A form of daily reports created by the Romans was called Acta Diurna, It was often referred to as simply Acta or Diurna The contents of this included things that were happening in the empire.
This would include things such as legal proceedings, results of trials, important announcements, and general notifications for local citizens. The Acta Diurna is a very interesting piece of history. It was technically a newspaper in its own right; however, what we would consider a newspaper was still a long way to being established. The Acta Diurna had a very different presentation. The romans started this by posting daily events and information carved out in large stone tablets.
That is right and is how I always expected the first newspaper to be, written in stone! No, I am not kidding. That is exactly how I envisioned such a thing to be!
Sometimes according to some historians, it could also be carved onto a metal.
The concept and practicality behind this is quite innovative. All inventions are amazing because of what they inspire and grow into. It may not have been the most exciting of platforms but it was very sophisticated in its time. A practical way to provide Romans with knowledge was significant. It began by carving the data into stone or metal. It would then be placed in the middle of largely populated places like the Roman Forum as a message board.
It had originally been a posting of solely legal proceedings and trial results; however, this would grow immensely which led to other critical information being added to daily message boards later as time went by. Stuff like births, marriages, and deaths in important Roman families were one example of how it grew and became more informative. After a couple days, notices would be taken down and saved in order to make room for the next report.
The Acta Diurna was used as a popular source of relying messages to the public at large. It became a favorite place for royal decrees and events from court to be announced. It was literally government ran news. It was often censored and at times not all of it was made available and special restrictions were put in place. It was very similar to the Acta Senatus, a written record of all senate proceedings. Typically a member of the senate would be tasked with recording what happened in these meetings and it would be stored later for research. The public never had access to the Acta Senatus until Julius Caesar attempted to change that. In an effort to gain favor from the empire’s citizens, he temporarily made records of the senate opened for everyone from time to time. This would only happen occasionally. It was more a political move by Julius than anything else.
- Ancient Rome: From Romulus to Justinian
- Ancient Rome: A Complete History of the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire
- Ancient Rome: A New History (Second Edition)