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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: March 2019

1 - Plautus and Terence in Their Roman Contexts

from Part I - The World of Roman Comedy

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The surviving fragments of Livius Andronicus, Naevius, Ennius, Pacuvius, Accius, and Caecilius Statius are most conveniently accessible in E. H. Warmington’s Remains of Old Latin (19356), including an English translation and a brief commentary. The remains of the works of all fragmentary dramatic poets (with full critical apparatus) are assembled in O. Ribbeck’s Scaenicae Romanorum poesis fragmenta (2nd edn, 1871/1873 and 3rd edn, 1897/1898). The fragments of Caecilius Statius, the palliata poet of whom the largest amount of text is extant (after Plautus and Terence), have been edited by T. Guardì (1974).

Essential information, testimonia, and bibliography on all Republican writers are provided in W. Suerbaum (2002, in German).

A. J. Boyle (2006) is a recent introduction to the contemporary genre of tragedy; G. Manuwald (2001, in German) offers information on the contemporary genre of fabula praetexta. There is no general treatment of fabula togata, but the introductions to editions of the fragments, e.g. A. Daviault (1981, in French) and T. Guardì (1985, in Italian), provide overviews, although the editions themselves have not met with universal approval.

Most works on Roman comedy focus on the plays of Plautus and Terence. J. Wright (1974) is a notable exception as his study includes poets whose dramas only survive in fragments; his analysis is designed to prove that Terence is the exception to an otherwise coherent palliata tradition. More general works on Republican drama such as W. Beare (1964) and G. Manuwald (2011) or on Roman comedy such as G. E. Duckworth (1952/1994) discuss details of context, setting, and generic conventions that apply to all Roman comic poets. N. J. Lowe (2008) surveys the development and the main features of both Greek and Roman comedy. For more details on stagecraft, see C. W. Marshall (2006); on Roman theatre architecture, see F. Sear (2006); and on festivals, see F. Bernstein (1998, in German).

Information on the historical, social, and cultural conditions in the Roman Republic can be found in H. I. Flower (2004) and in N. Rosenstein–R. Morstein-Marx (2006). E. S. Gruen (1990) discusses the period of interaction between Hellenic culture and Roman values, with particular reference to the mutual relationship between cultural activity and politics. M. Leigh (2004) is one of the few works that bridges the gap between cultural studies and analyses of Roman comedy by looking at the links between comedy and the contemporary historical situation.