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 Dē quō nē multa disseram tantum dīcō, secūtum id esse Nerōnem et eius cōnsilium: quod Cornēlium līctōrem occīsum esse cōnstāret, putāsse nōn oportēre esse cuīquam nē in ulcīscendā quidem iniūriā hominis occīdendī potestātem. In quō videō Nerōnis iūdiciō nōn tē absolūtum esse improbitātis, sed illōs damnātōs esse caedis. Vērum ista damnātiō tamen cuius modī fuit? Audītē, quaesō, iūdicēs, et aliquandō miserēminī sociōrum et ostendite aliquid iīs in vestrā fide praesidī esse oportēre. Quod tōtī Asiae iūre occīsus vidēbātur istīus ille verbō līctor, rē vērā minister improbissimae cupiditātis, pertimuit iste nē Philodamus Nerōnis iūdiciō līberārētur; rogat et ōrat Dolābellam ut dē suā prōvinciā dēcēdat, ad Nerōnem proficīscātur; sē dēmōnstrat incolumem esse nōn posse, sī Philodamō vīvere atque aliquandō Rōmam venīre licuisset.

This paragraph picks up the rather vital piece of information that Cicero shared almost en passant as a seemingly unimportant interjection of Hortensius at the end of the previous. . . [full essay]

Grammar and Syntax:

  • What kind of genitives are improbitatis and caedis?
  • What kind of genitive is praesidi? On what word does it depend?

Style and Theme:

  • What is the rhetorical effect of the sentence that begins Audite, quaeso…?
  • What stylistic device does Cicero employ in the phrase aliquid iis in vestra fide praesidi? What is the rhetorical effect?

De quo ne multa disseram: an announcement by Cicero to limit himself to the essentials should alert the attentive reader that the argument has reached a tight spot, which Cicero wishes to dispatch quickly; of course, he often lingers nevertheless (as here).

consilium: the consilium is a typically Roman institution: it was in effect a group of esteemed and experienced persons who acted in an advisory capacity; any Roman in a position of power, whether in his role as pater familias or as a magistrate or pro-magistrate of the Roman people, was expected to consult his consilium before making an important or difficult decision. He alone was responsible for it, but if anything went wrong, disastrous decisions made after consultation of the consilium were more easily forgiven than those taken without consultation of the consilium (often seen as an act of unacceptable arrogance). Generally speaking, the consilium was therefore one means by which office-holders could diffuse the risk of making decisions by integrating others into the decision-making process; while the consilium operated in a largely informal capacity, the institution still significantly circumscribed the power of the (pro-)magistrate to act as he wished.82 In the administration of criminal justice in the provinces, the consilium played the role of jury that voted on the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Only after the consilium had decided on a verdict of guilty (condemnatio) was the (pro-) magistrate able to set in motion the execution.83 Nero, then, followed standard operating procedure and the fact that his consilium, at least eventually, opted to declare Philodamus and his son as guilty represents a significant rhetorical challenge for Cicero: he needed to discredit both Nero and his group of advisor

CORE VOCABULARY

disseram plant/sow at intervals; scatter/distribute, plant here/there; separate/part;

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

quod [acc. neut. of quī], conj., that, in that, the fact that; because, since, inasmuch as; in view of the fact that, as regards the fact that, wherein; so far as, to the extent that.

Cornēlius, -a, name of a Roman gens which included a number of prominent families, both patrician and plebeian. The Cornēliī mentioned in this book are described under their family names; see Balbus, Cethēgus, Cinna, Dolābella, Lentulus, Scīpiō, Sulla.

lictorem lictor, an attendant upon a magistrate;

ulcīscor, ulcīscī, ultus sum, 3, dep., take vengeance on, punish; avenge, requite.

absolutum free (bonds), release; acquit; vote for/secure acquittal; pay off; sum up;

improbitās, -ātis, [improbus], f., wickedness, badness, depravity.

vērum [vērus], adv., truly; but in truth, but notwithstanding, but, however, still. nōn modo — vērum, not only — but. nōn modo — vērum etiam, not only — but also.

damnātiō, -ōnis, [damnō], f., conviction, condemnation.

cuius modi of what kind/sort/nature soever;

quaesō, -ere, —, —, [cf. quaerō], def., a. and n., beg, pray, beseech, entreat; often parenthetical, quaesō, I pray, please.

miseremini pity, feel pity; show/have mercy/compassion/pity for (w/GEN);

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

re uera in fact; in reality, actually; [re vera => true thing];

minister attendant, servant, waiter; agent, aide; accomplice;

improbus, -a, -um, [in- + probus], adj., wicked, bad, depraved, base; shameless, outrageous.

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

pertimēscō, -ere, pertimuī, —, [per + timēscō], 3, inch., be greatly alarmed, be much frightened; fear greatly, be much afraid of.

Philodamus 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.

līberō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [līber], 1, a., set free, make free, free, liberate; release, extricate, deliver; acquit, absolve.

Dolābella, -ae, m., in this book P. Cornēlius Dolābella, a profligate man, who nevertheless gained the hand of Cicero's daughter Tullia. They were married B.C. 50, and divorced four years later. Dolabella joined the party of Caesar, after whose death he secured the consulship by unfair means. He obtained Syria as a province, where he conducted himself with so great injustice and brutality that he was declared a public enemy. To escape capture he ordered a soldier to kill him, B.C. 43. Ep. xxii.

dēcēdō, -ere, dēcessī, dēcessum, [dē + cēdō], 3, n., go away, withdraw, depart; retreat, retire, leave.

dēmōnstrō, -āre, -āvi, -ātum, [dē + mōnstrō], 1, a., point out, show, indicate; prove, establish.

incolumis, -e, [in- + columis], adj., unharmed, uninjured, safe, sound, whole.

Rōma, -ae, f., Rome.

vēneō, -īre, -īvī or -iī, -ītum, [vēnum, sale, + eō], irr., n., go to sale, be sold.

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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/72