In Verrem Actionis Secundae
M. Tulli Ciceronis Libri Quinti

Introduction

   These five orations were never spoken; they were published afterwards as they had been prepared and intended to be spoken if Verres had made a regular defense; for as this was the only cause in which Cicero had been engaged as accuser, he was willing to leave these orations as a specimen of his abilities that way, and as a pattern of a just and diligent impeachment of a corrupt magistrate. But Hortensius had been so confounded by the novelty of Cicero's mode of conducting the prosecution, and by the strength of the case brought against his client (see In Verrem Oratio Prima), that he was quite unable to make any defense, and Verres went into voluntary exile.
   In book 1 Cicero imagines Verres to be present, and to be prepared to make his defense; but before he proceeds to the main subjects of the prosecution, which occupy books 2-5 of this work, he devotes book 1 to an examination of his previous character and conduct as a public man, as quaestor, as legatus, as praetor urbanus, and as praetor in Sicily; in order to show that his previous conduct had been such as to warrant anyone in believing the charges he was now bringing against him.
   In book 2 Cicero covers the part of his accusation covering Verres' judicial corruption and extortion, while praetor in Sicily. He does not attend to the chronological order of Verres' offenses, but takes the instances according to the different classes under which they seem to fall, and according to their importance.
   In book 3 Cicero is occupied with charges against Verres of extortion committed with respect to the decuriae or tenths. These tenths were basically a tithe of ten percent levied upon the cultivators (aratores) or occupiers (possessores) of farm lands. As Cicero himself points out in this book, "the revenues which Rome derived from conquered countries, consisting chiefly of tolls, tithes, harbor duties, etc...were chiefly let out, or sold by the censors in Rome itself to the highest bidders (the publicani)." (Cic. c. Verr. II.3.7). The tithes raised in the province of Sicily, with the exception of those of wine, oil, and garden produce, were not sold at Rome, but in Sicily itself. The publicani would give security (in other words, pre-payment) to the state for the sum that was to be collected
in a particular province, and if they collected more than what they had paid as a bid, that was their profit. Since a provincial tax total was more than what any one person could pay, equites would join into groups, to pay the tax together, and then collect provincial taxes as a group. The rub with Verres lay in the law that said no Roman magistrate, or provincial governor, was allowed to take any share whatsoever in a company of publicani, which was obviously designed to prevent oppression by a magistrate against the inhabitants of that province. Verres broke this law, and as he had a personal interest in increasing the taxes, he committed unexampled acts of extortion himself, and protected those who committed similar acts.
   In book 4 Cicero deals with the manner in which Verres had plundered not only private individuals, but even some temples, of valuable statues, and other works of art. Hortensius had sought to refute this charge during the trial, but Cicero brings up the point in this book that it was against the laws for a magistrate to purchase any such articles in his province, and also shows that the prices alleged to have been paid are so wholly disproportionate to their value, that it is ridiculous to assert that the things had been purchased and not taken by force.
   Book 5 is divided into three divisions. First of all Cicero speaks of the conduct of Verres with respect to the war of the runaway slaves, which arose out of the relics of the war of Spartacus, which was brought to a termination just before the end of Verres' praetorship. In the second place he speaks of Verres' conduct with respect to the pirates and banditti, who at that time infested the sea and the coasts of Sicily. And in the third place he impeaches Verres on account of the punishments he had inflicted on Roman citizens. In the first two divisions of this book Cicero is mainly occupied in replying to Hortensius, who had highly extolled Verres' military conduct and valor.

--Excerpts from "Introduction: 5 Books of the Second Action Against Verres." The Orations of M. Tullius Cicero, ed. C.D. Yonge. George Bell & Sons, London. 1903.

M. Tulli Ciceronis Actionis In Verrem Secundae Libri Quinti  
Liber Primus Latin Text The source of the Latin text is M. Tulli Ciceronis Scripta Quae Manserunt Omnia, ed. C.F.W. Mueller. Teubner, Leipzig; 1901.
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Liber Secundus Latin Text The English text source is The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, vol. 1, trans. C.D. Yonge. George Bell & Sons, London; 1903.
English Text
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Liber Tertius Latin Text  
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Liber Quartus Latin Text  
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Liber Quintus Latin Text  
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