Latin literature VI: Theater Posted by leire on Mar 26, 2012 in Uncategorized
The genre of theater in Rome had a double origin. On the one hand dramatic poetry was born in Greece in the heat of religious festivals in honor of Dionysus. On the other hand in the preliterate period there were a variety of theatrical performances of indigenous nature, as the fable atelana, mime, etc..
We do not retain more than traces of the drama of Italic origin , so basically the Latin theater is rooted in Greek. The last Greek author that we retain complete theater play is Menander (340 – 290 BC.), he was an Athenian writer representative of the new comedy, and he was taken as examples by most Latin play writers: Plautus (255 – 184 BC.) and Terence (¿190? – 156 BC.) Plautus wrote 21 complete works and Terence six, in the early decades of 2nd century BC. both adapted to the taste and the language of Rome the Greek theater tradition. These two Latin authors are the only representatives of comedies that we preserve.
The Latin comedy and Athenian new comedy, was a theater of archetypes, recurring always to the same characters that represented a type: the old miser, the scatterbrained boy, the parasite, etc. in a complicated situation resolved with a happy ending. The characters and places are Greek. This was fabula palliata, but accommodated to a popular and colloquial Latin full of puns that were the delight of the people of Rome.
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