Limited means of communication in antiquity brought funeral games into politics. This paper argues that during the republic politicians communicated their message by way of public spectacles. The origin and development of the ludi are researched and political exploitation thereof during the republic is analysed. The use of these games for public execution of certain categories of criminals deserves attention. Literary and legal texts confirm that Roman politicians were aware of the potential of games to further their careers, with the result that their propaganda value was institutionalised during the empire.