Rubrius istīus comitēs invītat; eōs omnēs Verrēs certiōrēs facit quid opus esset. Mātūrē veniunt, discumbitur. Fit sermō inter eōs, et invītātiō ut Graecō mōre biberētur; hortātur hospes, poscunt maiōribus pōculīs, celebrātur omnium sermōne laetitiāque convīvium. Posteāquam satis calēre rēs Rubriō vīsa est, ‘Quaesō,’ inquit, ‘Philodame, cūr ad nōs fīliam tuam nōn intrō vocārī iubēs?’ Homō, quī et summā gravitāte et iam id aetātis et parēns esset, obstipuit hominis improbī dictō. Īnstāre Rubrius. Tum ille, ut aliquid respondēret, negāvit mōris esse Graecōrum ut in convīviō virōrum accumberent mulierēs. Hic tum alius ex aliā parte, ‘Enim vērō ferendum hoc quidem nōn est; vocētur mulier!’ Et simul servīs suīs Rubrius ut iānuam clauderent et ipsī ad forēs adsisterent imperat.

    Cicero describes the banquet that Philodamus put on in honour of his guest, emphasizing the hybrid nature of the event, in which elements of the Roman convivium (a dinner-party). . . [full essay]

    Grammar and Syntax:

    • What type of infinitive is Instare?
    • Define the case and function of moris.

    Style and Theme:

    • Discuss Cicero’s use of the passive voice in the passage.
    • Where at the banquet is Verres?
    • Discuss the clash of cultures (Greece vs. Rome) that Cicero portrays here.

    Rubrius invitat; Verres certiores facit; veniunt; discumbitur; fit sermo; invitatio ut … biberetur; hortatur hospes; poscunt; celebratur … convivium; … Rubrio visa est: after setting up Rubrius and Verres as masterminds of the whole affair, Cicero describes the proceedings without reference to specific actors, using the impersonal third person singular (discumbitur, biberetur) and anonymous third person plurals (veniunt, poscunt), an effect reinforced by the passive celebratur and the deponent fit. The only identifiable subject in this stretch is Philodamus who, as host (hospes), sees to it that a good time is had by all. Then, when the decisive moment has come, Cicero returns to naming Rubrius (and by implication Verres).

    Rubrius istius comites invitat; eos omnes Verres certiores facit quid opus esset: Cicero here both acknowledges and obfuscates the rather crucial fact that Verres himself was not present at the banquet.

    sermo: small-talk, easy-going conversation, often involving wit and urbanity; in contrast to the protocols of alcohol consumption the party adopted (see invitatio ut Graeco more biberetur), it is a markedly Roman term.

    ut Graeco more biberetur: Graeco more could either refer to the habit of drinking to the health of the person to whom the cup is then passed or the practice of imbibing the wine undiluted with water.

    Homo, qui … esset: the relative clause has causal meaning, hence the subjunctive.

    et summa gravitate et iam id aetatis et parens: *a polysyndetic sequence: Cicero gives three weighty reasons why Philodamus was taken aback by Rubrius’ suggestion. summa gravitate is an ablative of description, id aetatis a partitive genitive.

    Homo … obstipuit hominis improbi dicto: again we have a sharp, anthropological contrast between one type of human being and another, underscored on the lexical and stylistic level by the *polyptoton homohominis. Improbus (‘wicked’) is a favourite attribute of abuse in Cicero: he routinely contrasts ‘the good’ (boni) with ‘the wicked’ (improbi).

    poscunt maioribus poculis: a complementary infinitive such as bibere (to drink) is to be supplied after poscunt.

    Instare Rubrius: Cicero uses an infinitive in place of the finite verb (instat) to enhance vividness. Philodamus is shocked into silence, but Rubrius rudely presses on.

    ut aliquid responderet: a purpose clause – the emphasis is on aliquid: Philodamus is still under shock, but makes a dignified effort to say something.

    moris esse Graecorum: moris is a genitive of characteristic; in ancient Greek society the men and the women of the household mixed far less than in Rome’s aristocratic milieu.74 Philodamus tries his best to explain some basic cross-cultural differences to his guest, obviously to no avail.

    ut in convivio virorum accumberent mulieres: following up on his reference to Greek customs, Philodamus now spells out the gender protocols that he insists on upholding at an event such as this, using the *antithesis virorum – mulieres for clarity. (Note that Philodamus too is presented as referring to his daughter as mulier.)

    Hic tum alius ex alia parte: the seemingly synchronized response by everyone present generates the impression of prior coordination: everyone appeared to know exactly what to do and reacted right on cue.

    simul servis suis: emphatic initial position, reinforced by the s-alliteration, to indicate how quickly Rubrius acted; Cicero thereby again reinforces, however obliquely, his charge of premeditation.

    74.Bibliography on the Greek and Roman family and gender issues includes: Lacey, W. K. (1968), The Family in Classical Greece, Ithaca; Pomeroy, S. B. (1975), Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves, New York; Treggiari, S. (1991), Roman Marriage. Iusti Coniuges from the Time of Cicero to the Time of Ulpian, Oxford.


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

    invītō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, 1, a., invite, ask, urge; attract, allure; entertain, feast.

    Verres 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.

    mātūrē, comp. mātūrius, sup. mātūrissimē, [mātūrus], adv., seasonably, opportunely; early, soon, speedily.

    discumbitur sit (to eat), recline at table; lie down; go to bed;

    inuitatio invitation;

    Graecus, -a, -um, [Γραϊκός], adj., of the Greeks, Grecian, Greek. As subst., Graecī, -ōrum, m., pl., the Greeks. Graeca, -ōrum, n., pl., Greek writing, Greek.

    bibō, bibere, bibī, bibitum, 3, a. and n., drink.

    poculis cup, bowl, drinking vessel; drink/draught; social drinking (pl.); drink;

    laetitia, -ae, [laetus], f., joy, rejoicing; delight, gladness, pleasure.

    posteā [post + eā], adv., after that, thereafter, later; then, afterwards. posteā quam, followed by a clause, after, after that.

    calere be/feel/be kept warm; be hot with passion/inflamed/active/driven hotly/urged;

    quaesō, -ere, —, —, [cf. quaerō], def., a. and n., beg, pray, beseech, entreat; often parenthetical, quaesō, I pray, please.

    Philodame 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.

    intro within, in; to the inside, indoors;

    gravitās, -ātis, [gravis], f., weight, heaviness; oppressiveness, severity; importance, dignity, gravity, influence.

    obstipuit be stupefied; be struck dumb; be astounded;

    improbus, -a, -um, [in- + probus], adj., wicked, bad, depraved, base; shameless, outrageous.

    dicto saying, word; maxim; bon mot, witticism; order;

    īnstō, -stāre, -stitī, -stātum, [in + stō], 1, n., stand upon, be near at hand, approach, draw nigh; press upon, pursue, harass; menace, threaten; insist upon, urge.

    Graecorum Greek; the Greeks (pl.);

    accumberent take a place/recline at the table; lie on (bed), lie at/prone, lie beside;

    enim uero to be sure, certainly; well, upon by word; but, on the other hand; what is more

    ianuam door, entrance;

    forīs [foris], adv., of place, out of doors, without, abroad.

    adsisterent take position/stand (near/by), attend; appear before; set/place near; defend;

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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. https://dcc.dickinson.edu/cicero-verres/66