The provinces of the quaestors being distributed
to them by lot, the province of Sicily fell to Cicero; Sextus Peducaeus was
the praetor. In his discharge of the duties of his office Cicero very much
ingratiated himself with the Sicilians, and at his departure he assured them
of his assistance in whatever business they might have in Rome. Three years
after his return from Sicily he was elected to the aedileship, now in his
37th year, the earliest age at which a man could be aedile. Before his entrance
into this office he undertook the prosecution of Gaius Verres, late praetor
of Sicily, who was accused of having treated the Sicilians with the greatest
rapacity and tyranny. All the cities of Sicily concurred in this prosecution
except Syracuse and Messana, as Verres had kept on good terms with them for
fear of their riches and influence. The other towns all by a joint petition
to Cicero entreated him to take the management of the prosecution, and he
consented; Verres was supported by the Scipios, by the Metelli, and Hortensius.
As soon as Cicero had agreed to undertake the prosecution, Quintus Caecilius
Niger came forth, a Sicilian by birth, who had been quaestor to Verres, and
(being in reality the tool of Verres, and mkaing this demand in order to stifle
the prosecution) demanded that the management of it should be entrusted to
him; partly on the ground that he was a Sicilian, partly because he was, as
he stated, a personal enemy of Verres; also he alleged, that having been Verres'
quaestor in Sicily, he knew better than Cicero could know the crimes which
Verres really had committed. Cicero replies to this with many reasons why
the conduct of the prosecution should be committed to him, especially because
he did not volunteer to take it up, but is urged by a sense of duty, being
begged to do so by all the Sicilians; and also because he is in every respect
well able to conduct it, from his acquaintance with the country and with the
Ther is some question why this speech is called Divinatio, and different reasons have been alleged for it; some saying that it is because it refers to what is to be done, not to what has been done; others, that it is so called because no witnesses and no documents are produced, and the judges, having to decide on the arguments of the speakers alone, are forced to guess their way. Cicero carried his point, and the prosecution was entrusted to him.
-- from "Introduction: The Speech Against Quintus Caecilius," The Orations of M. Tullius Cicero, ed. C.D. Yonge. George Bell & Sons, London: 1903.
|In Q. Caecilium M. Tulli Ciceronis Oratio Quae Divinatio Dicitur||Latin Text||The Latin text source is M. Tulli Ciceronis Scripta Quae Manserunt Omnia, ed. C.F.W. Mueller. Teubner, Leipzig: 1901.|
|The English text source is The Orations of M. Tullius Cicero, vol. I; ed. C.D. Yonge. George Bell & Sons, London: 1903.|
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