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Why did Clodius shut the shops? - The rhetoric of mobilizing a crowd in the Late Republic

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When Publius Clodius ordered Rome's tabernae to be shut for one of his meetings in 58 BC, he was not only trying to gather a crowd by forcing tabernarii onto the street. Shutting the shops was a symbolic move alluding to the archaic iustitium and to the actions of Tiberius Gracchus. It allowed Clodius to claim both that his meeting was vital to the safety of the res publica and that he (and not Cicero) had the support of the entire Roman people, including the lowliest.
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Keywords: CICERO; CLODIUS; IUSTITIUM; RHETORIC; ROMAN POLITICAL HISTORY; TABERNAE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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  • Historia, first published in 1952 by Karl Friedrich Stroheker and Gerold Walser is an international, peer-reviewed journal on Greek and Roman antiquity. Articles are in English, German, French and Italian. It features original articles on Greek history, the Roman Republic and Empire as well as late antiquity. It covers all aspects of political, economic, religious and social life and deals with legal, archaeological, numismatic and epigraphical questions.
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