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The Latin name for any assembly summoned and presided over by a magistrate. A contio differed from the comitia in the following points: (1) The people were not divided into centuries or tribes. (2) The people did not vote, but were only there to receive communications made by the presiding magistrate or some other official or private individual, whom he allowed to address the meeting. All magistrates had the right of summoning contiones, but the tribunes took precedence of all others, and a higher magistrate took precedence of a lower. Contiones were usually summoned by public heralds (praecones) and generally met in the Forum. The comitia were immediately preceded by a contio, that the people might be prepared for the questions to come before them. If the comitia were to exercise judicial functions, it was a fixed rule that three contiones must be held previously for the purpose of investigation.
Type: Standard
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