The Show Must Go On

“Finally, make sure that your entire campaign is full of pomp, glamorous, eye-catching, and popular, that it has the maximum visibility and prestige.  Also, be sure if at all possible that your competitors acquire a bad reputation for vice, or lust, or bribery, depending on their character. Most of all, let it be clear in this election that the Republic respects you and has high hopes for your political future.  Still, do not try to deal with political issues in the midst of the campaign, neither in the Senate nor at a rally.” Quintus Cicero, Running for Office: A Handbook in Ancient Rome: An Anthology of Sources, trans. Christopher Francese and R. Scott Smith (Indianapolis 2014), p. 90. [Emphasis added]

Traditionally, this work is attributed to Quintus Cicero, the brother of the famous Marcus Tullius Cicero.  If the traditional attribution is correct, Quintus wrote this work as a letter to his brother Marcus in 64 BC as advice on how to win one of the significant political offices in the late Republic: quaestor, aedile, praetor, consul.   In fact, Marcus Cicero was elected to the consulship in 63 BC.  This present text gives practical (and sometimes cynical) advice on how to win in an election.

 

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