Marcus Tullius Cicero's Prosecution Of Verres

Pages: 3 (539 words) / Published: Aug 4th, 2016
Modern citizens can look to the life of Marcus Tullius Cicero as the paradigm of civic duty and good conscious. Not only did Cicero garner his offices solely through hard work, as a novus homo, but he also upheld the reputation of the Roman legal system, easily seen by his prosecution of Verres, the corrupt, ex-governor of Sicily. Cicero justifiably prosecuted Verres mainly due to Verres’s guilt and Cicero’s desire for power, thus proving Livy’s claim that the law is blind, for even a very wealthy, well connected man can still be found guilty.

Cicero’s prosecution of Verres was motivated by desire for power, ethics, and personal duty. Cicero clearly viewed prosecuting Verres as his path to political success for Cicero claimed, “If you want power, there is a time when you have to seize it. This is my time.” When Terentia asked Cicero how he intended to accomplish this goal, he coolly responded, “By prosecuting Gaius Verres for extortion.” (Harris 66). Furthermore, Cicero’s impeccable ethics played a role in his desire to prosecute Verres, for Verres was unequivocally guilty and had killed people. Similarly, there is a recurring motif of Cicero not defending those he found incredibly guilty (particularly of violence), such as when he refused to defend Catiline on the grounds, that Catiline was “so obviously
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Provincial governors often had to extort local populations to replenish the funds they spent to win elections and it was very hard for provincials to seek justice due to inherent limitations in the Roman legal system (Boatwright 66). Moreover, Cicero’s journey to Sicily exposed many of Verres’s crimes including executing a Roman citizen without a trial, making false accusations, seizing property illegally, and falsifying

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