The Gaius Verres Trial: A Chronology

"Cicero Against Verres" (Trinity College)

This chronology was prepared by Ann K. Linder.

About 750 B.C. Greeks begin to colonize Sicily, with Syracuse being the island's most important colony.
480 to 307 B.C. A series of wars over control of Sicily erupt between Greece and Carthage.
242 B.C. Following the end of the Punic Wars, Sicily becomes the first Roman province
135 to 100 B.C. Sicily, now an important naval base, suffers “the slave wars,” but in 100 BC a lasting peace is restored.
131 B.C. The Lex Rupulia is passed, establishing a code of regulations for governing provinces. Gaius would later be tried under these laws.
114 B.C. Approximate date of Gaius Verres's birth.
January 3, 106 B.C. Marcus Tullius Cicero is born.
84 B.C. Gaius Verres is appointed to the position of quaestor, his first official post, serving with Carbo’s army in Gall.
81 B.C. Verres is named legatus under Cornelius Dolabella.
78 B.C. Dolabella, who Verres served under in Asia Minor, is indicted for extortion. Verres escapes unscathed and assumes the role of proquaestor.
75 B.C. Cicero is quaestor in the western district of Sicily.
74 B.C. Verres attains the praetorship and begins his exploits in Rome, including forcing the facade of the temple of Castor and Pullox in the Forum to be redone. Questionable circumstances surround his election.
73 to 71 B.C. Verres serves as propraetor (governor) for the province of Sicily.  During these three years he seizes art for personal use, extorts bribes, inflicts unauthorized punishments, mismanages the navy, and imposes illegal and arbitrary taxes on farmers.  His many crimes will be the primary basis for his later prosecution.
Late 71 B.C. Sicilians come to Rome to charge Verres with extortion and other crimes.
January 1, 70 B.C. M' Acilius Glabrio become praetor urbanus, a position that will make him judge in the Verres trial.
January 15, 70 B.C. Cicero delivers his Divinatio in Q. Caecilium speech arguing that he should be head prosecutor for the Verres trial.  He is selected as prosecutor and a 110-day adjournment is declared.
January 17 to March 8,
70 B.C. (approximate)
Cicero leaves Rome and travels around Sicily compiling evidence for his case against Verres.
Mid-March 70 B.C. Verres attempts to bribe Cicero.
July 31, 70 B.C. The Achaian case, a case filed to delay the start of the Verres trial, is decided.
August 5, 70 B.C. Cicero presents his opening speech in the case of the Sicilians against their former governor in the Court of Repundae.  In a departure from usual practice, he follows his speech by immediately calling witnesses
August 70 B.C. Concluding his situation hopeless, Verres goes into voluntary exile.  Verres is found guilty and fined in absentia.
43 B.C. Both Gaius Verres and Marcus Tullius Cicero, having aggravated Mark Antony in different ways, are executed on his orders.
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