61

Aliō locō hoc cuius modī sit cōnsīderābimus; nunc nihil ad mē attinet; hōrum enim temporum in quibus nunc versor habeō tabulās et tuās et patris. Plūrima signa pulcherrima, plūrimās tabulās optimās dēportāsse tē negāre nōn potes. Atque utinam negēs! Ūnum ostende in tabulīs aut tuīs aut patris tuī emptum esse: vīcistī. Nē haec quidem duo signa pulcherrima quae nunc ad impluvium tuum stant, quae multōs annōs ante valvās Iūnōnis Samiae stetērunt, habēs quō modo ēmeris, haec, inquam, duo quae in aedibus tuīs sōla iam sunt, quae sectōrem exspectant, relicta ac dēstitūta ā cēterīs signīs.

After looking into Verres’ (lack of) accounting during his pro-praetorship, which will much preoccupy him in later books of the second actio, Cicero calls himself to order and sets aside the topic. . . [full essay]

Grammar and Syntax:

  • Parse the case and function of cuius modi.
  • What kind of clause is atque utinam neges?
  • What type of accusative is multos annos?
  • Parse emeris and explain the mood.

Style and Theme:

  • Discuss the way in which Cicero describes the fate of the two statues that remain in Verres’ house.

Alio loco … nunc: Cicero now concedes that his mockery of Verres’ way of accounting at a later stage of his career has no relevance to the issue at hand.

cuius modi sit: an indirect question.

Plurima signa pulcherrima, plurimas tabulas optimas: four superlatives; the two phrases are constructed in precise parallel.

Atque utinam neges!: neges is present subjunctive expressing a wish. Both the conjunction atque (as an emphatic introduction) and the particle utinam reinforce the intensity of the wish. With this wish Cicero submits that, on the basis of the account books, Verres would have been better off denying that he brought any artwork to Rome rather than claiming that he bought any. The fact that such a denial is itself an absurd impossibility (see the previous sentence: … te negare non potes) underscores how ridiculous the claim of legal acquisition in Verres’ case truly is.

Unum ostende: an imperative and hence a direct challenge to Verres. unum is the subjective accusative of the indirect statement depending on ostende, but Cicero’s word order initially gives the impression that it is a direct object.

quae nunc ad impluvium tuum stant, quae multos annos ante valvas Iunonis Samiae steterunt: two *asyndetic relative clauses that, by means of precise parallelisms, establish a laconic contrast between past and present: nunc ~ multos annos; ad impluvium tuum ~ ante valvas Iunonis Samiae; stant ~ steterunt. Within these indications of time, location, and placement Cicero has embedded an outrageous change in ownership, from Samian Juno (Iunonis Samiae) to Verres (tuum).

impluvium: specifically, the quadrangular basin in the floor of the atrium of a Roman house that received the rain water from the roof; more generally, the entire open space of the atrium.

valvas: the folding doors of the temple.

Iunonis Samiae: The island of Samos became part of the province of Asia in 84 BC; it boasted a famous Heraion, i.e. temple of Hera (the Greek counterpart to the Roman Juno), which featured masterpieces from various famous sculptors (Polycleitus, Praxiteles, Myron). Cicero here harks back to his account at 2.1.49–51. Lactantius (c. 250 – c. 320) quotes Varro (116 – 27 BC) as saying that the island was called ‘Parthenia’ since it was where Juno grew up and also married Jupiter. He refers to her temple there as nobilissimum et antiquissimum and discusses her cult statue – it was apparently dressed up as a bride, and the annual worship centred on nuptial rites (Divine Institutes, 1.17.8). One of Juno’s spheres of responsibility was the wellbeing of women and marriage. By recalling Verres’ manhandling of statues associated with her temple here, Cicero obliquely reminds his audience of Verres’ debauchery, the character trait that received brief mention in *praeteritio in his account of Verres’ youth (2.1.32–33) and will dominate his version of what happened at Lampsacus (§§ 6369).

habes [sc. ostendere] quo modo emeris: habes here means ‘to have the wherewithal, be in a position (to)’: OLD s.v. 12c. Cicero elides the complementary infinitive, which is understood from the previous sentence.

quo modo emeris: an indirect question; emeris is second person singular perfect subjunctive.

haec, inquam, duo … a ceteris signis: Cicero endows the two statues with human qualities: they experience loneliness (sola), await what lies in store for them (exspectant), and feel sadness as if the other statues (a statuis: ablative of the agent) had abandoned them (relicta ac destituta). He feels compassion for the last two (duo sola) remaining pieces of plunder left over from the great many (plurima) that Verres started out with.

sector: from seco, to cut or slice; here: ‘One who buys up captured or confiscated property at a public auction, with a view to reselling it’ (OLD s.v. 2). Cicero employs the term quite frequently to abuse an adversary as a profiteer of injustice and slaughter.

relicta ac destituta a ceteris signis: apparently, as long as Verres thought that the trial could be delayed to ensure a favourable outcome, he retained possession of his plunder; but once he realized that Cicero had pushed through his own schedule, he cleared his house of all statuary, except these two from Samos. See 2.1.51 (the section where he describes Verres’ ravaging of the island of Samos, a particularly rich hunting ground): nullum signum domi reliquisti praeter duo quae in mediis aedibus sunt, quae ipsa Samo sublata sunt? (‘ did you not leave no other statue in your house except two that stood in the middle of it, and even those were taken from Samos?’). relicta ac destituta is a *pleonasm.

CORE VOCABULARY

cuius modi of what kind/sort/nature soever;

cōnsīderō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, 1, a., look at closely, examine; reflect upon, consider, contemplate.

attineō, -ēre, attinuī, attentum, [ad + teneō], 2, a. and n., hold fast, detain; belong to, concern, relate to, pertain to.

versō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [freq. of vertō], 1, a., turn often, keep turning, turn over, turn; manage, direct; revolve, consider. Pass., versor, -ārī, -ātus sum, move about, dwell, remain, stay; be situated, be associated, be; be engaged in, be busy, be employed.

tabula, -ae, f., board, plank; tablet, writing-tablet; writing, record, memorandum, account; picture, painting. tabulae pūblicae, public records.

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.

utinam [utī + nam], adv., oh that! if only! would that!

emō, emere, ēmī, ēmptum, 3, a., buy, purchase.

impluuium basin in atrium floor to receive rain-water from roof;

ualuas double or folding door (usu. pl.), one leaf of the doors;

Iunonis Juno; (Roman godess, wife of Jupiter);

Samiae of/belonging to Samos; (cheap/brittle pottery); [testa ~ => shard for cutting];

sectorem > sector -ōris m., ‘One who buys up captured or confiscated property at a public auction, with a view to reselling it’ (OLD s.v. 2)

destituta fix/set (in position), set up, make fast; leave destitute/without; render void; desert/leave/abandon/forsake/leave in lurch; disappoint/let down; fail/give up;

Text Read Aloud
article Nav
Previous
Next

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/61