Against Verres

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Against Verres
by Marcus Tullius Cicero, translated by C. D. Yonge
Translated in 1903


In 70 BC Cicero, who had served as quaestor in Sicily five years previously, was commissioned by the Sicilians to prosecute the island's former governor, Gaius Verres, for corruption. First he had to fight for the right to deliver the prosecution instead of Quintus Caecilius Niger, a client of Verres who would likely have neutered the case against him. Verres was defended by the eminent orator Quintus Hortensius, who intended to use procedure to spin the trial out until an upcoming public holiday in the hope of securing a more sympathetic judge, but Cicero prevented this by delivering a quick and damning summary of his evidence rather than the lengthy speeches he had drafted. Hortensius was unable to make a defence, and Verres went into exile rather than wait for the verdict. Cicero later published the speeches he would have delivered in five books.