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Town criers were a common means of conveying information to citydwellers. In thirteenth-century Florence, criers known as banditori arrived in the market regularly, to announce political news, to convoke public meetings, and to call the populace to arms. In 1307 and 1322–1325, laws were established governing their appointment, conduct, and salary. These laws stipulated how many times a banditoro was to repeat a proclamation (forty) and where in the city they were to read them. Different declarations sometimes came with additional protocols; announcements regarding the plague were also to be read at the city gates. These proclamations all used a standard format, beginning with an exordium—"The worshipful and most esteemed gentlemen of the Eight of Ward and Security of the city of Florence make it known, notify, and expressly command, to whosoever, of whatever status, rank, quality and condition"—and continuing with a statement (narratio), a request made upon the listeners (petitio), and the penalty to be exacted from those who would not comply (peroratio). In addition to major declarations, bandi (announcements) might concern petty crimes, requests for information, and notices about missing slaves. Niccolò Machiavelli was captured by the Medicis in 1513, following a bando calling for his immediate surrender. Some town criers could be paid to include advertising along with news.

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