How Cicero's Speech Against Verres Highlights Faults Within the Roman Judicial System

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Cicero’s speech against Verres was very important in highlighting the faults present within the Roman judicial system. Not only did he bring to light the corruption in the court of bribery, misuse of friends, delaying tactics, intimidation and openness of crime, he was also successful in enforcing the changes he desired. In Cicero’s speech he brings up the accusation of bribery in the courts of Republican Rome many times. He says “even the worst criminal will never be convicted provided he has money” and “nothing he declares is too sacred to be corrupted by money”. He accuses Verres of bribing members of the court for protection in an attempt to not be prosecuted. According to Cicero, Verres even tried to pay people in helping block Cicero’s candidature as aedile. Probably the most famous example of bribery is the statement that Verres apparently stated concerning his three fortunes: “I have mapped out the three years of my Sicilian governorship like this. I shall consider myself to be doing nicely if I can earmark one year’s profits for my own use, the 2nd year’s for my protectors and counsel and the 3rd year’s – the richest and most lucrative – for the judges who try me!” Additionally, the ability to bribe the court in turn led to an increase in thievery by those being prosecuted so they could get enough to pay their way out. Another fault that Cicero importantly highlights in his speech is that of the misuse of friends. Cicero expresses great indignation at not only the way Verres is trying to put his friends in positions of authority but also the openness with which this is done. An example that Cicero brings up is Verres having his defending attorney, Q. Hortensius Hortalus, elected as consul for 69BC and attempting to have Q. Caecilius Niger, his ex-quaestor, as prosecuting attorney, both of which would help his case. At the election of Hortensius,

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