The Roman Stage: A Short History of Latin Drama in the Time of the Republic

By W. Beare | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIII
THE OTHER COMPOSERS OF PALLIATAE

THE ACTIVE world of contemporary comedy to which Terence's prologues introduce us has left little behind but the names of a few authors, some comments on their work, a few titles and a few fragments. In most cases we have nothing to guide us as to their date; perhaps they were contemporaries of Caecilius or Terence, or came a little later in the second century B.C. TRABEA is said to have had emotional power; a fragment of an unnamed play shows us a lover in the full tide of joyful expectation: 'I will soothe Madam's palm with cash! at a nod from me she will obey my wishes and desires; I will come to the door and push it with one finger, it will open, all of a sudden Chrysis will see me. She will run to me, all eagerness to throw herself into my arms; she will be mine! Fortune herself does not know such fortune as mine'. Perhaps it is the same lover who later remarks in more reflective mood: 'I think that violent delight is a great source of folly'. ATILIUS wrote a play called 'The Womanhater', Misogynos; he also seems to have gone in for tragedy, if it is the same Atilius who made a bad translation of Sophocles' Electra; his style was harsh. AQUILIUS wrote a Boeotia; the passage preserved to us is a parasite's lament on the invention of the sundial, which has made his meals depend on the sun instead of on his own appetite. Varro considered the style of this passage proof that the play should be ascribed to Plautus. An attempt has been made to connect the passage with the introduction of the sundial into Rome, but of course it is in all probability translated from the Greek. LICINIUS IMBREX wrote a Neaera from which we have two lines reminiscent of a passage in Plautus' Poenulus; should we identify this writer with P. Licinius Tegula, who wrote a hymn in 200 B.C., on the ground that imbrex and tegula both mean 'tile'? JUVENTIUS has left two or three lines as well as a title -- Anagnorizomene; VATRONIUS seems to have written a comedy called Burra

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