Ille miser dēfēnsōrem reperīre nēminem poterat; quis enim esset aut togātus, quī Dolābellae grātiā, aut Graecus, quī eiusdem vī et imperiō nōn movērētur? Accūsātor autem adpōnitur cīvis Rōmānus dē crēditōribus Lampsacēnōrum; quī sī dīxisset quod iste iussisset, per eiusdem istīus līctōrēs ā populō pecūniam posset exigere. Cum haec omnia tantā contentiōne, tantīs cōpiīs agerentur; cum illum miserum multī accūsārent, nēmō dēfenderet; cumque Dolābella cum suīs praefectīs pugnāret in cōnsiliō, Verrēs fortūnās agī suās dīceret, īdem testimōnium dīceret, īdem esset in cōnsiliō, īdem accūsātōrem parāsset – haec cum omnia fierent, et cum hominem cōnstāret occīsum, tamen tanta vīs istīus iniūriae, tanta in istō improbitās putābātur ut dē Philodamō amplius prōnūntiārētur. 

    Cicero here continues his description of how Verres and his supporters manipulated the proceedings against Philodamus, but adds a new twist: the basic theme of the paragraph consists. . . [full essay]

    Grammar and Syntax:

    • quis enim esset aut togatus: explain the subjunctive.
    • What is the main verb of the sentence beginning with Cum haec omnia…?

    Style and Theme:

    • What is the technical term for Cicero’s repeated use of cum?
    • Analyze the rhetorical effect of Cicero’s repetition of idem.
    • What is the effect of Cicero’s repeated use of passives in this paragraph (adponitur, agerentur, putabatur, pronuntiaretur)?

    quis enim esset … qui … ?: a rhetorical question; the imperfect subjunctive conveys the sense that the possibility of anyone, be it Roman, be it Greek, standing up for Philodamus was entirely counterfactual. The Romans kept quiet out of self-interest since they did not wish to court controversy with someone as influential as Dolabella; the Greeks since they were intimidated by Dolabella’s official power and imperial command (vi et imperio).

    togatusGraecus: Cicero again uses the generic adjective togatus to specify persons in possession of Roman citizenship. On the toga as the distinctive Roman dress see above § 73.

    gratia: here ‘influence’: OLD s.v. 5c.

    adponitur – qui si dixisset … posset exigere: the passive construction obfuscates who was behind the appointment, though Cicero later on in the paragraph specifies that it was Verres (idem accusatorem parasset). The syntax of the sentence qui si dixisset … exigere produces a similar effect: it remains unclear who is responsible for briefing the prosecutor that getting Philodamus sentenced to death would be to his own advantage, though, as the clause quod iste iussisset suggests, it does not seem to have been Verres.

    qui si dixisset … posset exigere: an indirect statement depending on an imagined ‘he was told that’; qui is a connecting relative pronoun.

    Cum haec … parasset: One long series of concessive cum-clauses; Cicero sums up the machinations on the part of Dolabella and Verres with haec cum omnia fierent and then adds the fact that someone had been killed before continuing with the corresponding tamen.

    tanta contentione, tantis copiis – multi accusarent, nemo defenderet: two ablatives of instrument, enumerated *asyndetically but linked by an *anaphoric *polyptoton (tanta ~ tantis) and *alliteration; the (stylistic) coordination of effort and resources in the first cum-clause contrasts with the antithetical design in the subsequent cum-clause (multi ~ nemo; accusarent ~ defenderet).

    cumque: by means of the -que Cicero distinguishes the cum-clauses that indicate the general set-up of the trial from those cum-clauses that detail the specific actions undertaken by the two main culprits, i.e. Dolabella and Verres, who are both subsumed under one cum.

    cumque Dolabella cum suis praefectis pugnaret in consilio: pugnare is frequently used in the sense of ‘to contend in word or action, e.g. in a law-court’: OLD s.v. 4b. Nevertheless, Cicero’s choice of idiom gives the impression that Dolabella overdoes his efforts considerably; there is an arch touch to the finishing flourish in consilio, which is designed to surprise: an advisory group is hardly the context to manoeuvre forcefully with one’s military officers.

    Verres fortunas agi suas diceret, idem testimonium diceret, idem esset in consilio, idem accusatorem parasset: four *asyndetic clauses that specify Verres’ role in all this; the rhetorical design helps to produce a most damning effect: the triple *anaphora of idem that follows upon Verres reinforces Cicero’s point that Verres dominated the trial as (self-styled) victim, witness, judge, and prosecutor all in one.

    amplius pronuntiatur: for amplius in the technical juridical sense of ‘judgement reserved’ see OLD s.v. 1c. A Roman trial (actio) consisted of speeches by the prosecution and the defence, followed by a hearing (and cross-examination) of witnesses. If the jury was unable to decide after the first hearing, it could vote amplius or non liquet (a procedure known as ampliatio), necessitating a further hearing or hearings.87 Despite the fact that everything was stacked against Philodamus, those sitting in judgement could not agree on a verdict in the first meeting and had to postpone the decision. That may indeed have been the case, but we are forced to take Cicero at his word as regards the reasons. Upon consideration, the notion that the group assembled by Nero and Dolabella was swayed to reconvene by its knowledge of Verres’ immorality sounds rather implausible.

    87.See Powell, J. G. F. (2010), ‘Court Procedure and Rhetorical Strategy in Cicero’, in D. H. Berry and A. Erskine (eds.), Form and Function in Roman Oratory, Cambridge, 21-36 (26-7).


    defensorem defender/protector; supporter/champion/apologist; defendant; defense advocate;

    togātus, -a, -um, [toga], adj., wearing the toga, clad in the toga; in the garb of peace, in civil life, as a civilian.

    Dolābella, -ae, m., in this book P. Cornēlius Dolābella, a profligate man, who nevertheless gained the hand of Cicero's daughter Tullia. They were married B.C. 50, and divorced four years later. Dolabella joined the party of Caesar, after whose death he secured the consulship by unfair means. He obtained Syria as a province, where he conducted himself with so great injustice and brutality that he was declared a public enemy. To escape capture he ordered a soldier to kill him, B.C. 43. Ep. xxii.

    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.

    accusator accuser, prosecutor at trial; plaintiff; informer;

    adponitur place near, set before/on table, serve up; put/apply/add to; appoint/assign;

    Rōmānus, -a, -um, [Rōma], adj., of Rome, Roman, Latin. As subst., Rōmānus, -ī, m., Roman.

    creditoribus lender, creditor; one to whom money is due; (w/GEN of debtor/debt);

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

    lictores lictor, an attendant upon a magistrate;

    contentiō, -ōnis, [contendō], f., straining, strain, struggle, effort, exertion; strife, contention, contest; dispute, controversy; comparison, contrast.

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

    praefectus, -ī, [praeficiō], m., overseer, director, prefect; governor, commander; cavalry captain.

    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.

    testimōnium, ī, [testis], n., evidence, attestation, testimony, proof.

    improbitās, -ātis, [improbus], f., wickedness, badness, depravity.

    Philodamo 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.

    amplē, comp. amplius, sup. amplissimē, [amplus], adv., largely, amply, abundantly; liberally, magnificently. See amplius.

    prōnūntiō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [prō + nūntiō], 1, n. and a., proclaim, announce, publish; decide, pronounce; promise, offer.

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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.