Against Verres 82 Essay

In his narration (§ 69) Cicero made it appear that the intervention of the Roman businessmen, who warned the Lampsacenes of the dire consequences of attacking a Roman official, defused the situation. Now he suggests that the reason why the Lampsacenes desisted from the use of violence was not self-interest, but their belief that Verres’ would receive his comeuppance in a Roman court of law. The sudden trust on the part of the provincials in due process and the Roman legal system comes out of nowhere: it is a ploy designed to put pressure on the judges, a variant of Cicero’s equally far-fetched suggestion in § 71 that Verres’ escape owed itself to the intervention of Fortune so that he could stand trial in Rome (potestis dubitare quin istum fortuna non tam ex illo periculo eripere voluerit quam ad vestrum iudicium reservare?).

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