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[10] What was the reason why they so carefully kept us from making purchases in the provinces? This was it, O judges, because they thought it a robbery, not a purchase, when the seller was not allowed to sell on his own terms. And they were aware that, in the provinces, if he who was there with the command and power 1 of a governor wished to purchase what was in any one's possession, and was allowed to do so, it would come to pass that he would get whatever he chose, whether it was to be sold or not, at whatever price he pleased. Some one will say, “Do not deal with Verres in that manner; do not try and examine his actions by the standard of old-fashioned conscientiousness; allow him to have bought them without being punished for it, provided he bought them in a fair way, not through any arbitrary exercise of power, nor from any one against his will, or by violence.” I will so deal with him. If Heius had anything for sale, if he sold it for the price at which he valued it, I give up inquiring why you bought it.

1 The Latin word in each case is potestas. “According to Paulus, potestas, as applied to a magistrate, is equivalent to imperium ... But potestas is applied to magistrates who had not the imperium as, for instance, to quaestors and tribunes of the people; and potestas and imperium are often opposed in Cicero. Thus it seems that potestas, like many other Roman terms, had both a wider signification and a narrower one; in its wider signification it might mean all the power that was delegated to any person by the state, whatever might be the extent of that power; in its narrower signification, it was on the one hand equivalent to imperium and on the other, it expressed the power of these functionaries who had not the imperium.” Smith, Dict. Ant. p. 727 v. Potestas.

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load focus Notes (J. B. Greenough, G. L. Kittredge)
load focus Latin (Albert Clark, William Peterson, 1917)
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