Acta Diurna

Acta Diurna

Acta Diurna (lat: Daily Acts sometimes translated as Daily Public Records) were daily Roman official notices, seen as the first gazette. They were carved on stone or metal and presented in message boards in public places like the Forum of Rome. They were also called simply Acta or Diurna or sometimes Acta Popidi or Acta Publica.

The first form of Acta appeared around 131 BCE during the Roman Republic. Their original content included results of legal proceedings and outcomes of trials. Later the content was expanded to public notices and announcements and other noteworthy information such as prominent births, marriages and deaths. After a couple of days the notices were taken down and archived (though no intact copy has survived to the present day).

Sometimes scribes made copies of the Acta and sent them to provincial governors for information. Later emperors used them to announce royal or senatorial decrees and events of the court.

Other forms of Acta were legal, municipal and military notices. Acta Senatus were originally kept secret, until then-consul Julius Caesar made them public in 59 BCE. Later rulers, however, often censored them.

Publication of the Acta Diurna stopped when the seat of the emperor was moved to Constantinople.

The Acta Diurna is considered the first newspaper -type publication and the first government gazette. Today, there are many academic periodicals with the word acta in their titles (the publisher Elsevier has 64 such titles).

In the Acta Diurna was seen for the first time the expression “publicare et propagare”, which means to make it be published and be spread. This expression was set in the end of the texts and it was used to make the information be known by all the roman citizens an non-citzens.

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