Presenter: Dustin McKenzie (Mid-candidature review seminar)

In his Verrine Orations Cicero condemned Verres and this corrupt governor’s vilest actions: the flogging and the crucifixion of Publius Gavius, who was a Roman citizen. According to Cicero, Verres was especially cruel in his execution of Gavius, because he crucified him in Messana, overlooking the Strait and facing Italy. In doing so Verres taunted Gavius, reminding him of his freedom while he was executing him. This seminar is a case-study of how Cicero, in his Verrine Orations, depicted the Strait of Messana, demonstrating how he used and manipulated the Strait’s political and geographical landscape in ways that were designed to secure the famously potent conviction against Verres in 70 BCE. The seminar demonstrates that Cicero used the Strait as a moral and rhetorical tool in order to promote the Sicilians, secure Verres’s conviction and pre-emptively counter any potential reply from, his lawyer, Hortensius, who was one of Rome’s leading orators.


Michie Building (9),
St Lucia campus