Against Verres (In Verrem) I

My Thoughts

Amazing. Pure and simple. Cicero once again turns language into an art and completely surpasses my expectations. It is hard to believe that this speech was articulated over 2,000 years ago. Yes, that is correct. Over 2,000 years ago. When I began reading I immediately recognized the ingenious way Cicero addressed his audience (the judges). He put the focus on their honor. He made the trial about them and how they could greatly benefit from a verdict in favor of the prosecution. An amazing tactic to read about being used with such precision in classical antiquity.

Cicero immediately states how the trial is a great opportunity for the judges. It gives them a chance to bring honor and trust back to the Senate. The judges are in a unique position to make themselves heroes among the people. But if the verdict is in favor of the defendant, the people will know that it was purely due to corruption and that every one of the judges succumbed to bribery. The rhetoric is absolutely brilliant and at the same time extremely thought provoking. A short translated example of the very first part of the speech:

At this grave crisis in the history of our country, you have been offered a peculiarly desirable gift, a gift almost too opportune to be human origin: it almost seems heaven-sent. For you have been given a unique chance to make your Senatorial Order less unpopular, and to se right the damaged reputation of these courts.

When dealing with people, remember that they always see themselves as the most important thing in the world. A little kid won't eat their food if you tell them people are starving in other countries. On the other hand, if you tell them the food will make them big and strong they will be more apt to eat. This is the very tactic employed by Cicero.

My Rating

While short, the story is compelling. I rate it a 4.5 / 5. It held my attention the entire time. Fact is often more entertaining than fiction. If adapted into a televised courtroom drama, more people would end up reading Cicero!

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