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Community and CommunicationOratory and Politics in Republican Rome$
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Catherine Steel and Henriette van der Blom

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199641895

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641895.001.0001

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Speech, Competition, and Collaboration: Tribunician Politics and the Development of Popular Ideology

Speech, Competition, and Collaboration: Tribunician Politics and the Development of Popular Ideology

Chapter:
(p.101) 6 Speech, Competition, and Collaboration: Tribunician Politics and the Development of Popular Ideology
Source:
Community and Communication
Author(s):

Amy Russell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641895.003.0007

This chapter considers the day-to-day pattern of tribunician rhetoric: the tribunes’ tasks, their speeches, the content of these speeches, and the audience reaction to these speeches. Through an analysis of known tribunes and their contiones in the period 121-81 bc, this paper argues that the overarching motive for any tribune addressing the people was to carve out for himself his own contional personality. These men demonstrate that there were multiple stances available and that choice of identity was temporary and often dictated by the need to differentiate oneself from opponents. Tribunician orators were engaged in political competition with one another, probably each in his own contiones and each moment of disagreement demanded a small choice from listeners, or potential listeners who decided whose contiones to attend. Each new position taken up expanded the boundaries of acceptable discourse, if only slightly.

Keywords:   contio, oratory, tribunes, identity, popular choice, political competition

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