17.  Oh, but Caius Verres has done you such an injury as might afflict the minds of all the rest of the Sicilians also, though the grievance was felt only by another. Nothing of the sort. For I think it is material also to this argument to consider what sort of injury is alleged and brought forward as the cause of your enmity. Allow me to relate it. For he indeed, unless he is wholly destitute of sense, will never say what it is. There is a woman of the name of Agonis, a Lilybaean, a freedwoman of Venus Erycina; a woman who before this man was quaestor was notoriously well off and rich. From her some prefect of Antonius's 1 carried off some musical slaves whom he said he wished to use in his fleet. Then she, as is the custom in Sicily for all the slaves of Venus, and all those who have procured their emancipation from her, in order to hinder the designs of the prefect, by the scruples which the name of Venus would raise, said that she and all her property belonged to Venus.  When this was reported to Caecilius, that most excellent and upright man, he ordered Agonis to be summoned before him; he immediately orders a trial to ascertain “if it appeared that she had said that she and all her property belonged to Venus.” The recuperators 2 decide all that was necessary, and indeed there was no doubt at all that she had said so. He sends men to take possession of the woman's property. He adjudges her herself to be again a slave of Venus; then he sells her property and confiscates the money. So while Agonis wishes to keep a few slaves under the name and religious protection of Venus, she loses all her fortunes and her own liberty by the wrong doing of that man. After that, Verres comes to Lilybaeum; he takes cognisance of the affair; he disapproves of the act; he compels his quaestor to pay back and restore to its owner all the money which he had confiscated, having been received for the property of Agonis.  He is here, and you may well admire it, no longer Verres, but Quintus Mucius. 3 For what could he do more delicate to obtain a high character among men? what more just to relieve the distress of the women? what more severe to repress the licentiousness of his quaestor? All this appears to me most exceedingly praiseworthy. But at the very next step, in a moment, as if he had drank of some Circaean cup, having been a man, he becomes Verres again; he returns to himself and to his old habits. For of that money he appropriated a great share to himself, and restored to the woman only as much as he chose.
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THE SPEECH AGAINST QUINTUS CAECILIUS.
1 Antonius had been appointed as naval commander-in-chief along the whole coast; in which capacity it was that he made his unauthorized attack on Crete, which gave rise to the war in which the island was reduced by Metellus Creticus.
2 “In many cases a single judex was appointed, in others several were appointed, and they seem sometimes to have been called recuperatores, as opposed to the single judex.”—Smith, Dict. Ant. p. 529, v. Judex.
3 “Quintus Mucius Scaevola is spoken of here, who in be year A.U.C. 660 was sent as proconsul to Asia, where he governed with such justice and strictness that the senate afterwards by formal decree reminded magistrates about to depart for that province of his example.”—Hottoman.
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