Erat comes eius Rubrius quīdam, homō factus ad istīus libīdinēs, quī mīrō artificiō, quōcumque vēnerat, haec investīgāre omnia solēbat. Is ad eum rem istam dēfert, Philodamum esse quendam, genere, honōre, cōpiīs, exīstimātiōne facile prīncipem Lampsacēnōrum; eius esse fīliam, quae cum patre habitāret proptereā quod virum nōn habēret, mulierem eximiā pulchritūdine; sed eam summā integritāte pudīcitiāque exīstimārī. Homō, ut haec audīvit, sīc exārsit ad id quod nōn modo ipse numquam vīderat, sed nē audierat quidem ab eō quī ipse vīdisset, ut statim ad Philodamum migrāre sē dīceret velle. Hospes Iānitor, quī nihil suspicārētur, veritus nē quid in ipsō sē offenderētur, hominem summā vī retinēre coepit. Iste, quī hospitis relinquendī causam reperīre nōn posset, aliā sibi ratiōne viam mūnīre ad stuprum coepit; Rubrium, dēliciās suās, in omnibus eius modī rēbus adiūtōrem suum et cōnscium, parum lautē dēversārī dīcit; ad Philodamum dēducī iubet.

    After the generic references in § 63 (ut mos erat istius, negotium dat illis suis comitibus, ecqua virgo sit aut mulier), Cicero now zooms in on specifics: in this. . . [full essay]

    Grammar and Syntax:

    • What kind of ablatives are genere, honore, copiis, and existimatione?
    • What kind of ablatives are eximia pulchritudine and summa integritate pudicitiaque?
    • Why is suspicaretur in the subjunctive?
    • What type of ut-clause is ut statim … diceret velle?

    Style and Theme:

    • How does Cicero characterize Philodamus and his family? What aspects will have resonated particularly well with a Roman audience?
    • How does Cicero portray the relationship between Verres and Rubrius?

    Rubrius quidam; Philodamum … quendam: quidam means ‘a certain’ – Cicero uses the tag to introduce characters of the tale otherwise unknown to his audience. ‘Nothing is known about Rubrius apart from what emerges in this passage; but given his position, as part of the entourage of a legate, it is probable that he was a young man who was in the provinces, quite possibly for the first time, to gain experience as a preliminary to a political career’: Steel (2004) 240 n.14. Philodamus, on the other hand, whose name means something akin to ‘fond (philo-) of the people (damos)’, clearly belonged to the citizen-elite of Lampsacus, in terms of wealth, social rank, and willingness to undertake civic obligations, not least those imposed by Rome.69 Cicero recognizes his status as a local aristocrat, but then concentrates on his private role as father and family man.

    homo [i.e. Rubrius] factus ad istius libidines … . Homo [i.e. Verres], ut haec audivit, sic exarsit… . … hominem [i.e. Verres] summa vi retinere coepit: Cicero continues his ‘anthropological idiom’, which transposes the events from Roman history into a narrative about human types, from the good to the depraved.

    rem istam: the accusative object of defert, which proleptically sums up, and finds explication in, the indirect statements Philodamum esse quendam ; eius esse filiam, ; eam existimari.

    genere, honore, copiis, existimatione: four ablatives of respect, in *asyndetic sequence that refer to different areas of distinction: descent (genus), rank in the community (honos), wealth (copiae), and reputation (existimatio).

    filiam … cum patre … virum … mulierem: Cicero here reports what Rubrius reported to Verres. This raises the question of focalization – is the idiom that of Rubrius or that of Cicero? Whereas the first three nouns (filia, pater, vir) are value-neutral, mulier (‘a woman who is married or has had sexual experience (opp. virgo’): OLD s.v. 2) here surprises: from Cicero’s point of view one would have expected rather virgo. He may have opted for mulier to convey a sense of Rubrius’ crudity: he calls her a mulier to suggest that this female wants a male, that is Verres. Another possibility is that the daughter of Philodamus was indeed a mulier, rather than a virgo, perhaps because she had once been married, before returning to live with her father (as widow or divorcee?).

    eximia pulchritudine; summa integritate pudicitiaque: ablatives of description, the first referring to natural endowment, the second to her moral character and reputation. Cicero submits that it is the tension between utmost desirability and utter unattainability that sets Verres’ perverse mind afire. Note again Cicero’s predilection for extreme diction: eximia, summa. His rhetoric colours everything as brightly and graphically as possible.

    sic exarsit [ad id quod non modo ipse numquam viderat, sed ne audierat quidem ab eo qui ipse vidisset], ut statim … : the sic sets up the consecutive ut-clause; the intervening quod-clause, which heightens the sense of Verres being utterly out of control (he is set on fire by mere hearsay), finds confirmation in his demand for instant action (statim).

    exarsit … coepit … coepit … dicit … iubet: Cicero again switches from the perfect to the ‘historical present’ to make his narrative more vivid.

    ab eo qui ipse vidisset: not Rubrius, but a hypothetical ‘someone’ who (unlike Rubrius) had actually seen Philodamus’ daughter with his own eyes. The perfect subjunctive is generic (‘ from a person of the kind that he had seen it himself’).70

    Ianitor, qui nihil suspicaretur: Ianitor is a so-called ‘speaking name’, that is, a name that carries a meaning beyond designating an individual. In this case, the meaning (‘Porter’, ‘Gatekeeper’) is closely related to what Ianitor is doing, namely preventing Verres from leaving the house. Cicero most likely invented the name for the occasion to enhance the tragi-comic appeal of his narrative. (That an inhabitant of a Greek city should have a Latin name tailour-made for the yarn that Cicero is here spinning staggers belief.) The subjunctive in the relative clause has causal force.

    ne quid: after si, nisi, ne and num, ali- disappears; here (ali)quid functions adverbially, in the sense of ‘somehow’.

    Rubrium, delicias suas, in omnibus eius modi rebus adiutorem suum et conscium, parum laute deversari dicit: Cicero, who here reports what Verres said, includes two phrases in apposition in the indirect statement: (a) delicias suas; (b) in omnibus eius modi rebus adiutorem suum et conscium. This again raises the question of focalization: are we supposed to imagine these phrases as having been part of what Verres allegedly said at the time or are they rather Cicero’s observations, added to provide a commentary on Verres’ utterance? Whereas (b) is clearly Cicero’s point of view since it could not have been part of Verres’ statement, the case is less clear cut with (a): in many ways, focalization via Verres produces a more vicious meaning, with Cicero putting the following into Verres’ mouth: ‘Rubrius, my darling, suffers in a substandard accommodation – have him transferred to Philodamus.’ As Steel (2004) 239 n. 10 puts it: ‘Is this markedly colloquial phrase, delicias suas, simply Cicero’s description of Rubrius? Or does Cicero want us to think that Verres is so far gone in shamelessness that he could reveal such a liaison to a provincial?’

    delicias suas: literally, deliciae means ‘pleasures’ or ‘delights’ and it is then used as an endearing expression of a ‘delightful person’ (in the sense of ‘sweetheart’ or ‘pet’), most frequently in direct addresses. It is a mannerism of Roman New Comedy, but here constitutes an inappropriate endearment in several respects: in contrast to the Greek personnel of the genre, Verres is a Roman magistrate; his relationship to Rubrius should not follow any New-Comic pattern or habit of speech; the phrase, which is erotically charged, hinting at sexual delight, feminizes Rubrius by suggesting that he was Verres’ ‘toyboy’; and if the generic connotations of comedy resonate, the plot that unfolds here is tragic. (Cf. § 76, which describes the heart-wrenching and tear-inducing spectaculum – the public execution of Philodamus and his son – that brings the affair to a sorry end.)

    deversari: ‘to have lodgings’.

    Iste, qui … reperire non posset, … coepit: Cicero here portrays Verres in a hilarious fisty-cuff battle with a stubborn provincial, who is loath to see his distinguished visitor go and hence manhandles him. Being at a loss of how to extricate himself from the unwanted hospitality of Ianitor, Verres, so Cicero notes with sarcastic undertone, in his shrewdness devises a Plan B. Note the lexical and syntactical parallels between this and the previous sentence, in which Cicero described Ianitor: Hospes Ianitor corresponds to Iste, in each case the subjects are further described by a relative clause with causal force, and both sentences have coepit as main verb. Cicero thereby assimilates Verres to a character in a comic plot, at the same level as his stereotypical Ianitor.


    Rubrius A henchman of Verres about whom little is known. Cicero alleges that he was responsible for arranging liaisons for Verres.

    mīrus, -a, -um, adj., wonderful, marvellous, strange, amazing, extraordinary. Nec mīrum, and no wonder, and it is not strange.

    artificio art/craft/trade; skill/talent/craftsmanship; art work; method/trick; technology

    quōcumque [quō + -cumque], adv., whithersoever, to whatever place.

    investīgō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [in + vestīgō], 1, a., track; trace out, search into, investigate, find out.

    Philodamum 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.

    existimatione opinion (good/public); reputation/name; (forming of) judgement/view; credit;

    facile, comp. facilius, sup. facillimē, [facilis], adv., easily, without trouble; readily, willingly, promptly.

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

    habitō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [freq. of habeō], 1, a. and n., occupy continually, inhabit; dwell, reside, live.

    proptereā [propter + eā], adv., therefore, for this reason, on that account. proptereā quod, because.

    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.

    eximius, -a, -um, [eximō, take out], adj., choice, fine, excellent; uncommon, extraordinary, remarkable.

    pulchritudine beauty, excellence;

    integritās, -ātis, [integer], f., completeness, soundness; blamelessness, integrity, uprightness.

    pudīcitia, -ae, [pudīcus], f., modesty, virtue, chastity.

    exārdēscō, -ere, exārsī, exārsum, [ex + ārdēscō], 3, inch., blaze out, blaze up; take fire, be inflamed, kindle, glow; become aroused.

    migrare transport; move; change residence/condition; go away; depart; remove;

    Ianitor a citizen of Lampsacus who hosted Verres while he stayed there. His name literally means 'doorkeeper' or 'porter'.

    suspicor, -ārī, -ātus sum, [sub, cf. speciō], 1, dep., mistrust, distrust, suspect; surmise, suppose.

    offendō, -ere, offendī, offēnsum, [ob + unused fendō], 3, a. and n., strike against, stumble; hit upon, find; commit a fault, offend, be offensive; vex, displease.

    mūniō, -īre, -īvī, -ītum, [moenia], 4, a., defend with a wall, wall; fortify, defend, protect; secure, guard, strengthen.

    stuprum, -ī, n., defilement, disgrace, outrage; debauchery, lewdness.

    delicias pleasure/delight/fun (usu. pl.), activity affording enjoyment, luxuries; toys; luxurious habits/self-indulgence; airs, manners of superiority; caprices/whims; ornaments/decorations; erotic verse; charms; elegant/affected manners/mannerism

    adiutorem assistant, deputy; accomplice; supporter; secretary; assistant schoolmaster;

    conscium conscious, aware of, knowing, privy (to); sharing (secret) knowledge; guilty;

    laute elegantly, sumptuously, fashionably, finely; liberally;

    deuersari put up at an inn; lodge;

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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.