Gaius Verres

Gaius Verres: An Historical Study

CHARLES EDWIN BENNETT
GEORGE PRENTICE BRISTOL
FRANK HEWITT COWLES
Volume: 20
Copyright Date: 1917
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 210
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7591/j.cttq44c8
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  • Book Info
    Gaius Verres
    Book Description:

    In the year 70 B.C., Cicero, then thirty-six years of age, was confronted with the greatest task upon which he bad so far been called to exercise his legal talents. This was the accusation brought in the court of Repetundae by the Sicilians against Gaius Verres, their former governor, in which they charged him with a systematic and ruthless spoliation of the province during the course of the previous three years. The chief record of the Verrine impeachment, and almost the only source of our knowledge of the life of the defendant, is the series of seven speeches which Cicero prepared as prosecutor in the great case.

    Gaius Verres: An Historical Study is the first systematic attempt to present in complete form the sum total of the evidence covered by the Verrine indictment. Previous accoutns were more or less summary and always subsidiary to the larger themes in connection with which they are found. In view of the great historical importance of the Verrine series, there is a great need for a complete statement of the facts, as far as they can be ascertained. Frank Hewitt Cowles provides this here, as well as a discussion of the present state of scholarship on this subject. He also endeavors to sift carefully the evidence for the chronology of the year 70 B.C., in the light of the work of previous commentators upon that subject, and to formulate the events of that year, insofar as they pertain to the trial of Verres in a way that seems most satisfactorily to fit the facts which Cicero has given us.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6662-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. PREFACE.
    (pp. iii-iii)
    F. H. C
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. iv-iv)
  4. CHAPTER I. THE EARLY CAREER OF VERRES (B. C. 114-85); QUAESTOR UNDER CARBO (B. C. 84-82) ; LEGATUS AND PROQUAESTOR UNDER DOLABELLA (B. C. 80-78).
    (pp. 1-14)

    In the year 70 B. C. Cicero, then thirty-six years of age, was confronted with the greatest task upon which he had so far been called to exercise his legal talents. This was the accusation brought in the court of Repetundae by the Sicilians against Gaius Verres, their former governor, in which they charged him with a systematic and ruthless spoliation of the province during the course of the previous three years. The chief record of the Verrine impeachment, and almost the only source of our knowledge of the life of the defendant, is the series of seven speeches which...

  5. CHAPTER II. THE CITY PRAETORSHIP (B. C. 74).
    (pp. 15-26)

    Of the four years of Verres’s life from the conviction of Dolabella until his assumption of the praetura urbana, we know few details. Cicero states that he was seldom seen at Rome, ¹but that in his absence he was by no means forgotten, as his iniquities were common talk. That he was far from being idle during this period of retirement from official position, may well be judged by his re-entry into the political arena at the end of it. His tireless ambition, unhindered by any particular scruples, would not allow him to continue long in the mere enjoyment of...

  6. CHAPTER III. ADMINISTRATION IN SICILY (B.C. 73-71) (DE JURIS DICTIONE).
    (pp. 27-58)

    Up to this point no serious difficulty has been encountered in tracing in approximate chronological order the events of Verres’s life insofar as we are acquainted with them. But Cicero, not being primarily a historian, but rather a lawyer and an orator, when he comes to the vast bulk of material he had collected bearing on the three years of the Sicilian administration, forsakes the order of occurrence and makes a four-fold division of that material upon the following basis. Book II of the Actio Secunda deals with the propraetor’s misuse of the judicial prerogatives of his office ; Book...

  7. CHAPTER IV. ADMINISTRATION IN SICILY (B.C. 73-71) (DB FRUMENTO).
    (pp. 59-94)

    The prosperity of Sicily was so bound up with the manner in which the agrarian laws governing her peculiar system of taxation were executed, that the charges brought against Verres in respect to this phase of his administration are perhaps more serious than any of the others, though they have “less interest and variety in the discussion.”¹ For an understanding of the necessarily technical character of the third oration of the Actio Secunda, some discussion of the system of taxation in vogue in Sicily and of the details of its operation will be essential.²

    In the other provinces two sorts...

  8. CHAPTER V. ADMINISTRATION IN SICILY (B.C. 73-71) (DE SIGNIS).
    (pp. 95-135)

    It was during his quaestorship under Dolabella that Verres first appeared in the character of an art-lover and a collector, when from Achaia and Asia Minor he brought together a considerable number of fine statues, mostly seized from temples by the simple act of confiscation.¹ Sicily, as a center of Greek culture, offered extraordinary opportunities for the acquiring of such statues and of other products of artistic activity, such as paintings, embossed plate, jewels, bronzes, and tapestries. Of these opportunities the governor was not slow to avail himself, and it is with the illegal seizure of works of artistic as...

  9. CHAPTER VI. ADMINISTRATION IN SICIIyY (B. C. 73-71). (DE SUPPLICIIS).
    (pp. 136-162)

    Roman court procedure was evidently more lenient than that of today, especially in regard to the introduction of irrelevant testimony. For under this head practically the whole of the fifth book of the Actio Secunda might have been rejected. The speech is very slightly concerned with the actual charge of Repetundae or extortion, upon which the action against Verres was brought. On the other hand, it forms the climax of the whole accusation, presenting a most damning picture of the praetor, a portrait in which the high lights are his military incapacity and treachery, his indolence and luxuriousness, his wanton...

  10. CHAPTER VII. THE TRAIL, CONVICTION, AND EXILE, B. C. 70 ; DEATH, B. C. 43.
    (pp. 163-191)

    In order to understand the sequence of events of the year 70, insofar as they pertained to the trial of Verres, it will be necessary to sketch briefly the legislation of previous years and the resultant circumstances which contributed to the political situation in Rome upon Verres’s return there. This situation was the culmination of ten years’ misrule by the senatorial oligarchy established by Sulla. The consular elections of the year 71 had sealed the fate of that oligarchy. It only remained for the new consuls to take office, for the reaction against the Sullan constitution to be complete. The...

  11. APPENDIX. CHRONOLOGY OF THE TRIAL OF VERRES. (JANUARY—AUGUST, B. C. 70.)
    (pp. 192-204)
  12. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 205-207)