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Full description for Gestures and Acclamations in Ancient Rome

  • 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.