Et ais iūdicium esse factum tē iniūriā circumsessum esse Lampsacī, quod Philodamus cum fīliō condemnātus sit. Quid, sī doceō, sī plānum faciō teste homine nēquam, vērum ad hanc rem tamen idōneō – tē ipsō, inquam, teste docēbō tē huius circumsessiōnis tuae causam et culpam in aliōs trānstulisse, neque in eōs, quōs tū īnsimulārās, esse animadversum. Iam nihil tē iūdicium Nerōnis adiuvat. Recitā quās ad Nerōnem litterās mīsit. EPISTULA C. VERRIS AD NERONEM.  “THEMISTAGORAS ET THESSALUS. . .” Themistagoram et Thessalum scrībis populum concitāsse. Quem populum? Quī tē circumsēdit, quī tē vīvum combūrere cōnātus est. Ubi hōs persequeris, ubi accūsās, ubi dēfendis iūs nōmenque lēgātī? In Philodamī iūdiciō dīcēs id āctum?

In the final three paragraphs that Cicero devotes to the Lampsacus episode, he explores another line of defence that, he claims, Verres adopted: that the guilty. . . [full essay]

Grammar and Syntax:

  • What kind of construction is teste homine nequam?

Style and Theme:

  • Analyse the rhetorical design of Ubi hos persequeris, ubi accusas, ubi defendis ius nomenque legati?
  • Explore Cicero’s use of documentary evidence.

Et ais iudicium esse factum te iniuria circumsessum esse Lampsaci: ais introduces the indirect statement iudicium esse factum, which in turn introduces the indirect statement te … circumsessum esse. Lampsaci is in the locative: ‘in Lampsacus’.

Quid, si doceo … idoneo: an *anacoluthon, i.e. a sentence that breaks off in a state of incompletion. In this case, the si-clause does not have an apodosis, as Cicero changes tack by specifying who that depraved human being is whom he will use as witness, namely Verres himself.

si doceo, si planum facio: Cicero uses synonymous expressions in *asyndetic sequence for emphasis.

teste homine nequam … idoneo: teste homine is a nominal ablative absolute (i.e. an ablative absolute consisting of two nouns, with no verb): ‘through a human being as witness’; homine has two attributes (nequam, an indeclinable adjective, meaning ‘morally worthless, depraved’ and idoneo) which together form an *oxymoron (how can a worthless human being be an appropriate witness?), which Cicero resolves in what follows: the witness is Verres, who indicts himself.

huius circumsessionis tuae: the two attributes huius and tuae that frame circumsessionis give the phrase a mocking undertone.

in alios … in eos: in alios (to be construed with transtulisse) refers to Philodamus and his son (innocent people who were executed); in eos (to be construed with esse animadversum) refers to Themistagoras and Thessalus, whom Verres named in his letter to Nero (the allegedly guilty men whom Verres allowed to walk free).

neque in eos … esse animadversum: for the idiom animadvertere + in see above § 68 on in eam civitatem animadvertendum.

insimularas: syncopated pluperfect form of insimulaveras.

Recita quas ad Neronem litteras misit: litteras, the antecedent of quas, has been attracted into the relative clause.

Quem populum?: The verb is missing – ‘which people [do you mean]?’

Qui te circumsedit, qui te vivum comburere conatus est: the antecedent of each qui is populus – ‘the people, who…’

Ubi hos persequeris, ubi accusas, ubi defendis ius nomenque legati?: hos are Themistagoras and Thessalus. The demonstrative pronoun is the accusative object of both persequeris and accusas. Cicero uses an *asyndetic *tricolon reinforced by *anaphora (ubi). The *climactic third clause sums up the point of the first two clauses, which are by and large synonymous: Cicero argues that Verres should have taken legal action against the ringleaders he named in his letter to Nero in order to protect the institution and office of the Roman legate.

in Philodami iudicio dices id actum?: Cicero imagines Verres as responding to this rhetorical question (dices – in the future) that the matter was dealt with in the trial of Philodamus.


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

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

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.

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.

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

condemnō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [com- + damnō], 1, a., sentence, find guilty, convict, condemn.

planum level, flat;

nēquam, pos. indecl., comp. nēquior, sup. nēquissimus, adj., worthless, vile, bad.

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.

idōneus, -a, -um, adj., fit, suitable, proper; capable, sufficient.

circumsessio, -onis f., surrounding, mobbing; besieging; hostile encompassing

trānsferō, -ferre, -tulī, -lātum, [trāns + ferō], irr., a., bear across, convey over, transport, transfer, turn.

īnsimulō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [in + simulō], 1, a., charge, bring as a charge; accuse, blame.

animadvertō, -vertere, -vertī, -versum, [animum + advertō], 3, a., direct attention to, regard; notice, observe, consider, perceive, see; censure, punish, inflict punishment.

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

adiuvō, -iuvāre, -iūvī, -iūtum, [ad + iuvō], 1, a., help, assist; be of assistance to; aid, support, sustain.

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

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.

Themistagoras A citizen of Lampsacus who, along with Thessalus, is blamed (but notably not prosecuted) by Verres for inciting the people of Lampsacus to beseige him and attempt to burn him.

Thessalus A citizen of Lampsacus who, along with Themistagoras, is blamed (but notably not prosecuted) by Verres for inciting the people of Lampsacus to beseige him and attempt to burn him.

concitō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [freq. of conciō], 1, a., stir up, arouse, excite; urge, move, instigate.

vīvus, -a, -um, [cf. vīvō], adj., alive, living, having life; green, vigorous. As subst., vīvī, -ōrum, m., pl., the living, those who are alive.

comburere burn up/away; (w/love); consume/destroy w/fire; reduce to ash, cremate; scald;

persequor, -sequī, -secūtus sum, [per + sequor], 3, dep., follow persistently, follow after, pursue; prosecute, avenge; perform, accomplish; set forth, relate.

accūsō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [ad, causa], 1, a., reproach, accuse, blame, find fault with; prosecute, indict.

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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/83