HOW TO WIN AN ELECTIONAn Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESSCopyright © 2012 Philip Freeman
All right reserved.ISBN: 978-0-691-15408-4
Introduction....................................viiA Note on the Translation.......................xxiiiHow to win an Election..........................1The Results of the Election.....................87Glossary........................................89Further Reading.................................97
HOW TO WIN AN ELECTION
Quintus Marco Fratri:
1. Etsi tibi omnia suppetunt ea quae consequi ingenio aut usu homines aut diligentia possunt, tamen amore nostro non sum alienum arbitratus ad te perscribere ea quae mihi veniebant in mentem dies ac noctes de petitione tua cogitanti, non ut aliquid ex his novi addisceres, sed ut ea quae in re dispersa atque infinita viderentur esse ratione et distributione sub uno aspectu ponerentur.
2. Civitas quae sit cogita, quid petas, qui sis. Prope cotidie tibi hoc ad Forum descendenti meditandum est: "novus sum, consulatum peto, Roma est."
Nominis novitatem dicendi gloria maxime sublevabis. Semper ea res plurimum dignitatis habuit. Non potest qui dignus habetur patronus consularium indignus consulatu putari. Quam ob rem quoniam ab hac laude proficisceris et quicquid es ex hoc es, ita paratus ad dicendum venito quasi in singulis causis iudicium de omni ingenio futurum sit.
3. Eius facultatis adiumenta, quae tibi scio esse seposita, ut parata ac prompta sint cura, et saepe quae de Demosthenis studio et exercitatione scripsit Demetrius recordare, deinde ut amicorum et multitudo et genera appareant. Habes enim ea quae non multi homines novi habuerunt, omnis publicanos, totum fere equestrem ordinem, multa propria municipia, multos abs te defensos homines cuiusque ordinis, aliquot collegia, praeterea studio dicendi conciliatos plurimos adulescentulos, cotidianam amicorum adsiduitatem et frequentiam.
4. Haec cura ut teneas commonendo et rogando et omni ratione efficiendo ut intellegant qui debent tua causa, referendae gratiae, qui volunt, obligandi tui tempus sibi aliud nullum fore. Etiam hoc multum videtur adiuvare posse novum hominem, hominum nobilium voluntas et maxime consularium. Prodest quorum in locum ac numerum pervenire velis ab iis ipsis illo loco ac dignum numero putari.
5. Ii rogandi omnes sunt diligenter et ad eos adlegandum est persuadendumque iis nos semper cum optimatibus de re publica sensisse, minime popularis fuisse; si quid locuti populariter videamur, id nos eo consilio fecisse ut nobis cn. Pompeium adiungeremus, ut eum qui plurimum posset aut amicum in nostra petitione haberemus aut certe non adversarium.
6. Praeterea adulescentis nobilis elab ora ut habeas vel ut teneas, studiosos quos habes. Multum dignitatis adferent. Plurimos habes; perfice ut sciant quantum in iis putes esse. Si adduxeris ut ii qui non nolunt cupiant, plurimum proderunt.
7. ac multum etiam novitatem tuam adiuvat quod eius modi nobiles tecum petunt, ut nemo sit qui audeat dicere plus illis nobilitatem quam tibi virtutem prodesse oportere. Nam P. Galbam et l. Cassium summo loco natos quis est qui petere consulatum putet? Vides igitur amplissimis ex familiis homines, quod sine nervis sunt, tibi paris non esse.
8. At antonius et catilina molesti sunt. immo homini navo, industrio, innocenti, diserto, gratioso apud eos qui res iudicant, optandi competitores ambo a pueritia sicarii, ambo libidinosi, ambo egentes. Eorum alterius bona proscripta vidimus, vocem denique audivimus iurantis se Romae iudicio aequo cum homine Graeco certare non posse, ex senatu eiectum scimus optima verorum censorum existimatione, in praetura competitorem habuimus amico Sabidio et Panthera, cum ad tabulam quos poneret non haberet; quo tamen in magistratu amicam quam domi palam haberet de machinis emit. in petitione autem consulatus caupones omnis compilare per turpissimam legationem maluit quam adesse et populo Romano supplicare.
9. Alter vero, di boni! quo splendore est? Primum nobilitate eadem. Num maiore? Non. Sed virtute. Quam ob rem? Quod antonius umbram suam metuit, hic ne leges quidem natus in patris egestate, educatus in sororis stupris, corroboratus in caede civium, cuius primus ad rem publicam aditus in equitibus Romanis occidendis fuit, nam illis quos meminimus Gallis, qui tum titiniorum ac nanniorum ac tanusiorum capita demebant, Sulla unum catilinam praefecerat, in quibus ille hominem optimum, Q. Caecilium, sororis suae virum, equitem Romanum, nullarum partium, cum semper natura tum etiam aetate iam quietum, suis manibus occidit.
10. Quid ego nunc dicam petere eum consulatum, qui hominem carissimum populo Romano, M. Marium inspectante populo Romano vitibus per totam urbem ceciderit, ad bustum egerit, ibi omni cruciatu lacerarit, vivo stanti collum gladio sua dextera secuerit, cum sinistra capillum eius a vertice teneret, caput sua manu tulerit, cum inter digitos eius rivi sanguinis fluerent? qui postea cum histrionibus et cum gladiatoribus ita vixit ut alteros libidinis, alteros facinoris adiutores haberet, qui nullum in locum tam sanctum ac tam religiosum accessit in quo non, etiam si aliis culpa non esset, tamen ex sua nequitia dedecoris suspicionem relinqueret, qui ex curia curios et Annios, ab atriis Sapalas et Carvilios, ex equestri ordine Pompilios et Vettios sibi amicissimos comparavit, qui tantum habet audaciae, tantum nequitiae, tantum denique in libidine artis et efficacitatis, ut prope in parentum gremiis praetextatos liberos constuprarit? Quid ego nunc tibi de africa, quid de testium dictis scribam? Nota sunt, et ea tu saepius legito; sed tamen hoc mihi non praetermittendum videtur quod primum ex eo iudicio tam egens discessit quam quidam iudices eius ante illud in eum iudicium fuerunt, deinde tam invidiosus ut aliud in eum iudicium cotidie flagitetur. Hic se sic habet ut magis timeat, etiam si quierit, quam ut contemnat si quid commoverit.
11. Quanto melior tibi fortuna petitionis data est quam nuper homini novo, C. Coelio! ille cum duobus hominibus ita nobilissimis petebat ut tamen in iis omnia pluris essent quam ipsa nobilitas, summa ingenia, summus pudor, plurima beneficia, summa ratio ac diligentia petendi. Ac tamen eorum alterum coelius, cum multo inferior esset genere, superior nulla re paene, superavit.
12. Qua re tibi, si facies ea quae natura et studia quibus semper usus es, largiuntur, quae temporis tui ratio desiderat, quae potes, quae debes, non erit difficile certamen cum iis competitoribus, qui nequaquam sunt tam genere insignes quam vitiis nobiles. Quis enim reperiri potest tam improbus civis qui velit uno suffragio duas in rem publicam sicas destringere?
13. Quoniam quae subsidia novitatis haberes et habere posses exposui, nunc de magnitudine petitionis dicendum videtur. consulatum petis, quo honore nemo est quin te dignum arbitretur, sed multi qui invideant; petis enim homo ex equestri loco summum locum civitatis atque ita summum ut forti homini, diserto, innocenti multo idem ille honos plus amplitudinis quam ceteris adferat. Noli putare eos qui sunt eo honore usi non videre, tu cum idem sis adeptus, quid dignitatis habiturus sis. Eos vero qui consularibus familiis nati locum maiorum consecuti non sunt suspicor tibi, nisi si qui admodum te amant, invidere. Etiam novos homines praetorios existimo, nisi qui tuo beneficio vincti sunt, nolle abs te se honore superari.
14. Iam in populo quam multi invidi sint, quam consuetudine horum annorum ab hominibus novis alienati, venire tibi in mentem certo scio; esse etiam non nullos tibi iratos ex iis causis quas egisti necesse est. iam illud tute circumspicito, quod ad cn. Pompeii gloriam augendam tanto studio te dedisti, num quos tibi putes ob eam causam esse amicos.
HOW TO WIN AN ELECTION
To my brother Marcus,
1. Although you already have all the skills a man can possess through natural ability, experience, and hard work, because of the affection we have for one another I would like to share with you what I have been thinking about night and day concerning your upcoming campaign. it's not that you need my advice, but such affairs can seem so chaotic that it's sometimes best to lay things out in one place in a logical order.
2. always remember what city this is, what office it is you seek, and who you are. Every day as you go down to the Forum, you should say to yourself: "I am an outsider. I want to be a consul. This is Rome."
Any criticism of your outsider status will be greatly mitigated by your well-known skill as a speaker, for oratory has always been highly valued. after all, anyone who is good enough to defend former consuls in court should be worthy to be a consul himself. Since you are such an excellent communicator and your reputation has been built on this fact, you should approach every speaking engagement as if your entire future depended on that single event.
3. it is crucial that you take stock of the many advantages you possess—read what Demetrius wrote about the study and practice of Demosthenes. Consider that few outsiders have the number and variety of supporters that you do. all those holding public contracts are on your side, as well as most of the business community. The Italian towns also support you. Don't forget about all the people you have successfully defended in court, clients from a wide variety of social backgrounds. and, of course, remember the special interest groups that back you. Finally, make good use of the young people who admire you and want to learn from you, in addition to all the faithful friends who are daily at your side.
4. Work to maintain the goodwill of these groups by giving them helpful advice and asking them for their counsel in return. now is the time to call in all favors. Don't miss an opportunity to remind everyone in your debt that they should repay you with their support. For those who owe you nothing, let them know that their timely help will put you in their debt. and, of course, one thing that can greatly help an outsider is the backing of the nobility, particularly those who have served as consuls previously. it is essential that these men whose company you wish to join should think you worthy of them.
5. You must diligently cultivate relationships with these men of privilege. Both you and your friends should work to convince them that you have always been a traditionalist. never let them think you are a populist. Tell them if you seem to be siding with the common people on any issue it is because you need to win the favor of Pompey, so that he can use his great influence on your behalf or at least not against you.
6. Be sure you work to get young men from noble families on your side and keep them there. They can be very helpful to your campaign by making you look good. You already have many supporters among this group, so make sure they know how much you appreciate them. if you can win over even more of them to your side, so much the better.
7. another factor that can help you as an outsider is the poor quality of those men of the nobility who are competing against you. No one could reasonably say that their privileged birth makes them more qualified to be consul than your natural gifts. who would believe that men as pathetic as Publius Galba and lucius cassius would run for the highest office in the land, even though they come from the best families? You can clearly see that even those from the loftiest background are not equal to you because they lack the drive.
8. But, you might say, what about the other candidates, Antonius and Catiline? Surely they are dangerous opponents? Yes, they certainly are, but not to someone like you who is energetic, hardworking, free from scandal, eloquent, and popular with those in power. You should be grateful to run against men like those two. They have both been brutes since they were boys, while even now they are notorious philanderers and spendthrifts. Consider Antonius, who had his property confiscated for debt, then declared under oath in Rome that he couldn't even compete in a fair trial against a Greek. Remember how he was expelled from the Senate after a careful examination by the censors? and don't forget that when he ran for praetor he could only muster Sabidius and Panthera to stand beside him. Then after he was elected as praetor, he disgraced himself by going down to the market and openly buying a girl to keep at home as a sex slave. Finally, who could forget that the last time he put his name up for consul he went abroad and robbed innkeepers rather than stay here in Rome and face the voters?
9. As for Catiline, by the gods, what is his claim to fame? His blood is no better than that of Antonius, but I will grant that he has more courage. He's not afraid of anything, least of all the law, while Antonius trembles at his own shadow. Catiline was born into a poor family, brought up in debauchery with his own sister, and shed his first blood killing Roman citizens and businessmen as a henchman of Sulla. You'll remember he was put in charge of the Gaulish death squads who cut off the heads of the Titinii, Nannii, and Tanusii. He even murdered his own brother-in-law, Quintus Caecilius, a kindly old fellow and good Roman businessman who cared nothing for politics.
10. Catiline, your chief opponent in this contest, took a club and beat poor Marcus Marius, a man very popular with the Roman people. With everyone watching, the scoundrel chased Marius through the streets to a tomb where he tortured him with every cruelty. Then, still alive, he grabbed him by the hair with his left hand and decapitated him with his right and carried the head away with blood dripping between his fingers. Catiline afterward was a friend of actors—can you imagine?—and gladiators. He lived a life of debauchery with the former group and used the latter as hired thugs in all his crimes. He never missed a chance to defile a holy shrine even if his companions refused to stoop so low. He made friends with the worst sort—Curius and Annius in the Senate, Sapala and Carvilius in the auction houses, Pompilius and Vettius among the businessmen. He was so impudent, so wicked, so skilled in his licentiousness that he molested young boys almost in the laps of their parents. Do I even need to remind you what he did in Africa? it's all recorded in the indictments, which you should take the time to review carefully, by the way. I can't forget to mention that he bribed his way through his trials so heavily that he often left the courts as poor as his judges had been before. Practically every day there is a new call to bring him to justice. He is so unpredictable that men are more afraid of him when he is doing nothing than they are when he is making trouble.
11. You have a much better chance of being elected consul than another outsider, Gaius Coelius, who thirty years ago had two very different competitors than you do now. These men were of the most distinguished birth, but their other qualities were even more outstanding. They possessed the greatest integrity and intelligence, the most appealing modesty, and had accomplished many noteworthy deeds for Rome. Both managed their campaigns with consummate skill and care. Yet Coelius beat one of them to win a consulship, even though he was much inferior to them in birth and not superior to either in any notable way.
12. Therefore, if you make use of your natural gifts and apply all that you have learned in life and if you make no mistakes, it should not be difficult for you to defeat Antonius and catiline—men who are more distinguished by their crimes than their privileged birth. Can you find a single Roman citizen so despicable that he would in one vote unsheathe two such bloody daggers on the republic?
13. Since I have already discussed your abilities and how you can overcome the fact that you are an outsider, I want to talk about the details of how you should run your campaign. You want to be a consul and everyone agrees you have the ability to do the job, but there are many who are jealous of you. You are not part of the nobility, yet you seek the highest office in the land. Serving in this position would confer on you a tremendous distinction, especially as you are courageous, eloquent, and free from scandal, unlike so many others. Those who have held the office before know very well the glory that being consul would bestow on you. Those whose ancestors were consuls but who have not yet gained it for themselves are going to be envious, unless they are already very good friends of yours. as for the outsiders who have made it to the office of praetor before you but not held the consulship, they are going to be bitterly jealous, save for those who are greatly in your debt.
14. I know very well that there are many others who despise you. With the turmoil of the last few years, plenty of voters don't want to risk electing an outsider. There are also those who are angry at you regarding the clients you defended in court. and take a close look at those supposed friends of yours who might be secretly furious that you have so zealously supported Pompey.