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posts ; and the exports of the vineyards, the arable land, and the loom, be saddled with heavier burdens. By capricious changes or violent abrogation of their compacts, Verres reduced to beggary both the producers and the farmers of the revenue. On the native Greeks, he accumulated worse evils than the worst of their ancient despots, the worst of their mobs, or the worst of their previous praetors had inflicted. His three years' rule desolated the island more effectually than the two recent servile wars, and than the old struggle between Carthage and Rome for the possession of the island. Messana alone, where he deposited his spoils and provided for himself a retreat, was spared by Verres ; but even Messana sighed for the mild government of Sacerdos, and for the arrival of the new praetor Arrius, whom the war with Spartacus detained in Italy, and whose detention added eighteen months to the sufferings of the Sicilians. Verres, therefore, instead of returning to Italy in B. c. 72, remained nearly three years in his government, and so diligently employed his opportunities, that he boasted of having amassed enough for a life of opulence, even if he were compelled to disgorge two-thirds of his plunder in stifling inquiry or purchasing an acquittal. The remainder of Verres's life is contained in the history of the Verrine orations, which we shall presently examine. On his condemnation, he retired to Marseilles, retaining so much of his ill-gotten wealth, as to render him careless of public opinion, and so many of his treasures of art, as to cause, eventually, his proscription by M. Antonius in b. c. 43. Before his death, Verres had the consolation of hearing of the murder of his great enemy Cicero, and during his long exile of twenty-seven years, had the satisfaction of witnessing from his retreat the convulsions of the republic, and the calamities of the friends who abandoned, and of the judges who convicted him. Verres married a sister of a Roman eques, Vettius Chilo (Ver-rin. ii. 3. 71, 72), by whom he had a son, whom, at fifteen years of age, he admitted as the spectator and partner of his vices (76. 9. 68 ; Pseudo Ascon. in loc.\ and a daughter, who was married at the time of her accompanying Verres to Sicily. (Sen. sums. p. 43, Bip. ed. ; Lactant. Div. Inst. ii. 4.)
The trial of Verres was a political as well as a judicial cause. From the tribunate of the Gracchi (b. c. 133—123), when the judicia were transferred to the equites, to the dictatorship of Sulla (b.c. 81—79), who restored them to the senate, there had been an eager contest at Rome for the judicial power. The equites and the senators had proved equally corrupt, and the Marian party, supported by the Italians and the provincials, clamoured loudly for a reform of the courts. Verres was a criminal whose condemnation might justify Sulla's law, whose acquittal would prove the unfit-ness of the senate for the judicial office. Cicero, accordingly, in his introductory speech (Verrin. i.), puts " this alternative prominently forward." In Verres's condemnation, he urges upon the senato-rian bench of judices, " lies your order's safety ; in his acquittal, your degradation now and henceforward." This rather than the weight of evidence adduced was the a priori ground for Verres's condemnation. The defendant himself had neither previous reputation nor ancestral honours to recommend him. At first, guilty compliance, and
afterwards unblushing corruption, had been his steps to preferment. He was supported by the Metelli, the Scipios, and Hortensius, because their interests were accidentally involved with his. But the reasons which detract from the individual importance of Verres add historical value to the impeachment. Verres was the representative of the grosser elements of a revolutionary era, as Catiline was of its periodical crimes and turbulence. And with every allowance for exaggeration on Cicero's part, Verres was a type of Roman provincial governors, and, as such, his career forms no unimportant chapter in the annals of the expiring commonwealth.
Cicero had been Lilybaean quaestor in Sicily in b. c. 75, and on his departure from that island had promised his good offices to the Sicilians, whenever they might demand them. They committed to him the prosecution of Verres. For a rising advocate at the bar, depending on his own exertions alone for preferment, the opportunity was critical, xvhether for advancement or defeat. On the one hand, Cicero's attack on the aristocracy would win for him the equites'and the people ; on the other, it closed upon him an effective source of patronage, and involved him with a party which he deserted on the first occasion. He seems, however, without scruple to have redeemed his promise to the Sicilians, and to have heartily entered into their cause. The Verrine trial is.one of the three eras of Cicero's life, and perhaps that in which his cause was best, and his motives were most pure. He may have amplified the vices of Verres ; he could scarcely exaggerate the faults of the provincial government of Rome. In the conduct of the prosecution, he infringed upon no law: on obtaining his verdict, he displayed no offensive vanity. In Catiline and Antonius, he was opposed to political rivals : in Verres, he encountered the enemy of the law, of social and domestic sanctities, of the faith of compacts, and the security of life and property. Neither during his administration, nor after his return to Rome, had Verres neglected to enlist for himself staunch and numerous supporters. With some, a bribe in its crudest form sufficed ; but in many cases it was accompanied with some choice production of the chisel, the easel, or the loom. But his services were most in demand when his partisans in their official characters exhibited games in the forum. Hortensius and the Metelli were thus enabled to exhibit, for the first time, to a Roman mob many of the
most exquisite specimens of Mentor, Myron, and Polycleitus, collected from nearly every province from the foot of Mount Taurus to the Lilybaean promontory. The practice of borrowing works of art from the provincials with which to adorn the capital on festivals, was not indeed peculiar to Verres or his age. But neither the refined Cor-nelii nor the rude Mummii had, when the occasion ended, adorned their own villas with these treasures, or distributed them among the galleries of their friends and adherents.
Meanwhile, neither threats nor offers were spared. Hortensius and Verres at Rome, and M. Metellus, the successor of Verres in Sicily, alternately flattered and bullied the deputies of that island, and Cicero more than once insinuates that money. was indirectly offered to himself. The prosecutors, however, had nothing further to lose, and were desperate; Cicero had reputation to