This paper discusses the function of speeches given by Cicero to the popular assembly (contio) as reports about recent political events or decrees. Several of the few extant examples are part of oratorical corpora consisting of speeches from politically difficult periods, namely from Cicero's consular year (63 BCE; Catilinarians) and from his fight against Mark Antony (44–43 BCE; Philippics). Cicero is shown to have applied his oratorical abilities in all these cases to exploit the contio speeches so as to present narrative accounts of political developments in his interpretation and thus to influence public opinion in the short term during the political process and particularly, within an edited corpus, in the long term.

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