perhaps you suppose that the informers were ready for him at the strait.
When he was still at Rome, he heard that a very great inheritance had come to a certain Sicilian named Dio; that the heir had been enjoined by the terms of the will to erect statues in the forum; that, unless he erected them, he was to be liable to forfeiture to Venus Erycina. Although they had been erected in compliance with the will, still he; Verres, thought, since the name of Venus was mentioned, that he could find some pretext for making money of it. 22Therefore he sets up a man to claim that inheritance for Venus Erycina. For it was not (as would have been usual) the quaestor in whose province Mount Eryx was, who made the demand. A fellow of the name of Naevius Turpo is the claimant, a spy and emissary of Verres, the most infamous of all that band of informers of his, who had been condemned in the praetorship of Caius Sacerdos for many wickednesses. For the cause was such that the very praetor himself when he was seeking for an accuser, could not find one a little more respectable than this fellow. Verres acquits his man of any forfeiture to Venus, but condemns him to pay forfeit to himself. He preferred, forsooth, to have men do wrong rather than gods;—he preferred himself to extort from Dio what was contrary to law, rather than to let Venus take anything that was not due to her. 23Why need I now in this place recite the evidence of Sextus Pompeius Chlorus, who pleaded Dio's cause? who was concerned in the whole business? A most honourable man, and, although he has long ago been made a Roman citizen in reward for his virtues, still the very chief man and the most noble of all the Sicilians. Why need I recite the evidence of Quintus Caecilius Dio himself, a most admirable and moderate man? Why need I recite that of Lucius Vetecilius Ligur, of Titus Manlius, of Lucius Calenus? by the evidence of all of whom this case about Dio's money was fully established. Marcus Lucullus said the same thing that he had long ago known all the facts of the tyranny practised on Dio, through the connection of hospitality which existed between them. 24What? Did Lucullus, who was at that time in Macedonia, know all these things better than you, O Hortensius, who were at Rome? you to whom Dio fled for aid? you who expostulated with Verres by letter in very severe terms about the injuries done to Dio? Is an this new to you now, and unexpected? is this the first time your ears have heard of this crime?, Did you hear nothing of it from Dio, nothing from your own mother-in-law, that most admirable woman, Servilia, an ancient friend and connection of Dio's? Are not my witnesses ignorant of many circumstances which you are acquainted with? Is it not owing, not to the innocence of your client, but to the exception made by the law, that I am prevented from summoning you as a witness on my side on this charge? [The evidence of Marcus Lucullus, of Chlorus, of Dio is read.]
Does not this Venereal man, who went forth from the bosom of Chelidon to his province, appear to you to have got a sufficiently large sum by means of the name of Verres? 25Listen now to a no less shamelessly false accusation in a case where a smaller sum was involved. Sosippus and Epicrates were brothers of the town of Agyrium; their father died twenty-two years ago, by whose will, if anything were done wrongly in any point, there was to be a forfeiture of his property to Venus. In the twentieth year after his death, though there had been in the interim so many praetors, so many quaestors, and so many false accusers in the province, the inheritance was claimed from the brothers in the name of Venus. Verres takes cognisance of the cause; by the agency of Volcatius he receives money from the two brothers, about four hundred thousand sesterces. You have heard the evidence of many people already; the brothers of Agyrium gained their cause, but on such terms that they left the court stripped and beggared.
26Oh, but that money never came to Verres. What does that defence mean? is that asserted in this case, or only put out as a feeler? For to me it is quite a new light. Verres set up the accusers; Verres summoned the brother to appear before him; Verres heard the cause; Verres gave sentence. A vast sum was paid; they who paid it gained the cause; and you argue in defence “that money was not paid to Verres.” I can help you; my witnesses too say the same thing; they say they paid it to Volcatius. How did Volcatius acquire so much power as to get four hundred thousand sesterces from two men? Would any one have given Volcatius, if he had come on his own account, one half-farthing? Let him come now, let him try; no one will receive him in his house. But I say more; I accuse you of having received forty millions of sesterces contrary to law; and I deny that you have ever accounted for one farthing of that money; but when money was paid for your decrees, for your orders, for your decisions, the point to be inquired into was not into whose hand it was paid, but by whose oppression it was extorted. 27Those chosen companions of yours were your hands; the prefects, the secretaries, the surgeons, the attendants the soothsayers, the criers, were your hands. The more each individual was connected with you by any relationship, or affinity, or intimacy, the more he was considered one of your bands. The whole of that retinue of yours, which caused more evil to Sicily than a hundred troops of fugitive slaves would have caused, was beyond all question your hand. Whatever was taken by any one of these men, that must be considered not only as having been given to you, but as having been paid into your own hand. For if you, O judges, admit this defence, “He did not receive it himself,” you will put an end to all judicial proceedings for extortion. For no criminal will be brought before you so guilty as not to be able to avail himself of that plea? Indeed, since Verres uses it, what criminal will ever henceforward be found so abandoned as not to be thought equal to Quintus Lucius in innocence by comparison with that man? And even now those who say this do not appear to me to be defending Verres so much as trying, in the instance of Verres, what license of defence will be admitted in other cases. 28And with reference to this matter, you, O judges, ought to take great care what you do. It concerns the chief interests of the republic, and the reputation of our order, and the safety of the allies. For if we wish to be thought innocent, we must not only show that we ourselves are moderate, but that our companions are so too.
First of all, we must take care to take those men with us who with regard our credit and our safety. Secondly, if in the selection of men our hopes have deceived us through friendship for the persons, we must take care to punish them, to dismiss them. We must always live as if we expected to have to give an account of what we have been doing. This is what was said by Africanus, a most kind-hearted man, (but that kind-heartedness alone is really admirable which is exercised without any risk to a man's reputation, as it was by him,) 29when an old follower of his, who reckoned himself one of his friends, could not prevail on him to take him with him into Africa as his prefect, and was much annoyed at it. “Do not marvel,” said he, “that you do not obtain this from me, for I have been a long time begging a man to whom I believe my reputation to be dear, to go with me as my prefect, and as yet I cannot prevail upon him.” And in truth there is much more reason to beg men to go with us as our officers into a province, if we wish to preserve our safety and our honour, than to give men office as a favour to them; but as for you, when you were inviting your friends into the province, as to a place for plunder, and were robbing in company with them, and by means of them, and were presenting them in the public assembly with golden rings, did it never occur to you that you should have to give an account, not only of yourself, but of their actions also? 30When he had acquired for himself these great and abundant gains from these causes which he had determined to examine into himself with his council—that is, with this retinue of his—then he invented an infinite number of expedients for getting bold of a countless amount of money.
No one doubts that all the wealth of every man is placed in the power of those men who allow trials to proceed, and of those who sit as judges at the trials, no one doubts that none of us can retain possession of his house, of his farm, or of his paternal property, if, when these are claimed by any one of you, a rascally praetor, whose judgments no one has the power of arresting, can assign any judge whom he chooses, and if the worthless and corrupt judge gives any sentence which the praetor bids him give. 31But if this also be added, that the praetor assigns the trial to take place according to such a formula, that even Lucius Octavius Balbus, if he were judge, (a man of the greatest experience in all that belongs to the law and to the duties of a judge,) could not decide otherwise: suppose it ran in this way:—“Let Lucius Octavius be the judge; if it appears that the farm at Capena, which is in dispute, belongs, according to the law of the Roman people, to Publius Servilius, that farm must be restored to Quintus Catulus,” will not Lucius Octavius be bound, as judge, to compel Publius Servilius to restore the farm to Quintus Catulus, or to condemn him whom he ought not to condemn? The whole praetorian law was like that; the whole course of judicial proceedings in Sicily was like that for three years, while Verres was praetor. His decrees were like this:—“If he does not accept what you say that you owe, accuse him; if he claims anything, take him to prison.”
He ordered Caius Fuficius, who claimed something, to be taken to prison; so he did Lucius Suetius and Lucius Rucilius. His tribunals he formed in this way:—those who were Roman citizens were to be judges, when Sicilians ought to have been, according to their laws, those who were Sicilians were to be judges, when Romans should have been. 32But that you may understand his whole system of judicial proceedings, listen first to the laws of the Sicilians in such uses, and then to the practices this man established.
The Sicilians have this law,—that if a citizen of any town has a dispute with a fellow-citizen, he is to decide it in his own town, according to the laws there existing; if a Sicilian has a dispute with a Sicilian of a different city, in that case the praetor is to assign judges of that dispute, according to the law of Publius Rupilius, which be enacted by the advice of ten commissioners appointed to consider the subject, and which the Sicilians call the Rupilian law. If an individual makes a claim in a community, or a community on an individual, the senate of some third city is assigned to furnish the judges, as the citizens of the cities interested in the litigation are rejected as judges in such a case. If a Roman citizen makes a claim on a Sicilian, a Sicilian judge is assigned; if a Sicilian makes a claim on a Roman citizen, a Roman citizen is assigned as judge: in all other matters judges are appointed selected from the body of Roman citizens dwelling in the place. In law-suits between the farmers and the tax collectors, trials are regulated by the law about corn, which they call Lex Hieronica. 33All these rights were not only thrown into disorder while that man was praetor, but indeed were openly taken away from both the Sicilians and from the Roman citizens. First of all, their own laws with reference to one another were disregarded. If a citizen had a dispute with another citizen, he either assigned any one as judge whom it was convenient to himself to assign, crier, soothsayer, or his own physician; or if a tribunal was established by the laws, and the parties had come before one of their fellow-citizens as the judge, that citizen was not allowed to decide without control. For, listen to the edict issued by this man, by which edict he brought every tribunal under his own authority: “If any one had given a wrong decision, he would examine into the matter himself; when he had examined, he would punish.” And when he did that, no one doubted that when the judge thought that some one else was doing to sit in judgment on his decision, and that he should be at the risk of his life in the matter, he would consider the inclination of the man who he expected would presently be judging in a matter affecting his down existence as a citizen. 34Judges selected from the Roman settlers there were none; none even of the traders in the cities were proposed as judges. The crowd of judges which I am speaking of was the retinue, not of Quintus Scaevola, (who, however, did not make practice of appointing judges from among his own followers,) but of Caius Verres. And what sort of a retinue do you suppose it was when such a man as he was its chief? You see announced in the edict, “If the senate gives an erroneous decision....” I will prove that, if at any time a bench of judges was taken from the senate, that also gave its decisions, through compulsion, on his part, contrary to their own opinions. There never was any selection of the judges by lot, according to the Rupilian law, except when he had no interest whatever in the case. The tribunals established in the case of many disputes by the Lex Hieronica were all abolished by a single edict; no judges were appointed selected from the settlers or from the traders. What great power he had you see; now learn how he exercised it.
35Heraclius is the son of Hiero, a Syracusan; a man among the very first for nobility of family, and, before Verres came as praetor, one of the most wealthy of the Syracusans; now a very poor man, owing to no other calamity but the avarice and injustice of that man. An inheritance of at least three millions of sesterces came to him by the will of his relation Heraclius; the house was full of silver plate exquisitely carved, of abundance of embroidered robes, and of most valuable slaves; things in which who is ignorant of the insane cupidity of that man? The fact was a subject of common conversation, that a great fortune had come to Heraclius that Heraclius would not only be rich, but that he would be amply supplied with furniture, plate, robes and slaves. 36Verres, too, hears this; and at first he tries by the tricks and maneuvers which he is so fond of, to get him to lend things to him to look at, which he means never to return. Afterwards he takes counsel from some Syracusans; and they were relations of his, whose wives too were not believed to be entirely strangers to him, by name Cleomenes and Aeschrio. What influence they had with him, and on what disgraceful reasons it was founded, you may understand from the rest of the accusation. These men, as I say, give Verres advice. They tell him that the property is a fine one, which in every sort of wealth; and that Heraclius himself is a man advancing in years, and not very active; and that he has no patron on whom he has any claim, or to whom he has any access except the Marcelli; that a condition was contained in the will in which he was mentioned as heir, that he was to erect some statues in the palaestra. We will contrive to produce people from the palaestra to assert that they have not been erected according to the terms of the will, and to claim the inheritance, because they say that it is forfeited to the palaestra. The idea pleased Verres. 37For he foresaw that, when such an inheritance became disputed, and was claimed by process of law, it was quite impossible for him not to get some plunder out of it before it was done with. He approves of the plan; he advises them to begin to act as speedily as possible, and to attack a man of that age, and disinclined to law-suits, with as much bluster as possible.
An action is brought in due form against Heraclius. At first all marvel at the roguery of the accusation. After a little, of those who knew Verres, some suspected, and some clearly saw that he had cast his eyes on the inheritance. In the mean time the day had arrived, on which he had announced in his edict that, according to established usage, and to the Rupilian law, he would assign judges at Syracuse. He had come prepared to assign judges in this cause. Then Heraclius points out to him that he cannot assign judges in his cause that day, because the Rupilian law said that they were not to be assigned till thirty days after the action was commenced. The thirty days had not yet elapsed; Heraclius hoped that, if he could avoid having them appointed that day, Quintus Arrius, whom the province was eagerly expecting, would arrive as successor to Verres before another appointment could take place. 38He postponed appointing judges in all suits, and fixed the first day for appointing them that he legally could after the thirty days claimed by Heraclius in his action had elapsed. When the day arrived, he began to pretend that he was desirous to appoint the judges. Heraclius comes with his advocates, and claims to be allowed to have the cause between him and the men of the palaestra, that is to say, with the Syracusan people, tried by strict law. His adversaries demand that judges be appointed to decide on that matter of those cities which were in the habit of frequenting the Syracusan courts. Judges were appointed, whomsoever Verres chose. Heraclius demanded, on the other hand, that judges should be appointed according to the provisions of the Rupilian law; and that no departure should be made from the established usage of their ancestors, from the authority of the senate, and from the rights of all the Sicilians.
39Why need I demonstrate the licentious wickedness of that Verres, in the administration of justice? Who of you is not aware of it, from his administration in this city? Who ever, while he was praetor, could obtain anything by law against the will of Chelidon? The province did not corrupt that man, as it has corrupted some; he was the same man that he had been at Rome. When Heraclius said, what all men well knew, that there was an established form of law among the Sicilians by which causes between them were to be tried; that there was the Rupilian law, which Publius Rupilius, the consul, had enacted, with the advice of ten chosen commissioners; that every praetor and consul in Sicily had always observed this law. He said that he should not appoint judges according to the provisions of the Rupilian law. He appointed five judges who were most agreeable to himself. 40What can you do with such a man as this? What punishment can you find worthy of such licentiousness? Then it was prescribed to you by law, O most wicked and most shameless man, in what way you were to appoint judges among the Sicilians; when the authority of a general of the Roman people, when the dignity of ten commissioners, men of the highest rank, when a positive resolution of the senate was against you, in obedience to which resolution Publius Rupilius had established laws in Sicily by the advice of ten commissioners; when, before you came as praetor every one had most strictly observed the Rupilian laws in all points, and especially in judicial matters; did you dare to consider so many solemn circumstances as nothing in comparison with your own plunder? Did you acknowledge no law? Had you no scruple? no regard for your reputation? no fear of any judgment yourself? Has the authority of no one of any weight with you? Was there no example which you chose to follow? 41But, I was going to say, when these five judges had been appointed, by no law, according to no use, with none of the proper ceremonies, with no drawing of lots, according to his mere will, not to examine into the cause, but to give whatever decision they were commanded, on that day nothing more was done; the parties are ordered to appear on the day following.
In the meantime Heraclius, as he sees that it is all a plot laid by the praetor against his fortune, resolves, by the advice of his friends and relations, not to appear before the court. Accordingly he flies from Syracuse that night. Verres the next day, early in the morning,—for he had got up much earlier than he ever did before,—orders the judges to be summoned. When he finds that Heraclius does not appear, he begins to insist on their condemning Heraclius in his absence. They expostulate with him, and beg him, if he pleases, to adhere to the rule he had himself laid down, and not to compel them to decide against the absent party in favour of the party who was present, before the tenth hour. He agrees. 42In the meantime both Verres himself began to be uneasy, and his friends and counselors began also to be a good deal vexed at Heraclius' having fled. They thought that the condemnation of an absent man, especially in a matter involving so large a sum of money, would be a far more odious measure than if he had appeared in court, and had there been condemned. To this consideration was added the fact, that because the judges had not been appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Rupilian law, they saw that the affair would appear much more base and more iniquitous. And so, while he endeavours to correct this error, his covetousness and dishonesty are made more evident. For he declares that he will not use those five judges; he orders (as ought to have been done at first, according to the Rupilian law) Heraclius to be summoned, and those who had brought the action against him; he says that he is going to appoint the judges by lot, according to the Rupilian law. That which Heraclius the day before could not obtain from him, though he begged and entreated it of him with many tears, occurred to him the next day of his own accord, and he recollected that he ought to appoint judges according to the Rupilian law. He draws the names of three out of the urn: he commands them to condemn Heraclius in his absence. So they condemn him. 43What was the meaning of that madness? Did you think that you would never have to give an account of your actions? Did you think that such men as these would never hear of these transactions? Is such an inheritance to be claimed without the slightest grounds for such a claim, in order to become the plunder of the praetor? is the name of the city to be introduced? is the base character of a false accuser to be fixed upon an honourable state? And not this only, but is the whole business to be conducted in such a matter that there is to be not even the least appearance of justice kept up? For, in the name of the immortal gods, what difference does it make whether the praetor commands and by force compels any one to abandon all his property, or passed a sentence by which, without any trial, he must lose all his fortune?
44In truth you cannot deny that you ought to have appointed judges according to the provisions of the Rupilian law, especially when Heraclius demanded it. If you say that you departed from the law with the consent of Heraclius, you will entangle yourself, you will be hampered by the statement you make in your own defence. For if that was the case, why, in the first place, did he refuse to appear, when he might have had the judges chosen from the proper body which he demanded? Secondly, why, after his flight, did you appoint other judges by drawing lots, if you had appointed those who had been before appointed, with the consent of each party? Thirdly, Marcus Postumius, the quaestor, appointed as the other judges in the market-place; you appointed the judges in this case alone. 45However, by these means, some one will say, he gave that inheritance to the Syracusan people. In the first place, even if I were disposed to grant that, still you must condemn him; for it is not permitted to us with impunity to rob one man for the purpose of giving to another. But you will find that he despoiled that inheritance himself without making much secret of his proceedings; that the Syracusan people, indeed, had a great deal of the odium, a great deal of the infamy, but that another had the profit; that a few Syracusans, those who now say that they have come in obedience to the public command of their city, to bear testimony in his favour, were then sharers in the plunder, and are come hither now, not for the purpose of speaking in his favour, but to assist in the valuation of the damages which they claim from him. After he was condemned in his absence, possession is given to the palaestra of the Syracusans,—that is, to the Syracusan people,—not only of that inheritance which was in question, and which was of the value of three millions of sesterces, but also of all Heraclius's own paternal property, which was of equal amount. 46What sort of a partnership in that of yours? You take away a man's inheritance, which had come to him from a relation, had come by will, had come in accordance with the laws; all which property, he, who made the will, had made over to this Heraclius to have and to use as he would, some time before he died,—of which inheritance, as he had died some time before you became praetor, there had been no dispute, nor had any one made any mention of it.
However, be it so; take away inheritances from relations, give them to people at the palaestra; plunder other people's property in the name of the state; overturn laws, wills, the wishes of the dead, the rights of the living: had you any right to deprive Heraclius of his paternal property also? And yet as soon as he fled, how shamelessly, how undisguisedly, how cruelly, O ye immortal gods, was his property seized! How disastrous did that business seem to Heraclius, how profitable to Verres, how disgraceful to the Syracusans, how miserable to everybody! For the first measures which are taken are to carry whatever chased plate there was among that property to Verres: as for all Corinthian vessels, all embroidered robes, no one doubted that they would be taken and seized, and carried inevitably to his house, not only out of that house, but out of every house in the whole province. He took away whatever slaves he pleased, others he distributed to his friends: an auction was held, in which his invincible train was supreme everywhere. 47But this is remarkable. The Syracusans who presided over what was called the collection of this property of Heraclius, but what was in reality the division of it, gave in to the senate their accounts of the whole business; they said that many pairs of goblets many silver water-ewers, much valuable embroidered cloth, and many valuable slaves, had been presented to Verres; they stated how much money had been given to each person by his order. The Syracusans groaned, but still they bore it. Suddenly this item is read,—that two hundred and fifty thousand sesterces were given to one person by command of the praetor. A great outcry arises from every one, not only from every virtuous man, nor from those to whom it had always seemed scandalous that the goods of a private individual should be taken from him, by the greatest injustice, under the name of being claimed by the people, but even the very chief instigators of the wrong; and in some degree the partner in the rapine and plunder, began to cry out that the man ought to have his inheritance for himself. So great an uproar arise in the senate-house, that the people ran to see what had happened.
48The matter being known to the whole assembly, is soon reported at Verres's house. The man was in a rage with those who had read out the accounts,—an enemy to all who had raised the outcry; he was in fury with rage and passion. But he was at that moment unlike himself. You know the appearance of the man, you know his audacity; yet at that moment he was much disquieted by the reports circulated among the people, by their outcry, and by the impossibility of concealing the robbery of so large a sum of money. When he came to himself, he summoned the Syracusans to him, because he could not deny that money had been given him by them; he did not go to a distance to look for some one, (in which case he would not have been able to prove it,) but he took one of his nearest relations, a sort of second son, and accused him of having stolen the money. He declared that he would make him refund it; and he, after he heard that, had a proper regard for his dignity, for his age, and for his noble birth. He addressed the senate on the subject; he declared to them that he had nothing to do with the business Of Verres he said what all saw to be true, and he said it plainly enough. Therefore, the Syracusans afterwards erected him a statue; and he himself, as soon as he could, left Verres, and departed from the province. 49And yet they say that this man complains sometimes of his misery in being weighed down, not by his own offences and crimes, but by those of his friends. You had the province for three years; your son-in-law elect, a young man, was with you one year. Your companions, gallant men, who were your lieutenants, left you the first year. One lieutenant, Publius Tadius, who remained, was not much with you; but if he had been always with you, he would with the greatest care have spared your reputation, and still more would he have spared his own. What presence have you for accusing others? What reason have you for thinking that you can, I will not say, shift the blame of your actions on another, but that you can divide it with another? 50That two hundred and fifty thousand sesterces are refunded to the Syracusans, and how they afterwards returned to him by the backdoor, I will make evident to you, O judges, by documents and by witnesses.
And akin to this iniquity and rascality of that fellow, by which plunder, consisting of a part of that property, came to many of the Syracusans against the will of the people and senate of Syracuse, are those crimes which were committed by the instrumentality of Theomnastus, and Aeschrio, and Dionysodorus, and Cleomenes, utterly against the wish of the city; first of all in plundering the whole city, of which matter I have arranged to speak in another part of my accusation, so that, by the assistance of those men whom I have named, he carried off all the statues, all the works in ivory out of the sacred temples, all the paintings from every place, and even whatever images of the gods he fancied; secondly, that in the senate-house of the Syracusans, which they call bouleutêrion, a most honourable place, and of the highest reputation in the eyes of the citizens, where there is a brazen statue of Marcus Marcellus himself, (who preserved and restored that place to the Syracusans, though by the laws of war and victory he might have taken it away,) those men erected a gilt statue to him and another to his son; in order that, as long as the recollection of that man remained, the Syracusan senate might never be in the senate-house without lamentation and groaning. 51By means of the same partners in his injuries, and thefts, and bribes, during his command the festival of Marcellus at Syracuse is abolished, to the great grief of the city;—a festival which they both gladly paid as due to the recent services done them by Caius Marcellus, and also most gladly gave to the family and name and race of the Marcelli. Mithridates in Asia, when he had occupied the whole of that province, did not abolish the festival of Mucius. An enemy, and he too an enemy in other respects, only too savage and barbarous, still would not violate the honour of a name which had been consecrated by holy ceremonies. You forbade the Syracusans to grant one day of festival to the Marcelli, to whom they owed the being able to celebrate other days of festival. 52Oh, but you gave them a splendid day instead of it; you allowed them to celebrate a festival in honour of Verres, and issued contracts for providing all that would be necessary for sacrifices and banquets on that day for many years. But in such an enormous superfluity of impudence as that man's, it seems better to pass over some things, that we may not appear to strain every point,—that we may not appear to have no feelings but those of indignation. For time, voice, lungs, would fail me, if I wished now to cry out how miserable and scandalous it is, that there should be a festive day in his name among those people, who think themselves utterly ruined by that man's conduct. O splendid Verrine festival! whither have you gone that you have not brought the people cause to remember that day? In truth, what house, what city, what temple even have you ever approached without leaving it emptied and ruined. Let the festival, then, be fitly called Verrine, and appear to be established, not from recollection of your name, but of your covetousness and your natural disposition.
53See, O judges, how easily injustice, and the habit of doing wrong creeps on; see how difficult it is to check. There is a town called Bidis, an insignificant one indeed, not far from Syracuse. By far the first man of that city is a man of the name of Epicrates. An inheritance of five hundred thousand sesterces had come to him from some woman who was a relation of his, and so near a relation, that even if she had died intestate, Epicrates must have been her heir according to the laws of Bidis. The transaction at Syracuse which I have just mentioned was fresh in men's memories,—the affair I mean of Heraclius the Syracusan, who would not have lost his property if an inheritance had not come to him. To this Epicrates too an inheritance had come, as I have said. 54His enemies began to consider that he too might be easily turned out of his property by the same praetor as Heraclius had been stripped of his by; they plan the affair secretly; they suggest it to Verres by his emissaries. The cause is arranged, so that the people belonging to the palaestra at Bidis are to claim his inheritance from Epicrates, just as the men of the Syracusan palaestra had claimed his from Heraclius. You never saw a praetor so devoted to the interests of the palaestra. But he defended the men of the palaestra in such a way that he himself came off with his wheels all the better greased. In this instance Verres, as soon as he foresaw what would happen, ordered eighty thousand sesterces to be paid to one of his friends. 55The matter could not be kept entirely secret. Epicrates is informed of it by one of those who were concerned in it. At first he began to disregard and despise it, because the claim made against him had actually nothing in it about which a doubt could be raised. Afterwards when he thought of Heraclius, and recollected the licentiousness of Verres, he thought it better to depart secretly from the province. He did so; he went to Rhegium.
. And when this was known, they began to fret who had paid the money. They thought that nothing could be done in the absence of Epicrates. For Heraclius indeed had been present when the judges were appointed; but in the case of this man, who had departed before any steps had been taken in the action, before indeed there had been any open mention made of the dispute, they thought that nothing could be done. The men go to Rhegium; they go to Epicrates; they point out to him, what indeed he knew, that they had paid eighty thousand sesterces; they beg him to make up to them the money they themselves were out of pocket; they tell him he may take any security from them that he likes, that none of them will go to law with Epicrates about that inheritance. 56Epicrates reproaches the men at great length and with great severity, and dismisses them. They return from Rhegium to Syracuse; they complain to many people, as men in such a case are apt to do, that they have paid eighty thousand sesterces for nothing. The affair got abroad; it began to be the topic of every one's conversation. Verres repeats his old Syracusan trick. He says he wants to examine into that affair of the eighty thousand sesterces. He summons many people before him. The men of Bidis say that they gave it to Volcatius; they do not add that they had done so by his command. He summons Volcatius; he orders the money to be refunded. Volcatius with great equanimity brings the money, like a man who was sure to lose nothing by it; he returns it to them in the sight of many people; the men of Bidis carry the money away. 57Some one will say, “What fault then do you find with Verres in this, who not only is not a thief himself, but who did not even allow any one else to be one?” Listen a moment. Now you shall see that this money which was just now seen to leave his house by the main road returned back again by a by-path. What came next? Ought not the praetor, having inquired into the case with the bench of judges, when he had found out that a companion of his own, with the object of corruptly swaying the law, the sentence, and the bench, (a matter in which the reputation of the praetor and even his condition as a free citizen were at stake,) had received money, and that the men of Bidis had given it, doing injury to the fair fame and fortune of the praetor,—ought he not, I say, to have punished both him who had taken the money, and those who had given it? You who had determined to punish those who had given an erroneous decision, which is often done out of ignorance, do you permit men to escape with impunity who thought that money might be received or be paid for the purpose of influencing your decree, your judicial decision? And yet that same Volcatius remained with you, although he was a Roman knight, after he had such disgrace put upon him.
58For what is more disgraceful for a well-born man—what more unworthy of a free man, than to be compelled by the magistrate before a numerous assembly to restore what has been stolen; and if he had been of the disposition of which not only a Roman knight, but every free man ought to be, he would not have been able after that to look you in the face. He would have been a foe, an enemy, after he had been subjected to such an insult; unless, indeed, it had been done through collusion with you, and he had been serving your reputation rather than his own. And how great a friend he not only was to you then as long as he was with you in the province, but how great a friend he is even now, when you have long since been deserted by all the rest, you know yourself, and we can conceive. But is this the only argument that nothing was done without his knowledge, that Volcatius was not offended with him? that he punished neither Volcatius nor the men of Bidis? 59It is a great proof, but this is the greatest proof of all, that to those very men of Bidis, with whom he ought to have been angry, as being the men by whom he found out that his decree had been attempted to be influenced by bribes, because they could do nothing against Epicrates according to law, even if he were present,—to these very men, I say, he not only gave that inheritance which had come to Epicrates, but, as in the case of Heraclius of Syracuse, so too in this case, (which was even rather more atrocious than the other, because Epicrates had actually never had any action brought against him at all,) he gave them all his paternal property and fortune. For he showed that if any one made a demand of any thing from an absent person, he would hear the cause, though without any precedent for so doing. The men of Bidis appear—they claim the inheritance. The agents of Epicrates demand that he would either refer them to their own laws, or else appoint judges, in accordance with the provisions of the Rupilian law. The adversaries did not dare to say anything against this; no escape from it could be devised. They accuse the man of having fled for the purpose of cheating them. They demand to be allowed to take possession of his property. 60Epicrates did not owe a farthing to any one. His friends said that, if any one claimed anything from him, they would stand the trial themselves, and that they would give security to satisfy the judgment.
When the whole business was getting cool, by Verres's instigation they began to accuse Epicrates of having tampered with the public documents; a suspicion from which he was far removed. They demand a trial on that charge. His friends began to object that no new proceeding, that no trial affecting his rank and reputation, ought to be instituted while he was absent; and at the same time they did not cease to reiterate their demands that Verres should refer them to their own laws. 61He, having now got ample room for false accusation, when he sees that there is any point on which his friends refused to appear for Epicrates in his absence, declares that he will appoint a trial on that charge before any other. When all saw plainly that not only that money which had (to make a presence) been sent from his house, had returned back to it, but that he had afterwards received much more money, the friends of Epicrates ceased to argue in his defence. Verres ordered the men of Bidis to take possession of all his property, and to keep it for themselves. Besides the five hundred thousand sesterces which the inheritance amounted to, his own previous fortune amounted to fifteen hundred thousand. Was the affair planned out in this way from the beginning? Was it completed in this way? Is it a very trifling sum of money? Is Verres such a man as to be likely to have done all this which I have related for nothing? 62Now, O judges, hear a little about the misery of the Sicilians. Both Heraclius the Syracusan, and Epicrates of Bidis, being stripped of all their property, came to Rome. They lived at Rome nearly two years in mourning attire, with unshaven beard and hair. When Lucius Metellus went to the province, then they also go back with Metellus, bearing with them letters of high recommendation. As soon as Metellus came to Syracuse he rescinded both the sentences—the sentence in the case of Epicrates, and that against Heraclius. In the property of both of them there was nothing which could be restored, except what was not able to be moved from its place.
63Metellus had acted admirably on his first arrival, in rescinding and making of no effect all the unjust acts of that man which he could rescind. He had ordered Heraclius to be restored to his property; he was not restored. Every Syracusan senator who was accused by Heraclius he ordered to be imprisoned. And on this ground many were imprisoned. Epicrates was restored at once. Other sentences which had been pronounced at Lilybaeum, at Agrigentum, and at Panormus, were reviewed and reformed. Metellus showed that he did not mean to attend to the returns which had been made while Verres was praetor. The tithes which he had sold in a manner contrary to the Lex Hieronica, he said that he would sell according to that law. All the actions of Metellus went to the same point, so that he seemed to be remodeling the whole of Verres's praetorship. As soon as I arrived in Sicily, he changed his conduct. 64A man of the name of Letilius had come to him two days before, a man not unversed in literature, so he constantly used him as his secretary. He had brought him many letters, and, among them, one from home which had changed the whole man. On a sudden he began to say that he wished to do everything to please Verres; that he was connected with him by the ties of both friendship and relationship. All men wondered that this should now at last have occurred to him, after he had injured him by so many actions and so many decisions. Some thought that Letilius had come as an ambassador from Verres, to put him in mind of their mutual interests, their friendship, and their relationship. From that time he began to solicit the cities for testimony in favour of Verres, and not only to try to deter the witnesses against him by threats, but even to detain them by force. And if I had not by my arrival checked his endeavours in some degree, and striven among the Sicilians, by the help of Glabrio's letters and of the law, I should not have been able to bring so many witnesses into this court.
65But, as I began to say, remark the miseries of the Sicilians. Heraclius, whom I have mentioned, and Epicrates came forward a great distance to meet me, with all their friends. When I came to Syracuse, they thanked me with tears; they wished to leave Syracuse, and go to Rome in my company: because I had many other towns left which I wanted to go to, I arranged with the men on what day they were to meet me at Messana. They sent a messenger to me there, that they were detained by the praetor. And though I summoned them formally to attend and give evidence,—though I gave in their names to Metellus,—though they were very eager to come, having been treated with the most enormous injustice, they have not arrived yet. These are the rights which the allies enjoy now, not to be allowed even to complain of their distresses.
66You have already heard the evidence of Heraclius of Centuripa, a most virtuous and noble young man, from whom a hundred thousand sesterces were claimed by a fraudulent and false accusation. Verres, by means of penalties and securities exacted, contrived to extort three hundred thousand; and the sentence which had been given in favour of Heraclius, in the affairs about which security had been given) he set aside, because a citizen of Centuripa had acted as judge between two of his fellow-citizens, and he said that he had given a false decision; he forbade him to appear in the senate, and deprived him by an interdict of all the privileges of citizens and of access to all public places. If any one struck him, he announced that he would take no cognisance of the injury; that if any claim were made on him, he would appoint a judge from his own retinue, but that he would not allow him an action on any ground whatever. 67And his authority in the province had just this weight, that no one did strike him, though the praetor in his province gave every one leave by word, and in reality incited them to do so; nor did any one claim anything of him, though he had given licence to false accusation by his authority; yet that heavy mark of ignominy was attached to the man as long as Verres remained in the province. After this fear had been impressed on the judges, in a manner unexampled and wholly without precedent, do you suppose that any matter was decided in Sicily except according to his will and pleasure? Does this appear to have been the only effect of it, (which effect, however, it had,) to take his money from Heraclius? or was not this also the object, as the means by which the greatest plunder was to be got,—to bring, under presence of judicial decision, the property and fortune of every one into the power of that one man?
68But why should I seek out every separate transaction and cause in the trials which took place on capital charges? Out of many, which are all nearly alike, I will select those which seem to go beyond all the others in rascality. There was a man of Halicya, named Sopater, among the first men of his state for riches and high character. He, having been accused by his enemies before Caius Sacerdos the praetor, on a capital charge, was easily acquitted. The same enemies again accused this same Sopater on the same charge before Caius Verres when he had come as successor to Sacerdos. The matter appeared trifling to Sopater, both because he was innocent, and because he thought that Verres would never dare to overturn the decision of Sacerdos. The defendant is cited to appear. The cause is heard at Syracuse. Those changes are brought forward by the accusers which had been already previously extinguished, not only by the defence, but also by the decision. 69Quintus Minucius, a Roman knight, among the first for a high and honourable reputation, and not unknown to you, O judges, defended the cause of Sopater. There was nothing in the cause which seemed possible to be feared, or even to be doubted about at all. In the meantime that same Timarchides, that fellow's attendant and freedman, who is, as you have learnt by many witnesses at the former hearing, his agent and manager in all affairs of this sort, comes to Sopater, and advised him not to trust too much to the decision of Sacerdos and the justice of his cause; he tells him that his accusers and enemies have thoughts of giving money to the praetor, but that the praetor would rather take it to acquit; and at the same time, that he had rather, if it were possible, not rescind a decision of his predecessor. Sopater, as this happened to him quite suddenly and unexpectedly, was greatly perplexed, and had no answer ready to make to Timarchides, except that he would consider what he had best do in such a case; and at the same time he told him that he was in great difficulties respecting money matters. Afterwards he consulted with his friends; and as they advised him to purchase an acquittal, he came to Timarchides. Having explained his difficulties to him, he brings the man down to eighty thousand sesterces, and pays him that money.
70When the cause came to be heard, all who were defending Sopater were without any fear or any anxiety. No crime had been committed; the matter had been decided; Verres had received the money. Who could doubt how it would turn out? The matter is not summed up that day; the court breaks up; Timarchides comes a second time to Sopater. He says that his accusers were promising a much larger sum to the praetor than what he had given, and that if he were wise he would consider what he had best do. The man, though he was a Sicilian, and a defendant—that is to say, though he had little chance of obtaining justice—and was in an unfortunate position, still would not bear with or listen to Timarchides any longer. Do, said he, whatever you please; I will not give any more And this, too, was the advice of his friends and defenders; and so much the more, because Verres, however he might conduct himself on the trial, still had with him on the bench some honourable men of the Syracusan community, who had also been on the bench with Sacerdos when this same Sopater had been acquitted. They considered that it was absolutely impossible for the same men, who had formerly acquitted Sopater, to condemn him now on the same charge, supported by the same witnesses. And so with this one hope they came before the court. 71And when they came thither, when the same men came in numbers on the bench who were used to sit there, and when the whole defence of Sopater rested on this hope, namely, on the number and dignity of the bench of judges, and on the fact of their being, as I have said before, the same men who had before acquitted Sopater of the same charge, mark the open rascality and audacity of the man, not attempted to be disguised, I will not say under any reason, but with even the least dissimulation. He orders Marcus Petilius, a Roman knight, whom he had with him on the bench, to attend to a private cause in which he was judge. Petilius refused, because Verres himself was detaining his friends whom he had wished to have with him on the bench. He, liberal man, said that he did not wish to detain any of the men who preferred being with Petilius. And so they all go; for the rest also prevail upon him not to detain them, saying that they wished to appear in favour of one or other of the parties who were concerned in that trial. And so he is left alone with his most worthless retinue. 72Minucius, who was defending Sopater, did not doubt that Verres, since he had dismissed the whole bench, would not proceed with the investigation of his cause that day; when all of a sudden he is ordered to state his case. He answers, “To whom?” “To me,” says Verres, “if I appear to you of sufficient dignity to try the cause of a Sicilian, a Greek.” “Certainly,” says he, “you are of sufficient dignity, but I wish for the presence of those men who were present before, and were acquainted with the case.” “State your case,” says he; “they cannot be present.” “For in truth,” says Quintus Minucius, “Petilius begged me also to be with him on the bench;” and at the same time he began to leave his seat as counsel. 73Verres, 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.
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. 74Verres, 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. 75Then 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.
76Keep, 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? 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.
77What 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 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.
78In 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? 79What is the use of speaking to me of Bulbus, of Stalenus? What monster of this sort, what prodigy of wickedness have we ever heard of or seen, who would first sell his decision to the defendant, and afterwards decide in favour of the accuser? who would get rid of, and dismiss from the bench honourable men who were acquainted with the cause; would by himself alone condemn a defendant, who had been acquitted once from whom he had taken money, and would not restore: him his money?—Shall we have this man on the list of judges Shall he be named as judge in the second senatorial decury? Shall he be the Judge of the lives of free men? Shall a judicial tablet be entrusted to him, which he will mark not only with wax, but with blood too if it be made worth his while?
80For what of all these things does he deny having done? That, perhaps, which he must deny or else be silent,—the having taken the money? Why should he not deny it? But the Roman knight who defended Sopater, who was present at all his deliberations and at every transaction, Quintus Minucius, says on his oath that the money was paid; he says on his oath that Timarchides said that a greater sum was being offered by the accusers. All the Sicilians will say the same; all the citizens of Halicya will say the same; even the young son of Sopater will say the same, who by that most cruel man has been deprived of his innocent father and of his father's property. 81But if I cannot make the case plain, as far as the money is concerned, by evidence, can you deny this, or will you now deny, that after you had dismissed the rest of the judges, after those excellent men who had sat on the bench with Caius Sacerdos, and who were used to sit there with you, had been got rid of, you by yourself decided a matter which had been decided before?—that the man, whom Caius Sacerdos, assisted by a bench of colleagues, after an investigation of the case, acquitted, you, without any bench of colleagues, without investigating the case, condemned? When you have confessed this, which was done openly in the forum at Syracuse, before the eyes of the whole province; then deny, if you like, that you received money. You will be very likely to find a man, when he sees these things which were done openly, to ask what you did secretly; or to doubt whether he had better believe my witnesses or your defenders. 82I have already said, O judges, that I shall not enumerate all that fellow's actions which are of this sort; but that I shall select those which are the most remarkable.
Listen now to another remarkable exploit of his, one that has already been mentioned in many places, and one of such a sort that every possible crime seems to be comprehended in that one. Listen carefully, for you will find that this deed had its origin in covetousness, its growth in lust, its consummation and completeness in cruelty. 83Sthenius, the man who is sitting by us, is a citizen of Thermae, long since known to many by his eminent virtue and his illustrious birth, and now known to all men by his own misfortune and the unexampled injuries he has received from that man. Verres having often enjoyed his hospitality, and having not only stayed often with him at Thermae, but having almost dwelt with him there, took away from him out of his house everything which could in any uncommon degree delight the mind or eyes of any one. In truth, Sthenius from his youth had collected such things as these with more than ordinary diligence; elegant furniture of brass, made at Delos and at Corinth, paintings, and even a good deal of elegantly wrought silver, as far as the wealth of a citizen of Thermae could afford. And these things, when he was in Asia as a young man, he had collected diligently, as I said, not so much for any pleasure to himself, as for ornaments against the visits of Roman citizens, his own friends and connections, whenever he invited them. 84But after Verres got them all, some by begging for then, some by demanding them, and some by boldly taking them, Sthenius bore it as well as he could, but he was affected with unavoidable indignation in his mind, at that fellow having rendered his house, which had been so beautifully furnished and decorated, naked and empty; still he told his indignation to no one. He thought he must bear the injuries of the praetor in silence—those of his guest with calmness. 85Meantime that man, with that covetousness of his which was now notorious and the common talk of every one, as he took a violent fancy to some exceedingly beautiful and very ancient statues at Thermae placed in the public place, began to beg of Sthenius to promise him his countenance and to aid him in taking them away. But Sthenius not only refused, but declared to him that it was utterly impossible that most ancient statues, memorials of Publius Africanus, should ever be taken away out of the town of the Thermitani, as long as that city and the empire of the Roman people remained uninjured.
86Indeed, (that you may learn at the same time both the humanity and the justice of Publius Africanus,) the Carthaginians had formerly taken the town of Himera, one of the first towns in Sicily for renown and for beauty. Scipio as he thought it a thing worthy of the Roman people, that, after the war was over, our allies should recover their property in consequence of our victory, took care, after Carthage had been taken, that everything which he could manage should be restored to all the Sicilians. As Himera had been destroyed, those citizens whom the disasters of the war had spared had settled at Thermae, on the border of the same district, and not far from their ancient town. They thought that they were recovering the fortune and dignity of their fathers, when those ornaments of their ancestors were being placed in the town of Thermae. 87There were many statues of brass; among them a statue of Himera herself, of marvellous beauty, made in the shape and dress of a woman, after the name of the town and of the river. There was also a statue of the poet Stesichorus, aged, stooping,—made, as men think, with the most exceeding skill,—who was, indeed, a citizen of Himera, but who both was and is in the highest renown and estimation over all Greece for his genius. These things he coveted to a degree of madness. There is also, which I had almost passed over, a certain she-goat made, as even we who are skilled in these matters can judge, with wonderful skill and beauty. These, and other works of art, Scipio had not thrown away like a fool, in order that an intelligent man like Verres might have an opportunity of carrying them away, but he had restored them to the people of Thermae; not that he himself had not gardens, or a suburban villa, or some place or other where he could put them; but, if he had taken them home, they would not long have been called Scipio's, but theirs to whom they had come by his death. Now they are placed in such places that it seems to me they will always seem to be Scipio's, and so they are called.
88When that fellow claimed those things, and the subject was mooted in the senate, Sthenius resisted his claim most earnestly, and urged many arguments, for he is among the first men in all Sicily for fluency of speech. He said that it was more honourable for the men of Thermae to abandon their city than to allow the memorials of their ancestors, the spoils of their enemies, the gifts of a most illustrious man, the proofs of the alliance and friendship with the Roman people, to be taken away out of their city. The minds of all were moved. No one was found who did not agree that it was better to die. And so Verres found this town almost the only one in the whole world from which he could not carry off anything of that sort belonging to the community, either by violence, or by stealth, or by his own absolute power, or by his interest, or by bribery. But, however, all this covetousness of his I will expose another time; at present I must return to Sthenius. 89Verres being furiously enraged against Sthenius, renounces the connection of hospitality with him, leaves his house, and departs; for, indeed, he had moved his quarters before. The greatest enemies of Sthenius immediately invite him to their houses, in order to inflame his mind against Sthenius by inventing lies and accusing him. And these enemies were, Agathinus, a man of noble birth, and Dorotheus, who had married Callidama, the daughter of that same Agathinus, of whom Verres had heard. So he preferred migrating to the son-in-law of Agathinus. Only one night elapsed before he became so intimate with Dorotheus, that, as one might say, they had everything in common. He paid as great attention to Agathinus as if he had been some connection or relation of his own. He appeared even to despise that statue of Himera, because the figure and features of his hostess delighted him much more.
90Therefore he began to instigate the men to create some danger for Sthenius, and to invent some accusation against him. They said they had nothing to allege against him. On this he openly declared to them, and promised to them that they might prove whatever they pleased against Sthenius if they only laid the information before him. So they do not delay. They immediately bring Sthenius before him; they say that the public documents have been tampered with by him. Sthenius demands, that as his own fellow-citizens are prosecuting him on a charge of tampering with the public documents, and as there is a right of action on such a charge according to the laws of the Thermitani since the senate and people of Rome had restored to the Thermitani their city, and their territory and their laws, because they had always remained faithful and friendly; and since Publius Rupilius had afterwards, in obedience to a degree of the senate, given laws to the Sicilinus, acting with the advice of ten commissioners, according to which the citizens were to use their own laws in their actions with one another; and singe Verres himself had the same regulation contained in his edict;—on all these accounts, I say, he claims of Verres to refer the matter to their own laws. 91That man, the justest of all men, and the most remote from covetousness, declares that he will investigate the affair himself, and bids him come prepared to plead his cause at the eighth hour. It was not difficult to see what that dishonest and wicked man was designing. And, indeed, he did not himself very much disguise it, and the woman could not hold her tongue. It was understood that his intention was, that, after he, without any pleading taking place, and without any witnesses being called, had condemned Sthenius, then, infamous that he was, he should cause the man, a man of noble birth, of mature age, and his own host, to be cruelly punished by scourging. And as this was notorious, by the advice of his friends and connections, Sthenius fled from there to Rome. He preferred trusting himself to the winter and to the waves, rather than not escape that common tempest and calamity of all the Sicilians.
92That punctual and diligent man is ready at the eighth hour. He orders Sthenius to be summoned; and, when he sees that he does not appear, he begins to burn with indignation, and to go mad with rage; to despatch officers to his house; to send horsemen in every direction about his farms and country houses,—and as he kept waiting there till some certain news could be brought to him, he did not leave the court till the third hour of the night. The next day he came down again the first thing in the morning; he calls Agathinus, he bids him make his statement about the public documents against Sthenius in his absence. It was a cause of such a character, that, even though he had no adversary in court, and a judge unfriendly to the defendant, still he could not find anything to say. 93So that he confined himself to the mere statement that, when Sacerdos was praetor, Sthenius had tampered with the public documents. He had scarcely said this when Verres gives sentence “that Sthenius seems to have tampered with the public documents,” and, moreover, this man so devoted to Venus, added this besides, with no precedent for, no example of, such an addition, “For that action he should adjudge five hundred thousand sesterces to Venus Erycina out of the property of Sthenius.” And immediately he began to sell his property; and he would have sold it, if there had been ever so little delay in paying him the money. 94After it was paid, he was not content with this iniquity; he gave notice openly from the seat of justice, and from the tribunal, “That if any one wished to accuse Sthenius in his absence of a capital charge, he was ready to take the charge.” And immediately he began to instigate Agathinus, his new relation and host, to apply himself to such a cause, and to accuse him. But he said loudly, in the hearing of every one, that he would not do so, and that he was not so far an enemy to Sthenius as to say that he was implicated in any capital crime. Just at this moment a man of the name of Pacilius, a needy and worthless man, arrives on a sudden. He says, that he is willing to accuse the man in his absence if he may. And Verres tells him that he may, that it is a thing often done, and that he will receive the accusation. So the charge is made. Verres immediately issues an edict that Sthenius is to appear at Syracuse on the first of December. 95He, when he had reached Rome, and had a sufficiently prosperous voyage for so unfavourable a time of year, and had found everything more just and gentle than the disposition of the praetor, his own guest, related the whole matter to his friends, and it appeared to them all cruel and scandalous, as indeed it was.
Therefore Cnaeus Lentulus and Lucius Gellius the consuls immediately propose in the senate that it be established as a law, if it so seem good to the conscript fathers, “That men be not proceeded against on capital charges in the provinces while they are absent.” They relate to the senate the whole case of Sthenius, and the cruelty and injustice of Verres. Verres, the father of the praetor, was present in the senate, and with tears begged all the senators to spare his son, but he had not much success. For the inclination of the senate for the proposal of the consuls was extreme. Therefore opinions were delivered to this effect; “that as Sthenius had been proceeded against in his absence, it seemed good to the senate that no trial should take place in the case of an absent man; and if anything had been done, it seemed good that it should not be ratified.” 96On that day nothing could be done, because it was so late, and because his father had found men to waste the time in speaking. Afterwards the elder Verres goes to all the defenders and connections of Sthenius; he begs and entreats them not to attack his son, not to be anxious about Sthenius; he assures them that he will take care that he suffers no injury by means of his son; that with that object he will send trustworthy men into Sicily both by sea and land. And it wanted now about thirty days of the first of December, on which day he had ordered Sthenius to appear at Syracuse. 97The friends of Sthenius are moved; they hope that by the letters and messengers of the father the Bon may be called off from his insane attempt. The cause is not agitated any more in the senate. Family messengers come to Verres, and bring him letters from his father before the first of December, before any steps whatever had been taken by him in Sthenius's affair; and at the same time many letters about the same business are brought to him from many of his friends and intimates.
On this he, who had never any regard either for his duty or his danger, or for affection, or for humanity, when put in competition with his covetousness, did not think, as far as he was advised, that the authority of his father, nor, as far as he was entreated, that his inclination was to be preferred to the gratification of his own evil passions. On the morning of the first of December, according to his edict, he orders Sthenius to be summoned. 98If your father, at the request of any friend, whether influenced by kindness or wishing to curry favour with him, had made that petition to you, still the inclination of your father ought to have had the greatest weight with you; but when he begged it of you for the sake of your own safety from a capital charge, and when he had sent trustworthy men from home, and when they had come to you at a time when the whole affair was still intact, could not even then a regard, if not for affection, at least for your own safety, bring you back to duty and to common sense? He summons the defendant. He does not answer. He summons the accuser. (Mark, I pray you, O judges; see how greatly fortune herself opposed that man's insanity, and see at the same time what chance aided the cause of Sthenius;) the accuser, Marcus Pacilius, being summoned, (I know not how it came about,) did not answer, did not appear. 99If Sthenius had been accused while present, if he had been detected in a manifest crime, still, as his accuser did not appear, Sthenius ought not to have been condemned. In truth, if a defendant could be condemned though his accuser did not appear, I should not have come from Vibo to Velia in a little boat through the weapons of fugitive slaves, and pirates, and through yours, at a time when all that haste of mine at the peril of my life was to prevent your being taken out of the list of defendants if I did not appear on the appointed day. If then in this trial of yours that was the most desirable thing by you,—namely, for me not to appear when I was summoned, why did you not think that it ought also to serve Sthenius that his accuser had not appeared? He so managed the matter that the end entirely corresponded to the beginning; the same man against whom he had received an accusation while he was absent, he condemns now when the accuser is absent.
100At the very outset news was brought to him that the matter had been agitated in the senate, (which his father also had written him word of at great length,) that also in the public assembly Marcus Palicanus, a tribune of the people, had made a complaint to their of the treatment of Sthenius; lastly, that I myself had pleaded the cause of Sthenius before this college of the tribunes of the people, as by their edict no one was allowed to remain in Rome who had been condemned on a capital charge; and that when I had explained the business as I have now done to you, and had proved that this had no right to be considered a condemnation, the tribunes of the people passed this resolution, and that it was unanimously decreed by them, “That Sthenius did not appear to be prohibited by their edict from remaining in Rome.” 101When this news was brought to him, he for a while was alarmed and agitated; he turned the blunt end of his pen on to his tablets, and by so doing he overturned the whole of his cause. For he left himself nothing which could be defended by any means whatever. For if he were to urge in his defence, “It is lawful to take a charge against an absent man, no law forbids this being done in a province,” he would seem to be putting forth a faulty and worthless defence, but still it would be some sort of a defence. Lastly, he might employ that most desperate refuge, of saying, that he had acted ignorantly; that he had thought that it was lawful. And although this is the worst defence of all, still he would seem to have said something. He erases that from his tablets which he had put down, and enters “that the charge was brought against Sthenius while he was present.”
102Here consider in how many toils he involved himself; from which he could never disentangle himself. In the first place, he had often and openly declared himself in Sicily from his tribunal, and had asserted to many people in private conversation, that it was lawful to take a charge against an absent man; that he, for example, had done so himself—which he had. That he was in the habit of constantly saying this, was stated at the former pleading by Sextus Pompeius Chlorus, a man of whose virtue I have before spoken highly; and by Cnaeus Pompeius Theodorus, a man approved of by the judgment of that most illustrious man Cnaeus Pompeius in many most important affairs, and, by universal consent, a most accomplished person; and by Posides Matro of Solentum, a man of the highest rank, of the greatest reputation and virtue. And as many as you please will tell you the same thing at this present trial, both men who have heard it from his own mouth,—some of the leading men of our order,—and others too who were present when the accusation was taken against Sthenius in his absence. Moreover at Rome, when the matter was discussed in the senate, all his friends, and among them his own father, defended him on the ground of its being lawful so to act;—of its having been done constantly;—of his having done what he had done according to the example and established precedent of others. 103Besides, all Sicily gives evidence of the fact which in the common petitions of all the states has prescribed this request to the consuls, “to beg and entreat of the conscript fathers, not to allow charges to be received against the absent.” Concerning which matter you heard Cnaeus Lentulus, the advocate of Sicily, and a most admirable young man, say, that the Sicilians, when they were instructing him in their case, and pointing out to him what matters were to be urged in their behalf before the senate, complained much of this misfortune of Sthenius, and on account of this injustice which had been done to Sthenius, resolved to make this demand which I have mentioned. 104And as this is the ease, were you endued with such insanity and audacity, as, in a matter so clear, so thoroughly proved,—made so notorious even by you yourself, to dare to corrupt the public records? But how did you corrupt them? Did you not do it in such a way that, even if we all kept silence, still your own handwriting would be sufficient to condemn you? Give me, it you please, the document. Take it round to the judges; show it to them. Do you not see that the whole of this entry, where he states that the charge was made against Sthenius in his presence, is a correction? What was written there before? What blunder did he correct when he made that erasure? Why, O judges, do you wait for proofs of this charge from us? We say nothing; the books are before you, which cry out themselves that they have been tampered with and amended. 105Do you think you can possibly escape out of this business, when we are following you up, not by any uncertain opinion, but by your own traces, which you have left deeply printed and fresh in the public documents? Has he decided, (I should like to know,) without hearing the cause, that Sthenius has tampered with the public documents, who cannot possibly defend himself from the charge of having tampered with the public documents in the case of that very Sthenius?
106See now another instance of madness; see how, in trying to acquit himself; he entangles himself still more. He assigns an advocate to Sthenius.—Whom? Any relation or intimate friend? No.—Any citizen, any honourable and noble man of Florence? Not even that.—At least it was some Sicilian, in whom there was some credit and dignity? Far from it.—Whom then did he assign to him? A Roman citizen. Who can approve of this? When Sthenius was the man of the highest rank in his city, a man of most extensive connections, with numberless friends; when, besides, he was of the greatest influence all over Sicily, by his own personal character and popularity; could he find no Sicilian who was willing to be appointed his advocate? Will you approve of this? Did he himself prefer a Roman citizen? Tell me what Sicilian, when he was defendant in any action, ever had a Roman citizen assigned to him as his advocate? Produce the records of all the praetors who preceded Verres; open them. If you find one such instance, I will then admit to you that this was done as you have entered it in your public documents. 107Oh but, I suppose, Sthenius thought it honourable to himself for Verres to choose a man for his advocate out of the number of Roman citizens who were his own friends and connections! Whom did he choose? Whose name is written in the records? Caius Claudius, the son of Caius, of the Palatine tribe. I do not ask who this Claudius is; how illustrious, how honourable, how well suited to the business, and deserving that, because of his influence and dignity, Sthenius should abandon the custom of all the Sicilians, and have a Roman citizen for his advocate. I do not ask any of these questions;—for perhaps Sthenius was influenced not by the high position of the man, but by his intimacy with him.—What? What shall we say if there was in the whole world a greater enemy to Sthenius than this very Caius Claudius, both constantly in old times, and especially at this time and in this affair?—if he appeared against him on the charge of tampering with the public documents?—if he opposed him by every means in his power? Which shall we believe,—that an enemy of Sthenius was actually appointed his advocate, or that you, at a time of the greatest danger to Sthenius, made free with the name of his enemy, to ensure his ruin?
108And that no one may have any doubt as to the real nature of the whole transaction, although I feel sure that by this time that man's rascality is pretty evident to you all, still listen yet a little longer. Do you see that man with curly hair, of a dark complexion, who is looking at us with such a countenance as shows that he seems to himself a very clever fellow? him, I mean, who has the papers in his hand—who is writing—who is prompting him—who is next to him. That is Caius Claudius, who in Sicily was considered Verres's agent and interpreter, the manager of all his dirty work, a sort of colleague to Timarchides. Now he is promoted so high that he scarcely seems to yield to Apronius in intimacy with him; indeed he called himself the colleague and ally not of Timarchides, but of Verres himself. 109Now doubt, if you can, that he chose that man of all the world to impose the worthless character of a false advocate on, whom he knew to be most hostile to Sthenius, and most friendly to himself. And will you hesitate in this case, O judges, to punish such enormous audacity and cruelty and injustice as that of this man? Will you hesitate to follow the example of those judges, who, when they had condemned Cnaeus Dolabella, rescinded the condemnation of Philodamus of Opus, because a charge had been received against him not in his absence, which is of all things the most unjust and the most intolerable, but after a commission had been given him by his fellow-citizens to proceed to Rome as their ambassador? That precedent which the judges, in obedience to the principles of equity, established in a less important cause, will you hesitate to adopt in a cause of the greatest consequence, especially now that it has been established by the authority of others?
110But who was it, O Verres, whom you treated with such great, with such unexampled injustice? Against whom did you receive a charge in his absence? Whom did you condemn in his absence; not only without any crime, and without any witness, but even without any accuser? Who was it? O ye immortal gods! I will not say your own friend,—that which is the dearest title among men. I will not say your host,—which is the most holy name. There is nothing in Sthenius's case which I speak of less willingly. The only thing which I find it possible to blame him in is,—that he, a most moderate and upright man, invited you, a man full of adultery, and crime, and wickedness, to his house; that he, who had been and was connected by ties of hospitality with Caius Marius, with Cnaeus Pompeius, with Caius Marcellus, with Lucius Sisenna, your defender, and with other excellent citizens, added your name also to that of those unimpeachable men. 111On which account I make no complaint of violated hospitality, and of your abominable wickedness in violating it; I say this not to those who know Sthenius,—that is to say, not to any one of those who have been in Sicily; (for no one who has is ignorant in how great authority he lived in his own city, in what great honour and consideration among all the Sicilians;) but I say it that those, too, who have not been in the province, may be able to understand who he was in whose case you established such a precedent, that both on account of the iniquity of the deed, as well as on account of the rank of the man, it appeared scandalous and intolerable to every one.
112Is not Sthenius the man, he who when he had very easily obtained all the honourable offices in his city, executed them with the greatest splendor, and magnificence?—who decorated a town, not itself of the first rank, with most spacious places of public resort, and most splendid monuments, at his own expense?—on account of whose good services towards the state of Thermae, and towards all the Sicilians, a brazen tablet was set up in the senate-house at Thermae; in which mention was made of his services, and engraved at the public expense?—which tablet was torn down under your government, and is now brought hither by me, that all may know the honour in which he was held among his countrymen, and his preeminent dignity. 113Is this the man, who when he was accused before that most illustrious man, Cnaeus Pompeius, and when his enemies and accusers charged him, in terms calculated to excite odium against him, rather than true, of having been ill affected to the republic on account of his intimacy and his connections of hospitality with Caius Marius, was acquitted by Cnaeus Pompeius with such language as showed that, from what had come out at that very trial, Cnaeus Pompeius judged him most worthy of his own intimacy? and moreover was defended and extolled by all the Sicilians in such a manner, that Pompeius thought that by his acquittal he had earned, not only the gratitude of the man himself, but that of the whole province? Lastly, is not he the man who had such affection towards the republic, and also such great authority among his fellow-citizens, that he alone in all Sicily, while you were praetor, did what not only no other Sicilian, but what all Sicily even could not do,—namely, prevented you from taking away any statue, any ornament, any sacred vessel, or any public property from Thermae; and that too when there were many remarkable beautiful things there, and though you coveted everything? 114See now, what a difference there is between you, in whose name days of festival are kept among the Sicilians, and those splendid Verrean games, are celebrated; to whom gilt statues are erected at Rome, presented by the commonwealth of Sicily, as we see inscribed upon them;—see, I say, what a difference there is between you and this Sicilian, who was condemned by you, the patron of Sicily. Him very many cities of Sicily praise by public resolutions in his favour, by their own evidence, by deputations went hither with that object. You, the patron of all the Sicilians, the solitary state of the Mamertini, the partner of your thefts and crimes, praises publicly; and yet in such a way that, by a new process, the deputies themselves injure your cause, though the deputation praises you. These other states all publicly accuse you, complain of you, impeach you by letters, by deputations, by evidence; and, if you are acquitted, think themselves utterly ruined.
115It is in the case of this man and of his property that you have erected a monument of your crimes and cruelty even on Mount Eryx itself; on which is inscribed the name Sthenius of Thermae. I saw a Cupid made of silver, with a torch. What object had you,—what reason was there for employing the plunder of Sthenius on that subject rather than on any other? Did you wish it to be a token of your own cupidity, or a trophy of your friendship and connection of hospitality with him, or a proof of your love towards him? Men, who in their excelling wickedness are pleased not only with their lust and pleasure itself, but also with the fame of their wickedness, do wish to leave in many places the marks and traces of their crimes. 116He was burning with love of that hostess for whose sake he had violated the laws of hospitality. He wished that not only to be known, but also to be recorded for ever. And therefore, out of the proceeds of that very action which he had performed, Agathinus being the accuser, he thought that a reward was especially due to Venus, who had caused the prosecution and the whole proceeding. I should think you grateful to the Gods if you had given this gift to Venus, not out of the property of Sthenius, but out of your own, as you ought to have done, especially as an inheritance had come to you from Chelidon that very same year. 117On these grounds now, even if I had not undertaken this cause at the request of all the Sicilians; if the whole province had not requested this favour of me; if my affection and love for the republic, and the injury done to the credit of our order and of the courts of justice, had not compelled me to do so; and if this had been my only reason, that you had so cruelly, and wickedly, and abominably treated my friend and connection Sthenius, to whom I had formed an extraordinary attachment in my quaestorship, of whom I had the highest possible opinion, whom while I was in the province I knew to be most zealous and earnest for my reputation,—I should still think I had plenty of reason to incur the enmity of a most worthless man, in order to defend the safety and fortunes of my friend. 118Many men have done the same in the times of our ancestors. Lately, too, that most eminent man Cnaeus Domitius did so, who accused Marcus Silanus, a man of consular rank, on account of the injuries done by him to Egritomarus of the Transalpine country, his friend. I should think it became me to follow the example of their good feeling and regard for their duty; and I should hold out hope to my friends and connections to think that they would live a safer life owing to my protection. But when the cause of Sthenius draws along with it the common calamity of the whole province, and when many of my friends and connections are being defended by me at the same time, both in their public and private interests, I ought not in truth to fear that any one can suppose that I have done what I have in undertaking this cause under the pressure and compulsion of any motive except that of the strictest duty.
And that we may at last give up speaking of the investigations made, and the judicial proceedings conducted, and of the decisions given by that man; and as his exploits of that class are countless, let us put some bounds and limits to our speech and accusation. We will take a few cases of another sort.
119You have heard Quintus Varius say, that his agents paid that man a hundred and thirty thousand sesterces for a decision in his cause. You recollect that the evidence of Quintus Varius was corroborated, and that this whole affair was proved by the testimony of Caius Sacerdos, a most excellent man. You know that Cnaeus Sertius and Marcus Modius, Roman knights, and that six hundred Roman citizens besides, and many Sicilians, said that they had given that money for decisions in their causes. And why need I dilate upon this accusation when the whole matter is set plainly forth in the evidence? Why should I argue about what no one can doubt? Or will any man in the world doubt that he set up his judicial decisions for sale in Sicily, when at Rome he sold his very edict and all his decrees? and that he received money from the Sicilians in issuing extraordinary decrees, when he actually made a demand on Marcus Octavius Ligur for giving a decision on his cause? 120For what method of extorting money did he ever omit? What method did he fail to devise, even if it had escaped the notice of every one else? Was anything in the Sicilian states ever sought to be obtained in which there is any honour, any power, or any authority, that you did not make it a source of your own gain, and sell it to the best bidder?
At the former pleading evidence was given of both a public and a private nature; deputies from Centuripa, from Halesa, from Catina, and from Panormus, and from many other cities gave evidence; but now, also, a great many private individuals have been examined, by whose testimony you have ascertained that no one in all Sicily for the space of three years was ever made senator in any city for nothing,—no one by vote, as their laws prescribe,—no one except by his command, or by his letters; and that in the appointment of all these senators, not only were no votes given, but there was not even any consideration of those families from which it was lawful to select men for that body, nor of their income, nor of their age; nor were any other of the Sicilian laws of the slightest influence. 121Whoever wished to be made a senator, though he was a boy, though he was unworthy, though he was of a class from which it was not lawful to take senators; still, if he paid money enough to appear in his eyes a fit man to gain his object, so it always was. Not only the laws of the Sicilians had no influence in this matter, but even those which had been given to them by the senate and people of Rome had none either. For the laws which he makes who has the supreme command given to him by the Roman people, and authority to make laws conferred on him by the senate, ought to be considered the laws of the senate and people of Rome. 122The citizens of Halesa, who were till lately in the enjoyment of their own laws, in return for the numerous and great services and good deeds done both by themselves and by their ancestors to our republic, lately in the consulship of Lucius Licinius and Quintus Mucius, requested laws from our senate, as they had disputes among themselves about the elections into their senate. The senate, by a very honourable decree, voted that Caius Claudius Pulcher, the son of Appius the praetor, should give them laws to regulate their elections into their senate. Caius Claudius, taking as his counselors all the Marcelli who were then alive, with their advice gave laws to the men of Halesa in which he laid down many rules about the age of the men who might be elected; that no one might be under thirty years of age; about trade,—that no one engaged in it might be elected; about their income, and about all other matters; all which regulations prevailed till that man became praetor by the authority of our magistrates, and with the cordial good-will of the men of Halesa. But from him even a crier who was desirous of it, bought that rank for a sum of money, and boys sixteen and seventeen years old purchased the title of senator; and that which the men of Halesa, our most ancient and faithful allies and friends, had petitioned, and that successfully, at Rome, to have put on such a footing that it might not be lawful for men to be elected even by vote, he now made easy to be obtained by bribery.
123The people of Agrigentum have old laws about appointing their senate, given them by Scipio, in which the same principles are laid down, and this one besides,—as there are two classes of Agrigentines, one of the old inhabitants, and the other of the new,—settlers whom Titus Manlius, when praetor, had led from other towns of the Sicilians to Agrigentum, in obedience to a resolution of the senate;—it was provided in the laws of Scipio, that there should not be a greater number of members of the senate taken from the class of settlers than from the old inhabitants of Agrigentum. That man, who had levelled all laws by bribery, and who had taken away all distinction between things for money, not only disturbed all those regulations which related to age, rank, and traffic, but even with respect to these two classes of old and new inhabitants, he disturbed the proportion of their selection. 124For when a senator died of the old inhabitants, and when the remaining number of each class was equal, it was necessary, according to the laws, that one of the original inhabitants should be elected in order that there might be the larger number. And though this was the case, still, not only some of the original inhabitants, but also some of the new settlers, came to him to purchase the rank of senator. The result is, that through bribery, one of the new men carries the day, and gets letters of appointment from the praetor. The Agrigentines send deputies to him to inform him of their laws, and to explain to him the invariable usage of past years, in order that he might be aware that he had sold that rank to one with whom he had no right even to treat on the subject. By whose speech, as he had already received the money, he was not in the least influenced. 125He did the same thing at Heraclea. For thither also Publius Rupilius led settlers and gave them similar laws about the appointment of the senate, and about the number of the old and new senators. There he did not only receive money, as he did in the other cities, but he even confused the class of the original inhabitants and of the new settlers.
Do not wait for me to go through all the cities of Sicily in my speech. In this one statement I comprehend everything,—that no one could be made a senator while he was praetor except those who had given him money. 126And I carry on the same charge to all magistracies, agencies, and priesthoods; by which acts he has not only trampled on the laws of men, but on all the religious reverence due to the immortal gods. There is at Syracuse a law respecting their religion, which enjoins a priest of Jupiter to be taken by lot every year; and that priesthood is considered among the Syracusans as the most honourable. 127When three men have been selected by vote out of the three classes of citizens, the matter is decided by lot. He by his absolute command had contrived to have his intimate friend Theomnastus returned among the three by vote. When it came to the decision by lot, which he could not command, men were waiting to see what he would do. The fellow at first forbade them to elect by lot, as that seemed the easiest way, and ordered Theomnastus to be appointed without casting lots. The Syracusans say that cannot possibly be done, according to the reverence due to their sacred laws; they say it would be impious. He orders the law to be read to him. It is read. In it was written, “that as many lots were to be thrown into the urn as there were names returned; that he whose name was drawn was to have the priesthood.” He then, ingenious and clever man! said, “Capital! it is written, ‘As many lots as there are names returned;’ how many names then were returned?” It is answered, “Three.” “Is there then anything necessary except that three lots should be put in, and one drawn out?” “Nothing.” He orders three lots to be put in, on all of which was written the name of Theomnastus. A great outcry arises as it seemed to every one a scandalous and infamous proceeding. And so by these means that most honourable priesthood is given to Theomnastus.
128At Cephalaedium there is a regular month, in which the pontifex is bound to be appointed. A man of the name of Artemo, surnamed Climachias, was desirous of that honour a man of sufficient riches to be sure, and of noble family; but he could not possibly have been appointed if a man of the name of Herodotus had been present. For that place and rank was thought to be so decidedly due to him for that year, that even Climachias could say nothing against him. The matter is referred to Verres, and is decided according to his usual fashion. Some beautiful and valuable specimens of carving are removed from Artemo's. Herodotus was at Rome; he thought that he should arrive in time enough for the comitia if he came the day before. Verres, in order that the comitia might not be held in any other month than the regular one, and that the honour might not be refused to Herodotus when he was present, (a thing which he was not anxious for, and which Climachias was very eager to avoid,) contrives, (I have said before, there is no one cleverer, and never was, in his way,)—he contrives, I say, how the comitia may be held in the regular month for them, and yet Herodotus may not be able to be present. 129It is a custom of the Sicilians, and of the rest of the Greeks, because they wish their days and months to agree with the calculations as to the sun and moon, if there be any difference sometimes to take out a day, or, at most, two days from a month, which they call exairesimoi. And so also they sometimes make a month longer by a day or by two days. And when he heard of that, he, this new astronomer, who was thinking not so much of the heavens as of the heavy plate, he orders (not a day to be taken out of the month, but) a month and a half to be taken out of the year; so that the day which, as one may say, ought to have been the thirteenth of January, became the first of March. And that is done in spite of the remonstrances and indignation of every one. That was the legitimate day for holding the comitia. On that day Climachias is declared to have been elected priest. 130When Herodotus returns from Rome, fifteen days, as he supposed, before the comitia, he comes on the month of the comitia, when the comitia have been held thirty days before. Then the people of Cephalaedium voted an intercalary month of forty-five days, in order that the rest of the months might fall again into their proper season. If these things could be done at Rome, no doubt he would somehow or other have contrived to have the forty-five days between the two sets of games taken away, during which days alone this trial could take place.
131But now it is worth while to see how the censors were appointed in Sicily while that man was praetor. For that is the magistracy among the Sicilians, the appointments to which are made by the people with the greatest care, because all the Sicilians pay a yearly tax in proportion to their incomes; and, in making the census, the power is entrusted to the censor of making every sort of valuation, and of determining the total amount of every man's contribution. Therefore the people choose with the greatest care the man in whom they can place the greatest confidence in a matter affecting their own property; and on account of the greatness of the power, this magistracy is an object of the greatest ambition. 132In such a matter, Verres did not choose to do any thing obscurely, nor to play tricks in the drawing of lots, nor to take days out of the calendar. He did not choose to do anything in an underhand manner, or by means of artifice; but in order to take away the fondness and desire for honours and ambition out of every city, feelings which usually tend to the ruin of a state, he declared that he should appoint the censors in every city. 133When the praetor announced so vast a scene of bargaining and trafficking as that, people came to Syracuse to see him, from all quarters. The whole of the praetor's house was on fire with the eagerness and cupidity of men; and no wonder, when all the comitia of so many cities were packed together into one house, and when all the ambition of an entire province was confined in one chamber. Bribes being openly asked for, and biddings being openly made, Timarchides appointed two censors for every city. He, by his own labour, and by his own visits to every one, by all the trouble which he took in this employment, achieved this, that all the money came to Verres without his having any anxiety on his part. How much money this Timarchides made, you cannot as yet know; for a certainty; but in what a variety of manners, and how shamefully, he plundered people, you heard at the former pleading, by the evidence of many witnesses.
134But that you may not wonder how that freedman obtained so much influence with him, I will tell you briefly what the man is; so that you may both see the worthlessness of the man who kept such a fellow about him, especially in that employment and position, and that you may also see the misery of the province. In the seduction of women, and in all licentiousness and wickedness of that character, I found this Timarchides wonderfully fitted by nature to be subservient to his infamous lusts, and unexampled profligacy. In finding out who people were, in calling on them, in addressing them, in bribing them, in doing anything in matters of that sort, however cunningly, however audaciously, however shamelessly it might be necessary to go to work, I heard that this man could contrive admirable schemes for ensuring success. For, as for Verres himself, he was only a man of a covetousness ever open-mouthed, and ever threatening, but he had no ingenuity, no resources; so that, in whatever he did of his own accord, (just as you know was the case with him at Rome,) he seemed to rob openly rather than to cheat. 135But the other fellow's skill and artifice were marvellous, so that he could hunt out and scent out with the greatest acuteness, all over the province, whatever had happened to any one, whatever any one stood in need of. He was able to find out, to converse with, to tamper with every one's foes, and every one's enemies; to know the circumstances of every trial on both sides; to ascertain men's inclinations, and power, and resources; where it was necessary to strike terror; where it was desirable to hold out hope. Every accuser, every informer, he had in his power, if he wished to cause trouble to any one, he did it without any difficulty. All Verres's decrees, and commands, and letters, he sold in the most skillful and cunning manner. 137And he was not only the minister of Verres's pleasures, he also took equally good care of himself. He not only picked up whatever money had slipped through his principal's fingers, by which he amassed great riches, but he also picked up the relics of his pleasures and of his profligacy. Therefore do not fancy that Athenio reigned in Sicily, for he took no city; but know ye that the runaway slave Timarchides reigned in every city of Sicily for three years; that the children, the matrons, the property, and all the fortunes of the most ancient and most devoted allies of the Roman people were all that time in the power of Timarchides. He therefore, as I say, he, Timarchides, sent censors into every city, having taken bribes for their appointment. Comitia for the election of censors, while Verres was praetor, were never held not even for the purpose of making a presence of legality.
137This was the most shameless business of all. Three hundred denarii were openly exacted (for this, forsooth, was permitted by the laws) from each censor, to be paid down for the praetors statue. There were appointed a hundred and thirty censors. They gave one sum of money for the censorship contrary to the law; these thirty-nine thousand denarii they openly paid down for the statue, in compliance with the laws. First of all, what was all that money for? Secondly, why did the censors pay it to you for your statue? I suppose there is a regular order of censors, a college of them. They are a distinct class of men! Why, it is either cities in their capacity of communities, that confer these honours, or men according to their classes, as cultivators, as merchants, as shipowners. But why to censors rather than to aediles? Is it for any service that they have done? Therefore, will you confess that these things were begged of you,—for you will not dare to say they were purchased of you;—that you granted those magistracies to men out of favour, and not with a new to the interests of the republic? And when you confess this, will any one doubt that you incurred that unpopularity held hatred among the different tribes of that province, not out of ambition, nor for the sake of doing a kindness to any one, but with the object of procuring money? 138Therefore those censors did the same thing that those do in our republic, who have got offices by bribery; they took care to use their power so as to fill up again that gap in their property. The census was so taken, when you were praetor, that the affairs of no state whatever could be administered according to such a census. For they made a low return of the incomes of all the richest men, and exaggerated that of each poor man. And so in levying the taxes so heavy a burden was laid upon the common people, that even if the men themselves said nothing, the facts alone would discredit that census, as may easily be understood from the circumstances themselves.
For Lucius Metellus who, after I came into Sicily for the sake of prosecuting my injuries, became on a sudden after the arrival of Letilius not only the friend of Verres, but even his relative; because he saw that that census could not possibly stand, ordered that former one to be attended to which had been when that most gallant and upright man, Sextus Peducaeus, was praetor. For at that time there were censors made according to the laws, elected by their cities, in whose case, if they did anything wrong, punishments were appointed by the law. 139But when you were praetor, how could the censor either fear the law, by which he was not bound, since he had not been created by the law; or fear your reproof for having sold what he had bought of you? Let Metellus now detain my witnesses—let him compel others to praise him, as he has attempted in many instances; only let him do what he is doing. For whoever was treated by any one with such insult, with so much ignominy? Every fifth year a census is taken of all Sicily. A census was taken when Peducaeus was praetor. When the five years had elapsed in your praetorship, a census was taken again. The next year Lucius Metellus forbids any mention to be made of your census; he says that censors must be created afresh; and in the meantime he orders the census of Peducaeus to be attended to. If an enemy of yours had done this to you, although the province would have borne it with great equanimity, still it would have seemed the severe decision of an enemy. A new friend, a voluntary relation did it. For he could not do otherwise, if he wished to retain the province in its allegiance, if he wished to live himself in safety in the province
140Are you waiting to see what these men also will decide? If he had deprived you of your office, he would have treated you with less insult, than when he abrogated and annulled the things which you had done in your office. Nor did he behave in this way in that matter alone, but he had done the same in many other matters of the greatest importance, before I arrived in Sicily. For he ordered your friends, the palaestra people, to restore his property to Heraclius the Syracusan, and the people of Bidis to restore his property to Epicrates, and Appius Claudius his to his ward at Drepanum; and, if Letilius had not arrived in Sicily with letters a little too soon, in less than thirty days Metellus would have annulled your whole three years' praetorship.
141And, since I have spoken of that money which the censors paid to you for your statue, it seems to me that I ought not to pass over that method of raising money, which you exacted from the cities on presence of erecting statues. For I see that the sum total of that money is very large, amounting to a hundred and twenty thousand sesterces. This much is proved by the evidence and letters of the cities. And he admits that, and indeed he cannot say otherwise. What sort of conduct then are we to think that which he denies, when these actions which he confesses are so infamous? For what do you wish to be believed? That all that money was spent in statues?—Suppose it was. Still this is by no means to be endured, that the allies should be robbed of so much money, in order that statues of a most infamous robber may be placed in every alley, where it appears scarcely possible to pass in safety.
142But where in the world, or on what statues, was that enormous sum of money spent? It will be spent, you will say. Let us, forsooth, wait for the recurrence of that regular five years. If in this interval he has not spent it then at last we will impeach him for embezzlement in the article of statues. He is brought before the court as a criminal on many most important charges. We see that a hundred and twenty thousand sesterces have been taken on this one account. If you are condemned, you will not, I presume, trouble yourself about having that money spent on statues within five years. If you are acquitted, who will be so insane as to attack you in five years' time on the subject of the statues, after you have escaped from so many and such grave charges? If, therefore, this money has not been spent as yet, and if it is evident that it will not be spent, we may understand that a plan has been found out by which he may take and appropriate to himself a hundred and twenty thousand sesterces at one swoop, and by which others too, if this is sanctioned by you, may take as large sums as ever they please on similar grounds; so that we shall appear not to deter men from taking money, but, as we approve of some methods of taking money, we shall seem rather to be giving decent names to the basest actions. 143In truth, suppose, for example, that Caius Verres had demanded a hundred and twenty thousand sesterces from the people of Centuripa, and had taken this money from them; there would have been no doubt, I conceive, that, if that were proved, he must have been condemned.—What then? Suppose he demanded three hundred thousand sesterces of the same people; and compelled them to give them, and carried them off? Shall he be acquitted because it was entered in the accounts that that money was given for statues? I think not; unless, indeed, our object is to create, not an unwillingness to take money on the part of our magistrates, but a cause for giving it on the part of our allies. But if statues are a great delight to any one, and if any one is greatly attracted by the honour and glory of having them raised to him, still he must lay down these rules; first of all, that he must not take to his own house the money given for those purposes; secondly, that there must be some limit to those statues; and lastly, that at all events they must not be exacted from unwilling people.
144And concerning the embezzlement of the money, I ask of you whether the cities themselves were accustomed to let out contracts for erecting statues to the man who would take the contract on the best terms, or to appoint some surveyor to superintend the erection of the statues, or to pay the money to you, or to any one whom you appointed? For the statues were erected under the superintendence of those men by whom that honour was paid to you—I am glad to hear it; but, if that money was paid to Timarchides, cease I beg of you, to pretend that you were desirous of glory and of monuments when you are detected is so evident a robbery. What then? Is there to be no limit to statues? But there must be. Indeed, consider the matter in this way. 145The city of Syracuse (to speak of that city in preference to others) gave him a statue;—it is an honour: and gave his father one;—a pretty and profitable picture of affection: and gave his son one;—this may be endured, for they did not hate the boy: still how often, and for how many individuals will you take statues from the Syracusans? You accepted one to be placed in the forum. You compelled them to place one in the senate-house. You ordered them to contribute money for those statues which were to be erected at Rome. You ordered that the same men should also contribute as agriculturists, they did so. You ordered the same men also to pay their contribution to the common revenue of Sicily; even that they did also. When one city contributed money on so many different presences, and when the other cities did the same, does not the fact itself warn you to think that some bounds must be put to this covetousness? But if no city did this of its own accord; if all of them only paid you this money for statues because they were induced to do so by your command, by fear, by force, by injury; then, O ye immortal gods, can it be doubtful to any one, that, even if any one were to establish a law, that it was allowable to accept money for statues, still he would also establish one, that at all events it was not allowable to extort it? 146First, therefore, I will cite the whole of Sicily as a witness on this point; and Sicily declares to me with one voice that an immense sum of money was extorted from her by force under the name of providing statues. For the deputations of all the cities, in their common petitions—nearly all of which have arisen from your injuries,—have inserted this demand also; “that they might not for the future promise statues to any one till he had left the province.”
There have been many praetors in Sicily. Often, in the times of our ancestors, the Sicilians have approached the senate; often in the memory of the present generation; but it is your praetorship that has introduced and originated a new kind of petition. 147For what else is so strange, not only in the matter but in the very form of the petition? For other points which occur in the same petitions with reference to your injuries, are indeed novel, but still they are not urged in a novel manner. The Sicilians beg and entreat of the conscript fathers that our magistrates may henceforth sell the tenths according to the law of Hiero. You were the first who had sold them in a way contrary to that law.—That they may not put a money value on the corn which is ordered for the public granary. This, too, is now requested for the first time on account of your three denarii: but that kind of petition is not unprecedented.—That a charge be not taken against any one in his absence. This has arisen from the misfortune of Sthenius, and your tyranny.—I will not enumerate the other points. All the demands of the Sicilians are of such a nature that they look like charges collected against you alone as a criminal. Still all these, though they refer to new injuries, preserve the ordinary form of requests. 148But this request about the statues must seem ridiculous to the man who is not acquainted with the facts and with the meaning of it; for they entreat that they may not be compelled to erect statues;—what then? That they may not be allowed to do so;—what does this mean? Do you request of me not to be allowed to do what it depends on yourself to do or not? Ask rather that no one may compel you to promise a statue, or to erect one against your will. I shall do no good, says he; for they will all deny that they compelled me to do so: if you wish for my preservation, put this violence on me,—that it may be utterly illegal for me to make such a promise. It is from your praetorship that such a request as this has taken its rise; and those who employ it, intimate and openly declare that they, entirely against their will, contributed money for your statues, being compelled by fear and violence. 149Even suppose they did not say this, still, would it not be impossible for you to avoid confessing it? See and consider what defence you are going to adopt; for then you will understand that you must confess this about the statues.
For I am informed that your cause is planned out in this way by your advocates, men of great ingenuity, and that you are instructed and trained by them in this way; that, as each influential and honourable man from the province of Sicily gives an energetic testimony against you, as many of the lending Sicilians have already done to a great extent, you are immediately to say to your defenders, “That man is an enemy of mine because he is an agriculturist. And so, I suppose, you have it in your mind to set aside the class of agriculturists, saving that they have come with a hostile and inimical disposition towards Verres because he was a little strict in collecting the tenths. The agriculturists, then, are all your enemies, all your adversaries. There is not one of them who does not wish you dead. Altogether you are admirably well off, when that order and class of men which is the most virtuous and honourable, by which both the republic in general, and most especially that province upheld, as fixedly hostile to you. 150However, be it so; another time we will consider of the disposition of the agriculturists and of their injuries. For the present I assume, what you grant me, that they are most hostile to you. You say, forsooth, on account of the tenths. I grant that; I do not inquire whether they are enemies with or without reason. What then is the meaning of those gilt equestrian statues which greatly offend the feelings and eyes of the Roman people, near the temple of Vulcan? For I see an inscription on them stating that the agriculturists had presented one of them. If they gave this statue to do you honour, they are not your enemies. Let us believe the witnesses; for then they were consulting your honour, now they are regarding their own consciences. But if they presented the statues under the compulsion of fear, you must confess that you exacted money in the province on account of statues by violence and fear. Choose whichever alternative you like.
151In truth I would willingly now abandon this charge about the statues, to have you admit to me, what would be most honourable to you, that the agriculturists contributed this money for a statue to do you honour, of their own free will. Grant me this. In a moment you cut from under your feet the principal part of your defence. For then you will not be able to say that the agriculturists were angry with and enemies to you. O singular cause; O miserable and ruinous defence; for the defendant, and he too a defendant who has been praetor in Sicily, to be unwilling to receive an admission from his accuser that the agriculturists erected him a statue of their own free will, that they have a good opinion of him, that they are his friends, that they desire his safety! He is afraid of your believing this, for he is overwhelmed with the evidence given against him by the agriculturists. 152I will avail myself of what is granted to me; at all events you must judge that those men, who, as he himself wishes it to be believed, are most hostile to him, did not contribute money for his honour and for his monuments of their own free will. And that this may be most easily understood, ask any one you please of the witnesses whom I shall produce, who are witnesses from Sicily, whether a Roman citizen or a Sicilian, and one too who appears most hostile to you, who says that he has been plundered by you, whether he contributed anything in his own name to the statue? You will not find one man to deny it In truth they all contributed. 153Do you think then that any one will doubt that he who ought to be most hostile to you, who has received the severest injuries from you, paid money on account of a statue to you because he was compelled by violence and authoritative command, not out of kindness and by his own free will? And I have neither counted up, nor been able to count, O judges, the amount of this money, which is very large, and which has been most shamelessly extorted from unwilling men, so as to estimate how much was extorted from agriculturists, how much from traders who trade at Syracuse, at Agrigentum, at Panormus, at Lilybaeum; since you see by even his own confession that it was extorted from most unwilling contributors.
154I come now to the cities of Sicily, in which case it is exceedingly easy to form an opinion of their inclination. Did the Sicilians also contribute against their will? It is not probable. In truth it is evident that Caius Verres so conducted himself during his praetorship in Sicily, that, as he could not satisfy both parties, both the Sicilians and the Romans, he considered rather his duty to our allies, than his ambition, which might have prompted him to gratify the citizens. And therefore I saw him called in an inscription at Syracuse, not only the patron of that island, but also the saviour of it. What a great expression is this! so great that it cannot be expressed by any single Latin word. He in truth is a saviour, who has given salvation. In his name days of festival are kept—that fine Verrean festival—not as if it was the festival of Marcellus, but instead of the Marcellean festival, which they abolished at his command. His triumphal arch is in the forum at Syracuse, on which his son stands, naked; and he himself from horseback looks down on the province which has been stripped bare by himself. His statues are in every place; which seem to show this, that he very nearly erected as many statues at Syracuse as he had taken away from it. And even at Rome we see an inscription in his honour carved at the foot of the statues, in letters of the largest size, “that that were given by the community of Sicily.” Why were they given? How can any one be induced to believe that such great honours were paid to him by people against their will?
155Here, too, you must deliberate and consider even much more than you did in the case of the agriculturists, what you intend. It is an important matter. Do you wish the Sicilians, both in their public and private capacity, to be considered friends to you, or enemies? If enemies, what is to become of you? Whither will you free for refuge? On what will you depend? Just now you repudiated the greater part of the agriculturists, most honourable and wealthy men, both Sicilians and Roman citizens. Now, what will you do about the Sicilian cities? Will you say that the Sicilians are friendly to you? How can you say so? They who (though they have never done such a thing in the instance of any one else before, as to give public evidence against him, even though many men who have been praetors in that province have been condemned, and only two, who have been prosecuted, have been acquitted)—they, I say, who now come with letters, with commissions, with public testimonies against you, while, if they were to utter a panegyric on you in behalf of their state, they would appear to do so according to their usual custom, rather than because of your deserts. When these men make a public complaint of your actions, do they not show this that your injuries have been so great that they preferred to depart from their ancient habit, rather than not speak of your habits? 156You must, therefore, inevitably confess that the Sicilians are hostile to you; since they have addressed to the consuls petitions of the gravest moment directed against you, and have entreated me to undertake this cause, and the advocacy of their safety; since, though they were forbidden to come by the praetor, and hindered by four quaestors, they still have thought every one's threats and every danger insignificant, in comparison with their safety; since at the former pleading they gave their evidence so earnestly and so bitterly, that Hortensius said that Artemo, the deputy of Centuripa, end the witness authorized by the public council there, was an accuser, not a witness. In truth he, together with Andron, a most honourable and trustworthy man, both on account of his virtue and integrity, and also on account of his eloquence, was appointed by his fellow-citizens as their deputy in order that he might be able to explain in the most intelligible and clear manner the numerous and various injuries which they have sustained from Verres.
The people of Halesa, of Catana, of Tyndaris, of Enna, of Herbita, of Agyrium, of Netum, of Segesta, gave evidence also. It is needless to enumerate them all. You know how many gave evidence, and how many things they proved at the former pleading. Now both they and the rest shall give their evidence. 157Every one, in short, shall be made aware of this fact in this cause,—that the feelings of the Sicilians are such, that if that man be not punished, they think that they must leave their habitations and their homes and depart from Sicily, and flee to some distant land. Will you persuade us that these men contributed large sums of money to confer honour and dignity on you of their own free will? I suppose, forsooth, they who did not like you to remain in safety in your own city, wished to have memorials of your person and name in their own cities! The facts show that they wished it. For I have been for some time thinking that I was handling the argument about the inclination of the Sicilians towards you too tenderly, as to whether they were desirous to erect statues to you, or were compelled to do so. 158What man ever lived of whom such a thing was heard as has happened to you, that his statues in his province, erected in the public places, and some of them even in the holy temples, were thrown down by force by the whole population? There have been many guilty magistrates in Asia, many in Africa, many in Spain, in Gaul, in Sardinia, many in Sicily itself, but did we ever hear such a thing as this of any of them? It is an unexampled thing, O judges, a sort of prodigy amazing the Sicilians, and among all the Greeks. I would not have believed that story about the statues, if I had not seen them myself uprooted and lying on the ground; because it is a custom among all the Greeks to think that honours paid to men by monuments of that sort, are, to some extent, consecrated, and under the protection of the gods. 159Therefore, when the Rhodians, almost single-handed, carried on the first war against Mithridates, and withstood all his power and his most vigorous attacks on their walls, and shores, and fleets,—when they, beyond all other nations, were enemies to the king; still, even then, at the time of imminent danger to their city, they did not touch his statue which was among them in the most frequented place in their city. Perhaps there might seem some inconsistency in preserving the effigy and image of the man, when they were striving to overthrow the man himself: but still I saw, when I was among them, that they had a religious feeling in those matters handed down to them from their ancestors, and that they argued in this way;—that as to the statue, they regarded the period when it had been erected; but as to the man, they regarded the fact of his waging war against them, and being an enemy.
You see, therefore, that the custom and religious feeling of the Greeks, which is accustomed to defend the monuments of enemies, even at a time of actual war, could not, even in a time of profound peace, protect the statues of a praetor of the Roman people. 160The men of Tauromenium which is a city in alliance with us, most quiet men, who were formerly as far removed as possible from the injuries of our magistrates, owing to the protection the treaty was to them; yet even they did not hesitate to overturn that man's statue. But when that was removed, they allowed the pedestal to remain in the forum, because they thought it would tell more strongly against him, if men knew that his statue had been thrown down by the Tauromenians, than if they thought that none had ever been erected. The men of Tyndarus threw down his statue in the forum; and for the same reason left the horse without a rider. At Leontini, even in that miserable and desolate city, his statue in the gymnasium was thrown down. For why should I speak of the Syracusans, when that act was not a private act of the Syracusans, but was done by them in common with all their neighbouring allies, and withal most the whole province? How great a multitude, how vast a concourse of men is said to have been present when his statues were pulled down and overturned! But where was this done? In the most frequented and sacred place of the whole city; before Serapis himself, in the very entrance and vestibule of the temple. And if Metellus had not acted with great vigour, and by his authority, and by a positive edict forbidden it, there would not have been a trace of a statue of that man left in all Sicily.
161And I am not afraid of any of these things seeming to have been done in consequence of my arrival, much less in consequence of my instigation. All those things were done, not only before I arrived in Sicily, but before he reached Italy. While I was in Sicily, no statue was thrown down. Hear now what was done after I departed from thence.
The senate of Centuripa decreed, and the people ordered, that the quaestors should issue a contract for taking down whatever statues there were of Caius Verres himself, of his father, and of his son; and that while such demolition was being executed, there should be not less than thirty senators present. Remark the soberness and dignity of that city. They neither chose that those statues should remain in their city which they themselves had given against their will, under the pressure of authority and violence; nor the statues of that man, against whom they themselves (a thing which they never did before) had sent by a public vote commissions and deputies, with the most weighty testimony, to Rome. And they thought that it would be a more important thing if it seemed to have been done by public authority, than by the violence of the multitude. 162When, in pursuance of this design, the people of Centuripa had publicly destroyed his statues, Metellus hears of it. He is very indignant; he summons before him the magistrates of Centuripa and the ten principal citizens. He threatens them with measures of great severity, if they do not replace the statues. They report the matter to the senate. The statues, which could do no good to his cause, are replaced; the decrees of the people of Centuripa, which had been passed concerning the statues, are not taken away. Here I can excuse some of the actors. I cannot at all excuse Metellus, a wise man, if he acts foolishly. What? did he think it would look like a crime in Verres, if his statues were thrown down, a thing which is often done by the wind, or by some accident? There could be in such a fact as that no charge against the man, no reproof of him Whence, then, does the charge and accusation arise? From the intention and will of the people by whom it was caused.
163I, if Metellus had not compelled the men of Centuripa to replace the statues, should say, “See, O judges, what exceeding and bitter indignation the injuries of that man have implanted in the minds of our allies and friends; when that most friendly and faithful city of Centuripa, which is, connected with the Roman people by so many reciprocal good offices, that it has not only always loved our republic, but has also shown its attachment to the very name of Roman in the person of every private individual, has decided by public resolution and by the public authority that the statues of Caius Verres ought not to exist in it.” I should recite the decrees of the people of Centuripa; I should extol that city, as with the greatest truth I might; I should relate that ten thousand of those citizens, the bravest and most faithful of our allies,—that every one of the whole people resolved, that there ought to be no monument of that man in their city. I should say this if Metellus had not replaced the statues. 164I should now wish to ask of Metellus himself, whether by his power and authority he has at all weakened my speech? I think the very same language is still appropriate. For, even if the statues were ever so much thrown down, I could not show them to you on the ground. This only statement could I use, that so wise a city had decided that the statues of Caius Verres ought to be demolished. And this argument Metellus has not taken from me. He has even given me this additional one; he has enabled me to complain, if I thought fit, that authority is exercised over our friends and allies with so much injustice, that, even in the services they do people, they are not allowed to use their own unbiased judgment; he has enabled me to entreat you to form your conjectures, how you suppose Lucius Metellus behaved to me in those matters in which he was able to injure me, when he behaved with such palpable partiality in this one in which he could be no hindrance to me. But I am not angry with Metellus, nor do I wish to rob him of his excuse which he puts forth to every one, that he did nothing spitefully nor with any especial design.
165Now, therefore, it is so evident that you cannot deny it, that no statue was given to you with the good will of any one; no money on account of statues, that was not squeezed out and extorted by force. And, in making that charge, I do not wish that alone to be understood, that you get money to the amount of a hundred and twenty thousand sesterces; but much more do I wish to have this point seen clearly, which was proved at the same time, namely, how great both is and was the hatred borne to you by the agriculturists, and by all the Sicilians. And as to this point, what your defence is to be I cannot guess.— 166“Yes, the Sicilians hate me, because I did a great deal for the sake of the Roman citizens.” But they too are most bitter against you, and most hostile. “I have the Roman citizens for my enemies, because I defended the interests and rights of the allies.” But the allies complain that they were considered and treated by you as enemies. “The agriculturists are hostile to me on account of the tenths.” Well; they who cultivate land untaxed and free from this impost; why do they hate you? why do the men of Halesa, of Centuripa, of Segesta, of Halicya hate you? What race of men, what number of men, what rank of men can you name that does not hate you, whether they be Roman citizens or Sicilians? So that even if I could not give a reason for their hating you, still I should think that the fact ought to be mentioned and that you also O judges, ought to hate the man whom all men hate. 167Will you dare to say, either that the agriculturists, that all the Sicilians, in short, think well of you, or that it has nothing to do with the subject what they think? You will not dare to say this, nor if you were to wish to do so would you be allowed. For those equestrian statues erected by the Sicilians, whom you affect to despise, and by the agriculturists, deprive you of the power of saying that; the statues, I mean, which a little while before you came to the city you ordered to be erected and to have inscriptions put upon them, to serve as a check to the inclinations of all your enemies and accusers. 168For who would be troublesome to you, or who would dare to bring an action against you, when he saw statues erected to you by traders, by agriculturists, by the common voice of all Sicily? What other class of men is there in that province?—None. Therefore he is not only loved, but even honored by the whole province, and also by each separate portion of it, according to their class. Who will dare to touch this man? Can you then say that the evidence of agriculturists, of traders, and of all the Sicilians against you, ought to be no objection to you, when you hoped to be able to extinguish all your unpopularity and infamy by placing their names in an inscription on your statues? Or, if you attempted to add honour to your statues by their authority, shall I not be able to corroborate my argument by the dignity of those same men? 169Unless, perchance, in that matter, some little hope still consoles you, because you were popular among the farmers of the revenues: but I have taken care, through my diligence, that that popularity should not serve,—you have contrived, by your own wisdom, to show that it ought to be, an injury to you. Listen, O judges, to the whole affair in a few words.
In the collecting the tax on pasture lands in Sicily there is a sub-collector of the name of Lucius Carpinatius, who both for the sake of his own profit, and perhaps because he thought it for the interest of his partners, cultivated the favour of Verres to the neglect of everything else. He, while he was attending the praetor about all the markets, and never leaving him, had got into such familiarity with, and aptitude at the practice of selling Verres's decrees and decisions, and managing his other concerns, that he was considered almost a second Timarchides. 170He was in one respect still more important; because he also lent money at usury to those who were purchasing anything of the praetor. And this usury, O judges, was such that even the profit from the other transactions was inferior to the gain obtained by it. For the money which he entered as paid to those with whom he was dealing, he entered also under the name of Verres's secretary, or of Timarchides, or even under Verres's own name, as received from them. And besides that, he lent other large sums belonging to Verres, of which he made no entry at all, in his own name. 171Originally this Carpinatius, before he had become so intimate with Verres, had often written letters to the shareholders about his unjust actions. But Canuleius, who had an agency at Syracuse, in the harbour, had also written accounts to his shareholders of many of Verres's robberies, giving instances, especially, concerning things which had been exported from Syracuse without paying the harbour dues. But the same company was farming both the harbour dues and the taxes on pasture land. And thus it happened that there were many things which we could state and produce against Verres from the letters of that company. 172But it happened that Carpinatius, who had by this time become connected with him by the greatest intimacy, and also by community of interests, afterwards sent frequent letters to his partners, speaking of his exceeding kindness, and of his services to their common property. And in truth, as he was used to do and to decree everything which Carpinatius requested him, Carpinatius also began to write still more flaming accounts to his shareholders, in order, if possible, utterly to efface the recollection of all that he had written before. But at last, when Verres was departing, he sent letters to them, to beg them to go out in crowds to meet him and to give him thanks; and to promise zealously that they would do whatever he desired them. And the shareholders did so, according to the old custom of farmers; not because they thought him deserving of any honour, but because they thought it was for their own interest to be thought to remember kindness, and to be grateful for it. They expressed their thanks to him, and said that Carpinatius had often sent letters to them mentioning his good offices.
173When he had made answer that he had done those things gladly, and had greatly extolled the services of Carpinatius, he charges a friend of his, who at that time was the chief collector of that company, to take care diligently, and to make sure that there was nothing in any of the letters of any of the partners which could tell against his safety and reputation. Accordingly he, having got rid of the main body of the shareholders, summons the collectors of the tenths, and communicates the business to them. They resolve and determine that those letters in which any attack was made on the character of Caius Verres shall be removed, and that care he taken that that business shall not by any possibility be any injury to Caius Verres. 174If I prove that the collectors of the truths passed this resolution,—if I make it evident that, according to this decree, the letters were removed, what more would you wait for? Can I produce to you any affair more absolutely decided? Can I bring before your tribunal any criminal more fully condemned? But condemned by whose judgment? By that, forsooth, of those men whom they who wish for severe tribunals think ought to decide on causes,180by the judgment of the farmers, whom the people is now demanding to have for judges, and concerning whom, that we may have them for judges, we at this moment see a law proposed, not by a man of our body, not by a man born of the equestrian order, not by a man of the noblest birth: 175the collectors of the tenths, that is to say, the chiefs, and, as it were, the senators of the farmers, voted that these letters should be removed out of sight. I have men, who were present, whom I can produce, to whom I will entrust this proof, most honourable and wealthy men, the very chief of the equestrian order, on whose high credit the very speech and cause of the man who has proposed this law mainly relies. They shall come before you; they shall say what they deter mined. Indeed, if I know the men properly, they will not speak falsely For they were able, indeed, to put letters to their community out of sight; they have not been able to put out of sight their own good faith and conscientiousness. Therefore the Roman knights, who condemned you by their judgment, have not been willing to be condemned in the judgment of those judges. Do you now consider whether you prefer to follow their decision or their inclination.
176But see now, how far the zeal of your friends, your own devices, and the inclination of those partners aid you. I will speak a little more openly; for I am not afraid of any one thinking that I am saying this in the spirit of an accuser rather than with proper freedom. If the collectors had not removed those letters according to the resolution of the farmers of the tenths, I could only say against you what I had found in those letters; but now that the resolution has been passed, and the letters have been removed, I may say whatever I can, and the judge may suspect whatever he chooses. I say that you exported from Syracuse an immense weight of gold, of silver, of ivory, of purple; much cloth from Melita, much embroidered stuff, much furniture of Delos, many Corinthian vessels, a great quantity of corn, an immense load of honey; and that on account of these things, because no port dues were paid on them, Lucius Canuleius, who was the agent in the harbour, sent letters to his partners.
Does this appear a sufficiently grave charge? 177None, I think, can be graver. What will Hortensius say in defence? Will he demand that I produce the letters of Canuleius? Will he say that a charge of this sort is worthless unless it be supported by letters? I shall cry out that the letters have been put out of the way; that by a resolution of the shareholders the proofs and evidences of his thefts have been taken from me. He must either contend that this has not been done, or he must bear the brunt of all my weapons. Do you deny that this was done? I am glad to hear that defence. I descend into the arena; for equal terms and an equal contest are before us. I will produce witnesses, and I will produce many at the same time; since they were together when this took place, they shall be together now also. When they are examined, let them be bound not only by the obligation of their oath and regard for their character, but also by a common consciousness of the truth. 178If it be proved that this did take place as I say it did, will you be able to say, O Hortensius, that there was nothing in those letters to hurt Verres? You not only will not say so, but you will not even be able to say this,180that there was not as much in them as I say there was. This then is what you have brought about by your wisdom and by your interest; that, as I said a little while ago, you have given me the greatest licence for accusing, and he judges the most ample liberty to believe anything.
179But though this be the case, still I will invent nothing. I will recollect that I have not taken a criminal to accuse, but that I have received clients to defend; and that you ought to hear the cause not as it might be produced by me, but as it has been brought to me; that I shall satisfy the Sicilians, if I diligently set forth what I have known myself in Sicily, and what I have heard from them; that I shall satisfy the Roman people, if I fear neither the violence nor the influence of any one; that I shall satisfy you, if by my good faith and diligence I give you an opportunity of deciding correctly and honestly; that I shall satisfy myself, if I do not depart a hair's breadth from that course of life which I have proposed to myself. 180Wherefore, you have no ground to fear that I will invent anything against you. You have cause even to be glad; for I shall pass over many things which I know to have been done by you, because they are either too infamous, or scarcely credible. I will only discuss this whole affair of this society. That you may now hear the truth, I will ask, Was such a resolution passed? When I have ascertained that, I will ask, Have the letters been removed? When that too, is proved , you will understand the matter, even if I say nothing. If they who passed this resolution for his sake180namely, the Roman knights180were now also judges in his case, they would beyond all question condemn that man, concerning whom they knew that letters which laid bare his robberies had been sent to themselves, and had been removed by their own resolution. He, therefore, who must have been condemned by those Roman knights who desire everything to turn out for his interest, and who have been most kindly treated by him, can he, O judges, by any possible means or contrivance be acquitted by you? 181And that you may not suppose that those things which have been removed out of the way, and taken from you, were all so carefully hidden, and kept so secretly, that with all the diligence which I am aware is universally expected of me nothing concerning them has been able to be arrived at or discovered, I must tell you that, whatever could by any means or contrivance be found out, has been found out, O judges. You shall see in a moment the man detected in the very act; for as I have spent a great part of my life in attending to the causes of farmers, and have paid great attention to that body, I think that I am sufficiently acquainted with their customs by experience and by intercourse with them.
182Therefore, when I ascertained that the letters of the company were removed out of the way, I made a calculation of the years that that man had been in Sicily; then I inquired (what was exceedingly easy to discover) who during those years had been the collectors of that company,180in whose care the records had been. For I was aware that it was the custom of the collectors who kept the records, when they gave them up to the new collector, to retain copies of the documents themselves. And therefore I went in the first place to Lucius Vibius, a Roman knight, a man of the highest consideration, who, I ascertained, had been collector that very year about which I particularly had to inquire. I came upon the man unexpectedly when he was thinking of other things. I investigated what I could, and inquired into everything. I found only two small books, which had been sent by Lucius Canuleius to the shareholders from the harbour at Syracuse; in which there was entered an account of many months, and of things exported in Verres's name without having paid harbour dues. These I sealed up immediately. 183These were documents of that sort which of all the papers of the company I was most anxious to find; but still I only found enough, O judges, to produce to you as a sample, as it were. But still, whatever is in these books, however unimportant it may seem to be, will at all events be undeniable; and by this you will be able to form your conjectures as to the rest. Read for me, I beg, this first book, and then the other. [The books of Canuleius are read.] I do not ask now whence you got those four hundred jars of honey, or such quantities of Maltese cloth, or fifty cushions for sofas or so many candelabra;180I do not, I say, inquire at present where you got these things; but, how you could want such a quantity of them, that I do ask. I say nothing about the honey; but what could you want with so many Maltese garments? as if you were going to dress all your friends' wives;180or with so many sofa cushions? as if you were going to furnish all their villas.
184As in these little books there are only the accounts of a few months, conjecture in your minds what they must have been for the whole three years. This is what I contend for. From these small books found in the house of one collector of the company, you can form some conjecture how great a robber that man was in that province; what a number of desires, what different ones, what countless ones he indulged; what immense sums he made not only in money, but invested also in articles of this sort; which shall be detailed to you more fully another time. At present listen to this. 185By these exportations, of which the list was read to you, he writes that the shareholders had lost sixty thousand sesterces by the five per cent due on them as harbour dues at Syracuse. In a few months, therefore, as these little insignificant books show, things were stolen by the praetor and exported from one single town of the value of twelve hundred thousand sesterces. Think now, as the island is one which is accessible by sea on all sides, what you can suppose was exported from other places? from Agrigentum, from Lilybaeum, from Panormus, from Thermae, from Halesa, from Catina, from the other towns? And what from Messana? the place which he thought safe for his purpose above all others,180where he was always easy and comfortable in his mind, because he had selected the Mamertines as men to whom he could send everything which was either to be preserved carefully, or exported secretly. After these books had been found, the rest were removed and concealed more carefully; but we, that all men may see that we are acting without any ulterior motive, are content with these books which we have produced.
186Now we will return to the accounts of the society of money received and paid, which they could not possibly remove honestly, and to your friend Carpinatius. We inspected at Syracuse accounts of the company made up by Carpinatius, which showed by many items that many of the men who had paid money to Verres, had borrowed it of Carpinatius. That will be clearer than daylight to you, O judges, when I produce the very men who paid the money; for you will see that the times at which, as they were in danger, they bought themselves off, agree with the records of the company not only as to the years, but even as to the months.
187While we were examining this matter thoroughly, and holding the documents actually in our hands, we see on a sudden erasures of such a sort as to appear to be fresh wounds inflicted on papers. Immediately, having a suspicion of something wrong, we bent our eyes and attention on the names themselves. Money was entered as having been received from Caius Verrutius the son of Caius, in such a way that the letters had been let stand down to the second R, all the rest was an erasure. A second, a third, a fourth180there were a great many names in the same state. As the matter was plain, so also was the abominable and scandalous worthlessness of the accounts. We began to inquire of Carpinatius who that Verrutius was, with whom he had such extensive pecuniary dealings. The man began to hesitate, to look away, to colour. Because there is a provision made by law with respect to the accounts of the farmers, forbidding their being taken to Rome; in order that the matter might be as clear and as completely proved as possible, I summon Carpinatius before the tribunal of Metellus and produce the accounts of the company in the forum. There is a great rush of people to the place; and as the partnership existing between Carpinatius and that praetor, and his usury, were well known, all people were watching with the most eager expectation to see what was contained in the accounts
188I bring the matter before Metellus; I state to him that I have seen the accounts of the shareholders, that in these there is a long account of one Caius Verrutius made up of many items, and that I saw, by a computation of the years and months, that this Verrutius had had no account at all with Carpinatius, either before the arrival of Caius Verres, or after his departure. I demand that Carpinatius shall give me an answer who that Verrutius is; whether he is a merchant, or a broker, or an agriculturist, or a grazier; whether he is in Sicily, or whether he has now left it. All who were in the court cried out at once that there had never been any one in Sicily of the name of Verrutius. I began to press the man to answer me who he was, where he was, whence he came; why the servant of the company who made up the accounts always made a blunder in the name of Verrutius at the same place? 189And I made this demand, not because I thought it of any consequence that he should be compelled to answer me these things against his will, but that the robberies of one, the dishonesty of the other, and the audacity of both might be made evident to all the world. And so I leave him in the court, dumb from fear and the consciousness of his crimes, terrified out of his wits, and almost frightened to death; I take a copy of the accounts in the forum, with a great crowd of men standing round me; the most eminent men in the assembly are employed in making the copy; the letters and the erasures are faithfully copied and imitated, and transferred from the accounts into books.
190The copy was examined and compared with the original with the greatest care and diligence, and then sealed up by most honourable men. If Carpinatius would not answer me then, do you, O Verres, answer me now, who you imagine this Verrutius, who must almost be one of your own family, to be. It is quite impossible that you should not have known a man in your own province, who, I see, was in Sicily while you were praetor, and who, I perceive from the accounts themselves, was a very wealthy man. And now, that this may not be longer in obscurity, advance into the middle, open the volume, the copy of the accounts, so that every one may be able to see now, not the traces only of that man's avarice, but the very bed in which it lay.
191You see the word Verrutius?180You see the first letters untouched? you see the last part of the name, the tail of Verres, smothered in the erasure, as in the mud. The original accounts, O judges, are in exactly the same state as this copy.180What are you waiting for? What more do you want? You, Verres, why are you sitting there? Why do you delay? for either you must show us Verrutius, or confess that you yourself are Verrutius. The ancient orators are extolled, the Crassi and Antonii, because they had the skill to efface the impression made by an accusation with great clearness, and to defend the causes of accused persons with eloquence. It was not, forsooth, in ability only that they surpassed those who are now employed here as counsel, but also in good fortune. No one, in those times, committed such crimes as to leave no room for any defence; no one lived in such a manner that no part of his life was free from the most extreme infamy; no one was detected in such manifest guilt, that, shameless as he had been in the action, he seemed still more shameless if he denied it.
192But now what can Hortensius do? Can he argue against the charges of avarice by panegyrics on his client's economy? He is defending a man thoroughly profligate, thoroughly licentious, thoroughly wicked. Can he lead your attention away from this infamy and profligacy of his, and turn them into some other direction by a mention of his bravery? But a man more inactive, more lazy, one who is more a man among women, a debauched woman among men, cannot be found.180But his manners are affable. Who is more obstinate more rude? more arrogant?180But still all this is without any injury to any one. Who has ever been more furious, more treacherous, and more cruel? With such a defendant and such a cause, what could all the Crassus's and Antonius's in the world do? This is all they would do, as I think, O Hortensius; they would have nothing to do with the cause at all, lest by contact with the impudence of another they might lose their own characters for virtue. For they come to plead causes free and unshackled, so as not, if they did not choose to act shamelessly in defending people, to be thought ungrateful for abandoning them.
- Sicily had two quaestors, one for the western or Lilybaean district, one for the Syracusan.
- This is another pun on the name of Verres, from its similarity in sound to the word verro, I sweep.
- It was forbidden by the Roman Law, as by our own, for the advocates to give evidence against his clients of matters which had come to his knowledge by confidential communication.
- At Rome the praetor urbanus, in the provinces the propraetors and the proconsuls, decided whether there was reason for an action at law, and it they decided that there was, then they assigned judges to try the action.
- The text here is very much disputed, and is probably wholly corrupt. I have endeavoured to give what is certainly the general sense intended to be conveyed, though it can scarcely be extracted from the Latin Graevius reads,...“Si Siculi essent, tum si eorum legibus...” printing it all in large letters, as if they were the words of a decree of Verres.
- He was in fact his son-in-law elect.
- In honour of Quintus Mucius Scaevola, who had been praetor in that province, and had established a high character for lenity and incorruptibility.
- There is a recurrence here to the pun on the word verres, a boar.
- The compromissum was money deposited by both parties as a security for their obeying the decision of the judge, “though the same term was also employed to express the engagement by which parties agreed to settle their differences by arbitration, without the intervention of the praetor.”—Smith, Dict. Ant. p. 530, v. Judex.
- In the month of February, as has been said before, the senate gave audience to the deputies from foreign nations, and these deputies were accustomed to bring rich presents to the senators who favoured their respective nations.
- Hortensius is meant here.
- Bulbus and Stalenus had been judges in the action between Cluentius and Oppianicus, which had been already mentioned, and had been convicted of corruption in that trial.
- The Latin is, “domo ejus emigrat, atque adeo exit, nam jam ante migrarat.” Emigrat has only a simple meaning; exit is said of him who “goes forth without any baggage; he then appeared migrasse when he plundered Sthenius of all his furniture and plate, and removed it to his own house.”—Garaton.
- The Latin word is Venereus: the officers who attended on the Roman magistrate in Sicily were so called from Venus Erycina, who was the patron goddess of all the west of Sicily.
- A “capital charge” at Rome does not necessarily mean one affecting the life of the prisoner, but his status as a free citizen. A charge which involved infamia, disfranchisement, was res capitalis; though as it is impossible to render caput when used in this sense so as to give its accurate meaning, I have been forced occasionally to render it “life.”
- To turn the pen was to erase what had been written “At one end the stilus was sharpened to a point for scratching the characters on the wax, while the other end, being fat and circular served to render the surface of the tablets smooth again, and so to obliterate what had been written. Thus vertere stilum means to erase, and hence to correct”—Smith, Dict. Ant. in v. Stilus.
- I have in some instances translated hospes “friend,” and oftener still “connection,” though either word is far from representing adequately the idea of the Latin hospes, because, as modern manners are unacquainted with the usage, modern languages have no word to express it.
- The original puns on the resemblance between caelum, “heaven,” and caelatum, “carved” or “chased.”
- Athenio was a Cilician slave who had headed a revolt of slaves in Sicily, A.U.C. 650. He was at last defeated and slain by the consul Aquilius, A.U.C. 651.
- See the note on the next oration, “De Re Frumentaria,” for an explanation of this; and on points connected with the topic of corn, and the societas of the publicani, see the Argument of the next oration.
- The foederatae civitates were those states which were connected with Rome by a treaty, foedus. The name did not include Roman colonies, or Latin colonies, or any place which had obtained the Roman civitas. They were independent states, yet under a general liability to furnish a contingent for the Roman army; they were nearly all confined within the limits of Italy, though Gades, Saguntum and Massilia were exceptions, as well as Tauromenium. Vide Smith, Dict. Ant. p. 427.
- This is said of the officers of the court who have the account in their keeping during the trial.