How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians

Listen to Professor Freeman discuss How To Win An Election on NPR's All Things Considered.

Read the New York Times essay on elections in ancient Pompeii.


Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff and senior advisor to President George W. Bush:
"Fresh, lively, and sharp, this primer provides timeless counsel and a great read for the modern political practitioner."

James Carville, political consultant, in Foreign Affairs:
"I just hope my opponent in the next campaign doesn't get a copy."

Gary Hart, former US senator and presidential candidate:
“Given the lowly state of politics these days, this ancient Roman handbook on electioneering shows how little has changed. Freeman has done a masterful job of bringing this delightful text into the modern day—so masterful that one might think it was actually a spoof.”

"Just in time for the primaries and the big showdown in November comes the wisdom of the ancients, in this case from Quintus Tullius Cicero, younger brother of Marcus, the greatest ancient Roman orator--perhaps the greatest of all time--who, more than two thousand years ago, ran for the highest office in the Roman Republic."—Washington Post

"Philip Freeman's translation…is bright and clear."—Wall Street Journal

"A Roman pamphlet, cast as a cynical letter of advice to a politician."—The New York Times (Editor's Choice)

"Speaking to us from a distance of more than two millenniums, Quintus Cicero's words are incisive and revelatory: They remind us that, when it comes to that strange beast known as politics, human nature hasn't changed very much since then."—Los Angeles Times

"Historian Philip Freeman has translated the Commentariolum Petitionis, a short tract written in 64 BC. In the Commentariolum, Quintus Tullius Cicero compiled political advice for his brother Marcus. The elder Cicero took the advice and won, becoming a counsel of Rome—apparently an underdog upset of Obamanian proportions. Now Princeton University Press has published Freeman’s translation with a catchier yet somehow less dignified title: How to Win an Election. Would you believe it? The advice holds up. These candidates must have classics scholars on staff, because a close read of Cicero reveals they’re following his counsel."—Slate Magazine

"How to Win an Election is a quick, punchy and thoroughly entertaining read, cleanly translated by Philip Freeman."—Chicago Tribune

"Put in context by Philip Freeman, whose biography of Julius Caesar was widely praised, the letter is cynical, worldly wise, and oddly reassuring." —Christianity Today

Adrienne Mayor, author of The Poison King:
“Loaded with down-and-dirty advice on how to sway voters and win office in ancient Rome, this practical campaign handbook offers shameless hints for political hopefuls of any era: making and breaking promises, networking and calling in favors, spreading rumors, appealing to special interests, speechifying, pressing the flesh, and more. Wickedly funny, astute, and timeless!”

"Just in time for the 2012 electoral silly season comes an old text, newly translated, with timeless advice for those who would rule." —Chronicle of Higher Education

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