Iam iam, Dolābella, neque mē tuī neque tuōrum līberōrum, quōs tū miserōs in egestāte atque in sōlitūdine relīquistī, miserērī potest. Verrēsne tibi tantī fuit ut eius libīdinem hominum innocentium sanguine luī vellēs? Idcircōne exercitum atque hostem relinquēbās ut tuā vī et crūdēlitāte istīus hominis improbissimī perīcula sublevārēs? Quod enim eum tibi quaestōris in locō cōnstituerās, idcircō tibi amīcum in perpetuum fore putāstī? nesciēbās ab eō Cn. Carbōnem cōnsulem, cuius rē vērā quaestor fuerat, nōn modo relictum sed etiam spoliātum auxiliīs, pecūniā, nefāriē oppugnātum et prōditum? Expertus igitur es istīus perfidiam tum cum ipse sē ad inimīcōs tuōs contulit, cum in tē homō ipse nocēns ācerrimum testimōnium dīxit, cum ratiōnēs ad aerārium nisi damnātō tē referre nōluit.

    After his account of the execution, Cicero turns to the perpetrators, first Dolabella (§ 77), then Verres (§ 78). By direct address and a string of rhetorical questions he explores possible motivations for Dolabella’s conduct. . . [full essay]

    Grammar and Syntax:

    • Explain the case and function of tanti.
    • Explain the grammar and syntax of nisi damnato te.

    Style and Theme:

    • Collect all instances of personal pronouns and possessive adjectives in the paragraph and explore their role in Cicero’s rhetoric.
    • Describe the tone in which Cicero attacks Dolabella.
    • How does Cicero employ Roman political norms and recent history against Verres and Dolabella?

    Iam iam: see OLD s.v. 6: ‘Now (after what has happened)’.

    Dolabella: For Dolabella see page 101 above. The direct address here is curious: it implies that Dolabella was physically present during the (imagined) proceedings, even though he was condemned to exile after his return from Cilicia. We are, then, dealing with a moment of creative licence on the part of Cicero who addresses Dolabella in absentia. While Dolabella’s fate of exile and the subsequent impoverishment of his children would in principle be pitiable, Cicero insists that any feelings of sympathy are misplaced: Dolabella’s crimes on behalf of Verres were such that all of his sufferings (and the sufferings of his children) are well and fully deserved.

    me tui neque tuorum liberorum … misereri potest: me miseret is an impersonal expression that has its objects in the genitive.

    tanti: genitive of worth, to be construed with fuit.

    lui: a striking choice of verb – luo means ‘to atone or make amends for, expiate’ (OLD s.v. 2) and has religious connotations. Cicero here evokes the repulsive and perverse scenario that Dolabella wanted to commit sacrificial slaughter (see sanguine) ‘to wash away’ the sins of Verres’ abominable lust with the blood of innocents.

    Idcircone: idcirco + ne (an enclitic used to introduce a question).

    exercitum atque hostem relinquebas: this harks back to § 73, where Cicero recounted that Dolabella left behind his official responsibilities as governor of Cilicia to come to Verres’ aid (fecit [sc. Dolabella] id quod multi reprehenderunt, ut exercitum, provinciam, bellum relinquere


    iam iam already; now;

    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.

    egestās, -ātis, [egēns], f., want, need, poverty, indigence.

    sōlitūdō, -inis, [sōlus], f., being alone, loneliness; lonely place, solitude, wilderness.

    misereri pity, feel pity; show/have mercy/compassion/pity for (w/GEN);

    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.

    innocēns, -entis, [in- + nocēns], adj., harmless, inoffensive; blameless; innocent, upright.

    lui pay; atone for; [poenam luere => to suffer punishment];

    idcircō [id, circus], adv., therefore, on that account, for this reason.

    crūdēlitās, -ātis, [crūdēlis], f., harshness, cruelty, severity.

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

    subleuares lift up, raise; support; assist; lighten;

    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.

    quaestor, -ōris, [for quaesitor, from quaerō], m., quaestor, an officer charged with public duties which varied according to the period and circumstances. At first there were but two quaestors, but the number was increased from time to time until it reached forty under Caesar's administration, B.C. 45. At that time the quaestors were engaged in the care of public moneys and of military stores, partly at Rome and partly in the provinces, which were assigned by lot. They were chosen annually, at the comitia tribūta.

    Gnaeus, -ī, abbreviated Cn., m., Gnaeus, a Roman forename.

    Carbō, -ōnis, m., Carbō, name of a plebeian family of the Papirian gens; in this book, = C. Papīrius Carbō Arvīna, tribune B.C. 90 or 89. He joined with his colleague M. Plautius Silvanus in proposing a law on citizenship, which was afterwards known as the Lēx Plautia Papīria. Arch. iv.

    re uera in fact; in reality, actually; [re vera => true thing];

    spoliō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [spolium], 1, a., strip, uncover; rob, plunder, despoil, deprive.

    nefāriē [nefārius], adv., impiously, heinously, abominably.

    oppūgnō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, [ob + pūgnō], 1, a., attack, assail, assault, storm, besiege.

    perfidiam faithlessness, treachery, perfidy;

    nocēns, -entis, [noceō], adj., harmful, hurtful; guilty, criminal. As subst., nocēns, -entis, m., culprit, criminal.

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

    aerārium, -ī, [aerārius], n., treasury; the public treasure, finances. The Roman treasury was a part of the temple of Saturn in the Forum, in which public funds were kept.

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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/77