How to Win an Election is an ancient Roman guide for campaigning that is as up-to-date as tomorrow’s headlines. In 64 BC when idealist Marcus Cicero, Rome’s greatest orator, ran for consul (the highest office in the Republic), his practical brother Quintus decided he needed some no-nonsense advice on running a successful campaign. What follows in his short letter are timeless bits of political wisdom, from the importance of promising everything to everybody and reminding voters about the sexual scandals of your opponents to being a chameleon, putting on a good show for the masses, and constantly surrounding yourself with rabid supporters. Presented here in a lively and colorful new translation, with the Latin text on facing pages, this unashamedly pragmatic primer on the humble art of personal politicking is dead-on (Cicero won)–and as relevant today as when it was written.
A little-known classic in the spirit of Machiavelli’s Prince, How to Win an Election is required reading for politicians and everyone who enjoys watching them try to manipulate their way into office.
About the author (2012)
Philip Freeman is the author of many books, including “Oh My Gods: A Modern Retelling of Greek” and “Roman Myths, Alexander the Great”, and “Julius Caesar” (all Simon & Schuster). He received his PhD from Harvard University and holds the Qualley Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
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How to Win an Election
Interview with Philip Freeman
The general election is less than one month away and candidates are making the final push for votes. Over the past 2,000 years, advances in technology have drastically changed the method of campaigning though, according to an ancient Roman text of campaign advice given to Marcus Cicero, Rome’s greatest orator, advice given then is just as applicable now.
Host Don Marsh talks with Philip Freeman, Professor of Classics at Luther College in Iowa, about his book, “How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians.” Freeman has translated Quintus Cicero’s letter to his brother, Marcus Cicero, detailing no-nonsense advice on campaigning for the highest office in the Republic in 64 BC, an election Marcus Cicero won. Freeman was previously a professor of classics at Washington University in St. Louis.
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