Public meetings in ancient Rome : definitions of the contiones in the sources

Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2013, vol. 18, iss. 1, pp. [75]-84
Extent
[75]-84
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
Type
Article
Language
English
License: Not specified license
Abstract(s)
At the present time the contio – a type of political meeting in ancient Rome – attracts close attention of scholars. It is difficult but important to determine exactly which meetings were considered as contiones. Possible solution to this problem is a key part in understanding the specificity and role of contiones. Fortunately we have a few direct contiones' definitions offered by ancient authors (Marcus Valerius Messalla Rufus, Verrius Flaccus, Sextus Pompeius Festus and others). Through the study of these definitions the paper attempts to ascertain criteria for the identification a meeting as a contio. The aim of the research is to find universal essential features, i.e. those which described not some, but any contio: its audience, convener and general purpose. Therefore attention is paid to the criteria which are the least strict, noted in most definitions, and do not contradict the descriptions of particular contiones. It is concluded that definitions found in the Roman sources provide important information which is, however, insufficient for understanding what meetings were considered by the Romans as contiones. A strategy of subsequent study of the issue is also suggested.
Document
References:
[1] Botsford, George W. 1909. The Roman Assemblies from their Origin to the End of the Republic . New York: Macmillan.

[2] Chrissanthos, Stefan G. 2004. Freedom of Speech and the Roman Republican Army . In: Sluiter, Ineke – Rosen, Ralph M. [eds.]. Free Speech in Classical Antiquity. Leiden: Brill, 341–368.

[3] Dementyeva, Vera V. – Frolov, Roman M. 2009. Unsanctioned contiones as a Political Institute of the Roman Republic . Journal of Ancient History, 271, 63‒88 [in Russian].

[4] Frolov, Roman M. 2011. Potestas contionandi in the Political System of the Roman Republic: the Convocation of Official Public Meeting . IVS ANTIQVVM. Ancient Law, 24, 40–56 [in Russian].

[5] Hiebel, Dominique. 2009. Rôles institutionnel et politique de la contio sous la République romaine (287 – 49 av. J.-C.) . Paris: De Boccard.

[6] Majak, Ija L. 1993. The Romans of the Early Republic . Moscow: Izd.-vo Moskovskogo universiteta [in Russian: Rimljane rannej respubliki].

[7] Majak, Ija L. 2012. Roman Antiquities According to Aulus Gellius: History, Law . Moscow: Argamak [in Russian: Rimskie drevnosti po Avlu Gelliju: istorija, pravo].

[8] Moreau, Phillipe. 2003. Donner la parole au peuple? Rhétorique et manipulation des contiones à la fin de la République romaine . In: Bonnafous, Simone ― Chiron, Pierre ― Ducard, Dominique – Levy, Carlos [eds.]. Argumentation et discours politique. Antiquité grecque et latine, Révolution française, monde contemporain. Actes du colloque international de Cerisy-la-Salle. Rennes: Presses universitaires des Rennes, 175–189.

[9] Morstein-Marx, Robert. 2004. Mass Oratory and Political Power in the Late Roman Republic . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[10] Mouritsen, Henrik. 2001. Plebs and Politics in the Late Roman Republic . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[11] Pina Polo, Francisco. 1989. Las contiones civiles y militares en Roma . Zaragoza: Universidad de Zaragoza.

[12] Pina Polo, Francisco. 1995. Procedures and Functions of Civil and Military contiones in Rome . Klio, 77, 203–216.

[13] Pokrovskij, Mikhail M. 2006. Semasiological Studies in Ancient Languages . Moscow: KomKniga [in Russian: Semasiologičeskie issledovanija v oblasti drevnich jazykov].

[14] Steel, Catherine – Blom, van der, Henriette [eds.]. 2013. Community and Communication: Oratory and Politics in the Roman Republic . Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[15] Stevenson, AndrewJ. 1993. Aulus Gellius and Roman Antiquarian Writing . Diss. King's College London, London.

[16] Tracy, Catherine. 2012. Contio . In: Bagnall, Roger et al. [eds.]. The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 1760–1762.