In Verrem

rothbard

Aedilis
Staff member
In the first speech, ch. 5, Cicero writes:

"Deum denique nullum Siculis, qui ei paulo magis adfabre atque antiquo artificio factus videretur, reliquit. In stupris vero et flagitiis, nefarias eius libidines commemorare pudore deterreor; simul illorum calamitatem commemorando augere nolo, quibus liberos coniugesque suas integras ab istius petulantia conservare non licitum est."

Is the suggestion here that Verres had affairs with people's children of both sexes? Or that people ended up having Verres' children as a result of his affairs with their wives?
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
To me it sounds like he shug both their children and their wives. But I'm not sure if by liberos children of both sexes were meant or whether only boys were meant.
 

rothbard

Aedilis
Staff member
I think you are right. By the way, George Long in his 1851 commentary writes: "This comprehensive term must be here limited to 'daughters,' as Klotz remarks, for Verres is nowhere charged with unnatural passions." :D
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
"This comprehensive term must be here limited to 'daughters,' as Klotz remarks, for Verres is nowhere charged with unnatural passions." :D
I should probably not speculate too much if I don't have too deep an insight in all cultural and biographical implications here, but on the surface, that argument doesn't convince me (and it's rather superficial, after all). I was also wondering as to whether this is to be understood as a comprehensive term or not, but mainly from the other direction: I don't think it was a particularly unnatural passion to Romans to have sex with underage boys (and certainly not with grown-up ones). Certainly nothing that you could get charged for. The implications of having sex with underage girls, however, would or could be far more severe for both the suitor and the girl's parents ... and, well, obviously for the girl herself – unless the children are slaves, but then they wouldn't fall under the term liberi.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
But I'm not sure if by liberos children of both sexes were meant or whether only boys were meant.
Cicero would probably have said filios if only boys had been meant, no?
I think you are right. By the way, George Long in his 1851 commentary writes: "This comprehensive term must be here limited to 'daughters,' as Klotz remarks, for Verres is nowhere charged with unnatural passions." :D
And, if only girls had been meant, he would probably have said filias.
 

Laurentius

Civis Illustris
I wonder if the connotation here is not merely sexual, but it certainly is to some degree.
 
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