Against Verres/Second pleading/Book 5
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1I see, O judges, that it is not doubtful to any one of you that Caius Verres most openly plundered everything in Sicily, whether sacred or profane, whether private or public property; and that, not only without the slightest scruple, but without even the very least disguise, he practiced every possible description of robbery and plunder. But a very heightened and pompous defence of him is put forward in reply to me, which I must consider very carefully beforehand, O judges, how I am to resist. For his cause is stated in this way; that by his valour, and by his singular vigilance exerted at a critical and perilous time, the province of Sicily was preserved in safety from fugitive slaves, and from the dangers of war. 2What am I to do, O judges? In what way am I to shape my accusation? which way am I to turn? For to all my attacks the appellation of a gallant general is opposed, as a wall of defence. I am acquainted with the topic;—I see how Hortensius is going to boast himself. He will dilate upon the dangers of the war, the critical time of the republic, the scarcity of able generals; and that he will entreat of you, he will even claim as a right belonging to himself, that you do not suffer so great a general to be taken from the Roman people through the evidence of the Sicilians; that you do not allow his glory as a general to be overclouded by accusations of avarice. 3I cannot dissemble my alarm, O judges; I am afraid that Caius Verres, on account of this amazing warlike valour of his, may escape with impunity from the consequences of all his actions. For it occurs to me, what great influence, what exceeding authority, the oration of Marcus Antonius was supposed to have had at the trial of Marcus Aquillius; who, as he was not only skillful as an orator, but bold also, when he had nearly finished his speech, took hold of Marcus Aquillius and placed him in the sight of every one, and tore his robe away from his chest, in order that the Roman people and the judges might see his scars, all received in front; and at the same time he enlarged a good deal on that wound which he had received on his head from the general of the enemy; and worked up the men who were to judge in the cause to such a pitch, that they were greatly afraid lest the man whom fortune had saved from the weapons of the enemy, and who had not spared himself, should appear to have been saved not to receive praise from the Roman people, but to endure the cruelty of the judges. Now again this same plan and method of defence is to be tried by the opposite party. 4The same object is aimed at. He may be a thief, he may be a robber of temples, he may he the very chief man in every sort of vice and criminality; but he is a gallant general and a fortunate one, and he must be preserved for the critical emergencies of the republic.
I will not plead against you according to strict law; I will not urge that point, which perhaps I ought to carry if I did, that as this trial is appointed to take place according to a particular formula, the point that required to be proved by you, is not what gallant exploits you may have performed in war, but how you have kept your hands from other people's money,—I will not, I say, urge this; but I will ask, as I perceive you are desirous that I should, what has been your conduct and what have been your great exploits in war.
5What will you say? That in the war of the runaway slaves Sicily was delivered by your valour? It is a great praise; a very honourable boast. But in what war? For we have understood that after that war which Marcus Aquillius finished, there has been no war of fugitive slaves in Sicily. Oh! but there was in Italy. I admit that; a great and formidable war. Do you then attempt to claim for yourself any part of the credit arising from that war? Do you think that you are to share any of the glory of that victory with Marcus Crassus or Cnaeus Pompeius? I do not suppose that even this will be too great a stretch for your impudence, to venture to say something of that sort. You, forsooth, hindered any part of the forces of these slaves from passing over from Italy into Sicily? Where? When? From what part of Italy, as they never attempted to approach Sicily in any ships or vessels of any sort? For we never heard anything whatever of such an attempt; but we have heard that care was taken, by the courage and prudence of Marcus Crassus, that most valiant man, that the runaways should not make boats so as to be able to cross the strait to Messana; an attempt from which it would not have been so important to have cut them off, if there were supposed to have been any forces in Sicily able to oppose their invasion. 6But though there was war in Italy so close to Sicily, still it never came into Sicily. Where is the wonder? for when it existed in Sicily, at exactly the same distance from Italy, no part of it reached Italy.
What has the proximity of the countries to do with either side of the argument in discussing this topic? Will you say that access was very easy to the enemy, or that the contagion and temptation of imitating that war was a dangerous one? Every access to the island was not only difficult to, but was entirely cut off from men who had no ships; so that it was more easy for those men, to whom you say that Sicily was so near, to go to the shore of the ocean than to Cape Pelorus. 7But as for the contagious nature to that servile war, why is it spoken of by you more than by all the rest of the officers who were governors of the other provinces? Is it because before that time there had been wars of runaway slaves in Sicily? But that is the very cause why that province is now and has been in the least danger. For ever since Marcus Aquillius left it all the regulations and edicts of the praetors have been to this effect, that no slave should ever be seen with a weapon. What I am going to mention is an old story, and one, probably, owing to the severity of the example, not unknown to any one of you. They tell a story that Lucius Domitius was praetor in Sicily, and that an immense boar was brought to him; that he, marveling at the size of the beast, asked who had killed it. When he was told that it was such-an-one's shepherd, he ordered him to be summoned before him; that the shepherd came eagerly to the praetor, expecting praise and reward; that Domitius asked him how he had slain so huge a beast; that he answered “With a hunting spear;” and that he was instantly crucified by order of the praetor. This may, perhaps, appear harsh: I say nothing either way; all that I understand from the story is, that Domitius preferred to appear cruel in punishing, to seeming negligent in overlooking offences.
8Therefore, while these were the established regulations of the province, Caius Norbanus, a man neither very active nor very valiant, was at perfect ease, at the very moment that all Italy was raging with the servile war. For at that time Sicily easily took care of itself, so that no war could possibly arise there. In truth, as no two things are so closely united as the traders are with the Sicilians, by habit, by interest, by reason, and by community of sentiment; and as the Sicilians have all their affairs in such a state that it is most desirable for them to be at peace; and as they are so attached to the sway of the Roman people that they would be very sorry that its power should be diminished or altered; and as ever since the servile war all such dangers as these have been provided for, both by the regulations of the praetors, and by the discipline of the masters; there is no conceivable domestic evil which can arise out of the province itself. 9What then do you say? Were there no disturbances of slaves in Sicily while Verres was praetor? Are no conspiracies said to have taken place? None at all that have ever come to the knowledge of the senate and people of Rome; none which that man has thought worth writing public despatches to Rome about; and yet I do suspect that the body of slaves had begun to be less orderly in some parts of Sicily; and I infer that, not so much from any overt act, as from the actions and decrees of Verres. And see with how little of a hostile feeling I am going to conduct this case. I myself will mention and bring forward the things which he wishes to have mentioned, and which as yet you have never heard of. 10In the district of Triocala, a place which the fugitive slaves had occupied before, the family of a certain Sicilian called Leonidas was implicated in suspicion of a conspiracy. Information of the matter was laid before Verres. Immediately, as was natural, by his command, the men who had been named were arrested and taken to Lilybaeum. Their master was summoned to appear, and after the case had been heard they were condemned.
What happened afterwards? What do you suppose? Perhaps you expect to hear of some robbery or plunder;—do not look on all occasions for the same things—when a man is in fear of war, what room is there for petty thefts? However, even if there was any opportunity for such a thing in this matter, it was overlooked. Perhaps he could have got some money out of Leonidas when he summoned him to appear. There was besides room for bargaining, (and that was an opportunity that he was not new to,) to get the cause adjourned; and a second chance, to get the slaves acquitted. But when the slaves had been condemned, what opportunity of plundering could there be? They must be brought up for punishment. For there were the witnesses who were sitting on the bench; the public records were witnesses; that most splendid city of Lilybaeum was a witness; that most honourable and numerous assembly of Roman citizens was a witness. Nothing can be done; they must be brought up. Accordingly, they are brought up, and fastened to the stake. 11Even now, O judges, you seem to me to be waiting to see what happened next; because that man never did anything without some gain and some booty. What could be done in such a case? What is profitable? Expect then to hear of some crime as infamous as you please; but I will outdo all your expectation. The men who had been convicted of wickedness and conspiracy, who had been delivered up for punishment, who had been bound to the stake, on a sudden, in the sight of many thousands of men, are unbound and restored to Leonidas their master. What can you say on this topic, O most insane of men? except, indeed, that which I do not ask you; what, in short, in so nefarious a business, although there can be no doubt about it, still, even if there were a doubt, ought not to be asked; namely, what or how much money you took to release them, and how you managed it. I give up the whole of this to you; and I release you from this anxiety; for I am not afraid of any one believing that you, without any payment, undertook an action which no man in the world except you could have been induced to undertake by any sum of money whatever. But about that system of thieving and plundering of yours I say nothing;—what I am now discussing is your renown as a general.
12What do you say, O you admirable guardian and defender of the province? Did you dare to snatch from the very jaws of death and to release slaves whom you had decided were eager to take arms and to make war in Sicily, and whom in accordance with the opinion of your colleagues on the bench you had sentenced, after they had been already delivered up to punishment after the manner of our ancestors and had been bound to the stake, in order to reserve for Roman citizens the cross which you had erected for condemned slaves? Ruined cities, when their affairs are all desperate, are often accustomed to these disastrous scenes, to have those who have been condemned restored to their original position; those who have been bound, released; those who have been banished, restored; decisions which have been given, rescinded. And when such events take place, there is no one who is not aware that that state is hastening to its fall. When such things take place, there is no one who thinks that there is any hope of safety left. 13And whenever these things do take place, their effect has been to cause popular or high-born men to be relieved from punishment or exile; still, not by the very men who have passed the sentences; still, not instantly; still, not if they have been convicted of those crimes which affected the lives and property of all the citizens. Still this is an utterly unprecedented step, and of such a character as to appear credible rather from consideration of who the criminal is, than from consideration of the case itself That a man should have released slaves; that that very man who had sentenced them should release them; that he should release them, in a moment, out of the very jaws of death, that he should release slaves convicted of a crime which affected the life and existence of every free man— 14O splendid general, not to be compared now to Marcus Aquillius, a most valiant man, but to the Paulli, the Scipios, and the Marii! That a man should have had such foresight at a time of such alarm and danger to the province! As he saw that the minds of all the slaves in Sicily were in an unsettled state on account of the war of the runaway slaves in Italy, what was the great terror he struck into them to prevent any one's daring to stir? He ordered them to be arrested—who would not he alarmed? He ordered their masters to plead their cause—what could be so terrible to slaves? He pronounced “That they appeared to have done....” He seems to have extinguished the rising flame by the pain and death of a few. What follows next? Scourgings, and burnings, and all those extreme agonies which are part of the punishment of condemned criminals, and which strike terror into the rest, torture and the cross? From all these punishments they are released. Who can doubt that he must have overwhelmed the minds of the slaves with the most abject fear, when they saw a praetor so good-natured as to allow the lives of men condemned of wickedness and conspiracy to be redeemed from punishment, the very executioner acting as the go-between to negotiate the terms?
15What more? Did you not act in the same manner in the case of Aristodemus of Apollonia, and in that of Leon of Megara? What more? Did that unquiet state of the slaves, and that sudden suspicion of war, inspire you with any additional diligence in guarding the province, or with a new plan for acquiring most scandalous gain? When at your instigation the steward of Eumenides of Halicya, a highborn and honourable man of great wealth, was accused of some crime, you got sixty thousand sesterces from his master, and he lately explained to us, as a witness on his oath, how you managed it. From Caius Matrinius, a Roman knight, you took in his absence, while he was at Rome, a hundred thousand sesterces, because you said that his stewards and shepherds had fallen under suspicion. Lucius Flavius, the agent of Caius Matrinius, who paid you that money, deposed to this fact; Caius Matrinius himself made the same statement, and that most illustrious man, Cnaeus Lentulus the censor, who quite recently has both sent letters to you himself, and has procured others to be sent to you for the purpose of doing honour to Caius Matrinius, will prove the same thing. 16What more? Is it possible to pass over the case of Apollonius, the son of Diocles, a Panormitan, whose surname is Geminus? Can anything be mentioned which is more notorious in the whole of Sicily? anything which is more scandalous? anything which is more fully proved? This man Verres, as soon as he came to Panormus, ordered to be summoned before him, and to be cited before his tribunal, in the presence of a great number of the Roman settlers in that city. Men immediately began to talk; to wonder how it was that Apollonius, a wealthy man, had so long remained free from his attacks. “He has devised some plan; he has brought some charge against him; a rich man is not summoned in a hurry by Verres without some object.” All are in the greatest state of anxiety to see what is to happen, when on a sudden Apollonius himself runs up, out of breath, with his young son; for his father, a very old man, had been for some time confined to his bed. 17Verres names one of his slaves, who he said was the manager of his flocks; says that he has formed a conspiracy, and excited slaves in other households. He had actually no such slave in his family at all. He orders him to be produced instantly. Apollonius asserts that he has no slave whatever of that name. Verres orders the man to be hurried from the tribunal, and to be cast into prison. He began to cry out, while he was being hurried off, that the, unhappy man that he was, had done nothing; had committed no offence; that his money was all out at loan, that ready money he had none. While he kept making these declarations in a very numerous assembly of people, so that every one could understand that he was treated with this bitter injustice and violence because he had not given Verres money,—while, I say, he kept making these statements about his money at the top of his voice, he was thrown into prison.
18See now the consistency of the praetor, and of that praetor who, now being on his trial, is not defended as a tolerable praetor, but is extolled as an admirable general. While a war of slaves was dreaded, he released condemned slaves from the same punishment which he inflicted on their masters who were not condemned. He threw into prison, under pretense of a servile war, without a trial, Apollonius, a most wealthy man, who if the runaway slaves had kindled a war in Sicily would have lost a most magnificent fortune: the slaves whom he himself, with the agreement of his assessors, decided had conspired together for the purpose of war, those, without the consent of his assessors, of his own accord, he released from all punishment. 19What more shall I say? If anything was done by Apollonius to justify his being punished, shall we conduct this affair in such a manner as to impute it as a crime to the defendant, as to seek to excite ill-feeling against him, if he has judged a man rather too harshly? I will not act in so bitter a spirit. I will not adopt the usual method of accusers, so as to disparage anything which may have been done mercifully, as having been so done out of indifference; or, if anything has been punished with severity, so as to pervert that into a charge of cruelty—I will not act on that system. I will follow your decisions; I will defend your authority as long as you choose; when you yourself begin to rescind your own decrees, then cease to be angry with me, for I will contend, as I have a right to do, that he who has been condemned by his own decision ought to be condemned by the decisions of judges on their oaths. 20I will not defend the cause of Apollonius, my own friend and connection, lest I should seem to be rescinding your decision; I will say nothing of the economy, of the virtue, of the industry of the man; I will even pass over that which I have mentioned before, that his fortune was invested in such a manner, in slaves, in cattle, in country houses, in money out at loan, that there was no man to whom it would be more injurious for there to be any disturbance or war in Sicily; I will not even say this, that if Apollonius were ever so much in fault, still an honorable man of a most honorable city ought not to have been so severely punished without a trial. 21I will not seek to excite any odium against you, not even out of the circumstances that, while such a man was lying in prison, in darkness, in dirt and filth, all permission to visit him was refused by your tyrannical prohibition to his aged father, and to his youthful son. I will even pass over this, that every time that you came to Panormus during that eighteen months, (for all that time was Apollonius kept in prison,) the senate of Panormus came to you as suppliants, with the public magistrates and priests, praying and entreating you to release some time or other that miserable and innocent man from that cruel treatment. I will omit all these statements; though, were I to choose to follow them up, I could easily show by your cruelty towards others, that every channel of mercy from the judges to yourself has been long since blocked up.
22All those topics I will abandon, I will spare you them. For I know beforehand what Hortensius will say in your defense. He will confess that with Verres neither the old age of Apollonius' father, nor the youth of his son, nor the tears of both, had more influence than the advantage and safety of the republic. He will say that the affairs of the republic cannot be administered without terror and severity; he will ask why the fasces are borne before the praetors, why the axes are given to them, why prisons have been built, why so many punishments have been established against the wicked by the usage of our ancestors. And when he has said all this with becoming gravity and sternness, I will ask him why Verres all of a sudden ordered this same Apollonius to be released from prison, without any fresh circumstances having been brought to light, without any defense having been made, or any trial having taken place? And I will affirm that there is so much suspicion attached to this charge, that, without any arguments of mine, I will allow the judges to form their own opinion as to what a system of plundering this was, how infamous, how scandalous, and what an immense and boundless field it opens for inordinate gain. 23For first of all consider for a moment how many and how grievous were the evils which that man inflicted on Apollonius; and then calculate them and estimate them by money. You will find that they were all so continued in the case of this one wealthy man, as by their example to cause a fear of similar suffering and danger to all others. In the first place, there was a sudden accusation of a capital and detestable crime; judge what you think this worth, and how many have bought themselves off from such charges. In the next place, there is an accusation without an accuser, a sentence without any bench of judges, a condemnation without any defense having been made. Estimate the money to be got by all these transactions, and then suppose that Apollonius alone was an actual victim to these atrocities, but that all the rest, as many as they were, delivered themselves from these sufferings by money. Lastly, there were darkness, chains, imprisonment, punishment within the prison, seclusion from the sight of his parents and of his children, a denial of the free air and common light of heaven; but these things, which a man might freely give his life to escape, I am unable to estimate by the standard of money. 24From all these things did Apollonius after a long time ransom himself, when he was worn out with suffering and misery; but still he taught the rest to meet that man's wickedness and avarice beforehand. Unless you think that a wealthy man was selected for so incredible an accusation without any object of gain; or that, again, he was on a sudden released from prison without any corresponding reason; or that this method of plundering was used and tried in the case of that man alone, and that terror was not, by means of his example, held out to and struck into every rich man in Sicily.
25I wish, O judges, to be prompted by him, since I am speaking of his military renown, if by accident I pass over anything. For I seem to myself to have spoken of all his exploits which are connected with his suspicion of a servile war; at all events I have not omitted anything intentionally. You are in possession of the man's wisdom, and diligence, and vigilance; and of his guardianship and defense of the province. The main thing is, as there are many classes of generals, for you to know to what class he belongs. But that, in the present dearth of brave men, you may not be ignorant of such a commander as he is, know,—I beg you, O judges, to be aware, that his is not the wisdom of Quintus Maximus, nor the promptness of action belonging to that great man the elder Africanus, nor the singular prudence of the Africanus of later times, nor the method and discipline of Paulus Aemilius, nor the vigor and courage of Gaius Marcus; but that he is to be esteemed and taken care of as belonging to quite a different class of generals. 26In the first place, see how easy and pleasant to himself Verres by his own ingenuity and wisdom made the labor of marches, which is a labor of the greatest importance in all military affairs, and most especially necessary in Sicily. First, in the winter season he devises for himself this admirable remedy against the severity of the cold and the violence of storms and floods; he selected the city of Syracuse, the situation of which and the nature of its soil and atmosphere are said to be such that there never yet was a day of such violent and turbulent storms, that men could not see the sun at some time or other in the day. Here that gallant general was quartered in the winter months, so securely that it was not easy to see him, I will not say out of the house, but even out of bed. So the shortness of the day was consumed in banquets, the length of the night in adulteries and debaucheries. 27But when it began to be spring (the beginning of which he was not used to dating from the west wind, or from any star, but he thought that spring was beginning when be had seen the rose) then he devoted himself to labor and to marches; and in these he proved himself so patient and active that no one ever once saw him sitting on a horse.
For, as was the custom of the kings of Bithynia, he was borne on a litter carried by eight men, in which was a cushion, very beautiful, of Melitan manufacture, stuffed with roses. And he himself had one chaplet on his head, another on his neck, and kept putting a network bag to his nose, made of the finest thread, with minute interstices, full of roses. Having performed his march in this manner, when he came to any town he was carried in the same litter up to his chamber. Thither came the magistrates of the Sicilians, thither came the Roman knights, as you have heard many of them state on their oaths; there disputes were secretly communicated to him; and from thence, a little while afterwards, decrees were openly brought down. Then, when for a while he had dispensed the laws for bribery, and not out of considerations of justice, he thought that now the rest of his time was due to Venus and to Bacchus. And when speaking of this, I must not omit the admirable and singular diligence of this great general. For know that there is no town in all Sicily of those in which the praetors are accustomed to stay and hold their court, in which there was not some woman selected for him out of some respectable family, to gratify his lust. Some of them were even openly present at his banquets. If there were some a little modest, they used to come at the proper time, and avoided the light of day, and the crowd. And these banquets were celebrated, not with the orderly silence of the banquets of praetors and generals of the Roman people, nor with that modesty which is usually found at the entertainments of magistrates, but with the most excessive noise and license of conversation-sometimes even affairs proceeded to blows and fighting. For that strict and diligent praetor, who had never obeyed the laws of the Roman people, observed most carefully those rules which are laid down for drinking parties. And accordingly the ends of these banquets were such that men were often carried out from the feast as from a battle; others were left on the ground as dead; numbers lay prostrate without sense or feeling, so that anyone who beheld the scene would have supposed that he was looking not on a banquet of a praetor, but on the battle of Cannae.
But when the middle of summer began to be felt, the time that all the praetors in Sicily have been accustomed to devote to their journeys, because they think that the best time for travelling over the province is when the grain is on the threshing-floor, because at that time all the members of a household are collected together, and the number of a person's slaves is seen, and the work that is done is most easily observed; the abundance of the harvest invites travel and the season of the year is no obstacle to it; then, I say, when all other praetors are used to travel about, that general of a new sort pitched himself a permanent camp in the most beautiful spot in Syracuse. For at the very entrance and mouth of the harbor, where first the bay begins to curve from the shore of the open sea towards the city, he pitched tents of fine linen curtains; thither he migrated from the praetorian palace which had belonged to King Hiero, and lived here so that during the whole summer no one ever saw him out of his tent. And to that tent no one had access unless he was either a boon companion, or a minister of his lust. Hither came all the women with whom he had any intrigue, and of these it is incredible how great a number there was at Syracuse. Hither came men worthy of that man's friendship, worthy associates in that course of life and those banquets. Among such men and such women as these, his son, now grown up, spent his time; in order that if nature removed him at all from the likeness to his father, still use and constant training might make him resemble him. That Tertia whom I have spoken of before, having been tempted by trick and artifice to leave her Rhodian flute-player and to come hither, is reported to have caused great disturbance in that camp; as the wife of Cleomenes the Syracusan, a woman of noble birth, and the wife of Aeschrio, a woman of very respectable patronage, were very indignant that the daughter of Isidorus the buffoon should be admitted into their company. But that Hannibal, who thought that in his camp there ought to be no rivalry of birth, but only of merit, was so much in love with this Tertia, that he carried her with him out of the province.
And all that time, while that man, clad in a purple cloak and a tunic reaching to his ankles, was revelling in banquets with women, men were not offended, nor in the least vexed that the magistrate was absent from the forum, that the laws were not administered, that the courts of justice were not held; that all that shore resounded with women's vices, and music and songs. They were not, I say, at all vexed at there being a total silence in the forum, no pleading, and no law. For it was not law or the court of justice that seemed to be absent from the forum, but violence and cruelty, and the bitter and shameful robbery of good men. Do you then, Hortensius, defend this man on the ground of his having been a general? Do you endeavor to conceal his thefts, his rapine, his cupidity, his cruelty, his pride, his wickedness, his audacity, by dwelling on the greatness of his exploits and his renown as a commander? No doubt I have cause to fear here, that at the end of your defense you may have recourse to the old conduct of Antonius, and to his mode of ending a speech; that Verres may be brought forward, his breast bared, that the Roman people may see his scars, inflicted by the bites of women, traces of lust and profligacy. May the gods grant that you may venture to make mention of military affairs and of war. For all his ancient military service shall be made known, in order that you may be aware, not only what he has been as a commander, but also how he behaved as a soldier in his campaigns. That first campaign of his shall be brought up again, in which he was, as he says himself, subservient to others, not their master. The camp of that gambler of Placentia shall be brought up again, where, though he was assiduous in his attendance, he still lost his pay. Many of his losses in his campaigns shall be recounted, which were made up for and retrieved by the most infamous expedients. But afterwards, when he had become hardened by a long course of such infamy,—when he had sated others, not himself,—why need I relate what sort of man he turned out? what carefully guarded defenses of modesty and chastity he broke down by violence and audacity? or why should I connect the disgrace of anyone else with his profligacy? I will not do so, O judges. I will pass over all old stories; I will only mention two recent achievements of his, without fixing infamy on anyone else; and by those you will be able to conjecture the rest. One of them is, that it was so notorious to everyone, that during the consulship of Lucius Lucullus and Marcus Cotta, no one ever came up from any municipal town to Rome on any law business, who was so ill-informed of what was going on as not to know that all the laws of the Roman people were regulated by the will and pleasure of Chelidon the prostitute. The other is that, after he had left the city in the robe of war,—after he had pronounced the solemn vows for the success of his administration, and for the common welfare of the republic, he was accustomed, for the sake of committing adultery, to be brought back into the city, at night, in a litter, to a woman who, though the wife of one man, was common to all men, contrary to law, contrary to what was required by the auspices, contrary to everything which is held sacred among gods and men.
O ye immortal gods! what a difference is there between the minds and ideas of men! So may your good opinion and that of the Roman people approve of my intentions, and sanction my hopes for the rest of my life, as I have received those offices with which the Roman people has as yet entrusted me with the feeling that I was bound to a conscientious discharge of every possible duty. I was appointed quaestor with the feeling that that honor was not given to me so much as lent and entrusted to me. I obtained the quaestorship in the province of Sicily, and considered that every man's eyes were turned upon me alone. So that I thought that I and my quaestorship were being exhibited on some theatre open to the whole world; so that I denied myself all those things which seem to be indulgences, not merely to those irregular passions, but even those which are coveted by nature itself and by necessity. Now I am aedile elect, I consider what it is that I have received from the Roman people; I consider that I am bound to celebrate holy games with the most solemn ceremonies to Ceres, to Bacchus, and to Libera; that I am bound to render Flora propitious to the Roman nation and people by the splendor of her games; that it is my office to celebrate those most ancient games, which were the first that were ever called Roman games, with the greatest dignity and with all possible religious observance, in honor of Juno, Jupiter, and Minerva; that the charge of protecting all the sacred buildings and the whole city is entrusted to me; that as a recompense for all that labor and anxiety these honors are granted to me,—an honorable precedence in delivering my opinion in the senate; a toga praetexta; a curule chair; a right of transmitting my image to the recollection of my posterity. I wish, O judges, that all the gods may be propitious to me, as I do not receive by any means so much pleasure from all these things, (though the honors conferred on me by the people are most acceptable to me,) as I feel anxiety, and as I will take pains, that this aedileship may not seem to have been given to some one of the candidates, because it could not be helped, but to have been conferred on me because it was proper that it should be, and to have been conferred by the deliberate judgment of the people.
You, when you were appointed praetor, by whatever means it was brought about,—for I leave out and pass over everything that was done at that time,—but when you were appointed, as I have said, were you not roused by the very voice of the crier, who made such frequent announcements that you had been invested with that honor by the centimes of the seniors and juniors, to think that some part of the republic had been entrusted to you? that for that one year you must do without the house of a prostitute? When it fell to you by lot to preside in the court of justice, did you never consider what an important affair, what a burden you had imposed on you? Did it never once occur to you, if by any chance you were able to awaken yourself, that that province, which it was difficult for a man to administer properly even if endowed with the greatest wisdom and the greatest integrity, had fallen to the lot of the greatest stupidity and worthlessness? Therefore, you were not only unwilling to drive Chelidon from your house during your praetorship, but you even transported your whole praetorship to Chelidon's house. The province followed; in which it never occurred to you that the fasces and axes, and such absolute authority, and such dignity, and every sort of decoration, was not given to you in order, by the power and authority derived from these things, to break down all the barriers of law and modesty and duty, and to consider every man's property as your own booty; so that no man's estate could be safe, no man's house closed; no man's life protected, no woman's chastity fortified, against your cupidity and audacity; in which you behaved yourself in such a way that, being detected in everything, you take refuge in an imaginary war of runaway slaves; by which you now perceive, that not only no defense is procured for you, but that an immense body of accusations is raised up against you; unless, indeed, you are going to speak of the relics of the war in Italy, and the disaster of Temsa. But when your fortune recently conducted you to that place, at a most seasonable time, if you had any courage, or any energy, you were found to be the same man that you had ever been.
When the men of Valentia had come to you, and when a noble and an eloquent man, Marcus Marius, was addressing you on their behalf, begging you to undertake the business, and, as the power and the name of praetor belonged to you, to act as their chief and leader in extinguishing that small band that was at Temsa, you not only shunned that task, but at that very time, while you were on the shore, that dear Tertia of yours, whom you were carrying with you, was there in the sight of all men. And to the deputies from Valentia, such an illustrious and noble municipality, you gave no answer at all in matters of such moment, while you were still in your dark-colored tunic and cloak. What can you, O judges, suppose that this man did while on his journey? what can you suppose he did in the province itself? who, when he was on his way from his province, not to celebrate a triumph, but to be put on his trial, did not avoid a scandal which could not have been accompanied by any pleasure. Oh! the noble murmur of the crowd in the temple of Bellona! You recollect, O judges, when it was getting towards evening, and when mention had been made a short time before of this disaster at Temsa, when no one was found who could be sent into those districts with a military command, that someone said that Verres was not far from Temsa. You recollect how universally everyone murmured; how openly the chief men repudiated the suggestion. And does the man who has been convicted of so many accusations by so many witnesses, now place any hope in the votes of those judges, who have already openly condemned him, even before his cause was heard?
Be it so. He has gained no credit either from any war of the runaway slaves, or from the suspicion of such a war; because there has neither been any such war, nor danger of any such war in Sicily; nor were any precautions taken by him to prevent such a war. But, at all events, against any war of pirates he had a fleet well equipped, and he exhibited extraordinary energy in that matter. And, therefore, while he was praetor, the province was admirably defended. I will speak of the war with the pirates, and of the Sicilian fleet, when I have first of all solemnly stated, that with respect to this matter alone, he committed all his most enormous crimes,—crimes of avarice, of treason, of insanity, of lust and of cruelty. I beg of you to give your most diligent attention, as you have hitherto given it, while I briefly detail the events that took place. In the first place, I say, that the naval affairs were managed, not with the view of defending the province, but of acquiring money under pretense of providing a fleet. Though this had been the custom of former praetors, to impose a contribution of ships and of a fixed number of sailors and soldiers on each city, yet you imposed no contribution on the very important and wealthy city of the Mamertines. What money the Mamertines gave you secretly for that indulgence, will be seen hereafter; we will ascertain that from their own letters and witnesses. But I assert, that a merchant vessel of the largest size, like a trireme, very beautiful, and highly ornamented, was openly built at the public expense, with the knowledge of all Sicily, and given and presented to you by the magistrates and senate of the Mamertines. This ship, laden with Sicilian booty, itself being also a part of that booty, put into Velia, at the same time that he himself left the province, laden with many articles, and especially with such as he did not like to send to Rome along with the rest of the fruits of his robberies before he arrived himself, because they were the most valuable, and those which he was most fond of. I myself have lately seen that vessel at Velia, O judges, and many other men have seen it too; a very beautiful and highly ornamented ship, which, indeed, seemed to all who beheld her, to be now looking for the banishment, and to be waiting for the departure of her owner.
What answer will you make to me now? Unless, perhaps, you say what, although it cannot possibly be admitted as an excuse, yet must be urged in a trial for extortion, that that ship was built with your own money. Dare, at least, to say this which is necessary. Do not be afraid, Hortensius, of my asking how it became lawful for a senator to build a ship? Those are old and dead laws, as you are accustomed to call them, which forbid it. There was such a republic here, once, O judges; there was such strictness in the tribunals, that an accuser would have thought such a transaction worthy to be classed among the most serious crimes. For what did you want of a ship? when, if you were going anywhere on account of the state, ships were provided for you at the public expense, both to convey you, and to guard you? But it is not possible for you to go anywhere on your own private account, nor to send for articles across the sea from those countries in which it is not lawful for you to have a ny possessions, or any dealings. Then, why have you prepared anything contrary to the laws? This charge would have had weight in the ancient severity and dignity of the republic. Now, I not only do not accuse you on account of this offense, but I do not even reprove you with an ordinary reprimand. Lastly, did you never think that this would be discreditable to you? did you never think it would be ground for an accusation, or cause for unpopularity, to have a transport openly built for you, in a most frequented place in that province in which you had the supreme command? What did you suppose that they said who saw it? What did you suppose that they thought who heard of it? Did they think that you were going to take that vessel to Italy, empty? that you were going to let it out as a sailing boat, when you got to Rome? No one could even believe that you had in Italy any farm on the coast, and that you were preparing a merchant vessel for the purpose of moving your crops. Did you wish every man's conversation to be such as for men to say openly that you were preparing that ship to carry all your plunder from Sicily, and to go to and fro for the booty which you had left behind? But, however, I give up and grant the whole of this, if you say that the vessel was built with your money. But, you most demented of men, are you not aware that this ground was cut from under your feet by those very friends of' yours, the Mamertines themselves, in the previous pleading? For Heius, the chief man of the city,—the chief man of that deputation which was sent to utter a panegyric on you, said that the ship had been built for you by the public labor of the Mamertines, and that a Mamertine Senator had been appointed by public authority to superintend the building of it. The only thing that remains is the materials. And this you yourself compelled the Rhegians to furnish at the public expense, as they say themselves (not that you can deny it), because the Mamertines have no proper materials.
If both the materials of which the vessel is built, and if those who built it, were provided by your authority, not at your expense, what, then, is the secret thing which you say was paid for with your money? Oh! but the Mamertines have no entries respecting it in their public accounts. In the first place, I can understand that it may be possible that they did not disburse any money out of the treasury. In fact, even the Capitol, as it was built in the time of our ancestors, was able to be built and completed by public authority, but without any public payment, workmen being pressed into the service, and a fair quota of work being exacted from each person respectively. In the next place, I see this also, (which I will prove when I produce my witnesses, from the accounts of the Mamertines themselves,) that a great deal of money was spent by that man which was entered as paid for imaginary contracts for works that never existed. For it is not at all strange that the Mamertines should in their accounts have shown a regard for that man's safety, from whom they had received the greatest benefits, and whom they had known to be much more friendly to them than he was to the Roman people. But if it is any argument that the Mamertines did not give you money, because they have not got it down in their accounts, let it be an argument also that the ship cost you nothing, because you have no entry to produce of having bought it, or having made a contract with anyone to build it for you. Oh! but you did not command the Mamertines to furnish a ship, because they are one of the confederate cities. Thank God, we have a man trained by the hands of the Fetiales;a man above all others pious and careful in all that belongs to public religion. Let all the men who have been praetors before you be given up to the Mamertines, because they have commanded them to furnish ships contrary to the provisions of the treaty. But still you, you pious and scrupulous man, how was it that you commanded the people of Tauromenium, which is also a confederate city, to furnish a ship? Will you make anyone believe that, while the case of both the states was exactly the same, the law that you administered, and the condition in which you left each, was so different, without money being the cause of the difference? What, if I prove, O judges, that these two treaties with the two states were of such a nature, that in the case of the people of Tauromenium it was expressly provided for and guarded against in the treaty, "that they were not bound to furnish a vessel;" but that in the case of the Mamertines it was set down and written in the treaty itself, "that they were bound to furnish a vessel;" but that Verres, in opposition to both treaties, compelled the Tauromenians to furnish one, and excused the Mamertines? Can it, then, be doubtful to anyone that, while Verres was praetor, that merchant-vessel was a greater assistance to the Mamertines than the treaty was to the Tauromenians? Let the treaties be read.
[The treaties of the Mamertines and the Tauromenians with the Roman people are read.]
By that act therefore, of kindness, as you call it—of corruption and dishonesty, as the case itself proves,—you detracted from the majesty of the republic, you diminished the reinforcements of the Roman people—you diminished their resources, acquired by the valor and wisdom of their ancestors; you destroyed their imperial rights, and the terms on which the allies became such, and all recollection of the treaty. They who by the express words of the treaty were bound to send at their own expense and risk a ship properly armed and equipped with everything necessary, even as far as the ocean if we ordered them to do so, those men bought from you for money a release from the terms of the treaty, and a release from the rights of sovereignty which we had over them, so as to be excused from even sailing in that narrow sea before their own houses and homes, from defending their own walls and harbors. How much labor, and trouble, and money, do you suppose the Mamertines at the time of making this treaty would willingly have devoted to the object of preventing this bireme from being mentioned in it, if they could by any possibility have obtained such a favor from our ancestors? For when this heavy burden was imposed on the city, there was contained somehow or other in that treaty of alliance some badge, as it were, of slavery. That which then, when their services were recent, before the matter was finally determined, when the Roman people were in no difficulties, they could not obtain by treaty from our ancestors; that now, when they have done us no new service, after so many years,—now that it has been enforced every year by our right of sovereignty, and has been invariably observed—now, I say, when we are in great want of vessels, they have obtained from Gaius Verres by bribery. Oh! but this is all that they have gained, exemption from furnishing a ship! Have the Mamertines for the last three years furnished one sailor, one soldier, to serve either in fleet or in garrison, all the time you have been praetor?
Lastly, when according to the resolution of the senate and also according to the Terentian and Cassian law, grain was to be bought in equal proportions from all the cities of Sicily, from that light burden also, which they shared too with all the other cities, you relieved the Mamertines.—You will say that the Mamertines do not owe grain. How do they not owe grain? Do you mean to say they were not bound to sell us grain? For this grain was not a contribution to be exacted, but a supply to be purchased. By your permission, then, by your interpretation of the treaty, the Mamertines were not bound to assist the Roman people, even by supplying their markets, and furnishing them with provisions. And what city, then, was bound to supply these things? As for those who cultivate the public domains, it is settled what they are bound to furnish by the Censorian law. Why did you exact from them anything besides that in another class of contribution? What? Do those who are liable to the payment of tenths owe anything more than a single tenth, according to the law of Hiero? Why have you fixed in their case also how much grain they were to be bound to sell to us, that being another description of contribution? Those who are exempt undoubtedly owe nothing. But you not only exacted this from them, but even by way of making them give more than they possibly could, you added to their burden those sixty thousand pecks from which you excused the Mamertines. And this is not what I say, that this was not rightly exacted from the others; what I say is, that it was a scandalous thing to excuse the Mamertines, whose case was exactly the same, and from whom all previous praetors had exacted the same contribution that they did from the rest, and had paid them for it according to the resolution of the senate, and the law. And in order to drive in this indulgence with a big nail, as one may say, he takes cognizance of the cause of the Mamertines while sitting on the bench with his assessors, and pronounces judgment, that he, according to the decision of the bench, does not demand any grain from the Mamertines. Listen to the decree of the mercenary praetor from his own notebook; and take notice how great his gravity is in framing a decree, how great his dignity is in pronouncing it. Read the next memorandum of his decrees.
[The decree, extracted from Verres' notebook, is read.]
He says, "that he does this willingly," and therefore he makes the entry in his book. What then? suppose you had not used this word "willingly," should we, forsooth, have supposed that you made this profit unwillingly? "And by the advice of the bench;" you have heard a fair list of the assessors read to you, O judges. Did it seem to you, when you heard their names, that a list of assessors to a praetor was being read, or a roll of the troop and company of a most infamous bandit? Here are interpreters of treaties, settlers of the terms of alliances, authorities as to religious obligations! Grain was never bought in Sicily by public order, without the Mamertines being ordered to furnish their just proportion, till that fellow appointed this select and admirable bench of his, in order to get money from them, and to act up to his invariable character. Therefore, that decree had just the weight that the authority of that man ought to have, who sold a decree to those men from whom it had been his duty to buy grain. For Lucius Metellus, the moment he arrived as his successor, required grain of the Mamertines, according to the regulations and appointment of Gaius Sacerdos and Sextus Peducaeus.
Then the Mamertines perceived that they could no longer retain the privilege which they had bought from its unprincipled author. Come now, you, who were desirous to be thought such a scrupulous interpreter of treaties, tell us why you compelled the Tauromenians and the Netians to furnish grain; for both of those are confederate cities. And the Netians were not wanting to themselves, for as soon as you pronounced your decision that you willingly excused the Mamertines, they came before you, and proved to you that their case under the treaty was exactly the same. You could not make a different decree in a case which was identical with the other. You pronounce that the Netians are not bound to furnish grain, and still you exact it from them. Give me the papers of this same praetor referring to his decrees, and to the grain that was ordered to be supplied, and to the wheat that was bought.
[The papers, of the praetor referring to his decrees, to the grain ordered to be supplied, and to the wheat purchased, are read.]
In a case of such enormous and shameful inconsistency, what can we suspect, O judges, rather than that which is inevitable; either that money was not given to him by the Netians when he demanded it, or else that the Mamertines were given to understand that they had disposed of all their bribes and presents very advantageously, when others, whose case was identical with theirs, could not obtain the same privileges? Will he here again venture to make mention to me of the panegyric of the Mamertines? for who is there of you, O judges, who is not aware how many weapons that furnishes against him? In the first place, as in courts of justice it is more respectable for a man who cannot produce ten witnesses to speak to his character, to produce none at all, than not to complete the number made as it were legitimate by usage; so there are a great many cities in Sicily over which you were governor for three years; almost all the rest accuse you; a few insignificant ones, kept back by fear, say nothing; one speaks in your favor. What does all this show except that you are aware how advantageous genuine evidence to a person's character is; but that, nevertheless, your administration of the province was such that you are forced of necessity to do without that advantage? In the next place, as I said before on another occasion, what sort of a panegyric is that, when the chief men of the deputation commissioned to utter it, stated, both that a ship had been built for you at the public expense, and also that they themselves had been plundered and pillaged by you in respect of their private property? Lastly, what else is it that these people do, when they are the only people in all Sicily who praise you, beyond proving to us that you gave them everything of which you robbed our republic? What colony is there in Italy in possession of such privileges, what municipality is there enjoying such immunities, as to have had for all these years such a profitable exemption from all burdens, as the city of the Mamertines has had for three years? They alone have not given what they were bound to give according to the treaties; they alone, as long as that man was praetor, enjoyed immunity from all burdens; they alone under that man's authority lived in such a condition that they gave nothing to the Roman people. and refused nothing to Verres.
But to return to the fleet, from which topic I have been digressing; you accepted a ship from the Mamertines contrary to the laws; you granted them relaxation contrary to the treaties; so that you behaved like a rogue twice in the case of one city, as you both granted indulgences which you had no right to grant, and accepted what it was not lawful for you to accept. You ought to have exacted a ship from them fit to sail against robbers, not to carry off the produce of your robberies; one which might have defended the province from being despoiled, not one that was to bear away the fresh spoils of the province. The Mamertines gave you both a city to which you might carry all the plunder you amassed from all quarters, and also a ship, in which you might take it away. That town was a receptacle for your plunder, those men were the witnesses to and guardians of your plunder; they supplied to you both a repository for your thefts, and a conveyance for them. In consequence, even when you had lost a fleet by your own avarice and worthlessness, you did not venture to require a ship of the Mamertines, at a time when our want of ships was so excessive, and the distress of the province so great, that, even if it had been necessary to beg as supplicants for a ship, they would have granted it. But all your power either of commanding a vessel to be furnished, or of begging for one, was crippled, not by the bireme supplied to the Roman people, but by that splendid merchant vessel given to the praetor. That was the price of your authority, of the reinforcement they were bound to supply, of exemption from the requirements of law, and usage, and of the treaty. You have now the case of the trusty assistance of one city lost to us and sold. Now listen to a new system of robbery first invented by Verres.
Each city was always accustomed to give to its admiral the money necessary for the expense of the fleet, for provisions, for pay, and for all such things. The admiral did not dare to give the sailors any ground for accusing him, and was, besides, bound to render an account of the money to his fellow-citizens. In the whole business all the trouble and all the risk was his. This, I say, was the regular course not only in Sicily, but in every province, even in the case of the pay and expense of the Latin allies, at the time when we were accustomed to employ their assistance. Verres was the first man, ever since our dominion was established, who ordered that all that money should be paid to him by the cities, in order that whoever he chose to appoint might have the handling of that money. Who can doubt why you were the first man to change the ancient custom of all your predecessors, to disregard the great advantage of having the money pass through the hands of others, and to undertake a work of such difficulty, so liable to accusation,—a task of such delicacy, inseparable from suspicion? After that, other sources of gain are established arising from this one article of the navy; just listen to their number, O judges;—he receives money from the cities to excuse them from furnishing sailors; the sailors that are furnished he releases for a bribe; he makes a profit of the whole of the pay of those who are thus released; he does not pay the rest all that he ought to pay. All this you shall have proved to you by the evidence of the cities. Read the evidence of the cities.
[The evidence of the cities is read.]
Did you ever hear of such a man? Did you ever hear, O judges, of such impudence? of such audacity? to impose on the cities the payment of a sum of money in proportion to the number of soldiers, and to fix a regular price, six hundred sesterces, for the discharge of each sailor! and as those who paid that sum were released from service for the whole summer, Verres pocketed all that he received both for their pay and for their maintenance. And by this means he made a double profit of the discharge of one person. And this most insane of men, at a time of frequent invasion of pirates, and of imminent danger to the province, did this so openly, that the pirates themselves were aware of it, and the whole province was a witness to it. When, owing to this man's inordinate avarice, there was a fleet indeed in name in Sicily, but in reality empty ships, fit only to carry plunder for the praetor, not to strike terror into pirates; nevertheless, while Publius Caesetius and Publius Tadius were sailing about with these ten half-manned ships, they, I will not say took, but led away with them one ship, laden with the spoils of the pirates, evidently overwhelmed and sinking with the burden of its freight. That vessel was full of a number of most beautiful quilts, full of quantities of wellwrought plate, and of coined money; full of embroidered robes. This one vessel was not taken by our fleet, but was found at Megaris, a place not far from Syracuse. And when the news was brought to him, although he was lying in his tent on the shore, with a lot of women, drunk, still he roused himself, and immediately sent to the quaestor and to his own lieutenant many men to act as guards, in order that everything might be brought to him to see in an uninjured state, as soon as possible. The vessel is brought to Syracuse. All expect that the pirates will be punished. He, as if it was not a case of pirates being taken, but of a booty being brought to him, considers all the prisoners who were old or ugly as enemies; those who had any beauty, or youth, or skill in anything, he takes away: some he distributed among his clerks, his retinue, and his son; six skillful musicians he sends to Rome as a present to some friend of his. All that night is spent in unloading the ship. No one sees the captain of the pirate vessel, who ought to have been executed. And to this very day everyone believes, (how much truth there is in the belief, you also may be able to conjecture,) that Verres secretly took money of the pirates for the release of the captain of the pirates.
It is only a conjecture; but no one can be a good judge who is not influenced by such certain grounds of suspicion. You know the man, you know the custom of all men,—how gladly anyone who has taken a chief of pirates or of the enemy, allows him to be seen openly by all men. But of all the body of citizens and settlers at Syracuse, I never saw one man, O judges, who said that he had seen that captain of the pirates who had been taken; though all men, as is the regular custom, flocked to the prison, asked for him, and were anxious to see him. What happened to make that man be kept so carefully out of sight, that no one was ever able to get a glimpse of him, even by accident? Though all the seafaring men at Syracuse, who had often heard of the name of that captain, who had often been alarmed by him, wished to feed their eyes on, and to gratify their minds with his torture and execution, yet no one was allowed even to see him. One man, Publius Servilius, took more captains of pirates alive than all our commanders put together had done before. Was anyone at any time denied the enjoyment of being allowed to see a captive pirate? On the contrary: wherever Servilius went he afforded everyone that most delightful spectacle, of pirates taken prisoners and in chains Therefore, people everywhere ran to meet him, so that they assembled not only in the towns through which the pirates were led, but from all neighboring towns also, for the purpose of seeing them. And why was it that that triumph was of all triumphs the most acceptable and the most delightful to the Roman people? Because nothing is sweeter than victory. But there is no more certain evidence of victory than to set those whom you have often been afraid of, led in chains to execution. Why did you not act in this manner? Why was that pirate so concealed as if it were impiety to behold him? Why did you not execute him? For what object did you reserve him? Have you ever heard of any captain of pirates having been taken prisoner before, who was not executed? Tell me one original whose conduct you imitated; tell me one precedent. You kept the captain of the pirates alive in order, I suppose, to lead him in your triumph in front of your chariot. For, indeed, there was nothing wanting but for the naval triumph to be decreed to you on the occasion of a most beautiful fleet of the Roman people having been lost, and the province plundered.
Come now—you thought it better that the captain of the pirates should be kept in custody, according to a novel practice, than that he should be put to death according to universal precedent. What then is that custody? Among what people? Where is he kept? You have all heard of the Syracusan stone-quarries. Many of you are acquainted with them. It is a vast work and splendid; the work of the old kings and tyrants. The whole of it is cut out of rock excavated to a marvellous depth, and carved out by the labor of great multitudes of men. Nothing can either be made or imagined so closed against all escape, so hedged in on all sides, so safe for keeping prisoners in. Into these quarries men are commanded to be brought even from other cities in Sicily, if they are commanded by the public authorities to be kept in custody. Because he had imprisoned there many Roman citizens who were his prisoners, and because he ordered the other pirates to be put there too, he was aware that if he committed this counterfeit captain of the pirates to the same custody, a great many men in those quarries would inquire for the real captain. And therefore he does not venture to commit the man to this best of all and safest of all places of confinement. In fact he is afraid of the whole of Syracuse. He sends the man away. Where to? Perhaps to Lilybaeum. I see; he was not then so entirely afraid of the seafaring men? By no means, O judges. To Panormus then? I understand; although indeed, since he was taken within the Syracusan district, he ought, at all events, to have been kept in prison at Syracuse, if he was not to be executed there. Not at Panormus even. What then? where do you suppose it was? He sends him away to men the furthest removed from all fear or suspicion of pirates, as unconnected as possible with all navigation or maritime affairs—to the Centuripans, a thoroughly inland people, complete farmers, who would never have been alarmed at the name of a naval pirate, but who, while you were praetor, had lived in dread of that chief of all land pirates, Apronius. And, that everyone might easily see that Verres' object was, that that counterfeit might easily and cheerfully pretend to be what he was not, he enjoins the Centuripans to take care that he is supplied as comfortably and liberally as possible with food and with all things.
In the meantime, the Syracusans, acute and humane men, who were capable not only of seeing what was evident, but also of conjecturing what was hidden, kept an account every day of the pirates who were put to death; how many there ought to be they calculated from the size of the vessel itself which had been taken, and from the number of oars. He, because he had removed and taken away all who had any skill in anything, or any beauty, suspected that there would be an outcry if he had all the pirates fastened to the stake at once, as is the usual custom, because so many more had been taken away than were left: although on this account he had determined to bring them out in different parties, at different times, still in the whole city there was no one who did not keep a strict account and list of them; and they did not only wish to see the rest, but they openly demanded and claimed it. As there was a great number wanting, that most infamous man began to substitute, in the room of those of the pirates whom he had taken into his own house, the Roman citizens whom he had previously thrown into prison; some of whom he accused of having been soldiers of Sertorius, and said that they had been driven on shore in Sicily, while flying from Spain; others, who had been taken by pirates, while they were engaged in commerce, or else sailing with some other object, he accused of having been with the pirates of their own free will: and therefore some Roman citizens, with their heads muffled up, that they might not be recognized, were taken from prison to the fatal stake and to execution; others, though they were recognized by many Roman citizens, and though all attempted to defend them, were put to death. But of their most shameful death and most cruel tortures I will speak when I begin to discuss this topic; and I will speak with such feelings, that, if in the course of that complaint which I shall make of that man's cruelty, and of the most scandalous execution of Roman citizens, not only my strength, but even my life should fail me, I should think it delightful and honorable. These then are his exploits, this is his splendid victory; a piratical galley was captured, the captain was released, the musicians were sent to Rome; those with any good looks, any youth, or any skill, were taken home by him; Roman citizens were tortured and executed in their room, and to make up their number; all the store of robes was taken away, all the silver and gold was taken by him and appropriated to his own use.
But how did he defend himself at the former pleading? He who had been silent for so many days, on a sudden sprang up at the evidence of Marcus Annius, a most illustrious man, when he said that a Roman citizen had been executed, and that the captain of the pirates had not. Being roused by the consciousness of his wickedness, and by the frenzy which was inspired by his crimes, he said that, because he knew that he should be accused of having taken money, and of not having executed the real captain of the pirates, he had on that account not executed him, and he said that two captains of pirates were now in confinement in his house. See the clemency, or rather the marvellous and unexampled patience of the Roman people! Annius, a Roman knight, says that a Roman citizen was put to death by the hand of the executioner. You say nothing. He says that the captain of the pirates was not executed. You admit it. At that a groan and outcry arises from all the assembly; though nevertheless the Roman people checked themselves, and forbore to inflict present punishment on you, and left you in safety for the present, being reserved for the severity of the judges. You, who knew that you should be accused, how did you know it? how came you ever to suspect it? You had no enemy. Even if you had, still you had not lived in such a way as to have any fear of a court of justice before your eyes. Did conscience, as often happens, make you timid and suspicious? Can you, then, who, when you were in command, were even then in fear of tribunals and accusations, now that you are on your trial as a criminal, and that the case is proved against you by so many witnesses,—can you, I say, doubt of your condemnation? But if you were afraid of this accusation,—that someone might say that you had substituted someone else, whom you had caused to be executed for the captain of the pirates, did you think that it would be a stronger argument in your defense, to produce among strangers a long time after, (because I required and compelled you to do so,) a man who you said was the captain of the pirates; or to execute him, while the affair was still of recent date, at Syracuse, among people who knew him well, in the sight of almost all Sicily? See how great a difference it makes which was done. In the one case there could have been no blame attached to you; in the other you have no defense. And accordingly, all men have always done the one thing; but I can find no one before you yourself, who ever done the other. You detained the pirate alive. Till when? As long as you were in command. Why did you do so? On what account? According to what precedent? Why did you detain him so long? Why, I say, while the Roman citizens who were taken in the pirate's company were immediately put to death, did you give the pirates themselves so long a lease of life? However, so be it. Let your conduct be irresponsible all the time that you were praetor. Did you still, when you became a private man, and when you became defendant—yes, and when you were all but condemned,—did you still, I say, detain the captain of our enemies in your private house? One month, a second month, almost a year, in fact, after they were taken, were the pirates in your house; where they would be still, if it had not been for me, that is to say, if it had not been for Marcus Acilius Glabrio, the praetor, who, at my demand, ordered them to be brought up and to be committed to prison.
What is the law in such a case? What is the general custom? What are the precedents? Can any private man in the whole world detain within the walls of his own house the most bitter and unceasing enemy of the Roman people or, I should rather say, the common enemy of every race and nation? What more shall I say? What would you say, if the very day before you were compelled by me to confess that, though you had put Roman citizens to death, the pirate captain was alive and in your house,—if, I say, the very day before, he had escaped from your house, and had been able to collect an army against the Roman people? Would you say, "He dwelt with me, he was in my house; in order the more easily to refute the accusations of my enemies, I reserved this man alive and in safety for my trial?" Is it so? Will you defend yourself from danger, at the risk of the whole community? Will you regulate the time of the punishments which are due to conquered enemies, by what is convenient for yourself, not by what is expedient for the Roman people? Shall an enemy of the Roman people be kept in private custody? But even those who have triumphs, and who on that account keep the generals of the enemy alive a longer time, in order that, while they are led in triumph, the Roman people may enjoy an ennobling spectacle, and a splendid fruit of victory; nevertheless, when they begin to turn their chariot from the forum towards the Capitol, order them to be taken back to prison, and the same day brings to the conquerors the end of their authority, and to the conquered the end of their lives. And now, can I suppose that anyone doubts that you would never have allowed (especially as you made sure, as you say, that a prosecution would be instituted against you) that pirate to escape execution, and to live to increase your danger which was ever before your eyes? For indeed, suppose he had died, whom could you (who say that you were afraid of a prosecution) have convinced of it? When it was notorious that the captain of the pirates had been seen by no one at Syracuse, and that all desired to see him; when no one had any doubt that he had been released by you for a sum of money; when it was a common topic of conversation that someone had been substituted in his place, who you wished to make believe was the man; when you yourself had confessed that you had, for so long a time before, been afraid of that accusation; if you had said that he had died, who would have believed you? Now, when you produce this man of yours, whoever he may be, still you see that you are laughed at. What would you have done if he had escaped? if he had broken his bonds, as Nico, that most celebrated pirate did, who was afterwards retaken by Publius Servilius, with the same good fortune as he had originally taken him with; what would you have said then? But the case was this.—If once that real captain of the pirates was put to death, you would not get that money. If this counterfeit one had died or had escaped, it would not have been difficult to substitute another in the room of one who was himself only a substitute. I have said more than I intended of that pirate captain; and yet I have passed over those things which are the most certain proofs of this crime. For I wish the whole of this accusation to remain untouched for the present. There is a certain place for its discussion, a certain law to be mentioned in connection with it, a certain tribunal for whose judgment it is reserved.
Though enriched with all this booty, with these slaves, with this silver plate, and those robes, he was still no more diligent than before in equipping the fleet, in recalling and provisioning the troops; though that would not only have tended to the safety of the province, but might have been even profitable to himself. For in the height of summer, when all other praetors have been accustomed to visit all the province, and to travel about, or to sail about,—at a time when there was such fear of and such danger from the pirates; at that time he was not content, for the purpose of his luxury and lust, with his own kingly palace which had belonged to King Hiero, and which the praetors are in the habit of using. He ordered, as I have stated already, tents, such as he was wont to use at the summer season, erected of fine linen curtains, to be pitched on the seashore; on that part of the shore which is within the island of Syracuse, behind the fountain of Arethusa; close to the entrance and mouth of the harbor, in a very pleasant situation, and one far enough removed from overlookers. Here the praetor of the Roman people, the guardian and defender of the province, lived for sixty days of the summer in such a style that he had banquets of women every day, while no man was admitted except himself and his youthful son. Although, indeed, I might have made no exception, but might have said that there was no man there at all, as there were only these two. Sometimes also his freedman Timarchides was admitted. But the women were all wives of citizens, of noble birth, except one, the daughter of an actor named Isidorus, whom he, out of love, had seduced away from a Rhodian flute-player. There was a woman called Pippa, the wife of Aeschrio the Syracusan, concerning which woman many verses, which were made on Verres's fondness for her, are quoted over all Sicily. There was a woman too, called Nice, with a very beautiful face, as it is said, the wife of Cleomenes the Syracusan. Cleomenes, her husband, was greatly attached to her, but still he had neither the power nor the courage to oppose the lust of the praetor; and at the same time he was bound to him by many presents and many good offices. But at that time Verres, though you well know how great his impudence is, still could not, as her husband was at Syracuse, be quite easy in his mind at keeping her with him so many days on the seashore. Accordingly, he contrives a very singular plan. He gives the command of the fleet, which his lieutenant had had, to Cleomenes. He orders Cleomenes, a Syracusan, to command a fleet of the Roman people. He does this, in order that he might not only be absent from home all the time that he was at sea, but that he might be so willingly, being placed in a post of great honor and profit; and that he himself in the meantime, the husband being sent away to a distance, might have her with him,—I will not say more easily than before, for who ever opposed his lust? but with a rather more tranquil mind, as he had got rid of him; not as a husband but as a rival.—Cleomenes, a Syracusan, takes the command of a fleet of our allies and friends.
What topic of accusation or complaint shall I urge first, O judges? That the power, and honor, and authority of a lieutenant, of a quaestor, yes, even of a praetor, was given to a Sicilian? If you were so occupied with feasts and women as to be prevented from taking the command yourself, where were your quaestors? where were your lieutenants? where was the grain valued at three denarii? where were the mules? where were the tents? where were all the numerous and splendid badges of honor conferred and bestowed by the senate and people of Rome on their magistrates and lieutenants? Lastly, where were your prefects and tribunes? If there was no Roman citizen worthy of that employment, what had become of the cities which had always remained true to the alliance and friendship of the Roman people? What had become of the city of Segesta? of the city of Centuripa? which both by old services, by good faith, by antiquity of alliance, and even by relationship, are connected with the name of the Roman people. O ye immortal gods! what shall we say, when Cleomenes, a Syracusan, is ordered to command the soldiers, and the ships, and the officers of these very cities? Has not Verres by such an action taken away all the honor due to worth, to justice, and to old services? Have we ever once waged war in Sicily, that we have not had the Centuripans for our friends, and the Syracusans for our enemies? And I am speaking now only by way of recollection of past time, not as meaning insult to that city. And therefore that most illustrious man and consummate general, Marcus Marcellus, by whose valor Syracuse was taken, by whose clemency it was preserved, forbade any Syracusan to dwell in that part of the city which is called the Island. To this day, I say, it is contrary to law for any Syracusan to dwell in that part of the city. For it is a place which even a very few men can defend. And therefore he would not entrust it to any but the most faithful men; and he had another reason too, because in that part of the city there is access to ships from the open sea. Therefore he did not think fit to entrust the keys of the place to those who had often excluded our armies. See now how great is the difference between your lust and the authority of our ancestors; between your love and frenzy, and their wisdom and prudence. They took away from the Syracusans all access to the shore; you have given them the command of the sea. They would not allow a Syracusan to dwell in that part of the city which ships could approach; you appointed a Syracusan to command the fleet and the ships. You gave those men a part of our sovereignty, from whom they took a part of their own city; and you ordered those allies of ours to be obedient to the Syracusans, to whose aid it is owing that the Syracusans are obedient to us.
Cleomenes leaves the harbor in a Centuripan trireme. A Segestan vessel comes next; then a Tyndaritan ship; then one from Herbita, one from Heraclia, one from Apollonia, one from Haluntium; a fine fleet to look at, but helpless and useless because of the discharge of its fighting men, and of its rowers. That diligent praetor surveyed the fleet under his orders, as long as it was passing by his scene of profligate revelry. And he too, who for many days had not been seen, then for a short time afforded the sailors a sight of himself. The praetor of the Roman people stood in his slippers, clad in a purple cloak, and a tunic reaching down to his ankles, leaning on a prostitute on the shore. And since that time, many Sicilians and Roman citizens have often seen him in this very dress. After the fleet had proceeded a little way, and had arrived, after five days' sailing, at Pachynum, the sailors, being compelled by hunger, gather the roots of the wild palm, of which there was a great quantity in that neighborhood, as there is in most parts of Sicily, and support themselves in a miserable and wretched way on these. But Cleomenes, who considered himself another Verres, not only in luxury and worthlessness, but in power also, spent, like him, all his days in drinking in a tent which he had pitched on the seashore.
But all of a sudden, while Cleomenes was drunk, and all his crews famishing, news is brought that a fleet of pirates is in the harbor of Odyssea; for that is the name of the place. But our fleet was in the harbor of Pachynum. But Cleomenes, because there was a garrison of troops (in name, if not in reality) in that place, fancied that, with the soldiers he drew from there, he might make up his proper complement of sailors and rowers. The same system was found to have been put in practice by that most covetous man with respect to the troops, that had been adopted towards the fleet, for only a few remained, and the rest had been discharged. Cleomenes, as commander-in-chief, in a Centuripan quadrireme ordered the mast to be erected, the sails to be set, the anchor to be weighed, and made signal for the rest of the ships to follow him. This Centuripan vessel was an extraordinarily fast sailer; for, while Verres was praetor, no one had any opportunity of knowing what each ship could do with oars; although in order to do honor and to show favor to Cleomenes, there was a much smaller deficiency of rowers and soldiers in that quadrireme. The quadrireme, almost flying, had already got out of sight, while the other ships were still hard at work in their original station. However, those who were left behind displayed a good deal of courage. Although they were few in numbers, still they cried out, that whatever might be the event, they were willing to fight; and they preferred losing by the sword the little life and strength that hunger had left them. And if Cleomenes had not run away so long before, there would have been some means of making resistance, for that ship was the only one with a deck, and was large enough to have been a bulwark to the rest, and if it had been engaged in battle with the pirates, it would have looked like a city among those piratical galleys; but at that time the sailors being helpless, and deserted by their commander and prefect of the fleet, began of necessity to hold the same course that he had held; accordingly they all sailed towards Elorum, as Cleomenes had done; but they indeed were not so much flying from the attack of the pirates as following their commander. Then as each was last in flight, he was first in danger, for the pirates came upon the last ships first, and so the Haluntian vessel is taken first, which was commanded by an Haluntian of noble birth, Philarchus by name, whom the Locrians afterwards ransomed at the public expense from those pirates, and from whom, on his oath, you at the former pleading learned the whole of the circumstances and their cause. The Apollonian vessel is taken next, and Anthropinus, its captain, is slain.
While all this was going on, in the meantime Cleomenes had already arrived at Elorum, already he had hastened on land from the ship, and had left the quadrireme tossing about in the surf. The rest of the captains of ships, when the commander-in-chief had landed, as they had no possible means either of resisting or of escaping by sea, ran their ships ashore at Elorum, and followed Cleomenes. Then Heracleo, the captain of the pirates, being suddenly victorious, beyond all his hopes, not through any valor of his own, but owing to the avarice and worthlessness of Verres, as soon as evening came on, ordered a most beautiful fleet belonging to the Roman people, having been driven on shore and abandoned, to be set fire to and burnt. O what a miserable and bitter time for the province of Sicily! O what an event, calamitous and fatal to many innocent people! O what unexampled worthlessness and infamy of that man! On one and the same night, the praetor was burning with the flame of the most disgraceful love, a fleet of the Roman people with the fire of pirates. It was a stormy night when the news of this terrible disaster was brought to Syracuse—men run to the praetor's house, to which his women had conducted him back a little while before from his splendid banquet, with songs and music. Cleomenes, although it was night, still does not dare to show himself in public. He shuts himself up in his house, but his wife was not there to console her husband in his misfortunes. But the discipline of this noble commander-in-chief was so strict in his own house, that though the event was so important, the news so serious, still no one could be admitted; no one dared either to wake him if asleep, or to address him if awake. But now, when the affair had become known to everybody, a vast multitude was collecting in every part of the city; for the arrival of the pirates was not given notice of, as had formerly been the custom, by a fire raised on a watchtower, or a hill, but both the disaster that had already been sustained, and the danger that was impending, were notified by the conflagration of the fleet itself.
When the praetor was inquired for, and when it was plain that no one had told him the news, a rush of people towards his house takes place with great impetuosity and loud cries. Then, he himself, being roused, comes forth; he hears the whole news from Timarchides; he takes his military cloak. It was now nearly dawn. He comes forth into the middle of the crowd, bewildered with wine, and sleep, and debauchery. He is received by all with such a shout that it seemed to bring before his eyes a resemblance to the dangers of Lampsacus. But this present appeared greater than that, because, though both the mobs hated him equally, the numbers here were much greater. People began to talk to one another of his tent on the shore, of his flagitious banquets; the names of his women were called out by the crowd; men asked him openly where he had been, and what he had been doing for so many days together, during which no one had seen him. Then they demanded Cleomenes, who had been appointed commander-in-chief by him; and nothing was ever nearer happening than the transference of the precedent of Utica in the case of Hadrian to Syracuse; so that two graves of two most infamous governors would have been contained in two provinces. However, regard was had by the multitude to the time, regard was had to the impending danger, regard was had, also, to their common dignity and character, because the body of settlers of Roman citizens at Syracuse is such as to be considered the most dignified body, not only in that province, but even in this republic. They all encourage one another, while he is still half asleep and stupefied; they take arms; they fill the whole forum and the island, which is a considerable portion of the whole city. The pirates having remained at Elorum that single night, left our ships still smoking, and began to sail to Syracuse; for as they, forsooth, had often heard that nothing could be finer than the fortifications and harbor of Syracuse, they had made up their minds that if they did not see them while Verres was praetor, they should never see them at all.
And first of all they came to those summer quarters of the praetor, landing at that very part of the shore where he, having pitched his tents, had set up his camp of luxury while all this was going on. But when they found the place empty, and understood that the praetor had removed his quarters from that place, they immediately, without any fear, began to penetrate to the harbor itself. When I say into the harbor, O judges, (for I must explain myself carefully for the sake of those who are unacquainted with the place,) I mean that the pirates came into the city, and into the most central parts of the city; for that town is not closed in by the harbor, but the harbor itself is surrounded and closed in by the town; so that it is not only the innermost walls that are washed by the sea, but the harbor, if I may so say, flows into the very bosom of the city. Here, while you were praetor, Heracleo, the captain of the pirates, with four small galleys, sailed about at his pleasure. O ye immortal gods! a piratical galley, while the representative of the Roman people, its name and its forces were all in Syracuse, came up to the very forum, and to all the quays of the city. Those most glorious fleets of the Carthaginians, when they were at the very height of their naval power, though they often made the attempt in many wars, were never able to advance so far. Even the naval glory of the Roman people, invincible as it was till your praetorship, in all the Punic and Sicilian wars never penetrated so far. The situation of the place is such that the Syracusans usually saw their enemies armed and victorious within their walls, in the city, and in the forum, before they saw any enemy's ship in their harbor. Here, while you were praetor, galleys of pirates sailed about, where previously the only fleet that had ever entered in the history of the world, was the Athenian fleet of three hundred ships, which forced its way in by its weight and its numbers; and that fleet was in that very harbor defeated and destroyed, owing to the natural character of the place and harbor. Here first was the power of that splendid city defeated, weakened, and impaired. In this harbor, shipwreck was made of the nobleness and dominion and glory of Athens.
Did a pirate penetrate to that part of the city which he could not approach without leaving a great part of the city not only on his flanks but in his rear? He passed by the whole island, which is at Syracuse a very considerable part of the city, having its own distinct name, and separate walls; in which part, as I said before, our ancestors forbade any Syracusan to dwell, because they knew that the harbor would be in the power of whatever people were occupying that part of the city. And how did he wander through it? He threw down around him the roots of the wild palms which he had found in our ships, in order that all men might become acquainted with the dishonesty of Verres, and the disaster of Sicily. O that Sicilian soldiers, children of those cultivators of the soil whose fathers produced such crops of grain by their labor that they were able to supply the Roman people and the whole of Italy,—that they, born in the island of Ceres, where grain is said to have been first discovered, should have been driven to use such food as their ancestors, by the discovery of grain, had delivered all other nations from! While you were praetor the Sicilian soldiers were fed on the roots of wild palms, pirates on Sicilian grain. O miserable and bitter spectacle! that the glory of the city and the name of the Roman people should be a laughing-stock; that in the face of all that body of inhabitants and all that multitude of people, a pirate in a piratical galley should celebrate a triumph in the harbor of Syracuse over a fleet of the Roman people, while the oars of the pirates were actually besprinkling the eyes of that most worthless and cowardly praetor. After the pirates had left the harbor, not because of any alarm, but because they were weary of staying there, these men began to inquire the cause of so great a disaster. All began to say, and to argue openly, that it was by no means strange, that when the soldiers and the crews had been dismissed, and the rest had been destroyed by want and famine, while the praetor was spending all his time in drinking with his women, such a disgrace and calamity should have fallen upon them. And all the reproaches which they heaped upon him, all the infamy that they attributed to him, was confirmed by the statements of those men who had been appointed by their own cities to command their ships; the rest of whom had fled to Syracuse after the loss of the fleet. Each of them stated how many men they knew had been discharged out of their respective ships. The matter was clear, and his avarice was proved not only by arguments, but also by undeniable witnesses.
The man is informed that nothing is done in the forum and in the assembly all that day, except putting questions to the naval captains how the fleet was lost. That they made answer, and informed everyone that it was owing to the discharge of the rowers, the want of food of the rest, the cowardice and desertion of Cleomenes. And when he heard this, he began to form this design. He had long since made up his mind that a prosecution would be instituted against him, long before this happened, as you have heard him say himself at the former pleading. He saw that if those naval captains were produced as witnesses against him, he should not be able to stand against so serious an accusation. He forms at first a plan, foolish indeed, but still merciful. He orders Cleomenes and the naval captains to be summoned before him. They come. He accuses them of having held this language about himself; he begs them to cease from holding it; and begs everyone there to say that he had had in his ship as large a crew as he ought to have had, and that none had been discharged. They promise him to do whatever he wished. He does not delay. He immediately summons his friends. He then asks of all the captains separately how many sailors each had had on board his ship. Each of them answers as he had been enjoined to. He makes an entry of their answers in his journal. He seals it up, prudent men that he is, with the seals of his friends; in order forsooth, to use this evidence against this charge, if ever it should be necessary. I imagine that senseless man must have been laughed at by his own counselors, and warned that these documents would do him no good; that if the charge were made, there would be even more suspicion owing to these extraordinary precautions of the praetor. He had already behaved with such folly in many cases, as even publicly to order whatever he pleased to be expunged out of, or entered in the records of different cities. All which things he now finds out are of no use to him, since he is convicted by documents, and witnesses, and authorities which are all undeniable.
When he sees that their confession, and all the evidence which he has manufactured, and his journals, will be of no use to him, he then adopts the design, not of a worthless praetor, (for even that might have been endured,) but an inhuman and senseless tyrant. He determines, that if he wishes to palliate that accusation, (for he did not suppose that he could get rid of it altogether,) all the naval captains, the witnesses of his wickedness, must be put to death. The next consideration was,—"What am I to do with Cleomenes? Can I put those men to death whom I placed under his command, and spare him whom I placed in command and authority over them? Can I punish those men who followed Cleomenes, and pardon Cleomenes who bade them fly with him, and follow him? Can I be severe to those men who had vessels not only devoid of crews, but devoid of decks, and be merciful to him who was the only man who had a decked ship, and whose ship, too, was not stripped bare like those of the others?" Cleomenes must die too. What signify his promises? what do the curses that he will heap on him? what do the pledges of friendship and mutual embraces? what does that comradeship in the service of a woman on that most luxurious seashore signify? It was utterly impossible that Cleomenes could be spared. He summons Cleomenes. He tells him that he has made up his mind to execute all the naval captains; that considerations of his own personal danger required such a step. "I will spare you alone, and I will endure the blame of all that disaster myself, and all possible reproaches for my inconsistency, rather than act cruelly to you on the one hand, or, on the other hand, leave so many and such important witnesses against me in safety and in life." Cleomenes thanks him; approves of his intention; and says that that is what must be done. But he reminds him, of what he had forgotten, that it will not be possible for him to put Phalargus the Centuripan, one of the naval captains, to death, because he had been with him himself in the Centuripan quadrireme. What, then, is he to do? Shall that man, of such a city as that, a most noble youth, be left to be a witness? At present, says Cleomenes, for it must be so; but afterwards we will take care that it shall be put out of his power to injure us.
After all this was settled and determined, Verres immediately advances from his praetorian house, inflamed with wickedness, frenzy, and cruelty. He comes into the forum. He orders the naval captains to be summoned. They immediately come with all speed, as men who were afraid of nothing, and suspected nothing. He orders those unhappy and innocent men to be loaded with chains. They began to invoke the good faith of the praetor, and to ask why he did so? Then he says that this is the reason,—because they had betrayed the fleet to the pirates. There is a great outcry, and great astonishment on the part of the people, that there should be so much impudence and audacity in the man as to attribute to others the origin of a calamity which had happened entirely owing to his own avarice; or to bring against others a charge of treason, when he himself was thought to be a partner of the pirates; and lastly, they marvelled at this charge not being originated till fifteen days after the fleet had been lost. While these things were happening, inquiry was made where Cleomenes was; not that anyone thought him, such as he was, worthy of any punishment for that disaster; for what could Cleomenes have done, (for it is not in my nature to accuse anyone falsely,)—what, I say, could Cleomenes have done of any consequence, when his ships had been dismantled by the avarice of Verres? And they see him sitting by the side of the praetor, and whispering familiarly in his ear, as he was accustomed to do. But then it did seem a most scandalous thing to everyone, that most honorable men, chosen by their own cities, should be put in chains and in prison, but that Cleomenes, on account of his partnership with him in debauchery and infamy, should be the praetor's most familiar friend. However, an accuser is produced against them, a certain Naevius Turpio, who, when Gaius Sacerdos was praetor, had been convicted of an assault; a very suitable tool for the audacity of Verres; a man whom he had frequently employed in matters connected with the tenths, in capital prosecutions, and in every sort of false accusation, as scout and emissary.
The parents and relations of these unfortunate young men came to Syracuse, being aroused by the sudden news of this misfortune. They see their children loaded with chains, bearing on their necks and shoulders the punishment due to the avarice of Verres. They come forward, they defend them, they raise an outcry; they implore your good faith which at no time and no place had ever any existence. The father of one came forward, Dexis the Tyndaritan; a man of the noblest family, connected by ties of hospitality with you yourself; at whose house you had been, whom you had called your friend. When you saw him, a man of such high rank in such distress, could not his tears, could not his old age, could not the claims of hospitality and the name of friend recall you back from your wickedness to some degree of humanity? But why do I speak of the claims of hospitality with reference to so inhuman a monster? He who entered in the list of criminals in his absence Sthenius of Thermae, his own connection, whose house, while received in it in hospitality, he had plundered and stripped, and who, without allowing him to make any defense, condemned him to death; are we now to expect the claims and duties of hospitality from him? Are we dealing with a cruel man, or with a savage and inhuman monster? Could not the tears of a father for the danger of his innocent son move you? As you had left your father at home, and kept your son with you, did neither your son who was present remind you of the affection of children, nor your father who was absent call to your recollection the indulgence of a father? Your friend Aristeus, the son of Dexion, was in chains. Why was this? He had betrayed the fleet. For what bribe? He had deserted the army. What had Cleomenes done? He had done nothing at all. Yet you had presented him with a golden crown for his valor. He had discharged the sailors. But you had received from them all the price of their discharge. Another father, from another district, was Eubulida of Herlita: a man of great reputation in his city, and of high birth; who, because he had injured Cleomenes in defending his son, had been left nearly destitute. But what was there which anyone could say or allege in his defense? They are not allowed to name Cleomenes. But the cause compels them to do so. You shall die if you do name him, (for he never threatened anyone with trifling punishment.) But there were no rowers. What! are you accusing the praetor? Break his neck. If one is not allowed to name either the praetor, or the rival of the praetor, when the whole case turns on the conduct of these two men, what is to be done?
Heraclius of Segesta also pleads his cause; a man of the very noblest descent in his own city. Listen, O judges, as your humanity requires of you, for you will hear of great cruelties and injuries inflicted on the allies. Know then that the case of Heraclius was this:—that on account of a severe complaint in his eyes he had not gone to sea at all; but by his order who had the command, he had remained in his quarters at Syracuse. He certainly never betrayed the fleet; he did not run away in a fright; he did not desert the army; if he had, he might have been punished when the fleet was setting out from Syracuse. But he was in just the same condition as if he had been detected in some manifest crime; though no charge at all could be brought against him, not ever so falsely. Among these naval captains was a citizen of Heraclia, of the name of Junius, (for they have some Latin names of that sort,) a man, as long as he lived, illustrious in his own city, and after his death celebrated over all Sicily. In that man there was courage enough, not only to attack Verres, for that indeed, as he saw that he was sure to die, he was aware that he could do without any danger; but when his death was settled, while his mother was sitting in his prison, night and day weeping, he wrote out the defense which his cause required; and now there is no one in all Sicily who is not in possession of that defense, who does not read it, who is not constantly reminded by that oration, of your wickedness and cruelty. In it he states how many sailors he received from his city; how many Verres discharged, and for how much he discharged each of them; how many he had left. He makes similar statements with respect to the other ships; and when he uttered these statements before you, he was scourged on the eyes. But when death was staring him in the face, he could easily endure pain of body; he cried out, what he has left also in writing, "That it was an infamous thing that the tears of an unchaste woman on behalf of the safety of Cleomenes should have more influence with you, than those of his mother for his life." Afterwards I see that this also is stated, which, if the Roman people has formed a correct estimate of your characters, O judges, he, at the very hour of death, truly prophesied of you,—"That it was not possible for Verres to efface his own crimes by murdering the witnesses; that he, in the shades below, should be a still more serious witness against him, in the opinion of sensible judges, than if he were produced alive in a court of justice; for that then, if he were alive he would only be a witness to prove his avarice; but now, when he had been put to death, he should be a witness of his wickedness, and audacity, and cruelty." What follows is very fine,—"That, when your cause came to be tried, it would not be only the bands of witnesses, but the punishments inflicted on the innocent, and the furies that haunt the wicked, that would attend your trial; that he thought his own misfortune the lighter, because he had seen before now the edge of your axes, and the countenance and hand of Sextus your executioner, when in an assembly of Roman citizens, Roman citizens were publicly executed by your command." Not to dwell too long on this, Junius used most freely that liberty which you have given the allies, even at the moment of bitter punishment, such as was only fit for slaves.
He condemns them all, with the approval of his assessors. And yet, in so important an affair, in a cause in which so many men and so many citizens were concerned, he neither sent for Publius Vettius, his quaestor, to take his advice; nor for Publius Cervius, an admirable man, his lieutenant, who, because he had been lieutenant in Sicily, while he was praetor was the first man rejected by him as a judge; but he condemns them all in conformity with the opinion expressed by a lot of robbers, that is, by his own retinue. On this all the Sicilians, our most faithful and most ancient allies, who have had the greatest kindnesses conferred on them by our ancestors, were greatly agitated, and alarmed at their own danger, and at the peril of all their fortunes. That that noted clemency and mildness of our dominion should have been changed into such cruelty and inhumanity! That so many men should be condemned at one time for no crime! That that infamous praetor should seek for a defense for his own robberies by the most shameful murder of innocent men! Nothing, O judges, appears possible to be added to such wickedness, insanity, and barbarity—and it is true that nothing can; for if it be compared with the iniquity of other men it will greatly surpass it all. But he is his own rival; his object is always to outdo his last crime by some new wickedness. I had said that Phalargus the Centuripan was made an exception by Cleomenes, because he had sailed in his quadrireme. Still because that young man was alarmed, as he saw that his case was identical with that of those men who had been put to death, though perfectly innocent; Timarchides came to him, and tells him that he is in no danger at all of being put to death, but warns him to take care lest he should be sentenced to be scourged. To make my story short, you heard the young man himself say, that because of his fear of being scourged he paid money to Timarchides. These are but light crimes in such a criminal as this. A naval captain of a most noble city ransoms himself from the danger of being scourged with a bribe—it was a human weakness. Another gave money to save himself from being condemned—it is a common thing. The Roman people does not wish Verres to be prosecuted on obsolete accusations; it demands new charges against him; it requires something which it has not heard before; it thinks that it is not a praetor of Sicily, but some most cruel tyrant that is being brought before the court.
The condemned men are consigned to prison. They are sentenced to execution. Even the wretched parents of the naval captains are punished; they are prevented from visiting their sons; they are prevented from supplying their own children with food and raiment. These very fathers, whom you see here, lay on the threshold, and the wretched mothers spent their nights at the door of the prison, denied the parting embrace of their children, though they prayed for nothing but to be allowed to receive their sons' dying breath. The porter of the prison, the executioner of the praetor, was there; the death and terror of both allies and citizens; the lictor Sextius, to whom every groan and every agony of everyone was a certain gain.—"To visit him, you must give so much; to be allowed to take him food into the prison, so much." No one refused. "What now, what will you give me to put your son to death at one blow of my axe? to save him from longer torture? to spare him repeated blows? to take care that he shall give up the ghost without any sense of pain or torture?" Even for this object money was given to the lictor. Oh great and intolerable agony! oh terrible and bitter ill-fortune! Parents were compelled to purchase, not the life of their children, but a swiftness of execution for them. And the young men themselves also negotiated with Sextius about the same execution, and about that one blow; and at last, children entreated their parents to give money to the lictor for the sake of shortening their sufferings. Many and terrible sufferings have been invented for parents and relations; many—still death is the last of all. It shall not be. Is there any further advance that cruelty can make? One shall be found—for, when their children have been executed and slain, their bodies shall be exposed to wild beasts. If this is a miserable thing for a parent to endure, let him pay money for leave to bury him. You heard Onasus the Segestan, a man of noble birth, say that he had paid money to Timarchides for leave to bury the naval captain, Heraclius. And this (that you may not be able to say, "Yes, the fathers come, angry at the loss of their sons,") is stated by a man of the highest consideration, a man of the noblest birth; and he does not state it with respect to any son of his own. And as to this, who was there at Syracuse at that time, who did not hear, and who does not know that these bargains for permission to bury were made with Timarchides by the living relations of those who had been put to death? Did they not speak openly with Timarchides? Were not all the relations of all the men present? Were not the funerals of living men openly bargained for? And then, when all those matters were settled and arranged, the men are brought out of prison and tied to the stake.
Who at that time was so cruel and hard-hearted, who was so inhuman, except you alone, as not to be moved by their youth, their high birth, and their misfortunes? Who was there who did not weep? who did not feel their calamity, as if he thought that it was not the fortune of others alone, but the common safety of all that was at stake? They are executed. You rejoice and triumph at the universal misery; you are delighted that the witnesses of your avarice are put out of the way: you were mistaken, Verres, you were greatly mistaken, when you thought that you could wash out the stains of your thefts and iniquities in the blood of our innocent allies. You were borne on headlong in your frenzy, when you thought that you could heal the wounds of your avarice by applying remedies of inhumanity. In truth, although those who were the witnesses of your wickedness are dead, yet their relations are wanting neither to you nor to them; yet, out of that very body of naval captains some are alive, and are present here; whom, as it seems to me, fortune saved out of that punishment of innocent men, for this trial. Philarchus the Haluntian is present, who, because he did not flee with Cleomenes, was overwhelmed by the pirates, and taken prisoner; whose misfortune was his safety, who, if he had not been taken prisoner by the pirates, would have fallen into the power of this partner of pirates. He will give his evidence, concerning the discharge of the sailors, the want of provisions, and the flight of Cleomenes. Phalargus the Centuripan is present, born in a most honorable city, and in a most honorable rank. He tells you the same thing; he differs from the other in no particular. In the name of the immortal gods, O judges, with what feelings are you sitting there? or with what feelings are you hearing these things? Am I out of my mind, and am I grieving more than I ought amid such disasters and distresses of our allies? or does this most bitter torture and agony of innocent men affect you also with an equal sense of pain? For when I say that a Herbitan, that a Heraclean was put to death, I see before my eyes all the indignity of that misfortune.
That the citizens of those states, that the population of those lands, by whom and by whose care and labor an immense quantity of grain is procured every year for the Roman people, who were brought up and educated by their parents in the hope of our paternal rule, and of our justice, should have been reserved for the nefarious inhumanity of Gaius Verres, and for his fatal axe! When the thought of that unhappy Tyndaritan, and of that Segestan, comes across me, then I consider at the same time the rights of the cities, and their duties. Those cities which Publius Africanus thought fit to be adorned with the spoils of the enemy, those Gaius Verres has stripped, not only of those ornaments, but even of their noblest citizens, by the most abominable wickedness. See what the people of Tyndaris will willingly state. "We were not among the seventeen tribes of Sicily. We, in all the Punic and Sicilian wars, always adhered to the friendship and alliance of the Roman people; all possible aid in war, all attention and service in peace, has been at all times rendered by us to the Roman people." Much, however, did their rights avail them, under that man's authority and government! Scipio once led your sailors against Carthage; but now Cleomenes leads ships that are almost dismantled against pirates. "Africanus," says he, "shared with you the spoils of the enemy, and the reward of glory; but now, you, having been plundered by me, having had your vessel taken away by the pirates, are considered in the number and class of enemies." What more shall I say? what advantages did that relationship of the Segestans to us, not only stated in old papers, and commemorated in words, but adopted and proved by many good offices of theirs towards us, bring to them under the government of that man? Just this much, O judges, that a young man of the highest rank was torn from his father's bosom, an innocent son from his mother's embrace, and given to that man's executioner, Sextius. That city to which our ancestors gave most extensive and valuable lands, which they exempted from tribute; this city, with all the weight of its relationship to us, of its loyalty, and of its ancient alliance with us, could not obtain even this privilege, of being allowed to avert by its prayers the death and execution of one most honorable and most innocent citizen.
Where shall the allies flee for refuge? Whose help shall they implore? by what hope shall they still be retained in the desire to live, if you abandon them? Shall they come to the senate and beg them to punish Verres? That is not a usual course; it is not in accordance with the duty of the senate. Shall they betake themselves to the Roman people? The people will easily find an excuse; for they will say that they have established a law for the sake of the allies, and that they have appointed you as guardians and vindicators of that law. This then is the only place to which they can flee; this is the harbor, this is the citadel, this is the altar of the allies; to which indeed they do not at present betake themselves with the same views as they formerly used to entertain in seeking to recover their property. They are not seeking to recover silver, nor gold, nor robes, nor slaves, nor ornaments which have been carried off from their cities and their temples;—they fear, like ignorant men, that the Roman people now allows such things and permits them to be done. For we have now for many years been suffering, and we are silent when we see that all the money of all the nations has come into the hands of a few men; which we seem to tolerate and to permit with the more equanimity, because none of these robbers conceals what he is doing; none of them take the least trouble to keep their covetousness in any obscurity. In our most beautiful and highly decorated city what statue, or what painting is there, which has not been taken and brought away from conquered enemies? But the villas of those men are adorned and filled with numerous and most beautiful spoils of our most faithful allies. Where do you think is the wealth of foreign nations, which they are all now deprived of, when you see Athens, Pergamos, Cyzicus, Miletus, Chios, Samos, all Asia in short, and Achaia, and Greece, and Sicily, now all contained in a few villas? But all these things, as I was saying, your allies abandon and are indifferent to now. They took care by their own services and loyalty not to be deprived of their property by the public authority of the Roman people; though they were unable to resist the covetousness of a few individuals, yet they could in some degree satiate it; but now not only is all their power of resisting taken away, but also all their means of supplying such demands. Therefore they do not care about their property; they do not seek to recover their money, though that is nominally the subject of this prosecution; that they abandon and are indifferent to;—in this dress in which you see them they now fly to you.
Behold, behold, O judges, the miserable and squalid condition of our allies. Sthenius, the Thermitan, whom you see here, with this uncombed hair and mourning robe, though his whole house has been stripped of everything, makes no mention of your robberies, Verres; he claims to recover his own safety from you, nothing more. For you, by your lust and wickedness, have removed him entirely from his country, in which he flourished as a leading man, illustrious for his many virtues and distinguished services. This man Dexio, whom you see now present, demands of you, not the public treasures of which you stripped Tyndaris, nor the wealth of which you robbed him as a private individual, but, wretched that he is, he demands of you his most virtuous, his most innocent, his only son. He does not want to carry back home a sum of money obtained from you as damages, but he seeks out of your calamity some consolation for the ashes and bones of his son. This other man here, the aged Eubulida, has not, at the close of life, undertaken such fatigue and so long a journey, to recover any of his property, but to see you condemned with the same eyes that beheld the bleeding neck of his own son. If it had not been for Lucius Metellus, O judges, the mothers of those men, their wives and sisters, were on their way hither; and one of them, when I arrived at Heraclea late at night, came to meet me with all the matrons of that city, and with many torches; and so, styling me her saviour, calling you her executioner, uttering in an imploring manner the name of her son, she fell down, wretched as she was, at my feet, as if I were able to raise her son from the shades below. In the other cities also the aged mothers, and even the little children of those miserable men did the same thing; while the helpless age of each class appeared especially to stand in need of my labor and diligence, of your good faith and pity. Therefore, O judges, this complaint was brought to me by Sicily most especially and beyond all other complaints. I have undertaken this task, induced by the tears of others, not by any desire of my own for glory; in order that false condemnation, and imprisonment, and chains, and axes, and the torture of our allies, and the execution of innocent men, and last of all, that the bodies of the lifeless dead, and the agony of living parents and relations, may not be a source of profit to our magistrates. If, by that man's condemnation, obtained through your good faith and. strict justice, O judges, I remove this fear from Sicily, I shall think enough has been done in discharge of my duty, and enough to satisfy their wishes who have entreated this assistance from me.
Wherefore, if by any chance you find one who attempts to defend him from this accusation in the matter of the fleet, let him defend him thus; let him leave out those common topics which have nothing to do with the business—that I am attributing to him blame which belongs to fortune; that I am imputing to him disaster as a crime; that I am accusing him of the loss of a fleet, when, in the uncertain risks of war which are common to both sides, many gallant men have often met with disasters both by land and sea. I am imputing to you nothing in which fortune was concerned; you have no pretext for bringing up the disasters of others; you have nothing to do with collecting instances of the misfortunes of many others. I say the ships were dismantled; I say the rowers and sailors were discharged; I say the rest had been living on the roots of wild palms; that a Sicilian was appointed to command a fleet of the Roman people; a Syracusan to command our allies and friends; I say that, all that time, and for many preceding days, you were spending your time in drunken revels on the seashore with your concubines; and I produce my informants and witnesses, who prove all these charges. Do I seem to be insulting you in your calamity; to be cutting you off from your legitimate excuse of blaming fortune? Do I appear to be attacking and reproaching you for the ordinary chances of war? Although the men who are indeed accustomed to object to the results of fortune being made a charge against them, are those who have committed themselves to her, and have encountered her perils and vicissitudes. But in that disaster of yours, fortune had no share at all. For men are accustomed to try the fortune of war, and to encounter danger in battles, not in banquets. But in that disaster of yours we cannot say that Mars had any share; we may say that Venus had. But if it is not right that the disasters of fortune should be imputed to you, why did you not allow her some weight in furnishing excuses and defense for those innocent men? You must also deprive yourself of the argument, that you are now accused and held up to odium by me, for having punished and executed men according to the custom of our ancestors. My accusation does not turn on anyone's punishment. I do not say that no one ought to have been put to death; I do not say that all fear is to be removed from military service, severity from command, or punishment from guilt. I confess that there are many precedents for severe and terrible punishments inflicted not only on our allies, but even on our citizens and soldiers.
You may therefore omit all such topics as these. I prove that the fault was not in the naval captains, but in you. I accuse you of having discharged the soldiers and rowers for a bribe. The rest of the naval captains say the same. The confederate city of the Netians bears public testimony to the truth of this charge. The cities of Herbita, of Amestras, of Enna, of Agyrium, of Tyndaris, and the Ionians, all give their public testimony to the same effect. Last of all, your own witness, your own commander, your own host, Cleomenes, says this,—that he had landed on the coast in order to collect soldiers from Pachynum, where there was a garrison of troops, in order to put them on board the fleet; which he certainly would not have done if the ships had had their complement. For the system of ships when fully equipped and fully manned is such that you have no room, I will not say for many more, but for even one single man more. I say, moreover, that those very sailors who were left, were worn out and disabled by famine, and by a want of every necessary. I say, that either all were free from blame, or that if blame must be attributable to someone, the greatest blame must be due to him who had the best ship, the largest crew, and the chief command; or, that if all were to blame, Cleomenes ought not to have been a spectator of the death and torture of those men. I say, besides, that in those executions, to allow of that traffic in tears, of that bargaining for an effective wound and a deadly blow, of that bargaining for the funeral and sepulture of the victims, was impiety. Wherefore, if you will make me any answer at all, say this,—that the fleet was properly equipped and fully manned; that no fighting-men were absent, that no bench was without its rower; that ample grain was supplied to the rowers; that the naval captains are liars; that all those honorable cities are liars; that all Sicily is a liar;—that you were betrayed by Cleomenes, when he said that he had landed on the coast to get soldiers from Pachynum; that it was courage, and not troops that he needed;—that Cleomenes, while fighting most gallantly, was abandoned and deserted by these men, and that no money was paid to anyone for leave to bury the dead.—If you say this, you shall be convicted of falsehood; if you say anything else, you will not be refuting what has been stated by me.
Here will you dare to say also, "Among my judges that one is my intimate friend, that one is a friend of my father?" Is it not the case that the more acquainted or connected with you anyone is, the more he is ashamed at the charges brought against you? He is your father's friend—If your father himself were your judge, what, in the name of the immortal gods, could you do when he said this to you?—"You, being in a province as praetor of the Roman people, when you had to carry on a naval war, three years excused the Mamertines from supplying the ship, which by treaty they were bound to supply; by those same Mamertines a transport of the largest size was built for you at the public expense; you exacted money from the cities on the pretext of the fleet; you discharged the rowers for a bribe; when a pirate vessel had been taken by your quaestor, and by your lieutenant, you removed the captain of the pirates from everyone's sight; you ventured to put to death men who were called Roman citizens, who were recognized as such by many; you dared to take to your own house pirates, and to bring the captain of the pirates into the court of justice from your own house. You, in that splendid province, in the sight of our most faithful allies, and of most honorable Roman citizens, lay for many days together on the seashore in revelry and debauchery, and that at a time of the greatest alarm and danger to the province. All those days no one could find you at your own house, no one could see you in the forum; you entertained the mothers of families of our allies and friends at those banquets; among women of that sort you placed your youthful son, my grandson, in order that his father's life might furnish examples of iniquity to a time of life which is particularly unsteady and open to temptation; you, while praetor in your province, were seen in a tunic and purple cloak; you, to gratify your passion and lust, took away the command of the fleet from a lieutenant of the Roman people, and gave it to a Syracusan; your soldiers in the province of Sicily were in want of provisions and of grain; owing to your luxury and avarice, a fleet belonging to the Roman people was taken and burnt by pirates; in your praetorship, for the first time since Syracuse was a city, did pirates sail about in that harbor, which no enemy had ever entered; moreover, you did not seek to cover these numerous and terrible disgraces of yours by any concealment on your part, nor did you seek to make men forget them by keeping silence respecting them, but you even without any cause tore the captains of the ships from the embrace of their parents, who were your own friends and connections, and hurried them to death and torture; nor, in witnessing the grief and tears of those parents, did any recollection of my name soften your heart; the blood of innocent men was not only a pleasure but also a profit to you."
If your own father were to say this to you, could you entreat pardon from him? could you dare to beg even him to forgive you? Enough has been done by me, O judges, to satisfy the Sicilians, enough to discharge my duty and obligation to them, enough to acquit me of my promise and of the labor which I have undertaken. The remainder of the accusation, O judges, is one which I have not received from anyone, but which is, if I may so say, innate in me; it is one which has not been brought to me, but which is deeply fixed and implanted in all my feelings; it is one which concerns not the safety of the allies, but the life and existence of Roman citizens, that is to say, of every one of us. And in urging this, do not, O judges, expect to hear any arguments from me, as if the matter were doubtful. Everything which I am going to say about the punishment of Roman citizens, will be so evident and notorious, that I could produce all Sicily as witnesses to prove it. For some insanity, the frequent companion of wickedness and audacity, urged on that man's unrestrained ferocity of disposition and inhuman nature to such frenzy, that he never hesitated, openly, in the presence of the whole body of citizens and settlers, to employ against Roman citizens those punishments which have been instituted only for slaves convicted of crime. Why need I tell you how many men he has scourged? I will only say that, most briefly, O judges, while that man was praetor there was no discrimination whatever in the infliction of that sort of punishment; and, accordingly, the hands of the lictor were habitually laid on the persons of the Roman citizens, even without any actual order from Verres.
Can you deny this, Verres, that in the forum, at Lilybaeum, in the presence of a numerous body of inhabitants, Gaius Servilius, a Roman citizen, an old trader of the body of settlers at Panormus, was beaten to the ground by rods and scourges before your tribunal, before your very feet? Dare first to deny this, if you can. No one was at Lilybaeum who did not see it. No one was in Sicily who did not hear of it. I assert that a Roman citizen fell down before your eyes, exhausted by the scourging of your lictors. For what reason? O ye immortal gods!—though in asking that I am doing injury to the common cause of all the citizens, and to the privilege of citizenship, for I am asking what reason there was in the case of Servilius for this treatment, as if there could be any reason for its being legally inflicted on any Roman citizen. Pardon me this one error, O judges, for I will not in the rest of the cases ask for any reason. He had spoken rather freely of the dishonesty and worthlessness of Verres. And as soon as he was informed of this, he orders the man to Lilybaeum to give security in a prosecution instituted against him by one of the slaves of Verres. He gives security. He comes to Lilybaeum. Verres begins to compel him, though no one proceeded with any action against him, though no one made any claim on him, to be bound over in the sum of two thousand sesterces, to appear to a charge brought against him by his own lictor, in the formula,—"If he had made any profit by robbery."—He says that he will appoint judges out of his own retinue. Servilius demurs, and entreats that he may not be proceeded against by a capital prosecution before unjust judges, and where there is no prosecutor. While he is urging this with a loud voice, six of the most vigorous lictors surround him, men in full practice in beating and scourging men; they beat him most furiously with rods; then the lictor who was nearest to him, the man whom I have already often mentioned, Sextus, turning his stick round, began to beat the wretched man violently on the eyes. Therefore, when blood had filled his mouth and eyes, he fell down, and they, nevertheless, continued to beat him on the sides while lying on the ground, till he said at last he would give security. He, having been treated in this manner, was taken away from the place as dead, and, in a short time afterwards, he died. But that devoted servant of Venus, that man so rich in wit and politeness, erected a silver Cupid out of his property in the temple of Venus. And in this way he misused the fortunes of men to fulfill the nightly vows made by him for the accomplishment of his desires.
For why should I speak separately of all the other punishments inflicted on Roman citizens, rather than generally, and in the lump? That prison which was built at Syracuse, by that most cruel tyrant Dionysius, which is called the stone-quarries, was, under his government, the home of Roman citizens. As any one of them offended his eyes or his mind, he was instantly thrown into the stone-quarries. I see that this appears a scandalous thing to you, O judges; and I had observed that, at the former pleading, when the witnesses stated these things; for you thought that the privileges of freedom ought to be maintained, not only here, where there are tribunes of the people, where there are other magistrates, where there is a forum with many courts of justice, where there is the authority of the senate, where there is the opinion of the Roman people to hold a man in check, where the Roman people itself is present in great numbers; but, in whatever country or nation the privileges of Roman citizens are violated, you, O judges, decide that that violation concerns the common cause of freedom, and of your dignity. Did you, Verres, dare to confine such a number of Roman citizens in a prison built for foreigners, for wicked men, for pirates, and for enemies? Did no thoughts of this tribunal, or of the public assembly, or of this numerous multitude which I see around me, and which is now regarding you with a most hostile and inimical disposition, occur to your mind? Did not the dignity of the Roman people, though absent, did not the appearance of such a concourse as this ever present itself to your eyes or to your thoughts? Did you never think that you should have to return home to the sight of these men, that you should have to come into the forum of the Roman people, that you should have to submit yourself to the power of the laws and courts of justice?
But what, Verres, was that passion of yours for practicing cruelty? what was your reason for undertaking so many wicked actions? It was nothing, O judges, except a new and unprecedented system of plundering. For like those men whose histories we have learned from the poets, who are said to have occupied some bays on the sea-coast, or some promontories, or some precipitous rocks, in order to be able to murder those who had been driven to such places in their vessels, this man also looked down as an enemy over every sea, from every part of Sicily. Every ship that came from Asia, from Syria, from Tyre, from Alexandria, was immediately seized by informers and guards that he could rely upon; their crews were all thrown into the stone-quarries; their freights and merchandise carried up into the praetor's house. After a long interval there was seen to range through Sicily, not another Dionysius, not another Phalaris, (for their island has at one time or another produced many inhuman tyrants,) but a new sort of monster, endowed with all the ancient savage barbarity which is said to have formerly existed in those same districts; for I do not think that either Scylla or Charybdis was such an enemy to sailors, as that man has been in the same waters. And in one respect he is far more to be dreaded than they, because he is girdled with more numerous and more powerful hounds than they were. He is a second Cyclops, far more savage than the first; for Verres had possession of the whole island; Polyphemus is said to have occupied only Aetna and that part of Sicily. But what pretext was alleged at the time by that man for this outrageous cruelty? The same which is now going to be stated in his defense. He used to say whenever anyone came to Sicily a little better off than usual, that they were soldiers of Sertorius, and that they were flying from Dianium. They brought him presents to gain his protection from danger; some brought him Tyrian purple, others brought frankincense, perfumes, and linen robes; others gave jewels and pearls; some offered great bribes and Asiatic slaves, so that it was seen by their very goods from what place they came. They were not aware that those very things which they thought that they were employing as aids to ensure their safety, were the causes of their danger. For he would say that they had acquired those things by partnership with pirates, he would order the men themselves to be led away to the stone-quarries, he would see that their ships and their freights were diligently taken care of.
When by these practices his prison had become full of merchants, then those scenes took place which you have heard related by Lucius Suetius, a Roman knight, and a most virtuous man, and by others. The necks of Roman citizens were broken in a most infamous manner in the prison; so that very expression and form of entreaty, "I am a Roman citizen," which has often brought to many, in the most distant countries, succour and assistance, even among the barbarians, only brought to these men a more bitter death and a more immediate execution. What is this, Verres? What reply are you thinking of making to this? That I am telling lies? that I am inventing things? that I am exaggerating this accusation? Will you dare to say any one of these things to those men who are defending you? Give me, I pray you, the documents of the Syracusans taken from his own bosom, which, I think, were drawn up according to his will; give me the register of the prison, which is most carefully made up, stating in what day each individual was committed to prison, when he died, how he was executed.
[The documents of the Syracusans are read.]
You see that Roman citizens were thrown in crowds into the stone quarries; you see a multitude of your fellow-citizens heaped together in a most unworthy place. Look now for all the traces of their departure from that place, which are to be seen. There are none. Are they all dead of disease? If he were able to urge this in his defense, still such a defense would find credit with no one. But there is a word written in those documents, which that ignorant and profligate man never noticed, and would not have understood if he had. 'Edikaivyhsan, it says-that is, according to the Sicilian language, they were punished and put to death.
If any king, if any city among foreign nations, if any nation had done anything of this sort to a Roman citizen, should we not avenge that act by a public resolution? should we not prosecute our revenge by war? Could we leave such injury and insult offered the Roman name unavenged and unpunished? How many wars, and what serious ones do you think that our ancestors undertook, because Roman citizens were said to have been ill-treated, or Roman vessels detained, or Roman merchants plundered? But I am not complaining that men have been detained; I think one might endure their having been plundered; I am impeaching Verres because after their ships, their slaves, and their merchandise had been taken from them, the merchants themselves were thrown into prison—because Roman citizens were imprisoned and executed. If I were saying this among Scythians, not before such a multitude of Roman citizens, not before the most select senators of the city, not in the forum of the Roman people,—if I were relating such numerous and bitter punishments inflicted on Roman citizens, I should move the pity of even those barbarous men. For so great is the dignity of this empire, so great is the honor in which the Roman name is held among all nations, that the exercise of such cruelty towards our citizens seems to be permitted to no one. Can I think that there is any safety or any refuge for you, when I see you hemmed in by the severity of the judges, and entangled as it were in the meshes of a net by the concourse of the Roman people here present? If, indeed, (though I have no idea that that is possible,) you were to escape from these toils, and effect your escape by any way or any method, you will then fall into that still greater net, in which you must be caught and destroyed by me from the elevation in which I stand. For even if I were to grant to him all that he urges in his defense, yet that very defense must turn out not less injurious to him than my true accusation. For what does he urge in his defense? He says that he arrested men flying from Spain, and put them to death. Who gave you leave to do so? By what right did you do so? Who else did the same thing? How was it lawful for you to do so? We see the forum and the porticoes full of those men, and we are contented to see them there. For the end of civil dissensions, and of the (shall I say) insanity, or destiny, or calamity in which they take their rise, is not so grievous as to make it unlawful for us to preserve the rest of our citizens in safety. That Verres there, that ancient betrayer of his consul, that transferrer of the quaestorship, that embezzler of the public money, has taken upon himself so much authority in the republic, that he would have inflicted a bitter and cruel death on all those men whom the senate, and the Roman people, and the magistrates allowed to remain in the forum, in the exercise of their rights as voters, in the city and in the republic, if fortune had brought them to any part of Sicily. After Perperna was slain, many of the number of Sertorius's soldiers fled to Gnaeus Pompeius, that most illustrious and gallant man. Was there one of them whom he did not preserve safe and unhurt with the greatest kindness? was there one suppliant citizen to whom that invincible right hand was not stretched out as a pledge of his faith, and as a sure token of safety! Was it then so? Was death and torture appointed by you, who had never done one important service to the republic, for those who found a harbor of refuge in that man against whom they had borne arms? See what an admirable defense you have imagined for yourself.
I had rather, I had rather in truth, that the truth of this defense of yours were proved to these judges and to the Roman people, than the truth of my accusation. I had rather, I say, that you were thought a foe and an enemy to that class of men than to merchants and seafaring men. For the accusation I bring against you impeaches you of excessive avarice: the defense that you make for yourself accuses you of a sort of frenzy, of savage ferocity, of unheard-of cruelty, and of almost a new proscription. But I may not avail myself of such an advantage as that, O judges; I may not; for all Puteoli is here; merchants in crowds have come to this trial, wealthy and honorable men, who will tell you, some that their partners, some that their freedmen were plundered by that man, were thrown into prison, that some were privately murdered in prison, some publicly executed. See now how impartially I will behave to you. When I produce Publius Granius as a witness to state that his freedmen were publicly executed by you, to demand back his ship and his merchandise from you, refute him if you can; I will abandon my own witness and will take your part; I will assist you, I say; prove that those men have been with Sertorius, and that, when flying from Dianium, they were driven to Sicily. There is nothing which I would rather have you prove. For no crime can be imagined or produced against you which is worthy of a greater punishment. I will call back the Roman knight, Lucius Flavius, if you wish; since at the previous pleading, being influenced, as your advocates are in the habit of saying, by some unusual prudence, but, (as all men are aware,) being overpowered by your own conscience, and by the authority of my witnesses, you did not put a question to any single witness. Let Flavius be asked, if you like, who Lucius Herennius was, the man who, he says, was a moneychanger at Leptis; who, though he had more than a hundred Roman citizens in the body of settlers at Syracuse, who not only knew him, but defended him with their tears and with entreaties to you, was still publicly executed by you in the sight of all the Syracusans. I am very willing that this witness of mine should also be refuted, and that it should be demonstrated and proved by you that that Herennius had been one of Sertorius's soldiers.
What shall we say of that multitude of those men who were produced with veiled heads among the pirates and prisoners in order to be executed? What was that new diligence of yours, and on what account was it put in operation? Did the loud outcries of Lucius Flavius and the rest about Lucius Herennius influence you? Had the excessive influence of Marcus Annius, a most influential and most honorable man, made you a little more careful and more fearful? who lately stated in his evidence that it was not some stranger, no one knows who, nor any foreigner, but a Roman citizen who was well known to the whole body of inhabitants, who had been born at Syracuse, who had been publicly executed by you. After this loud statement of theirs,—after this had become known by the common conversation and common complaints of all men, he began to be, I will not say more merciful in his punishments, but more careful. He established the rule of bringing out Roman citizens for punishment with their heads muffled up, whom, however, he put to death in the sight of all men, because the citizens (as we have said before) were calculating the number of pirates with too much accuracy. Was this the condition that was established for the Roman people while you were proctor? were these the hopes under which they were to transact their business? was this the danger in which their lives and condition as freemen were placed? are there not risks enough at the hands of fortune to be encountered of necessity by merchants, unless they are threatened also with these terrors by our magistrates, and in our provinces? Was this the state to which it was decent to reduce that suburban and loyal province of Sicily, full of most valued allies, and of most honorable Roman citizens, which has at all times received with the greatest willingness all Roman citizens within its territories, that those who were sailing from the most distant parts of Syria or Egypt, who had been held in some honor, even among barbarians, on account of their name as Roman citizens, who had escaped from the ambushes of pirates, from the dangers of tempests, should be publicly executed in Sicily when they thought that they had now reached their home?
For why should I speak of Publius Gavius, a citizen of the municipality of Cosa, O judges? or with what vigor of language, with what gravity of expression, with what grief of mind shall I mention him? But, indeed, that indignation fails me. I must take more care than usual that what I am going to say be worthy of my subject,—worthy of the indignation which I feel. For the charge is of such a nature, that when I was first informed of it I thought I should not avail myself of it. For although I knew that it was entirely true, still I thought that it would not appear credible. Being compelled by the tears of all the Roman citizens who are living as traders in Sicily, being influenced by the testimonies of the men of Valentia, most honorable men, and by those of all the Rhegians, and of many Roman knights who happened at that time to be at Messana, I produced at the previous pleading only just that amount of evidence which might prevent the matter from appearing doubtful to any one. What shall I do now? When I have been speaking for so many hours of one class of offenses, and of that man's nefarious cruelty,—when I have now expended nearly all my treasures of words of such a sort as are worthy of that man's wickedness on other matters, and have omitted to take precautions to keep your attention on the stretch by diversifying my accusations, how am I to deal with an affair of the' importance that this is ? There is, I think, but one method, but one line open to me. I will place the matter plainly before you, which is of itself of such importance that there is no need of my eloquence—and eloquence, indeed, I have none, but there is no need of any one's eloquence to excite your feelings. This Gavius whom I am speaking of, a citizen of Cosa, when he (among that vast number of Roman citizens who had been treated in the same way) had been thrown by Verres into prison, and somehow or other had escaped secretly out of the stonequarries, and had come to Messana, being now almost within sight of Italy and of the walls of Rhegium, and being revived, after that fear of death and that darkness, by the light, as it were, of liberty and of the fragrance of the laws, began to talk at Messana, and to complain that he, a Roman citizen, had been thrown into prison. He said that he was now going straight to Rome, and that he would meet Verres on his arrival there.
The miserable man was not aware that it made no difference whether he said this at Messana, or before the man's face in his own praetorian palace. For, as I have shown you before, that man had selected this city as the assistant in his crimes, the receiver of his thefts, the partner in all his wickedness. Accordingly, Gavius is at once brought before the Mamertine magistrates; and, as it happened, Verres came on that very day to Messana. The matter is brought before him. He is told that the man was a Roman citizen, who was complaining that at Syracuse he had been confined in the stone-quarries, and who, when he was actually embarking on board ship, and uttering violent threats against Verres, had been brought back by them, and reserved in order that he himself might decide what should be done with him. He thanks the men and praises their good-will and diligence in his behalf. He himself, inflamed with wickedness and frenzy, comes into the forum. His eyes glared; cruelty was visible in his whole countenance. All men waited to see what steps he was going to take,—what he was going to do; when all of a sudden he orders the man to be seized, and to be stripped and bound in the middle of the forum, and the rods to be got ready. The miserable man cried out that he was a Roman citizen, a citizen, also, of the municipal town of Cosa,—that he had served with Lucius Pretius a most illustrious Roman knight, who was living as a trader at Panormus, and from whom Verres might know that he was speaking the truth. Then Verres says that he has ascertained that he had been sent into Sicily by the leaders of the runaway slaves, in order to act as a spy; a matter as to which there was no witness, no trace, nor even the slightest suspicion in the mind of any one. Then he orders the man to be most violently scourged on all sides. In the middle of the forum of Messana a Roman citizen, O judges, was beaten with rods; while in the mean time no groan was heard, no other expression was heard from that wretched man, amid all his pain, and between the sound of the blows, except these words, "I am a citizen of Rome." He fancied that by this one statement of his citizenship be could ward off all blows, and remove all torture from his person. He not only did not succeed in averting by his entreaties the violence of the rods, but as he kept on repeating his entreaties and the assertion of his citizenship, a cross—a cross, I say—was got ready for that miserable man, who had never witnessed such s stretch of power.
O the sweet name of liberty! O the admirable privileges of our citizenship! O Porcian law! O Sempronian laws! O power of the tribunes, bitterly regretted by, and at last restored to the Roman people! Have all our rights fallen so far, that in a province of the Roman people,—in a town of our confederate allies,—a Roman citizen should be bound in the forum, and beaten with rods by a man who only had the fasces and the axes through the kindness of the Roman people? What shall I say? When fire, and red-hot plates, and other instruments of torture were employed? If the bitter entreaties and the miserable cries of that man had no power to restrain you, were you not moved even by the weeping and loud groans of the Roman citizens who were present at that time? Did y ou dare to drag anyone, to the cross who said that he was a Roman citizen? I was unwilling, O judges, to press this point so strongly at the former pleading; I was unwilling to do so. For you saw how the feelings of the multitude were excited against him with indignation, and hatred, and fear of their common danger. I, at that time, fixed a limit to my oration, and checked the eagerness of Gaius Numitorius, a Roman knight, a man of the highest character, one of' my witnesses. And I rejoiced that Glabrio had acted (and he had acted most wisely) as he did in dismissing that witness immediately, in the middle of the discussion. In fact he was afraid that the Roman people might seem to have inflicted that punishment on Verres by tumultuary violence, which he was anxious he should only suffer according to the laws and by your judicial sentence. Now since it is made clear beyond a doubt to everyone, in what state your case is, and what will become of you, I will deal thus with you: I will prove that that Gavius whom you all of a sudden assert to have been a spy, had been confined by you in the stone-quarries at Syracuse; and I will prove that, not only by the registers of the Syracusans,—lest you should be able to say that, because there is a man named Gavius mentioned in those documents, I have invented this charge, and picked out this name so as to be able to say that this is the man,—but in accordance with your own choice I will produce witnesses, who will state that that identical man was thrown by you into the stone-quarries at Syracuse. I will produce, also, citizens of Cosa, his fellow-citizens and relations, who shall teach you, though it is too late, and who shall also teach the judges, (for it is not too late for them to know them,) that that Publius Gavius whom you crucified was a Roman citizen, and a citizen of the municipality of Cosa, not a spy of runaway slaves.
When I have made all these points, which I undertake to prove, abundantly plain to your most intimate friends, then I will also turn my attention to that which is granted me by you. I will say that I am content with that. For what—what, I say, did you yourself lately say, when in an agitated state you escaped from the outcry and violence of the Roman people? Why, that he had only cried out that he was a Roman citizen because he was seeking some respite, but that he was a spy. My witnesses are unimpeachable. For what else does Gaius Numitorius say? what else do Marcus and Publius Cottius say, most noble men of the district of Tauromenium? what else does Marcus Lucccius say, who had a great business as a money-changer at Rhegium? what else do all the others say? For as yet witnesses have only been produced by me of this class, not men who say that they were acquainted with Gavius, but men who say that they saw him at the time that he was being dragged to the cross, while crying out that he was a Roman citizen. And you, Verres, say the same thing. You confess that he did cry out that he was a Roman citizen; but that the name of citizenship did not avail with you even so much as to cause the least hesitation in your mind, or even any brief respite from a most cruel and ignominious punishment. This is the point I press, this is what I dwell upon, O judges; with this single fact I am content. I give up, I am indifferent to all the rest. By his own confession he must be entangled and destroyed. You did not know who he was; you suspected that he was a spy. I do not ask you what were your grounds for that suspicion, I impeach you by your own words. He said that he was a Roman citizen. If you, Verres, being taken among the Persians or in the remotest parts of India, were being led to execution, what else would you cry out but that you were a Roman citizen? And if that name of your city, honored and renowned as it is among all men, would have availed you, a stranger among strangers, among barbarians, among men placed in the most remote and distant corners of the earth, ought not he, whoever he was, whom you were hurrying to the cross, who was a stranger to you, to have been able, when he said that he was a Roman citizen, to obtain from you, the praetor, if not an escape, at least a respite from death by his mention of and claims to citizenship?
Men of no importance, born in an obscure rank, go to sea; they go to places which they have never seen before; where they can neither be known to the men among whom they have arrived, nor always find people to vouch for them. But still, owing to this confidence in the mere fact of their citizenship, they think that they shall be safe, not only among our own magistrates, who are restrained by fear of the laws and of public opinion, nor among our fellow-citizens only, who are united with them by community of language, of rights, and of many other things; but wherever they come they think that this will be a protection to them. Take away this hope, take away this protection from Roman citizens, establish the fact that there is no assistance to be found in the words "I am a Roman citizen;" that a praetor, or any other officer, may with impunity order any punishment he pleases to be inflicted on a man who says that he is a Roman citizen, though no one knows that it is not true; and at one blow, by admitting that defense, you cut off from the Roman citizens all the provinces, all the kingdoms, all free cities, and indeed the whole world, which has hitherto been open most especially to our countrymen. But what shall be said if he named Lucius Pretius, a Roman knight, who was at that time living in Sicily as a trader, as a man who would vouch for him? Was it a very great undertaking to send letters to Panormus? to keep the man? to detain him in prison, confined in the custody of your dear friends the Mamertines, till Pretius came from Panormus? Did he know the man? Then you might remit some part of the extreme punishment. Did he not know him? Then, if you thought fit, you might establish this law for all people, that whoever was not known to you, and could not produce a rich man to vouch for him, even though he were a Roman citizen, was still to be crucified.
But why need I say more about Gavius? as if you were hostile to Gavius, and not rather an enemy to the name and class of citizens, and to all their rights. You were not, I say, an enemy to the individual, but to the common cause of liberty. For what was your object in ordering the Mamertines, when, according to their regular custom and usage, they had erected the cross behind the city in the Pompeian road, to place it where it looked towards the strait; and in adding, what you can by no means deny, what you said openly in the hearing of everyone, that you chose that place in order that the man who said that he was a Roman citizen, might be able from his cross to behold Italy and to look towards his own home? And accordingly, O judges, that cross, for the first time since the foundation of Messana, was erected in that place. A spot commanding a view of Italy was picked out by that man, for the express purpose that the wretched man who was dying in agony and torture might see that the rights of liberty and of slavery were only separated by a very narrow strait, and that Italy might behold her son murdered by the most miserable and most painful punishment appropriate to slaves alone. It is a crime to bind a Roman citizen; to scourge him is a wickedness; to put him to death is almost parricide. What shall I say of crucifying him? So guilty an action cannot by any possibility be adequately expressed by any name bad enough for it. Yet with all this that man was not content. "Let him behold his country," said he; "let him die within sight of laws and liberty." It was not Gavius, it was not one individual, I know not whom,—it was not one Roman citizen.—it was the common cause of freedom and citizenship that you exposed to that torture and nailed on that cross. But now consider the audacity of the man. Do you not think that he was indignant that he could not erect that cross for Roman citizens in the forum, in the comitium, in the very rostra? For the place in his province which was the most like those places in celebrity, and the nearest to them in point of distance, he did select. He chose that monument of his wickedness and audacity to be in the sight of Italy, in the very vestibule of Sicily, within sight of all passersby as they sailed to and fro.
If I were to choose to make these complaints and to utter these lamentations, not to Roman citizens, not to any friends of our city, not to men who had heard of the name of the Roman people,—if I uttered them not to men, but to beasts,—or even, to go further, if I uttered them in some most desolate wilderness to the stones and rocks, still all things, mute and inanimate as they might be, would be moved by such excessive, by such scandalous atrocity of conduct. But now, when I am speaking before senators of the Roman people, the authors of the laws, of the courts of justice, and of all right, I ought not to fear that that man will not be judged to be the only Roman citizen deserving of that cross of his, and that all others will not be judged most undeserving of such a danger. A little while ago, O judges, we did not restrain our tears at the miserable and most unworthy death of the naval captains; and it was right for us to be moved at the misery of our innocent allies; what now ought we to do when the lives of our relations are concerned? For the blood of all Roman citizens ought to be accounted kindred blood; since the consideration of the common safety, and truth requires it. All the Roman citizens in this place, both those who are present, and those who are absent in distant lands, require your severity, implore the aid of your good faith, look anxiously for your assistance. They think that all their privileges, all their advantages, all their defenses, in short their whole liberty, depends on your sentence. From me, although they have already had aid enough, still, if the affair should turn out ill, they will perhaps have more than the venture to ask for. For even though any violence should snatch that man from your severity, which I do not fear, O judges, nor do I think it by any means possible; still, if my expectations should in this deceive me, the Sicilians will complain that their cause is lost, and they will be as indignant as I shall myself; yet the Roman people, in a short time, since it has given me the power of pleading before them, shall through my exertions recover its rights by its own votes before the beginning of February. And if you have any anxiety, O judges, for my honor and for my renown, it is not unfavorable for my interests, that that man, having been saved from me at this trial, should be reserved for that decision of the Roman people. The cause is a splendid one, one easily to be proved by me, very acceptable and agreeable to the Roman people. Lastly, if I seem here to have wished to rise at the expense of that one man, which I have not wished,—if he should be acquitted, (a thing which cannot happen without the wickedness of many men,) I shall be enabled to rise at the expense of many.
But in truth, for your sake, O judges, and for the sake of the republic, I should grieve that such a crime was committed by this select bench of judges. I should grieve that those judges, whom I have myself approved of and joined in selecting, should walk about in this city branded with such disgrace by that man being acquitted, as to seem smeared not with wax but with mud. Wherefore, from this place I warn you also, Hortensius, if there is any room for giving a warning, to take care again and again, and to consider what you are doing, and where you are proceeding; what man it is whom you are defending, and by what means you are doing so. Nor in this manner do I seek at all to limit you, so as to prevent your contending against me with all your genius, and all your ability in speaking. As to other things, if you think that you can secretly manage, out of court, some of the things which belong to this judicial trial; if you think that you can effect anything by artifice, by cunning, by influence, by your own popularity, by that man's wealth; then I am strongly of opinion you had better abandon that idea. And I warn you rather to put down, I warn you not to suffer to proceed any further the attempts which have already been commenced by that man, but which have been thoroughly detected by, and are thoroughly known to me. It will be at a great risk to yourself that any error is committed in this trial; at a greater risk than you think. For as for your thinking yourself now relieved from all fear for your reputation, and at the summit of all honor as consul-elect, believe me, it is no less laborious a task to preserve those honors and kindnesses, conferred on you by the Roman people, than to acquire them. This city has borne as long as it could, as long as there was no help for it, that kingly sort of sway of yours which you have exercised in the courts of justice, and in every part of the republic. It has borne it, I say. But on the day when the tribunes of the people were restored to the Roman people, all those privileges (if you are not yourself already aware of it) were taken away from you. At this very time the eyes of all men are directed on each individual among us, to see with what good faith I prosecute him, with what scrupulous justice these men judge him, in what manner you defend him. And in the case of all of us, if any one of us turns aside ever so little from the right path, there will follow, not that silent opinion of men which you were formerly accustomed to despise, but a severe and fearless judgment of the Roman people. You have, Quintus, no relationship, no connection with that man. In the case of this man you can have none of those excuses with which you formerly used to defend your excessive zeal in any trial. You are bound to take care above all things, that the things which that fellow used to say in the province, when he said that he did all that he was doing out of his confidence in you, shall not be thought to be true.
I feel sure now that I have discharged my duty to the satisfaction of all those who are most unfavorable to me. For I convicted him, in the few hours which the first pleading occupied, in the opinion of every man. The remainder of the trial is not now about my good faith, which has been amply proved, nor about that fellow's way of life, which has been fully condemned; but it is the judges, and if I am to tell the truth, it is yourself, who will now be passed sentence on. But when will that sentence be passed? For that is a point that must be much looked to, since in all things, and especially in state affairs, the consideration of time and circumstance is of the greatest importance. Why, at that time when the Roman people shall demand another class of men, another order of citizens to act as judges. Sentence will be pronounced in deciding on that law about new judges and fresh tribunals, which has been proposed in reality not by the man whose name you see on the back of it, but by this defendant. Verres, I say, has contrived to have this law drawn up and proposed from the hope and opinion which he entertains of you. Therefore, when this cause was first commenced, that law had not been proposed; when Verres, alarmed at your impartiality, had given many indications that he was not likely to make any reply at all, still no mention was made of that law; when he seemed to pick up a little courage and to fortify himself with some little hope, immediately this law was proposed. And as your dignity is exceedingly inconsistent with this law, so his false hopes and preeminent impudence are strongly in favor of it. In this case, if anything blameworthy be done by any of you, either the Roman people itself will judge that man whom it has already pronounced unworthy of any trial at all; or else those men will judge, who, because of the unpopularity of the existing tribunals, will be appointed as new judges by a new law made respecting the old judges.
For myself, even though I were not to say it myself, who is there who is not aware how far it is necessary for me to proceed? Will it be possible for me to be silent, Hortensius? Will it be possible for me to dissemble, when the republic has received so severe a wound, that, though I pleaded the cause, our provinces will appear to have been pillaged, our allies oppressed, the immortal gods plundered, Roman citizens tortured and murdered with impunity? Will it be possible for me either to lay this burden on the shoulders of this tribunal, or any longer to endure it in silence? Must not the matter be agitated? must it not be brought publicly forward? Must not the good faith of the Roman people be implored? Must not all who have implicated themselves in such wickedness as to allow their good faith to be tampered with, or to give a corrupt decision, be summoned before the court, and made to encounter a public trial? Perhaps someone will ask, Are you then going to take upon yourself such a labor, and such violent enmity from so many quarters? Not, of a truth, from any desire of mine, or of my own free will. But I have not the same liberty allowed me that they have who are born of noble family; on whom even when they are asleep all the honors of the Roman people are showered. I must live in this city on far other terms and other conditions. For the case of Marcus Cato, a most wise and active man, occurs to me; who, as he thought that it was better to be recommended to the Roman people by virtue than by high birth, and as he wished that the foundation of his race and name should be laid and extended by himself, voluntarily encountered the enmity of most influential men, and lived in the discharge of the greatest labors to an extreme old age with great credit. After that, did not Quintus Pompeius, a man born in a low and obscure rank of life, gain the very highest honors by encountering the enmity of many, and great personal danger, and by undertaking great labor? And lately we have seen Gaius Fimbria, Gaius Marcius, and Gaius Coelius, striving with no slight toil, and in spite of no insignificant opposition, to arrive at those honors which you nobles arrive at while devoted to amusement or absorbed in indifference. This is the system, this is the path for our adoption. These are the men whose conduct and principles we follow.
We see how unpopular with, and how hateful to some men of noble birth, is the virtue and industry of new men; that, if we only turn our eyes away for a moment, snares are laid for us; that, if we give the least room for suspicion or for accusation, an attack is immediately made on us; that we must be always vigilant, always laboring. Are there any enmities?—let them be encountered;—any toils? let them be undertaken. In truth, silent and secret enmities are more to be dreaded than war openly declared and waged against us. There is scarcely one man of noble birth who looks favorably on our industry; there are no services of ours by which we can secure their good-will; they differ from us in disposition and inclination, as if they were of a different race and a different nature. What danger then is there to us in their enmity, when their dispositions are already averse and inimical to us before we have at all provoked their enmity? Wherefore, O judges, I earnestly wish that I may appear for the last time in the character of an accuser, in the case of this criminal, when I shall have given satisfaction to the Roman people, and discharged the duty due to the Sicilians my clients, and which I have voluntarily undertaken. But it is my deliberate resolution, if the event should deceive the expectation which I cherish of you, to prosecute not only those who are particularly implicated in the guilt of corrupting the tribunal, but those also who have in any way been accomplices in it. Moreover, if there be any persons, who in the case of the criminal have any inclination to show themselves powerful, or audacious, or ingenious in corrupting the tribunal, let them hold themselves ready, seeing that they will have to fight a battle with us, while the Roman people will be the judges of the contest. And if they know that, in the case of this criminal, whom the Sicilian nation has given me for my enemy, I have been sufficiently energetic, sufficiently persevering, and sufficiently vigilant, they may conceive that I shall be a much more formidable and active enemy to those men whose enmity I have encountered of my own accord, for the sake of the Roman people.
Now, good and great Jupiter, you, whose royal present, worthy of your most splendid temple, worthy of the Capitol and of that citadel of all nations, worthy of being the gift of a king, made for you by a king, dedicated and promised to you, that man by his nefarious wickedness wrested from the hands of a monarch; you whose most holy and most beautiful image he carried away from Syracuse;—And you, royal Juno, whose two temples, situated in two islands of our allies—at Melita and Samos—temples of the greatest sanctity and the greatest antiquity, that same man, with similar wickedness, stripped of all their presents and ornaments;-And you, Minerva, whom he also pillaged in two of your most renowned and most venerated temples—at Athens, when he took away a great quantity of gold, and at Syracuse, when he took away everything except the roof and walls;—And you, Latona, Apollo, Diana, whose (I will not say temples, but, as the universal opinion and religious belief agrees,) ancient birthplace and divine home at Delos he plundered by a nocturnal robbery and attack;—You, also, Apollo, whose image he carried away from Chios;—You, again and again, Diana, whom he plundered at Perga; whose most holy image at Segesta, where it had been twice consecrated—once by their own religious gift, and a second time by the victory of Publius Africanus—he dared to take away and remove;—And you, Mercury, whom Verres has placed in his villa, and in some private palaestra, but whom Publius Africanus had placed in a city of the allies, and in the gymnasium of the Tyndaritans, as a guardian and protector of the youth of the city;- And you, Hercules, whom that man endeavored, on a stormy night, with a band of slaves properly equipped and armed, to tear down from your situation, and to carry off;—And you, most holy mother Cybele, whom he left among the Enguini, in your most august and venerated temple, plundered to such an extent, that the name only of Africanus, and some traces of your worship thus violated, remain, but the monuments of victory and all the ornaments of the temple are no longer visible;—You, also, you judges and witnesses of all forensic matters, and of the most important tribunals, and of the laws, and of the courts of justice,—you, placed in the most frequented place belonging to the Roman people, Castor and Pollux, from whose temple that man, in a most wicked manner, procured gain to himself, and enormous booty;—And, all ye gods, who, borne on sacred cars, visit the solemn assemblies of our games, whose road that fellow contrived should be adapted, not to the dignity of your religious ceremonies, but to his own profit;—And you, Ceres and Libera, whose sacred worship, as the opinions and religious belief of all men agree, is contained in the most important and most abstruse mysteries; you, by whom the principles of life and food, the examples of laws, customs, humanity, and refinement are said to have been given and distributed to nations and to cities; you, whose sacred rites the Roman people has received from the Greeks and adopted, and now preserves with such religious awe, both publicly and privately, that they seem not to have been introduced from other nations, but rather to have been transmitted from hence to other nations, but which have been polluted and violated by that man alone, in such a manner, that he had one image of Ceres (which it was impious for a man not only to touch, but even to look upon,) pulled down from its place in the temple at Catina, and taken away; and another image of whom he carried away from its proper seat and home at Enna; which was a work of such beauty, that men, when they saw it, thought either that they saw Ceres herself, or an image of Ceres not wrought by human hand, but one that had fallen from heaven;—You, again and again I implore and appeal to, most holy goddesses, who dwell around those lakes and groves of Enna, and who preside over all Sicily, which is entrusted to me to be defended; you whose invention and gift of grain, which you have distributed over the whole earth, inspires all nations and all races of men with reverence for your divine power;—And all the other gods, and all the goddesses, do I implore and entreat, against whose temples and religious worship that man, inspired by some wicked frenzy and audacity, has always waged a sacrilegious and impious war, that, if in dealing with this criminal and this cause my counsels have always tended to the safety of the allies, the dignity of the Roman people, and the maintenance of my own character for good faith; if all my cares, and vigilance, and thoughts have been directed to nothing but the discharge of my duty, and the establishment of truth, I implore them, O judges, so to influence you, that the thoughts which were mine when I undertook this cause, the good faith which has been mine in pleading it, may be yours also in deciding it. Lastly, that, if all the actions of Gaius Verres are unexampled and unheard-of instances of wickedness, of audacity, of perfidy, of lust, of avarice, and of cruelty, an end worthy of such a life and such actions may, by your sentence, overtake him; and that the republic, and my own duty to it, may be content with my undertaking this one prosecution, and that I may be allowed for the future to defend the good, instead of being compelled to prosecute the infamous.
- Temsa is a town of the Bruttii, where some of the relics of Spartacus' army had fled. Verres had passed through it, or close to it, on his return from Sicily.
- "The Fetiales were a college of Roman priests, who acted as the guardians of the public faith; it was their province to determine the circumstances under which satisfaction was to be demanded from, or hostilities declared against any foreign state. They were the special arbiters of peace, of war, and of treaties. Their number was probably twenty. They were selected from the most noble of families, and their office was held for life. The name of is of uncertain derivation."—Smith, Dict. Ant. p. 416, in voce.
- See the first book of this second pleading, Ch. 26.
- See the first book of this second pleading, Ch. 27.
- See the seventh book of Thucydides.
- Dianium was a town in Spain which had been occupied by Sertorius.
- See the first book of this second pleading against Verres, Ch. 37.
- This refers to the tablets on which the judges signified their decision, which, as has been said before, were covered with wax.