The earliest known journalistic product was a newssheet circulated in ancient Rome called the Acta Diurna. Published daily from 59 BC, it was hung in prominent places and recorded important social and political events. In China during the T’ang dynasty a court circular called a pao, or ìreport,î was issued to government officials. This gazette appeared in various forms and under various names more or less continually to the end of the Ch’ing dynasty in 1911. The first regularly published newspapers appeared in German cities and in Antwerp around 1609. The first English newspaper, the Weekly Newes, was published in 1622. One of the first daily newspapers, The Daily Courant, appeared in 1702. (“Journalism.” EncyclopÊdia Britannica. 2006. EncyclopÊdia Britannica Online. 20 Sept. 2006 .)

If blogs really do spell the end of newspapers, as many journalists seem so intent on worrying about, future editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica will explain that the first known blog was a newssheet circulated in Ancient Rome called the Acta Diurna. Heh.

Mind you, the Wikipedia doesn’t call the Acta Diurna journalism at all. (PS: I’m not using encyclopedias as references in my research, just as a starting point 😉

3 thoughts on “the first blog was published in ancient rome…

  1. Mark Bernstein

    I’m in the airport so I can’t do even token research, but I’d be very surprised if Rome’s Acta Diurna was the first of its kind. We definitely know of stone inscriptions of news and acts that were promptly posted in public from 5th century Greece, and I bet we have good evidence that these were simply elaborate and permanent versions of stuff that was routinely posted in wax tablets or on clay.

    Not, also, that the story of the Ten Commandments assumes that it is sensible and expected that, when you have a big meeting to make important policy decisions, normal procedure would involve promptly recording the joint communique and posting it in a central place for general inspection. (The readers would not have stood in a crowd and read silently; they’d have read the text aloud. Silent reading wasn’t practiced until centuries later, except as an exceptional talent or parlor trick)

  2. Mark Bernstein

    Oldest surviving published blog candidate: Xenophon’s _Anabasis_? I don’t know the Mesopotamian literature at all; perhaps that’s the place to look. I bet Jay Bolter has a good answer for this.

    The Fasti were Rome’s official chronicles, and have a certain bloggish cast. We have good evidence that by the early empire, Romans expected any big town or colony to have Fasti; this suggests that Etruscan towns older than Rome might have had Fasti, too.

  3. Martin

    “While blogging has only reached prominence in the last few years, it was actually invented by the ancient Romans who built a majestic blog in 200 BC from marble, granite and links they stole from the Greeks.”

    (that’s from http://www.wired.com/news/columns/0,71720-0.html)

    Which I guess makes them the ancient geeks. [hi-hat]

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