CHAPTER XXVII. CAESAR. - CICERO. - VERRES.

VERRES had been a follower of Sulla, and during the proscriptions had amassed some property. Afterwards he held official positions in Greece and Asia, where he became notorious for his greediness and cruelty. With the money thus acquired, he had bought his election to the praetorship, became Senator, and was sent by his colleagues to govern Sicily. His government there may have been no worse than that of many other proconsuls in the different provinces, but we have a fuller account of it owing to the prosecution of Cicero, whose speeches against Verres are preserved.

Verres was Governor of Sicily for three years. In his official position, he was judge of all civil and criminal cases. Every suit brought before him he gave to the party that could pay him best. Property was confiscated on false charges, and works of art of great value were stolen. By such a course Verres collected, it is said, property to the value of $4,000,000. Two thirds of this he expected to spend in silencing accusations. The rest he hoped to enjoy in peace, but Cicero's eloquence forced him to abandon his defence and retire into exile.

It was about this time that Caesar finished his rhetorical studies abroad, and returned home. He was elected Military Tribune as a reward for what he had accomplished in Caria. Two years later, in 68, he was elected Quaestor, thereby acquiring a seat in the Senate. At this time his aunt Julia died, and, as one of her nearest relatives, he delivered the funeral oration.

Caesar was now beginning to know Pompey, and saw that their interests were common. The latter, although but six years older, was already a great man and a distinguished soldier. Cornelia, Caesar's wife, died, and he married for a second wife Pompeia, the cousin of Pompey. When sent as Quaestor to Farther Spain, in 67, he completed the work begun by Pompey and settled the finances of the troubled country, a task which he found the easier as he was known to belong to the popular party, of which Marius and Sertorius had been leaders.