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[186] What was the meaning of these presents made to these three Roman citizens? Besides that, you gave presents also to some of the most powerful and noble of the Sicilians, who have not, as you hoped, been the more slow to come forward, but have only come with more dignity to give their evidence in this trial of yours. Where did all these presents come from? from the spoils of what enemy? gained in what victory? Of what booty or trophies do they make a part? Is it because while you were praetor, a most beautiful fleet, the bulwark of Sicily, the defence of the province, was burnt 1 by the hands of pirates arriving in a few light galleys? or because the territory of Syracuse was laid waste by the conflagrations of the banditti while you were praetor? or because the forum of the Syracuse overflowed with the blood of the captains? or because a piratical galley sailed about in the harbour of Syracuse? I can find no reason which I can imagine for your having fallen into such madness, unless indeed your object was to prevent men from ever forgetting the disasters of your administration.

1 This has been mentioned before, owing to the way in which Verres had disabled the fleet for his private gain, excusing towns from providing ships who were inclined to pay for the relaxation, and discharging too all the sailors who chose to buy their discharges, it was so powerless that a small squadron of pirates sailed into the harbour of Syracuse and burnt it. Afterwards, a single pirate ship was taken, the officers of which purchased their pardon of Verres, who, not daring to avow it, as the people clamoured for their execution, brought on the scaffold the captains of those Roman ships which had been burnt, and officers who he feared might hereafter bear witness against him, with their heads muffled up so that they could not be recognised, and had them executed as the pirates.

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