Acta Diurna (Latin: Daily Acts sometimes translated as Daily Public Records) were daily Roman official notices, a sort of daily 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.
The first form of Acta appeared around 131 BC 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 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. The Acta, originally kept secret, until then-consul Julius Caesar made them public in 59 BC. 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 to some extent filled the place of the modern newspaper and of the government gazette. Today, there are many academic periodicals with the word acta in their titles (the publisher Elsevier has 64 such titles). Acta Diurna introduced the expression “publicare et propagare”, which means "make public and propagate." This expression was set in the end of the texts and proclaimed a release to both Roman citizens and non-citizens. Acta Diurna was also used as the title of a Latin newspaper, published by Centaur Books.
- Encyclopedia Britannica "Acta Diurna" https://www.britannica.com/topic/Acta
- Brian J. Wright, Tyndale Bulletin 67.1
- A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London, 1875: Acta Diurna
- Encyclopædia Britannica 1911: Acta Diurna (dead link)