‘Cultural Hegemony’ and the Communicative Power of the Roman Elite

Robert Morstein-Marx

in Community and Communication

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199641895
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746130 | DOI:
‘Cultural Hegemony’ and the Communicative Power of the Roman Elite

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This chapter examines legislative practice at the end of the Republic to determine what was normal within this system. It presents a list of those laws that were passed by the popular assembly against significant opposition from within the Senate in the Late Republic (between c. 140 and c. 50 BC), which shows that the Roman populus was far from docile in this period. Passage of a law is the point at which debate becomes practice, and if the “steeply hierarchical communication-situation” of the preceding contiones did not determine the result, then either the contio was not really so important in the legislative process or audiences had greater powers of resistance to the “dominant ideology” than often assumed. The Roman people rather frequently did not do what the majority of the elite wanted, despite their “cultural hegemony” and “communicative power”.

Keywords: contio; oratory; Roman people; legislation; resistance; dominant ideology; cultural hegemony

Chapter.  9997 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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