The Acta Diurna were official written accounts of daily events in ancient Rome. The term means "daily acts" in Latin. The Acta Diurna were also known as Acta Populi (Acts of the People), Acta Publica (Public Acts), or Acta Urbana (Municipal Acts).
News was collected by reporters (actuarii) employed by the state, who then posted the Acta on a whitened board (album) so that anyone might read or copy the reports. After a time the originals were taken down and filed in the state archives as a record. The news contained a miscellany of everything that might interest the citizen: the latest war news; abstracts of the best speeches in the Senate, the Forum, or the courts; and the most important legal decisions or political events (probably even interviews). Unusual omens or prodigies (lusus naturae) were also reported, as well as less important events: births, marriages, divorces, deaths, murders, and accidents.
The Acta seem to have taken the place of the discontinued Annales some time after 131 B.C. The Annales were yearly chronicles that reported only the more important occurrences. They were published too infrequently for the later, more active republic. The Acta were in use in the time of Julius Caesar (100-44 B.C.) and may have been instituted by him.
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