©Damen, 2021

Classical Drama and also Theatre

Return come Chapters

SECTION 4: roman DRAMA

Chapter 14: roman inn Comedy, component 2 (Terence)

I. Introduction: roman Comedy ~ Plautus

following Plautus" fatality in the mid-180"s BCE, Caecilius Statius arised as the pre-eminent playwright of roman inn Comedy. Though much admired in his day and long after, not also one occupational of his survives whole and also intact. Yet even so, it"s noticeable from the surviving fragments of his plays and also other data the his comedy was much less boisterous 보다 Plautus". That Caecilius Statius continued to be closer come the tone and structure the his Hellenistic models is clear not only from the fragments of his dram but likewise the truth that their titles are mostly in Greek, not Latin, in some situations corresponding straight with the title of the Menandrean originals he was adapting.

This does not mean, the course, the Caecilius Statius wrote in Greek; rather, it suggests that he inclined far from the Romanizing tendencies that his prompt predecessors Naevius and Plautus whose plays nearly invariably have actually Latin titles, regularly not also translations of the initial Greek title. (note) In various other words, roman Hellenism was plainly on the increase in the 170"s BCE, and undoubtedly that was in no small component because that Caecilius" efforts. However his death in 168 BCE opened up the door for brand-new voices to go into the roman stage, and also onto this boards trod among the greatest the Romans would ever before produce, Publius Terentius Afer, well-known today as Terence.

You are watching: Who of the following wrote roman comedy?

little is known around Terence"s life, not even the year of his birth and death. Still, we deserve to make great guesses at both. Old sources report he passed away young and, since his last play was created in 160 BCE, he was probably born at some point between 195 and 185. Thus, he passed away most most likely soon after ~ his last drama debuted, more than likely in the at an early stage 150"s. (note)

With that, he would never have actually known Plautus, though over there are various other reasons these two space not most likely to have met—they traveled in an extremely different society circles—however, if the story is no a fiction, Terence as a young man met Caecilius Statius. (note) other data, however, i m sorry are regularly cited in textbooks as facts about Terence"s life, such together that the was initially a servant from north Africa and later freed, it seems to be ~ on closer inspection suspect, at finest "secondary" evidence." about his drama and also career as a playwright, ~ above the various other hand, we room much much better informed.

II. Terence"s Drama

Several amazing things was standing out about Terence"s work. An initial and foremost, all the plays he ever before wrote make it through complete. Along with that have come far-reaching details about them: the year in which castle premiered and thus the stimulate in i beg your pardon he written them, who developed them and also at what festival, indigenous which Greek originals Terence worked, and even the musician that arranged the music. So, because that instance, we understand that Terence"s consummate masterpiece, Adelphoe ("The Brothers"), was staged at the celebrations surrounding the funeral that Aemilius Paullus in 160 BCE. All this details makes it feasible to track Terence"s career as we can no other ancient playwright"s, also a celebrity top top the order of Sophocles.

*
Nor does any kind of other ancient dramatist"s whole corpus survive. Indeed, couple of other classic authors creating in any kind of genre have their entire body of work preserved, and then just luminaries favor Vergil. (note) Thus, in plenty of ways Terence stand alone amongst ancient dramatists. His work is unique well-documented, and also the reason should be, at least in part, the high regard in which the was hosted from his very own time on.

So, because that instance, the Romans life in the following century (100-1 BCE) saw Terence"s writing format as the model of their own—Julius Caesar himself composed a treatise on Terence"s sermo purus ("clean dialogue"; note)—and fine over a millennium later professors in the Renaissance used his drama together a teaching tool. Even a tenth-century nun called Hrotswitha (or Hrotsvit), a canoness living in a cloister in northern Germany just after the Viking invasions, check out Terence"s dramas v a pleasure that made she uneasy, and so she remodeled castle to fit the ethic the the chaste Christian life and glorious virginity she and also her sisters in their abbey exemplified.

As a result, we have actually over six-hundred Terence manuscripts, some of good antiquity and also accuracy, date from plenty of different durations of the middle Ages and Renaissance. Compared to Plautus whose plays survived middle ages times top top the slenderest the threads, the visibility of for this reason many copies of Terence"s work-related is a impressive tribute come his endurance together an artist. (note) every in all, that is difficult to find any kind of age in i beg your pardon Terence"s work has actually not been praised and imitated and also his name not commonly known, except our own, the course. On whom that will reflect more—Terence or us?—only the future deserve to say.

As another item the note, scholia accompany all Terence"s plays. Favor those appended come Aristophanes" work, these critical commentaries relenten a wide variety of subjects, every little thing from Terence"s meter come his word an option to the initial Greek underlying the Latin. Harboring many valuable, albeit not constantly accurate, morsels of data, the Terence scholia date back to the time of—and, no doubt, the hand of—Aelius Donatus, among St. Jerome"s teachers. Though living in the 300"s CE, as far from Terence as we space from da Vinci, Donatus plainly had accessibility to resources of data now lost about this beforehand Roman playwright and, more important, sound judgment in assessing literature. These scholia attest to a widespread and enduring interest in Terence"s work, a general admiration lasting well beyond his lifetime.

III. The Prologues that Terence"s dram

yet most amazing of all—and, without doubt, the finest evidence for Terence"s drama and also its theatrical context—is info that originates from his own hand, the prologues appended come the former of his dramas. Other than for Aristophanes" parabases, the message of every extant ancient play is to express not v its author himself as the spokesman but through the persona the a phase character. This makes it hard, regularly impossible, to unravel the dramatist indigenous the drama. So, because that instance, as strong and clear together Euripides" an individual opinions may seem after ~ one reads his plays, no one rate of any type of script he wrote is preserved as his own words. Instead, everything we know around the male named Euripides have to be deduced through the veil the his drama, or from what others had actually to say around him.

*
Terence"s prologues, however, resolve the audience directly and also discuss, not the plot the the upcoming beat the method Greek dramatists frequently did, however details of the play"s production and the workings of roman theatre. Thus, distinct documents attesting come the nature of roman Comedy—and Republican drama and society in general—these prologues open up our eyes to the human being beyond, behind and beneath the play, hinting, because that instance, in ~ what rehearsals were like, exactly how productions to be funded and the jealousy that can rage between rival playwrights. But, best of all, us hear what Terence has to say about his work and also his life in his very own words.

And as expected, his reality is plainly not the truth, the entirety truth, the is. Like any public figure who feels compelled to safeguard his actions and also choices, Terence dodges questions, skirts issues, flatters his producers, kisses approximately the public, points to his own genius and, generally, acts prefer a politician in ~ a push conference, not a patience on reality serum. However like so plenty of invented histories, his catty retorts note at larger realities and, as it turns out, speak volumes around the artist and also his age. Also, because there is no known precedent for these prologues, they may also have been a attribute of playwriting Terence self invented. If so, it is among the few aspects that drama the Romans may claim as your own, and claim proudly.

As such, the prologues space worth a closer look. Right here is the prologue come Terence"s Andria ("The mrs from Andros"). The is notable, if because that nothing else, as the very first words Terence ever wrote for public performance, due to the fact that Andria to be his first play to be created on stage:

our poet, when very first he set his mind to writing, thought he was doing just one job: pleasing the civilization with the plays he wrote. But, no! He uncovered out quite differently That he"d need to spend his time creating prologues the don"t talk about the plot but answer The abuses the a malevolent decrepit poet. regarding what they point out as his crime, hear to this! Menander composed an Andria and a Perinthia. If you"ve checked out one, you"ve watched them both— They"re no at every dissimilar in plot; in fact, castle differ just in words and also style. What fits into Andria indigenous Perinthia ours poet admits he "translated" because that his own purposes. And also this is what some world call a crime, and furthermore include it isn"t right to "contaminate" a play. Yet They show by this reasoning they aren"t thinking. as soon as they accuse him, they accuse Naevius, Plautus, Ennius, too, whom our poet considers his guardians and whose "carelessness" he"d fairly imitate 보다 those people"s murky punctiliousness. and so i warn them to quiet down and also stop their slander, or they"ll taste their own medicine! So, you, it is in good, judge relatively and hear to the case, so you can see even if it is there"s any type of hope left that the comedies he will certainly re-master ~ this You ought to sit and watch, or journey off stage before ever seeing them.

This prologue reveals that Terence felt because that some factor compelled to justification the freedoms he had actually taken in rendering into Latin Menander"s original, likewise entitled Andria. Though the young playwright pipeline his accuser unnamed—for rhetorical purposes, the is often wise not to name her detractor however call that something like "that man"—Donatus tells us that it was Luscius Lanuvinus, a second-rate comic dramatist. In some public way, this "malevolent decrepit poet" had taken exception to Terence"s practice of combining two Greek plays and making one roman inn one. The reason this constitutes malfeasance is not clear—the dram were, after all, created by the same writer which begs the question: what sort of criminal abuse is it come mix Menander v himself?—but climate we need to remember the we room hearing only Terence"s next of the case.

To referee from the plaintiff"s language, Luscius Lanuvinus has actually contemptuously referred to this process as contaminatio ("pollution," precise "a touching together"), a fee that has actually sparked Terence"s defensive response. However why does Lanuvinus decry contaminatio? go the Romans usually recognize, as some scholars have actually suggested, that there to be a minimal number that originals top top which to base roman plays? did this lead to a dominance of part sort about not using an ext than one Greek beat in creating a roman inn copy?

If so, there is tiny other evidence to this effect, or the Lanuvinus" charges stuck. Terence went on producing plays and, so much as we can tell, "contaminated" every one of them. Perhaps, then, the was just a matter of great taste, an area the life in i beg your pardon the young seldom listen to their elders.

Nevertheless, the fee of contaminatio did not go far quickly. Terence had to deal with this worry again in later on prologues, such as that appended come Adelphoe ("The Brothers"), the critical play he created and, without doubt, his consummate masterwork:

After ours poet discerned his initiatives to be being criticized by bigots, and also rivals were carping at the pat we"re about to perform, . . . . . . together witness for himself he will appear. You will be the judges, even if it is this chandelier to dubbed a same play, or foul. They passed away As One is a comedy by Diphilus. Plautus turned it right into Till death Us Part! (note) In the Greek beat there"s a youth that steals a pimp"s Girl in the an initial scene—this, Plautus skip entirely— and also this, our poet has actually now obtained for himself In his Adelphoe, interpreted word because that word and also now relayed come you. It"s the beat we"re going to play, every brand new! Consider, then, If you think this is burglary, or a step that"s been Rescued, one the was simply overlooked accidently. and as come what those malefactors say, the well-born men help our poet and also write v him continually, the accepts the compliment—and no little compliment that is!—since he pleases Those who please everyone of you and the roman inn people, because that every man in his time has enjoyed a bit of your favor In war, in peace, in prosperity, there is no incurring envy. So, don"t intend to hear the plot of the beat here. The old males who come on very first will expose it, some of it, The activity will unveil the rest. So, see to it now that her fairness improves the writer"s will to write.

Terence"s last play production—that is, the last to have been staged throughout his life time as much as us know—was not Adelphoe, however, however a rebirth of an earlier flop, Hecyra ("The Mother-in-law"). No under than 2 previous make the efforts to stage this beat had, in fact, failed prior to the production to i beg your pardon the prologue below was added. The reason for this drama"s previously failures, as defined below, was that noisy and bored spectators had disrupted the theatre so bad the actors might not continue performing—it is a an extremely "talky" play!—so Terence and also his producer, the famous actor Lucius Ambivius Turpio, tried a third time to stage the drama. Keep in mind that Turpio himself served as the speak of the prologue, despite presumably Terence created the words:

As advocate I come prior to you, in the guise of a prologue. enable me to to convince you that an old man may have actually The same appropriate I once had as a younger man. In those job I gave old age to brand-new plays, ones moved from the boards, Making certain the drama did no disappear through the poet. ns produced brand-new plays through Caecilius Statius— In several of them to be booed, in rather stood my ground— For ns knew that fortune in the theatre is specifically fickle, therefore I organized on uncertainly come a details task: I began to repeat the very same plays and aid this same man develop brand-new plays. I functioned hard for this reason he wouldn"t be discouraged. ns made sure they to be seen, and when they to be well-known, They came to be a success. Thus, I offered this poet earlier his place virtually cut off because of his enemies" libel indigenous his genius, his work and his own theatrical talents. but if I had scorned his works at the time and had favored to invest my energy disparaging that So he"d end up with an ext time because that playing 보다 play-making, I can have dissuaded him easily. He"d have written no more. Now, regarding what i seek, listen and also for mine sake it is in fair! i bring prior to you Hecyra, again! I have never gotten through This beat in peace. Some misfortune looms over it. and that misfortune your perspicacity Will lastly put to rest, if friend agree to, that course. when I very first tried to placed this beat on, news the a boxing match, A gathering of friends, some shouting, women"s voices made me exit from the stage prior to my cue. I chose to shot my old actions on a new play, Make one more go of it. I put it ~ above again. Action One goes well. Yet in the while a rumor circulates the gladiators will be fighting. A mob apricot in. There"s pushing and also shoving, screaming and also fights over seats. In the meantime I could hardly keep my place. However today over there is no mob, just peace and also quiet. the time for me come act has finally come, because that you to take it The opportunity to dignify this dramatic festival with us. Don"t let your name be offered to provide a opportunity for stardom To just a few. Watch that your affect Fosters and furthers my own influence. permit me come beg of you: this guy who has actually entrusted His genius to mine tutelage, his person to your good faith, permit him no be sieged through detractors who demean the derisively. for my sake, hear his case and also lend that silence, for this reason others may write and also I can bring to the stage new plays henceforth, what I"ve paid an excellent money for.

From this prologues the is clear that in Terence"s mental the foremost issues worrying Roman drama circulate around the production of the play and the nature that adapting Greek drama into Latin. Also evident here is the hierarchy of roman inn theatre, wherein a dominus choose Turpio important dominates and also playwrights-in-need choose Terence and also Caecilius should enlist his assist in a crisis.

But from our remove, what looms bigger is the concern of the Romans" social appropriation that Greek drama, and there one point stands out: Menander in the long run won the battle among Greek comic playwrights and finally arised "the star of brand-new Comedy." to wit, four of Terence"s comedies (Andria, Heautontimoroumenos, Eunuchus, Adelphoe) space adaptations that Menander"s work, and also the staying two (Hecyra, Phormio) come native Greek originals composed by a later on Menandrean imitator, Apollodorus the Carystus.

As the dust kicked up by Alexander and also his cronies gradually settled, one thing at least became clear: Philemon, Diphilus and Menander"s various other rivals and predecessors to be left sitting off phase for the most part. The is, when all the politics and pomp the the Dionysia finally passed away away and also Greek society became the world"s possession, the quiet kind of comedy championed by the understand of character depiction took home the compensation for ideal drama of every time, leaving his rowdier and, to it is in frank, frequently funnier compatriots off stage. Humor, or so that seems background is informing us, is in the lengthy run no the allude of comedy; ironically, it"s irony.

A. Terence and also Menander

and indeed irony lies at the heart of Terence"s drama. His focus, prefer Menander"s, rests largely on drawing realistic and also gently humorous—often hardly comical in ~ all—portraits that stereotypical personalities deployed in flexible and deceptively simple-sounding language. Throughout his scant six comedies space found numerous excellent instances of the ethereal personality varieties Terence favored, "subtle" an interpretation "Menandrean." Indeed, over there is reason to mean they room actually Menander"s own creations, duplicated faithfully the end of the Greek.

Among the more memorable is the lovesick braggart soldier Thraso ("Bold") of The Eunuch, a guy hopelessly smitten with affection for the beautiful prostitute Thais. Despite he tries come stick up because that himself, and at one allude even attacks her home with one army—granted, a corps the cooks, the only force he can serve increase in short order!—at the conclusion the the beat Thraso capitulates come her fully and, simply to be in her ravishing presence, agrees to salary handsomely because that the privilege of watching her lie in the eight of his rival. A soldier maybe, a braggart definitely, however mostly simply a man, this bolder loser is, in fact, a sad weakling far more controlled than controlling. Though over there is an yes, really eunuch in the play—and, that course, a false one since this is a comedy—the real eunuch in Terence"s Eunuch is the pitiful warrior Thraso, the quintessential prize of a capon"s bravado.

*
An even an ext pitiful development is the kind and indulgent dad Micio that Terence"s Adelphoe ("The Brothers"). Actually the uncle the his stepson Aeschinus, Micio has served together the boy"s "father" for nearly all his young nephew"s life. Micio and his brothers Demea, Aeschinus" hereditary father, have had actually a running fight for plenty of years around the right means to lug up children, v leniency or strictness. Gentle Micio, the champion of soft love, has actually taken many blows to the ego—and the wallet!—because of Aeschinus" outrageous habits ever because the young embarked upon puberty, but his adoptive father"s abiding love has always found a means to bring them ago together.

In the food of the play, however, Aeschinus difficulties his stepfather"s patience to the an extremely limit the endurance—he roughs up a pimp, steals a prostitute, and fathers a child by the bad girl next-door—yet in the end Micio, as always, capitulates and repairs the damages incurred through his lover child"s indiscretions. Finally, in ~ the conclusion the the play, this fool for the love of his son has actually served up not just patience and also money yet his house and also home and, though he balks at first when Aeschinus pleads v him come marry, is convinced to provide up even his prized bachelorhood, too. The believed underlying this play—what without doubt runs beneath all of Terence"s drama—seems to be the the love of whatever and also in whatever type is, at the same time, the best attribute of mankind and additionally what makes utter idiots of united state all. It is difficult to imagine a more Menandrean sentiment.

IV. Conclusion: What"s therefore Roman around Roman Comedy?

In fact, there is tiny in Terence the does no scream Menander. However if anything substantively brand-new in the roman inn playwright"s work-related exists—besides the forensic prologue the is really more innovative for what that omits (exposition that the plot) than what that includes—it is dramatic suspense. By not revealing the general parameters of the story come follow, Terence create tension among his viewers who are now on an intellectual par v the characters. This is contrary to every Menander pat known, indeed all of Greek drama since the job of Euripides, and also sets Terence"s arts in a new mode characteristic of virtually all phase works created after antiquity. In this necessary respect, modern theatre starts with Rome.

To recognize how and why Terence go this needs that one look back at Menander and also the reasons his plays always reveal the result of the plot to the audience. While offering away the end at the an extremely outset that a play may seem to us today like spoiling the story since we room acculturated come anticipate surprises and unforeseen plot twists, to the old Greeks the converse was true. Together suckled as Menander"s audience was on classic tragedy where the outcome of a dramatic plot is almost always a foregone conclusion—in Euripides, admittedly, that is sometimes the only foregone conclusion—the Hellenistic crowd meant to know right from the outset exactly how a pat would turn out. That made city hall a tragedy much more like gift a god 보다 a human, an Olympian sitting over the chaos of mortal life or a scientist observing an experimental animal pinned and also squirming under the microscope. All in all, Greek tragedy is plainly designed to do the viewer feel remarkable to the hero on stage, in the same way that the bulk of the audience loomed end the stage activity physically.

See more: What Is The Principal Square Root Of 81 ? What Is The Square Root Of 81

Given one audience inured to gift seated well over the characters on stage, post-classical comic poets in Greece had actually little an option but come dispose your drama from this exact same vantage point. For this reason in informing his viewers the finish of the story, often through a thoughtful abstraction such together Luck or Ignorance—gods the looked come post-classical Greece more divine, or in ~ least an ext immediate, than Homer"s all-powerful humanoids—Menander placed those city hall his dram in the flattering place of feeling favor divinities gazing under upon the tragi-comedy of human life unfolding below. It"s crucial to remember, also, the Menander"s audience in Hellenistic Athens may well have actually needed this type of boost to the ego. The human being outside their theatre was doing a an extremely poor project of making them feeling divine.

But uneven Menander, Terence had actually no such history or pressure weighing down on him and also his society. The Romans to be booming in his day and also therefore required artists patting lock on the earlier far less than their Hellenic counterparts. If the theatre in Rome did not make the viewers feeling divine, for this reason what? His solid and confident audience can take it—even tolerate being fooled by a plot twisted or two—without emotion their intelligence slighted. That was only a play, after all, just some Greek riddle no worth too lot time or mental exertion, definitely nothing to hang your ego on.

It was part and package of the Romans" general perspective toward drama, that theatre was not a refuge indigenous anything yet a day"s work. To seek complexity in the arts at all was, to many of them, wasted effort where amusement and diversion must rule. Thus, no complex "three-actor rule" because that the Romans, no stereotypical characters whose behavior is subtly predictable, no lengthy philosophical heart-to-hearts between fathers and sons—the Roman stage was a location for boisterous joy, for to sing loud and long the life is good. And also so that was!

And so irony reigns again, however in this case the irony the the Romans" "Aristophanic" fervor is what sets your drama apart from the Greeks". Even if it is or not the idea originated with them, that is now the legacy of Rome the at heart plays need to be just plain fun: no serious contemplation that life, no subtle evaluation of character, no huge political message, simply a day at a festival—even if it"s a funeral! and if amidst every the jokes and physical feeling Terence or Plautus taken place to inject some significant art and also education into their drama, it seems unlikely any type of Romans minded, as long as the players primarily played. After ~ all, in Latin ludus means both "play" and also "a play."

Terms, Places, People and also Things to understand
Caecilius Statius Terence Adelphoe Sermo Purus Hrotswitha (Hrotsvit) Manuscripts Aelius Donatus Prologues Andria Luscius Lanuvinus Contaminatio Hecyra Apollodorus that Carystus Thraso Micio Dramatic Suspense

This work-related is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 worldwide License.