Beyond the <i>Contio</i>: Political Communication in the Tribunate of Tiberius Gracchus

Harriet I. Flower

in Community and Communication

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199641895
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746130 | DOI:
Beyond the Contio: Political Communication in the Tribunate of Tiberius Gracchus

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This chapter considers oratory in relationship to other networks of political communication. It focuses on the political program and legislation of Tiberius Gracchus in 133 bc. Tiberius was able to mobilize large groups of rural voters using local networks connected to city politics; and he could turn at short notice to the poor in the city because networks existed in the local neighbourhoods of Rome. While our extant ancient sources to Tiberius’ tribunate are meagre and distorted by bias, the pattern of rapid and repeated political initiatives offers a suggestive case study of intense political communication that produced action and reaction amongst broad groups of Romans, both inside and outside the city. At the same time, the politics of 133 bc offer valuable insights into a different political and rhetorical landscape than that described by Cicero or Sallust around the middle of the first century bc.

Keywords: oratory; political communication; communicative networks; Tiberius Gracchus; rural and urban voters; tribunate; legislation

Chapter.  8735 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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