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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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Friends, Romans, Countrymen: Addressing the Roman People and the Rhetoric of Inclusion

Friends, Romans, Countrymen: Addressing the Roman People and the Rhetoric of Inclusion

Chapter:
(p.11) 1 Friends, Romans, Countrymen: Addressing the Roman People and the Rhetoric of Inclusion
Source:
Community and Communication
Author(s):

Karl-J. Hölkeskamp

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641895.003.0002

This chapter explores communication between the Roman elite and the people and, in particular, the ways in which the elite tried to convey a sense of shared community and aims when it addressed the people at contiones. A particular sort of rhetoric, the ‘rhetoric of emphatic direct address’, is omnipresent: the Roman people are addressed as part of, and partner in, an “imagined community” of the Quirites sharing a common universe of ‘Romanness’. The contio invariably, explicitly or implicitly, directly or indirectly, aims at the rhetorical construction of a consensus – just as the contio as a ‘place’ represents the performative side of this process. The contio as discourse is based on, and indeed largely consists in, the construction or negotiation, recreation or affirmation of Roman identity or identities, of the exclusiveness of being a Roman, the rôles and privileges, demands and burdens involved in being a true Roman citizen.

Keywords:   contio, oratory, rhetoric, Roman people, Roman identity, imagined communities, Roman citizens

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