Political Communication in the Roman World


This volume aims to address the question of political communication in the Roman world. It draws upon social sciences and the current trend for the historical study of political communication.
The book tackles three main problems: What constitutes political communication in the Roman world? In what ways could information be transmitted and represented? What mechanisms made political communication successful or unsuccessful?
This edited volume covers questions like speech and mechanisms of political communication, political communication at a distance, bottom-up communication, failure of communication and representation of political communication.
It will be of help to specialists in the Roman world, but also to students and researchers of political sciences, and specialists of political communication in pre-industrial times.
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Biographical Note

Cristina Rosillo-López, Ph.D. (2005) is Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide. She has published articles and monographs about the Late Republic, including La corruption à la fin de la République romaine (Historia Einzelschriften, 2010) and Public Opinion and Politics in the Late Roman Republic (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

Contributors are: Henriette van der Blom, Juan Manuel Cortés Copete, Cyril Courrier, Antonio Duplá Ansuategui, Martin Jehne, Julio Cesar Magalhães de Oliveira, Rosario Moreno Soldevila, Francisco Pina Polo, Cristina Rosillo-López, Catherine Steel, Jeffrey Tatum.

Review Quotes

'' Given the increasing interest in the transmission and impact of political speech and rhetoric, this edited volume of papers on ''political communication in the Roman world'' is a welcome publication for those who study the cultural, social, and political history of Republican and Imperial Rome, and it will surely promote further research, as well as discussion and debate'' Moysés Marcos, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2018.04.38

Table of contents

List of Contributors

Cristina Rosillo-López

Part 1: Speech and Mechanisms of Political Communication

1 Defining Public Speech in the Roman Republic: Occasion, Audience and Purpose
Catherine Steel

2 Informal Conversations between Senators in the Late Roman Republic
Cristina Rosillo-López

Part 2: Political Communication at a Distance

3 Intermediaries in Political Communication: Adlegatio and its Uses
W. Jeffrey Tatum

4 Circulation of Information in Cicero’s Correspondence of the Years 59–58 BC
Francisco Pina Polo

5 Governing by Dispatching Letters: The Hadrianic Chancellery
Juan Manuel Cortés-Copete

Part 3: Political Communication, a Bottom-up Approach

6 The Roman Plebs and Rumour: Social Interactions and Political Communication in the Early Principate
Cyril Courrier

7 The Emperor is Dead! Rumours, Protests, and Political Opportunities in Late Antiquity
Julio Cesar Magalhães de Oliveira

Part 4: Failure of Political Communication

8 Incitement to Violence in Late Republican Political Oratory
Antonio Duplá Ansuategui

9 Why the Anti-Caesarians Failed: Political Communication on the Eve of Civil War (51 to 49 BC)
Martin Jehne

Part 5: Representations of Political Communication

10 The Reception of Republican Political Communication: Tacitus’ Choice of Exemplary Republican Orators in Context
Henriette van der Blom

11 Retouching a Self-portrait (Or How to Adapt One’s Image in Times of Political Change): The Case of Martial in the Light of Pliny the Younger
Moreno Soldevila



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