ROMANIFESTO: Modern Lessons from Classical Politics

ROMANIFESTO: Modern Lessons from Classical Politics

ASA BENNETT    Book Number: 90267    Product format: Hardback

With a Prime Minister who is constantly quoting the classics it comes as no surprise that our politicians can learn a thing or two from their Roman ancestors. Take the most famous backstabber of them all, Caesar's friend Brutus, who famously raised his dagger along with the other assassins on the fatal Ides of March. Boris Johnson may have been equally surprised that his trusty ally Michael Gove wielded the dagger in the 2016 leadership contest, since Gove had vowed that he himself had no interest in the top job. At the last moment he decided to stand against his chum, but support was slow in coming in. "He couldn't wipe the blood off his dagger that quickly", as one MP said to the author, a political journalist with access to a series of unattributable indiscretions. Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, is an admirer of Caesar's heir Octavian for the way he took control of the narrative in a time of crisis, and Nick Clegg in the 2010 coalition government is compared with Crassus in Octavian's triumvirate, the passenger whom no-one remembers. Jeremy Corbyn is compared with Nero, who like Corbyn had no interest in securing his country's defence. During Theresa May's premiership Jacob Rees-Mogg told the author that he was part of her "Praetorian Guard". The author lost no time in pointing out that the Praetorian Guard did not always back the emperor they were supposed to be protecting, and so it proved with Mogg, who was soon having to deny that he was leading a coup against May. This book examineS 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? In unpretentious prose our contemporary politicians are measured against the unscrupulous leaders of the ancient world and found morally to be even worse. A witty and erudite book from a journalist who is himself a classicist. 265pp, bibliography.
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ISBN 9781785905193
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