Terence  

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Publius Terentius Afer (c. 195/185 – c. 159? BC) was a comic playwright of the Roman Republic. He is perhaps best-known for his dictum "Homo sum, et nihil humanum a me alienum puto."

Terence's plays

Like Plautus, Terence adapted Greek plays from the late phases of Attic comedy. He was more than a translator, as modern discoveries of ancient Greek plays have confirmed. However, Terence's plays use a convincingly 'Greek' setting rather than Romanizing the characters and situations.

Terence worked hard to write natural conversational Latin, and most students who persevere long enough to be able to read him in the vernacular find his style particularly pleasant and direct. Aelius Donatus, Jerome's teacher, is the earliest surviving commentator on Terence's work. Terence's popularity throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance is attested to by the numerous manuscripts containing part or all of his plays; the scholar Claudia Villa has estimated that 650 manuscripts containing Terence's work date from after 800 AD. The mediaeval playwright Hroswitha of Gandersheim claims to have written her plays so that learned men had a Christian alternative to reading the pagan plays of Terence, while the reformer Martin Luther not only quoted Terence frequently to tap into his insights into all things human but also recommended his comedies for the instruction of children in school.

Terence's six plays are:

The first printed edition of Terence appeared in Strasbourg in 1470, while the first certain post-antiquity performance of one of Terence's plays, Andria, took place in Florence in 1476. There is evidence, however, that Terence was performed much earlier. The short dialogue Terentius et delusor was probably written to be performed as an introduction to a Terentian performance in the ninth century (possibly earlier).

A phrase by his musical collaborator Flaccus for Terence's comedy Hecyra is all that remains of the entire body of ancient Roman music. This has recently been shown to be unauthentic.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Terence" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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