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Despite the last days of Rome being around 1,500 years ago, the shadow of its empire – and what those who lived in it had to say – still looms large over modern politics.
Indeed, we would not think of ‘politics’ as it is without our Classical ancestors. The word comes directly from the ancient Greek word polis, which refers to a city or state. Someone who had to take charge came to be known as a politikos. The Roman political scene was fuelled by ambition, ego and self-interest. People sought to get ahead by striking backroom deals or shaky alliances that would soon fall apart. Politicians were happy to stab each other in the back – and the front for that matter – if necessary.
Politics may be less bloody these days, but in many ways things are still the same. In our rush to keep on top of events, it is worth looking back to the Romans to understand what is going on.
This book delves into these similarities to examine what today’s politicos can learn from their Roman predecessors. How did they climb the greasy pole? How did they handle the rough and tumble? What can Boudicca teach us about Brexit? What could Emperor Hadrian teach President Trump about walls?
No longer should the answers to questions like these be the monopoly of those who happened to study Classics at university, such as Boris Johnson. It’s time this ancient wisdom was democratised. So read on to find out how to do politics as the Romans did.