The Verres trial




  • Verres was governor of Sicily.
  • Verres was accused of many crimes and prosecuted for extortion.
  • Cicero was chosen as prosecuter by the Sicilians as he been a popular quaestor of Sicily in the past.
  • Cicero was a novus homo and was from Arpinum and an equites. His skill was speacking but he lacked influence and needed to buikld this through success in the courts. His victory brought him increased prestige he needed to advance his career.


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Cicero: Verres crimes and Cicero: Pressure on the

Cicero on Verres Crimes

  • Cicero claims that all elections when Verres was Roman Praetor were won through bribery.
  • Cicero accuses Verres of being corrupt as governor by controlling all lawsuits and robbing farmers, running the navy killking citrizans, bribery and adultery.
  • Cicero built up the impression of a vast conspiracy.
  • Acording to Cicero before the trial, Verres attempted to have him assasinated and he tried to bribe the jury, he was attempting to delay the trial untill his freinds were Consuls.

Cicero on the pressure on the jury

  • "Will a court of senators convict a guilty man if he is rich?" The would be disgraced and lose control of courts altogether if Verres was not convicted.
  • Cicero gives examples of guilty goverbors being acuitted in the extortion courts since they have been under senatorial control.
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The importance of the trail

The importance of the trial

  • Cicero presents himself as a defendeer of the senate against corrupt individuals.
  • Pompey and Crassus were already attacking the power of the senate and reversing Sulla's reforms.
  • According to Cicero, Pompey promised in his election speech to reform the courts and was loudly cheered.
  • Rome new the courts were corrupt.
  • Verres actions were not rare. It was an example of a typical Roman elite.
  • Verres was found guillity and went into exile aswell as being fined twice what he extorted.
  • Later in 70BC the senate was to share the courts with the equites but the courts were still corrupt.
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