Nunc cum ipse causam illīus tumultūs neque vēram dīcere neque falsam cōnfingere audeat, homō autem ōrdinis suī frūgālissimus, quī tum accēnsus C. Nerōnī fuit, P. Tettius, haec eadem sē Lampsacī cognōsse dīxerit, vir omnibus rēbus ōrnātissimus, C. Varrō, quī tum in Asiā mīlitum tribūnus fuit, haec eadem sē ipsō ex Philodamō audīsse dīcat, potestis dubitāre quīn istum fortūna nōn tam ex illō perīculō ēripere voluerit quam ad vestrum iūdicium reservāre? Nisi vērō illud dīcet, quod et in Tettī testimōniō priōre āctiōne interpellāvit Hortēnsius – quō tempore quidem signī satis dedit, sī quid esset quod posset dīcere, sē tacēre nōn posse, ut, quam diū tacuit in cēterīs testibus, scīre omnēs possēmus nihil habuisse quod dīceret: hoc tum dīxit, Philodamum et fīlium eius ā C. Nerōne esse damnātōs.

It is hardly a coincidence that only now, after establishing his version of what happened at Lampsacus and adducing Verres’ silence in support of its veracity, Cicero brings his witnesses. . . [full essay]

Grammar and Syntax:

  • What case is Lampsaci?
  • Explain the case and function of signi.

Style and Theme:

  • Compare and contrast how Cicero presents (the evidence of) his two witnesses, Tettius and Varro.
  • Explore how Cicero tries to deflect Hortensius’ challenge to his witness during the first actio.

Nunc cum ipse … audeat …, homo autem … dixerit … dicat, potestis dubitare quin … iudicium reservare?: One long period that starts with a subordinate cum-clause, which falls into three segments, each with its own subjects: Verres (audeat), P. Tettius (dixerit), and C. Varro (dicat), followed by the main clause – potestis dubitare, with the judges as subjects – which in turn introduces a subordinate quin-clause, the subject of which is fortuna. autem introduces a contrast within the cum-clause, between Verres on the one hand and Tettius and Varro on the other.

homo autem … audisse dicat: in this part of the sentence Cicero introduces his two witnesses for his version of what happened at Lampsacus, P. Tettius and C. Varro. It is, of course, vital that their stories coincide, and Cicero takes care to stress that both of his informants reported exactly the same things (haec eadem). The table below illustrates how style enacts theme: Cicero has opted for a virtually identical overall design, into which he has inserted elements of variation to obviate monotony and boredom. In addition, he subtly foregrounds Varro, who has the higher rank and claims to have his information from Philodamus himself, whereas Tettius relied on hearsay he picked up in Lampsacus. (Cicero suppresses the fact that he and Varro were related: see below.) The design can be tabulated as follows:

Tettius Varro
1.Subject homo vir
2.Predicative attribute in the superlative autem ordinis sui frugalissimus, omnibus rebus ornatissimus,
3.Relative Clause (Tettius)/Name in Apposition (Varro) qui tum accensus C. Neroni fuit, C. Varro,
4.Name in Apposition (Tettius)/ Relative Clause (Varro) P. Tettius, qui tum in Asia militum tribunus fuit,
5.Indirect Statement haec eadem se Lampsaci cognosse haec eadem se ipso ex Philodamo audisse
6.Verb dixerit. dicat.

1.Subject: homo and vir here function as virtual synonyms. Cicero may have been motivated to designate Varro vir by the *alliterative assonance; but vir is also a more distinguished designation than homo, recalling such qualities as virtus and masculine prowess.

2.Predicative attribute in the superlative (frugalissimus, ornatissimus) with further specification in the partitive genitive (ordinis sui) or the ablative of respect (omnibus rebus): both of the specifications consist of a noun (a) and an attribute (b), though in chiastic order: (a) ordinis (b) sui ~ (b) omnibus (a) rebus. In each case, the specification is designed to underscore the integrity, esteem and overall trustworthiness of the witness. Yet in line with Cicero’s policy of foregrounding Varro, in Tettius’ case his superlative ranking is confined to his ordo, whereas Varro excels in more general fashion ‘in all things’.

3/4.Relative Clause and Name in Apposition: Cicero again opts for a chiastic order: (a) relative clause + (b) name (for Tettius) ~ (b) name + (a) relative clause (for Varro) to eschew tedious uniformity while still keeping the overall design exactly identical. The same principle is on display in the relative clause: each of the two consists of exactly the same elements, i.e. relative pronoun (qui), temporal adverb (tum), indication of role or office held (accensus, militum tribunus), further specification (C. Neroni, in Asia), verb (fuit); yet the office and the further specifications are again arranged chiastically: (a) accensus (b) C. Neroni ~ (b) in Asia (a) militum tribunus. A further nuance consists in the fact that in Tettius’ case the specification is a dative that indicates lines of command, whereas in Varro’s case it is a prepositional phrase in the ablative indicating geographical location: Cicero thereby marks Tettius as more of a subordinate than Varro.

5.Indirect statement: the accusative object of the indirect statement, the decisive phrase haec eadem is exactly the same as is the overall structure; haec eadem is followed in each case by the subject accusative (se) and specification of the source (Lampsaci, ipso ex Philodamo) and the verb of the indirect statement (cognosse, audisse).77

6.Verb: Cicero uses the same verb (dicere) that he already used in the opening segment on Verres, moving from the perfect (dixerit) to the present subjunctive (dicat). The difference in tense may be due to the fact that Tettius was called up as witness and gave his testimony during the first actio, whereas Varro seems not to have done so – yet, so Cicero now insists, he is saying exactly the same.

accensus: formed from the perfect participle of accenseo, but used as a noun: ‘an attendant, orderly’: OLD s.v. 2. The accensus was one category among the staff of a high magistrate or pro-magistrate, not dissimilar to the lictor, though limited in its function to warfare or more generally the sphere of militiae. In ancient times, they were selected from the century of the accensi velati – non-armed participants of military campaigns – but in the late republic, (pro-)magistrates tended to select them from among their own freedmen; their stipend was slightly higher than that of lictors. It was a position of considerable influence and Cicero, in a letter to his brother Quintus (Q. fr. 1.1.13), recommends the careful selection of a person suitable for the position. What accensi actually did is difficult to reconstruct: most likely they were involved in organizing and facilitating the day-to-day affairs of their superiors.78

C. Neroni: Gaius Claudius Nero: as pro-praetor of Asia, Lampsacus fell within his jurisdiction; Cicero first mentions him at 2.1.50, as the target of envoys from Samos, who complained about Verres’ attack on the temple of Juno. His reply was that for this sort of thing, which involved a legate of the Roman people and his alleged misbehaviour, they should not come to him, but go to Rome. In the following paragraphs, he emerges as the feeble colleague of Dolabella (Verres’ direct superior), who was pro-praetor of Cilicia.

P. Tettius … dixerit – C. Varro … dicat: nothing further is known of Publius Tettius; Gaius Visellius Varro was Cicero’s consobrinus or ‘cousin-german’ (Varro’s mother, Helvia, was Cicero’s aunt); he was Cicero’s near-contemporary (c. 104 - 58 BC); like Cicero he came from Arpinum, though went to Rome early on for his training and education.79 The distinction between past (dixerit) and present (dicat) is curious. As the second half of the paragraph makes clear, Tettius was one of Cicero’s witnesses in the actio prima; there is no indi


tumultus, -ūs, [tumeō], m., commotion, disturbance, tumult, uproar; insurrection, mutiny.

confingere fashion/fabricate, construct by shaping/molding; invent/feign/devise; pretend;

frugalissimus worthy/honest/deserving; thrifty/frugal/simple; temperate/sober; of vegetables;

accensus attendant/orderly; supernumerary soldier (usu. pl.) [~ velatus => replacements]

Gāius, -ī, abbreviated C., m., Gāïus, a Roman forename.

Neroni Gaius Claudius Nero, propraetor of Asia (with Dolabella). He formed the tribunal which ultimately condemned Philodamnus and his son to death.

Pūblius, -ī, abbreviated P., m., Pūblius, a Roman forename.

Tettius P. Tettius, an aide to C. Nero who testified during the Verrine Trials. Nothing else about him is known.

Lampsaci A Greek town located on the eastern side of the Hellespont.

ōrnātus, -a, -um, [part. of ōrnō], adj., fitted out, equipped, provided; furnished, decorated, adorned; eminent, illustrious.

Varrō, -ōnis, m., M. Terentius Varrō, “the most learned of the Romans,” born 116 B.C. In the Civil War he held a command under Pompey, but was pardoned by Caesar, and afterwards devoted himself exclusively to literary pursuits. He wrote voluminously, on a great variety of subjects. He was an intimate friend of Cicero. He died B.C. 28. Ep. xliv.

Asia, -ae, [Ἀσία], f., Asia, usually referring to Asia Minor.

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.

reservō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [re- + servō], 1, a., keep back, save up, reserve, retain.

testimōnium, ī, [testis], n., evidence, attestation, testimony, proof.

āctiō, -ōnis, [agō], f., a driving or doing, action; action at law, lawsuit, prosecution, trial; pl. often public acts, measures.

interpellō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [inter + unused pellō], 1, a., interrupt; hinder, obstruct, prevent.

Hortēnsius, -a, name of a plebeian gens. Three of the name, the orator, his father, and his brother, are spoken of by Cicero together as Hortensiī, gen. -ōrum. Q. Hortēnsius, the orator, was born B. C, 114. He became eminent as an advocate at an early age. He was consul B.C. 69. In 66 B.C. he spoke in opposition to the Manilian bill, which Cicero defended. Afterwards he was viewed by Cicero with jealousy as a rival, though sometimes they were both retained upon the same side of a case. He died B.C. 50. Imp. P. xvii., xix.

quam diu as long as, until;

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

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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/71