Chapter

Publius Clodius and the Boundaries of the <i>Contio</i>

James Tan

in Community and Communication

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199641895
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746130 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641895.003.0008
Publius Clodius and the Boundaries of the Contio

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This chapter explores P. Clodius Pulcher’s use of the popular assemblies to further his public persona and political agenda, a use which is flexible, extreme and yet provides important insights into the nature and boundaries of the central political institution of the contio. Clodius’ career comprised a two-pronged method: to make himself the most prominent leader on the Rostra, and to centre as much of Roman public life as possible around that favoured venue of his. Clodius achieved the former by creating a more personal style of leadership, facilitating his oft-noted ability to continue his dominance even when privatus. He also held a staggering number of contiones, bringing the biggest names to them, producing consuls and consulars with himself as “host”, and choosing contiones even when other venues were available. And he used violence, which confirmed his own dominance of open-air politics whilst simultaneously forcing his opponents to come into the Forum to meet him on his own ground.

Keywords: contio; leadership; violence; popular assemblies; Publius Clodius Pulcher

Chapter.  8807 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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