Gestures and Acclamations in Ancient Rome

Gestures and Acclamations in Ancient Rome

Hardback Ancient Society and History

By (author) Gregory S. Aldrete

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  • Format: Hardback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 149mm x 225mm x 25mm | 449g
  • Publication date: 11 September 1999
  • Publication City/Country: Baltimore, MD
  • ISBN 10: 0801861322
  • ISBN 13: 9780801861321
  • Illustrations note: 29 line illustrations, 4 halftones

Product description

Life in Rome was relentlessly public and oratory was at its heart. In this in-depth study of oratorical gestures and crowd acclamations as methods of communication at public spectacles, the author seeks to recapture the original context of these interactive, dramatic and contentious public performances. At the most basic level, the book is a study of communication - how Roman speakers communicated with their audiences and how audiences in turn were able to reply and convey their reactions to the speakers. Aldrete begins by investigating how orators employed an extraordinarily sophisticated system of hand and body gestures in order to enhance the persuasive power of their speeches. He then turns to the target of these orations, the audience, and examines how they responded through the mechanism of acclamations, that is rhythmically shouted comments. The author finds that much in these ancient spectacles that is relevant to modern questions of political propaganda, manipulation of public image, crowd behaviour and speechmaking.

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Author information

Gregory S. Aldrete is an assistant professor of humanistic studies (history) at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Review quote

"Aldrete has mastered his material well, and writes winningly in a straightforward manner... Every student of ancient oratory and mass communication will profit from this book." -- Herbert W. Benario, Religious Studies Review