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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prosecution speeches as public theatre, 5 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Political Speeches (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
In 70 BCE Cicero prosecuted Verres, the Roman governor of Sicliy, for extortion and misconduct and won his case. The In Verrem, translated here, are his prosecution speeches. But if you're expecting something dry and dull, think again. Roman `courts' took place in the forum and were as much a form of public theatre as they were part of the judicial process.

Cicero exploits that mercilessly and here acts up to his audience giving us gossip, rumour and hearsay as well as evidence: of Verres' libidinous appetites for beautiful girls and handsome boys, of his stealing of sacred and religious objects; of his mis-management of the Roman fleets, and his execution of even Roman citizens.

The translation is sleek and flowing and there's a short introduction which give the context. For the Latin original, Loeb Cicero : The Verrine Orations I, as usual, is the best option, but for a good English translation this is useful. The volume also includes the four In Catilinam speeches, which are useful to read alongside Sallust's Catilinae coniuratio (Sallust (Loeb Classical Library).

Rome has become fashionable again through popular fiction, but if you want a taste of authenticity then Cicero's forensic speeches, however arrogant, pompous, repetitious and slightly bumbling they might be (in my opinion) are a good, and entertaining, place to start.
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Location: London

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