Bellumne populō Rōmānō Lampsacēna cīvitās facere cōnābātur? Dēficere ab imperiō ac nōmine nostrō volēbat? Videō enim et ex iīs quae lēgī et audīvī intellegō, in quā cīvitāte nōn modo lēgātus populī Rōmānī circumsessus, nōn modo ignī, ferrō, manū, cōpiīs oppugnātus, sed aliquā ex parte violātus sit, nisi pūblicē satis factum sit, eī cīvitātī bellum indīcī atque īnferrī solēre.

In this paragraph, Cicero rehearses and excludes alternative explanations for the conduct of the Lampsacenes. He dismisses the possibility that the uproar was an uprising and that the Lampsacenes. . . [full essay]

Grammar and Syntax:

  • Parse conabatur and explain the significance of the tense.

Style and Theme:

  • Analyse the rhetorical design of the relative clause in qua civitate … violatus sit and discuss how design reinforces theme.

conabatur? … volebat?: two rhetorical questions, to which the obvious answer is ‘no’.

ab imperio ac nomine nostro: in the phrase nomen nostrum (sc. Romanum) Cicero evokes both Roman rule and power grounded in military superiority (imperium) and an ethnic concept of Roman identity. The passage is listed by the OLD s.v. nomen 19, but this particular sense, though favoured by Cicero, is not all that common; in Roman political discourse, ethnic use of the nomen (gentile) was first and foremost a marker of what family-network (gens) an individual member of Rome’s ruling elite belonged to. See further Gildenhard (2011) 52.

ex iis quae legi et audivi intellego: Cicero specifies two sources of information about past practice: written records and oral sources. But he remains vague as to the genre – is he thinking of official records or literary texts, mere hearsay or public proceedings? The entire posture is at any rate mildly ironic: there is hardly any need for ‘fact finding’ to realize that the actions detailed would, under normal circumstances, have resulted in a declaration of war.

in qua civitate … ei civitati: civitati is the antecedent of qua; here it is attracted into the relative clause and repeated afterwards, both for emphasis and clarity.

legatus populi Romani: the paragraph advances Cicero’s strategy of quest


recitō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [re- + citō], 1, a., read aloud, declaim, rehearse.

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

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

Verris C. Verres, the governor of Sicily form 73 B.C. to 71 B.C., who was prosecuted by Cicero in 70 B.C. for corruption. After several failed attempts to delay the trial, Verres chose to abandon his defense and lived in exile in Massilia until 43 B.C.

Artemidorum An inhabitant of Perge who acted as Verres' personal physician.

Rōmānus, -a, -um, [Rōma], adj., of Rome, Roman, Latin. As subst., Rōmānus, -ī, m., Roman.

Lampsacena citizens of Lampsacusm a Greek town located on the eastern side of the Hellespont.

circumsedeō, -sedēre, -sēdī, -sessum, [circum + sedeō], 2, a., sit around; surround, besiege, beset.

oppūgnō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [ob + pūgnō], 1, a., attack, assail, assault, storm, besiege.

violō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [cf. vīs], 1, a., treat with violence, injure, outrage; profane, desecrate.

pūblicē [pūblicus], adv., for the state, in the name of the state, publicly, officially.

satis factum give satisfactory insurance (to) or (that); make amends, satisfy;

indīcō, -ere, indīxī, indictum, [in + dīcō], 3, a., announce, declare publicly, declare, proclaim; convoke, order; impose, enjoin.

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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/79