Quod ubi est Philodamō nūntiātum, tametsī erat ignārus quantum sibi ac līberīs suīs iam tum malī cōnstituerētur, tamen ad istum venit; ostendit mūnus illud suum nōn esse; sē, cum suae partēs essent hospitum recipiendōrum, tum ipsōs tamen praetōrēs et cōnsulēs, nōn lēgātōrum adseculās, recipere solēre. Iste, quī ūnā cupiditāte raperētur, tōtum illīus postulātum causamque neglēxit; per vim ad eum, quī recipere nōn dēbēbat, Rubrium dēdūcī imperāvit. Hīc Philodamus, posteāquam iūs suum obtinēre nōn potuit, ut hūmānitātem cōnsuētūdinemque suam retinēret labōrābat. Homō, quī semper hospitālissimus amīcissimusque nostrōrum hominum exīstimātus esset, nōluit vidērī ipsum illum Rubrium invītus domum suam recēpisse; magnificē et ōrnātē, ut erat in prīmīs inter suōs cōpiōsus, convīvium comparat; rogat Rubrium ut quōs eī commodum sit invītet, locum sibi sōlī, sī videātur, relinquat; etiam fīlium suum, lēctissimum adulēscentem, forās ad propinquum suum quendam mittit ad cēnam.

The paragraph recounts the encounter between Verres and Philodamus, when the latter tries to register a protest against the indignity of being forced to quarter a low-ranking Roman. . . [full essay]

Grammar and Syntax:

  • On what word does the genitive mali depend, what type is it, and what do you call the stylistic device that Cicero uses here – and to what effect?
  • Explain the subjunctive in the relative clause Iste, qui una cupiditate raperetur.
  • Explain the tense of laborabat.

Style and Theme:

  • What is the stylistic device Cicero uses in the formulation humanitatem consuetudinemque suam?
  • Explore the confrontation between Verres and Philodamus: what are the principal qualities exhibited by each?

tametsī: tam + etsi – introduces a concessive clause (‘even though’).

quantum … malī: mali is a partitive genitive depending on quantum. The *hyberbaton underscores the extent of the evil that lies in wait for Philodamus.

iam tum: the phrase reinforces the idea of premeditation: Cicero makes it out that Verres and his cronies hatched a detailed plan of how to achieve the rape of Philodamus’ daughter. The motivation that determines the sequence of events is Verres’ beastly lust; Cicero never allows for the possibility that other factors (such as chance) may have played a role.

mūnus … cum suae partēs essent hospitum recipiendōrum: a munus is a (public) duty or obligation. In addition to official taxation, pro-magistrates in charge of provinces, as well as members of their entourage, could demand a certain amount of supplies and entertainment to be provided by the local population. The Romans passed some legislation designed to curb excessive use of this form of exploitation, but in practice much must have depended on the attitude and expectations of individual magistrates.71

praetōrēs et cōnsulēs, nōn lēgātōrum adseculās: Philodamus’ phrasing implies that even Verres (who was a legatus) falls short of the required rank: his hospitality usually extends only to high magistrates of the Roman people (praetors or consuls), not to any lesser official, and hence a fortiori not to mere members of the entourage.

adseculās: adsecula, ae (m.) means ‘follower’.

postulātum causamque: possibly a *hendiadys: ‘legitimate grievance’. This is the only hint in Cicero’s account that Philodamus may have overstepped the tightly circumscribed boundaries within which provincials could object to the demands of their Roman superiors.

per vim … imperāvit. Hic: Cicero has conjured a moment of crisis: we have reached a point in the narrative where a resort to violence (per vim) looms. Verres is beyond reason and ready to enforce his will by any means necessary. But the physical confrontation is averted since Philodamus gives in: ‘at this point’ (hic, with a long i), that is, when he sees that he will not be able to attain what is his right (ius), he wishes to save face and make the best of an unpleasant situation. Thus he counters the threat of force with obliging kindness: the contrast between the vis of Verres and the humanitas of Philodamus could not be sharper; in Cicero’s thought, it coincides with the distinction between barbarity and civilization. Yet whereas normally provincials or foreigners are associated with barbarity and the Romans with civilization, here the affiliations are inverted.

imperāvit … nōluit … comparat … rogat … mittit: as in the previous paragraph, Cicero starts out to narrate events in the perfect tense, before switching to the more vivid present.

labōrābat: the imperfect tense here signifies ‘attempt’ – the so-called ‘conative’ use of the imperfect (from conari, to try, attempt).

hūmānitātem cōnsuētūdinemque suam: a *hendiadys, best rendered by turning the second noun (consuetudo) into an adjective (‘usual’), such as ‘usual human kindness’ or ‘standards of civilized conduct’. Humanitas is one of Cicero’s favourite nouns, with a range of meanings, including compassion, human kindness, (Roman) civilization, and Roman-elite, yet Greek-educated urbanity. See Gildenhard (2011) 201–16.

Homō, quī semper hospitālissimus amīcissimusque nostrōrum hominum exīstimātus esset: that Cicero uses homo twice right after mentioning Philodamus humanitas is no coincidence: he construes a group of human beings that includes the provincial Philodamus and all right-minded Romans (nostri homines) on the grounds of shared human values, such as hospitality, urbanity, respect for the law, and the disinclination to use violence, but excludes Verres and his entourage. Throughout the Verrines, Cicero pursues a systematic campaign of portraying his adversary as subhuman.

magnificē et ōrnātē: Steel (2004) 240 questions whether the banquet really was of the ‘splendidly lavish scale’ that Cicero makes it out to be. She argues that it was most likely a relatively minor affair, which would explain in part why Philodamus sent away his son – he ‘had better things to do than have dinner with some unimportant Romans’. This interpretation chimes well with Philodamus’ grievance that he was used to entertaining much more important persons than legates (let alone the riff-raff in a legate’s entourage) and why he did not invite any other local dignitary or even neighbours, but decided to deal with the unpleasant situation by himself (see locum sibi soli).

cōpiōsus: wealthy – the attribute picks up copiis in § 64.

piōsus, convīvium comparat: the adjective, the noun, and the verb are linked both by *alliteration and thematically. Note, with reference to the following paragraph, that Philodamus organizes a (Roman) convivium, rather than a (Greek) symposion (for the difference see below).

ut quōs eī commodum sit invītet: the antecedent of quos (eos), which is also the accusative object of invitet, is left out.

71.See for more details Lintott, A. (1993), Imperium Romanum: Politics and Administration, London and New York, 92–5; Richardson, J. S. (1994), ‘The Administration of the Empire’, Cambridge Ancient History 9 (2nd edn), Cambridge, 572–84; laconically and to the point Steel (2004) 239 n. 11: ‘Officials abroad regularly abused their rights to lodging and entertainment.’


Philodamo A prominent citizen of Lampsacus who was forced by Verres to billet Rubrius and was ultimately condemned to death after a brawl (instigated by Rubrius) broke out at his house, resulting in Rubrius being injured and causing the townspeople to turn on Verres.

nūntiō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [nūntius], 1, a., announce, declare; report, communicate.

tametsī [for tamen etsī], conj., although, though, notwithstanding that; and yet.

ignārus, -a, -um, [in- + gnārus], adj., unfamiliar with, not knowing, unacquainted with, ignorant; unskilled in, inexperienced.

quantum how great; how much/many; of what size/amount/degree/number/worth/price;

malum, -ī, [malus], n., evil, misfortune, calamity; hurt, punishment; wrong-doing, crime.

adseculas follower; attendant, servant; hanger-on, sycophant, creature;

cupiditās, -ātis, [cupidus], f., desire, eagerness, passion; greed, covetousness, cupidity, lust.

postulatum demand, request;

neglegō -ere, neglēxī, neglēctum, [nec + legō], 3, a., disregard, neglect, not attend to, not heed, slight; despise, contemn, treat with indifference.

Rubrium A henchman of Verres about whom little is known. Cicero alleges that he was responsible for arranging liaisons for Verres.

posteā [post + eā], adv., after that, thereafter, later; then, afterwards. posteā quam, followed by a clause, after, after that.

obtineō, -ēre, obtinuī, obtentum, [ob + teneō], 2, a. and n., hold fast, keep, maintain; assert, prove, show.

hūmānitās, -ātis, [hūmānus], f., human nature, humanity; kindness, good nature, politeness; culture, refinement.

hospitalissimus of or for a guest; hospitable;

invītus, -a, -um, adj., unwilling, reluctant, against the will.

māgnificē, comp. māgnificentius, sup. māgnificentissimē, [māgnificus], adv., nobly, grandly, gloriously; splendidly, magnificently.

ōrnātē [ōrnātus], adv., elegantly, ornately.

cōpiōsus, -a, -um, [cōpia], adj., well supplied, rich, abounding in; copious, eloquent.

commodum suitable, convenient, obliging; opportune/timely; favorable/lucky; advantageous; standard, full weight/size/measure; desirable, agreeable; good (health/news);

invītō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, 1, a., invite, ask, urge; attract, allure; entertain, feast.

fīlius, -ī, sometimes abbreviated, F., f., m., son.

lēctus, -a, -um, [part. of legō], adj., chosen, picked, selected; choice, excellent.

adulēscēns, -entis, [part. of adolēscō], adj., young, youthful. As subst., m. or f., youth, young man, young woman.

forās [cf. foris, door], adv., of direction, out of doors, out, forth.

propinquus, -a, -um, [prope], adj., near, neighboring, near at hand; kindred, related. As subst., propīnquus, -ī, m., relative, kinsman.

cēna, -ae, f., dinner, the principal meal of the Romans, in early times taken at noon, afterwards later in the day.

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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/65