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  • In our time, the use of visual advertising in political campaigns is blatantly obvious and professionalized, but in essence the techniques to use the power of images date back to political propaganda since Antiquity. In the prehistory, everybody knew the leader of the small community physically, but soon that changed, creating a political vocation for art. Next to Stonehenge was found a Bronze age grave, 2000 years before the Romans, extremely rich, belonging to a Central European prince, who may well have ordered the monument build, the first known to use gold jewelry as 'regalia', a visual status symbol never went out of use. Darius, Achaemenid (Persian) king of kings of the first true empire, millions of subjects from twenty nations, made his capital a monumental demonstration of his power and of unity trough eclecticism, not just an imposed Persian style, and invented the political logo -representing him as an archer, symbol of the steadfast attitude required for a good ruler- as well as the use of coins to spread it among his people throughout the vast territory; Alexander the Great adopted these principles, with one difference, setting an example for all Hellenistic rulers: the realistic individual political portrait, instead of earlier stereotypes, of the leader. When Octavian needed to reunite Rome, split after Caesar's death between conservatively dressing republicans and 'modern' monarchists, he had hybrid statues made, even a general's image which is simultaneously disarming, even barefoot, just as the principate he established constituted a crowned republic, almost autocratic in all but name. Another technique is stereotypical vilification of enemies in images.


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