Pergae fānum antīquissimum et sānctissimum Diānae scīmus esse: id quoque ā tē nūdātum ac spoliātum esse, ex ipsā Diānā quod habēbat aurī dētractum atque ablātum esse dīcō. Quae, malum, est ista tanta audācia atque āmentia! Quās enim sociōrum atque amīcōrum urbēs adistī lēgātiōnis iūre et nōmine, sī in eās vī cum exercitū imperiōque invāsissēs, tamen, opīnor, quae signa atque ōrnāmenta ex iīs urbibus sustulissēs, haec nōn in tuam domum neque in suburbāna amīcōrum, sed Rōmam in pūblicum dēportāssēs.


Building on the themes and the idiom of the previous paragraph, Cicero increases the intensity of his condemnation. Particularly aggressive features are: (a) the emphasis on a specific and highly venerable shrine...[full essay]

Grammar and Syntax:

  • Explain the syntax of auri.
  • What is the subject accusative of the second part of the indirect statement (ex ipsa Diana … ablatum esse) introduced by dico?
  • What are the antecedents of the relative clauses introduced by Quas and quae?

Style and Theme:

  • Compare the degree of Cicero’s rhetorical aggressiveness in this and the preceding paragraph.
  • Explore how Cicero continues and develops his ‘rhetoric of space’ from the previous paragraph.
  • Discuss the theme of ‘violence’ in the paragraph: what forms of physical force does Cicero distinguish and on what grounds?
  • What is the name of the stylistic device that underwrites the word order of non in tuam domum neque in suburbana amicorum?

Pergae: the capital of Pamphylia. The form is the locative (‘in Perge’).

fanum … Dianae: Perge was famous for its temple of Artemis (the Greek equivalent to Diana), the second most distinguished site of worship of the goddess in Asia Minor outside Ephesus. In the cult practice of Asian Greeks, Artemis was not primarily the virgin goddess of the hunt (her dominant image in much of Greek mythology), but the mother goddess who represented natural fertility.47 Cicero is distinctly disinterested in these religious nuances, though he may play on the association of Diana with chastity and virginity (see note on nudatum ac spoliatum).

antiquissimum et sanctissimum: Cicero continues in superlative mode, here rightly so: the cult site was very ancient and sacred.

scimus: in variation to the scitis and audistis in § 53, Cicero here uses the first person plural, thereby constituting a community of knowledge that includes himself and the judges. See also §§ 55 (videmus), 59 (audiebamus), 60 (audimus, two times), 61 (considerabimus), 84 (videamus).

id quodque … esse dico: in the course of this sentence, Cicero picks up fanum … Dianae in two ways: he proceeds from the shrine itself to its centre, that is the cult statue, and in doing so he renders the abstract divinity material and concrete – ready for the taking.

nudatum ac spoliatum: as in § 53 (the *assonance evecta exportataque), Cicero describes Verres’ actions by pairing two verbs: see also detractum atque ablatum. The same stylistic habit is on display in his exclamatory comment ista tanta audacia atque amentia (again reinforced by assonance), the phrase sociorum atque amicorum, the description of Verres’ legal status (legationis iure et nomine), the hypothetical scenario of warfare (cum exercitu imperioque) and his description of the spoils (signa atque ornamenta).

spoliatum esse, ex ipsa Diana … ablatum esse dico: Cicero *asyndetically juxtaposes the two indirect statements depending on dico. The effect is jarring, especially because of the switch in the subject accusative from id (that is, fanum) to [id] quod habebat auri. (See further below on auri.)

ex ipsa Diana: the formulation has considerable shock value: Cicero’s formulation deliberately blurs the distinction between the goddess and her cult statue, thus suggesting that Verres does not shy away from laying hands on the deity, and his earlier use of nudatum may proleptically introduce a sexual aspect to this act of aggression. In Rome, Diana is famed for her chastity and commitment to virginity, though her cultic significance in Perge will have focused on different aspects (see above on fanum …. Dianae.) As such, the accusation here complements an earlier section in the speech, where Cicero described Verres’ theft of the cult statue of Apollo at Delos (2.1.46–48). In contrast to the rather detailed and colourful explication of the episode at Delos, which includes a reference to the wrath of the god and much mythological detail (such as comments on Delos as the birthplace of Apollo and Diana), Cicero avoids specifics here: while his imaginary audience was most likely able to relate to general points about Delos and the mythology of Apollo and Diana, in the context of the trial it would hardly have been interested in the religious practices and believes of a city in Asia Minor. In a later speech, he recalls the incident as part of a recapitulation of the divinities whom Verres committed sacrilege against in the course of his career (Ver. 2.4.71): Miramur Athenis Minervam, Deli Apollinem, Iunonem Sami, Pergae Dianam, multos praeterea ab isto deos tota Asia Graeciaque violatos, qui a Capitolio manus abstinere non potuerit? (‘Are we astonished that Minerva at Athens, Apollo at Delos, Juno at Samos, Diana at Perge, and many further gods all over Asia and Greece suffered sacrilege on the part of this man here who could not keep his hands away from the Capitol?’)

auri: partitive genitive depending on quod. The antecedent of the relative clause quod habebat auri (namely id), which is also the subject accusative of the second half of the indirect statement, is elided.

Quae, malum, est ista tanta audacia atque amentia!: an exclamation of extreme irritation, reinforced at the sound level by the *homoioteleuton ista tanta and the *assonance audacia atque amentia.

audacia: for the meaning and rhetorical function of audax and audacia in the political discourse of the late republic, see Wirszubski, C. (1961), ‘Audaces: A Study in Political Phraseology’, Journal of Roman Studies 51, 12–22, who gives the following definition (p. 15): ‘If I were to define, in Roman terms, who is audax in a political sense, I would say that he is a man, notably a public man, who dared in public life to do what no good man would think of doing.’

amentia: ‘insanity’ is a favourite charge in the late-Republican rhetoric of abuse in general and in the oratory of Cicero in particular. Verres is the first victim of his tendency to turn his adversaries into madmen; Catiline and his ilk, Clodius, and Mark Antony were to follow. Frequently (as here), the charge of madness occurs in a context of religious significance. The proverb Quos deus vult perdere dementat prius (‘Those whom a god wishes to destroy he strikes with madness first’) perfectly sums up Cicero’s approach, especially in this particular speech. The theme of divinely induced madness is present from the outset, and indeed underwrites the very fiction of the second actio: Cicero presents Verres’ (entirely imaginary) appearance in court as an act of insanity, caused by supernatural forces keen on exacting retribution for Verres’ religious and political crimes, not least on behalf of Rome’s civic community. Consider 2.1.6: de impudentia singulari, quod adest, quod respondet, sunt qui mirentur. Mihi pro cetera eius audacia atque amentia ne hoc quidem mirandum videtur; multa enim et in deos et in homines impie nefarieque commisit, quorum scelerum poenis agitatur et a mente consilioque deducitur (‘some wonder about his unparalleled shamelessness in being present in court and facing trial. To me, however, given his overall impudence and insanity, not even this seems to be cause for astonishment; for he perpetrated many unholy and wicked deeds against both gods and humans and he is haunted by the avenging spirits of these crimes and is deprived of his mind and reason’). Being a mente, i.e. deprived of his rational mind and judgment, manifests itself in amentia, i.e. madness, and, in Cicero’s logic of crime and punishment, entails the perpetration of further crimes and insane actions (such as Verres’ appearance in court, despite the fact that everyone knows him to be guilty) in an inexorable movement towards justice. The theme of madness also dominates Cicero’s conclusion of the Delos episode (2.1.48): Hoc tu fanum depopulari, homo improbissime atque amentissime, audebas? Fuit ulla cupiditas tanta quae tantam exstingueret religionem? (‘You dared to plunder this shrine, you most wicked and utterly insane human? Was there ever any desire of such magnitude as to overcome such a degree of religious scruple?’).48

Quas enim … deportasses: Quas is a connecting relative; deportasses is the main verb of the sentence – ‘a pluperfect subjunctive used in a jussive sense to indicate what should or should not have been done’: Mitchell (1986) 186. Both relative clauses (quas enim…; quae signa…) are ‘out of place’ as it were – Cicero places them ahead of the clauses into which they belong and includes the two antecedents (urbis and signa atque ornamenta) within the relative clauses. The relative clauses are, respectively, picked up by the demonstrative pronouns in eas and haec. The placing of the first relative clause at the beginning of the sentence makes sense thematically: it states what Cicero says actually happened and thus serves as foil for the unfulfilled condition si…invasisses, …deportasses. Cicero may have repeated the anticipation of the relative clause in the main clause to produce a parallel syntactic pattern between protasis (si-clause) and apodosis (main clause). Rewritten without Cicero’s rhetorical emphases, the sentence would run: Si enim in sociorum atque amicorum urbis, quas adisti legationis iure et nomine, vi cum exercitu imperioque invasisses, tamen, opinor, signa atque ornamenta, quae ex iis urbibus sustulisses, non in tuam domum neque in suburbana amicorum, sed Romam in publicum deportasses.

sociorum atque amicorum urbis: Cicero’s usage of the terms ‘allies’ (socii) and ‘friends’ (amici) is very fluid and varies from context to context. In the stretch of text under consideration here, he employs the phrase ‘allies and friends’ (the former carrying technically legal, the latter emotive connotations) to refer to the non-citizen inhabitants of the Roman provinces in Asia Minor. (Indeed, some define the status of socius in the context of Rome’s international diplomacy as comprising anyone who was not a citizen (civis) or an enemy (hostis).) The positive associations of the phrase ensured that it was tailor-made for rhetoric in the extortion court since it portrayed the victims of Roman exploitation on the lexical level as integral parts of the Roman world rather than subjects and dependents. Throughout the Verrines, Cicero calls the Sicilians and other provincials socii (91 times) or socii et amici (29 times).49

vi cum exercitu imperioque: generally speaking, vis denotes the application of physical force; in a civic context, vis is unequivocally negative – it refers to illegitimate use of violence. Cicero’s gloss cum exercitu imperioque makes it clear that in his hypothetical scenario (the sack of the city in the context of war) the violence involved is authorized and sanctioned – in direct contrast to the vis that Verres brings to bear upon friends and allies of the Roman people. The phrase here is the first in a series of similar formulations in the following paragraphs, designed to establish the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate use of violence: see § 55 (vi ac virtute); § 56 (vi, copiis, consilio, virtute); and § 57 (vi ac virtute).

suburbana: a suburbanum is a country seat near a city, here of course Rome.

non (a) in tuam domum neque (b) in suburbana amicorum, sed (b) Romam (a) in publicum: Cicero concludes this paragraph on the same theme as the previous one, the contrast between Verres’ private enterprise and Rome’s public sphere. The arrangement is *chiastic: Cicero contrasts Verres’ domus with the public spaces of Rome (in publicum), and he contrasts the city of Rome with the country houses (suburbana), which are removed from the urban settings in which the senate and the people of Rome interact with one another (law courts, the forum). (a) tuam (b) domum also forms a *chiasmus with (b) suburbana (a) amicorum as Cicero emphasizes the personal enrichment of Verres and his cronies. In contrast, Romam in publicum is utterly laconic and to the point.

amicorum: Cicero’s reference to Verres’ friends recalls his technical use of the word at the beginning of the sentence: Verres despoils friends of the Roman people for the benefit of his buddies.

deportasses: here in the specific sense ‘to bring back to Rome from the provinces’: OLD s.v. 2a.

47.For discussions of Artemis, see Burkert, W. (1985), Greek Religion, trans. by J. Raffan, Cambridge, Mass., 149–52; Vernant, J.-P. (1991), Mortals and Immortals: Collected Essays, ed. by F. I. Zeitlin, Princeton, 195-257; Ferguson, J. (1970), Religions of the Roman East, Ithaca, NY, 21-22; for the cult site at Perge in particular: Pace, B. (1923), ‘Diana Pergaea’, in W. H. Buckler and W. M. Calder (eds.), Anatolian Studies presented to Sir William Mitchell Ramsay, Manchester, 297–314 (in Italian).
48.See further Gildenhard (2011) 99–124, esp. 113–16 (‘Criminal Insanity’), which includes an analysis of Cicero’s portrayal of Verres as someone who is criminally insane and explores his insanity as one factor in a larger cosmic scheme that brings him to justice.
49.This note is based on material kindly made available to me by Myles Lavan. It forms part of his forthcoming book (provisionally titled Slaves to Rome) on Roman conceptions of empire.


Pergae Perge, the capital of Pamphylia and the site of an important Temple of Diana.

fānum, -ī, [for], n., shrine, sanctuary.

Dianae Diana, goddess of light and of the moon; the moon;

nudatum lay bare, strip; leave unprotected;

spoliō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [spolium], 1, a., strip, uncover; rob, plunder, despoil, deprive.

dētrahō, -ere, dētrāxī, dētrāctum, [dē + trahō], 3, a., draw off, pull down, pull off; take from, take away; remove, withdraw, deprive, rob; disparage.

audācia, -ae, [audāx], f., daring, boldness, courage, bravery; audacity, impudence, insolence, presumption; deed of boldness, daring deed, effrontery.

āmentia, -ae, [āmēns], f., madness; folly, stupidity.

lēgātiō, -ōnis, [lēgō], f., embassy, legation.

inuasisses enter, attempt; invade; take possession of; attack (with in +acc.);

opīnor, -ārī, -ātus sum, 1, dep., be of the opinion, suppose; conjecture, imagine, think, judge.

ōrnāmentum, -ī, [ōrnō], n., outfit, equipment, apparatus; mark of honor, decoration; distinction, ornament.

suburbana situated close to the city; growing or cultivated near the city;

Rōma, -ae, f., Rome.

publicum public; common, of the people/state; official; [res publica => the state];

dēportō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [dē + portō, 1, a., carry down, take away, carry off; of movement from the provinces to Rome, bring home, bring back, bring away.

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Suggested Citation

Ingo Gildenhard, Cicero, Against Verres, 2.1.53–86. Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2011. ISBN: 978-1-90692-463-8. DCC edition, 2016. http://dcc.dickinson.edu/cicero-verres/54