Marcus faced a grueling battle in 64 BC for one of two consul seats — two consuls were elected every year to serve as the chief civil and military officers of the republic. Quintus, a fiery supporter of his brother, thought Marcus could use some wise words on how to ensure his victory. Although Marcus was brilliant and had a tremendous way with words, he had a steep disadvantage in the campaign: he was not of noble birth.
So he’d have to make his case all the more forcefully.
To point the way, Quintus wrote a pamphlet outlining the necessary tactics — at least a good number of experts believe it was the work of Quintus, though that opinion is not unanimous. Whoever is responsible, the pamphlet is “timeless and no-nonsense counsel to those who aspire to power,” according to Philip Freeman, who translated the work and wrote the introduction for “How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians,” ($9.95) due out from Princeton University Press in March.
Comparing the work to Machiavelli’s “Prince,” Freeman says, “idealism and naivete are left by the wayside as Quintus tells his brother — and all of us — how the down-and-dirty business of successful campaigning really works.”
Among the tactics Quintus laid out:
*Call in favors.
*Promise everything to everybody.
*Know the weakness of your opponents and exploit them.
*Flatter voters shamelessly.
*Give people hope.
My, how the earth turns yet changes so little.
Marcus won, by the way, tallying more votes than any other candidate