Against Verres 69 Essay

The shift from considered deliberation to violent action is swift and unanimous. If in the previous paragraph Cicero described the (impressively measured) proceedings on the basis of which the Lampsacenes opted for a course of violent self-defence to redress the injury suffered, he now details the outcome: because of Verres, the peace-loving inhabitants of the city have turned into a determined crowd of enemies. (The flip from lethargic lovers of peace and victims of exploitation into a mob set on physical violence reminds one of the meeting of the Ents and its outcome in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Chapter ‘Treebeard’, The Two Towers.) The Roman citizens who convince the Lampsacenes to desist from violence, however, leave no doubt that Rome will deem such violent uproar an unacceptable transgression and retaliate, especially if Verres should suffer harm or indeed be killed. Aggression against a Roman magistrate, however justified, almost inevitably set Rome’s military machine into motion.

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