Political Conversations in Late Republican Rome

ISBN : 9780192856265

Cristina Rosillo-Lopez
304 ページ
156 x 234 mm

Political Conversations in Ciceronian Rome offers for the first time a perspective of Roman politics through the proxy of conversations and meetings. In Rome oral was the default mode of communication in politics: oratory before the people in assemblies, addresses and discussions in the Senate, speeches in the law courts, rumours, and public opinion. We are familiar with the notion that the Roman political world of the Late Republic included lofty speeches and sessions of the Senate, but an important aspect of Late-Republican politics revolved around senators talking among themselves, chatting off in the corner. Only when they could not reach each other in person, Roman senators and their peers resorted to letters. This book intends to analyse political conversations and illuminate the oral dimension of Roman politics. It posits that the study of politics should not be restricted to the senatorial group, but that other persons should be considered as important political actors with their own agency (albeit in different degrees), such as freedmen and elite women. It argues that Roman senators and their entourages met in person to have conversations in which they discussed politics, circulated political information and negotiated strategies; this extra-institutional sphere had a relevant impact both on politics and institutions as well as determined how the Roman Republic functioned.


1 A Wider Definition of Politics and Political Participation
2 Sources for Political Conversations in Late-Republican Rome
3 Face-to-Face Meetings
4 How to Have Conversations
5 Dynamics of Conversations
6 Oral Circulation of Information
7 The Role of Non-Senatorial Actors in Conversations and Meetings
8 The Senate from an Extra-Institutional Point of View
9 Conclusions
Appendix: Prosopography of Non-Senatorial Actors


Cristina Rosillo-Lopez is Associate Professor at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide in Seville. She specializes in Late Republican political practices, institutions, corruption, public opinion, rhetoric, and the real estate market in Ancient Rome. Her previous books include Public Opinion in the Late Roman Republic (2017) and the edited volumes Communicating Public Opinion in the Roman Republic (2019), Managing Information in the Roman Economy (2021) and The Real Estate Market in the Roman World (forthcoming, with M. Garcia Morcillo).