1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Acta Diurna

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ACTA DIURNA (Lat. acta, public acts or records; diurnius, daily, from dies), called also Acta Populi, Acta Publica and simply Acta or Diurna, in ancient Rome a sort of daily gazette, containing an officially authorized narrative of noteworthy events at Rome. Its contents were partly official (court news, decrees of the emperor, senate and magistrates), partly private (notices of births, marriages and deaths). Thus to some extent it filled the place of the modern newspaper (q.v.). The origin of the Acta is attributed to Julius Caesar, who first ordered the keeping and publishing of the acts of the people by public officers (59 B.C.; Suetonius, Caesar, 20). The Acta were drawn up from day to day, and exposed in a public place on a whitened board (see Album). After remaining there for a reasonable time they were taken down and preserved with other public documents, so that they might be available for purposes of research. The Acta differed from the Annals (which were discontinued in 133 B.C.) in that only the greater and more important matters were given in the latter, while in the former things of less note were recorded. Their publication continued till the transference of the seat of the empire to Constantinople. There are no genuine fragments extant.

Leclerc, Des Journaux chez les Romains (1838); Renssen, De Diurnis aliisque Romanorum Actis (1857); Hübner, De Senatus Populique Romani Actis (1860); Gaston Boissier, Tacitus and other Roman Studies (Eng. trans., W. G. Hutchison, 1906), pp. 197-229.