Philip Freeman: The Attack Ad, Pompeii-StyleRoundup: Historians' Take
Philip Freeman, a classics professor at Luther College, is the editor of “How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians.”
A.D. 79 was a rough year for Marcus Cerrinius Vatia. The up-and-coming young man was running for the important office of aedile, one of the two junior magistrates in the seaside town of Pompeii. A century earlier, the Roman orator Cicero had admired the generally honest and upright campaigns conducted in this provincial town on the Bay of Naples. Unlike in Rome itself, where corruption was rampant, any hardworking Pompeian man with enough money and friends might rise to the office of aedile — unless he was a member of an undesirable profession, a public executioner, for example, or an actor....
But politics could be a dirty business, even in Pompeii. Sometime in the night, one of the professional political teams that painted signs around town whitewashed some old campaign ads from the previous year and replaced them with new graffiti, including “The petty thieves support Vatia for aedile” and “The late night drinkers all ask you to elect Marcus Cerrinius Vatia as aedile.” Poor Vatia had become a victim of negative campaign advertising....
comments powered by Disqus
- Dunkirk survivors’ terror didn’t end when they were rescued
- Site of Germany’s Biggest World War II Battle in the News
- Champion of the Black Community Is Given Her Rightful Due in Richmond
- CIA Plans to Destroy Some of Its Old Leak Files
- Republicans used to compare talking to Moscow to talking to Hitler
- Rick Perlstein joins criticism of Nancy MacLean's "Democracy in Chains"
- Daniel Pipes says it’s time for the Palestinians to recognize they lost
- Wm. Theodore de Bary, Renowned Columbia Sinologist, Dies at 97
- Iran sentences Princeton history grad student to 10 years for spying
- Medievalists, Recoiling From White Supremacy, Try to Diversify the Field