Caedebatur

11

Ipse inflammatus scelere et furore in forum venit; ardebant oculi, toto ex ore crudelitas eminebat. exspectabant omnes quo tandem progressurus aut quidnam acturus esset, cum repente hominem proripi atque in foro medio nudari ac deligari et virgas expediri iubet. clamabat ille miser se civem esse Romanum, municipem Consanum; meruisse cum L. Raecio, splendidissimo equite Romano, qui Panhormi negotiaretur, ex quo haec Verres scire posset. tum iste, se comperisse eum speculandi causa in Siciliam a ducibus fugitivorum esse missum; cuius rei neque index neque vestigium aliquod neque suspicio cuiquam esset ulla; deinde iubet undique hominem vehementissime verberari. caedebatur virgis in medio foro Messanae civis Romanus, iudices, cum interea nullus gemitus, nulla vox alia illius miseri inter dolorem crepitumque plagarum audiebatur nisi haec, “Civis Romanus sum.” hac se commemoratione civitatis omnia verbera depulsurum cruciatumque a corpore deiecturum arbitrabatur; is non modo hoc non perfecit, ut virgarum vim deprecaretur, sed cum imploraret saepius usurparetque nomen civitatis, crux,—crux, inquam,—infelici et aerumnoso, qui numquam istam pestem viderat, comparabatur.
(Cicero, In Verrem 2.5.161-162)

Then he* made for the market-place, on fire with mad and wicked rage, his eyes blazing, and cruelty showing clearly in every feature of his face. Everyone was wondering how far he would go and what he was meaning to do, when he suddenly ordered the man to be flung down, stripped naked and tied up in the open market-place, and rods to be got ready. The unhappy man cried out that he was a Roman citizen, a burgess of Consa; that he had served in the army under the distinguished Roman knight Lucius Raecius, who was in business at Panhormus and could assure Verres of the truth of his story. To this Verres replied that he had discovered that Gavius had een sent to Sicily as a spy by the leaders of the fugitive army, a charge which was brought by no informer, for which there was no evidence, and which nobody saw any reason to believe. He then ordered the man to be flogged severely all over his body. There in the open market-place of Messana a Roman citizen, gentlemen, was beaten with rods; and all the while, amid the crack of the falling blows, no groan was heard from his lips in his agony except “I am a Roman citizen.” By thus proclaiming his citizenship he had been hoping to avert all those blows and shield his body from torture; yet not only did he fail to secure escape from those cruel rods, but when he persisted in his entreaties and his appeal to his citizen rights, a cross was made ready—yes, a cross, for that hapless and broken sufferer, who had never seen such an accursed thing till then.

* Verres

(tr. Leonard Hugh Graham Greenwood)

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