From Meeting to Text: The <i>Contio</i> in the Late Republic

Henrik Mouritsen

in Community and Communication

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199641895
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746130 | DOI:
From Meeting to Text: The Contio in the Late Republic

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This chapter explores the increasing circulation of written texts of speeches at public meetings, and argues that the contiones in written form proliferated at the end of the Republic when it became increasingly difficult for the contio to function as a forum for meaningful political exchange. This suggests a gradual shift in the underlying motivation from personal memoria to propaganda and political persuasion. The circulation of contiones may be interpreted as an attempt at creating a virtual meeting place for the political public for whom there was no longer any functioning practical locus. As such the written contio emerges as a symptom of the wider political crisis that would eventually lead to the collapse of the republican system as a whole.

Keywords: contio; written speeches; propaganda; end of the Roman Republic; virtual meetings

Chapter.  11067 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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