“politics is full of deceit, treachery, and betrayal.”
October 27, 2012 3:37 AM   Subscribe

Sunt tibi necessaria consilio pro electione? Q. Ciceronem, frater M., habet quaedam verba pro vobis in Commentariolum Petitionis

Some of Quintus Cicero's advice to his brother Marcus Tullius Cicero:
I. “Broken promises are often lost in a cloud of changing circumstances so that anger against you will be minimal."
II. Build a wide base of support.
III. "You desperately need to learn the art of flattery—a disgraceful thing in normal life but essential when you are running for office."

Some notes on Roman politics

Slate: Advice from Ancient Rome for the 2012 Candidates, 3 March 2012.
posted by the man of twists and turns (14 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
nihil illigiteme carbornumdum est (this is probably spelt all wrong as I am a Pleb).
posted by marienbad at 5:23 AM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Is there a Jive translation?
posted by Mezentian at 6:31 AM on October 27, 2012

Romanes eunt domus.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:55 AM on October 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

"Optimus vos discite vestras f ******* locus ... non concurrentibus vobis ipsum f ****** regimen ... Tu es f ****** plebs"
posted by arcticseal at 7:55 AM on October 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

You can say "futuere" here.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:17 AM on October 27, 2012 [6 favorites]

Nice post, but I bet a lot of people skipped it thinking it would be in Latin. Sic transit...
posted by ersatz at 3:21 PM on October 27, 2012

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:47 PM on October 27, 2012

thinking it should be necessario consilio or necessaria consilia... probably the latter

necessaria consili? hmmmmm...
posted by 3mendo at 2:55 AM on October 28, 2012

Cicero is such an interesting character, I sometimes feel like his reception at any given time has more to do with the contemporaneous society than much of what he actually did.

I used to think he was a hero; defender of the republic et cetera. Then I felt that by and large the republic wasn't worth defending - was, in fact, pretty terrible - and he was a self-hating pleb elitist who got by mostly through leading the senate's circle jerks. Now, I'm unsure; I definitely don't think he was a hero by any definition, but he was a product and creature of his times, so I'm not inclined to judge him as harshly as I once did.

He certainly was good at winning elections, though. And I suspect his brand of bombast would go over pretty well with a modern crowd, too.
posted by smoke at 3:28 AM on October 28, 2012

I found this bio of Cicero quite good.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:04 AM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Winning Without SuperPACs
In fact, this “Handbook on Electioneering” is rather more complicated than it appears. There has long been some doubt on whether it really was written by the second-rate Quintus, attempting to instruct his much smarter elder brother in how to reach the consulship. Why, after all, would it have been preserved? And why did Marcus need Quintus’ advice? Many critics have suspected that it was a nostalgic fiction—or rhetorical exercise—of the early imperial period, written decades after popular elections had ended under Roman autocratic rule. But at the same time, most critics have imagined that it nevertheless represented much of the reality of Roman political competition; and that’s partly because it can seem so close to our own.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:27 AM on November 1, 2012

NYT is less charitable: On the Campaign Trail 64 B.C
Where Freeman thinks the work is not Rovian enough, he Roves it up. Quintus, for instance, says, “See to it, given an opportunity, that report circulates of any crime, lust or bribery warranted by your rivals’ behavior.” Freeman translates part of that as “Smear these men at every opportunity.” Quintus tells Marcus to remember that he is an orator (he forgot?), so he must use those factors that aid his skill (facultatis adiumenta) at speaking. But Cicero in his writings followed the Elder Cato’s famous definition of the orator as “a man of good character trained to eloquence” (vir bonus dicendi peritus). Quintus tells him that he must either turn down impossible requests gently or not turn them down at all, since “the former marks a man of good character” (vir bonus) and “the latter is the mark of a good candidate” (petitor bonus). Freeman does not record that distinction at all. He just writes that always saying yes is “a path often taken by political candidates.”
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:35 AM on November 1, 2012

Election by Connection
posted by homunculus at 12:11 PM on November 13, 2012

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