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

By W. Beare | Go to book overview

APPENDIX D
CREPIDATA, PALLIATA, TABERNARIA, TOGATA

( Classical Review, Vol. liii. pp. 166-8.)

THE Roman classification of the different kinds of drama according to the characteristic dress or footwear used by the actors seems to have grown up haphazard and never to have achieved a satisfactory or agreed form. The loci classici are Diomedes ( Keil, Gram. Lat. i), pages 489-91; Evanthius, De Fabula, ch. iv; Donatus, De Comoedia, ch. vi, §§ 1 and 5; Donatus on Ad. 7 (for Evanthius and Donatus see Wessner's Teubner edition) ; Lydus, De Mag. i. 40. In these passages attempts are made to classify drama; some of the technical terms employed are used, somewhat more casually, by other writers such as Horace (A.P. 288); a comparison of all such passages shows that the Romans themselves differed as to the meaning of certain terms which our literary histories are apt to employ with perhaps unjustified assurance.

Diomedes tells us that at first togata was a general term, including (apparently) all forms of drama not translated from the Greek. The corresponding term for all forms of drama derived from Greek sources he gives as palliata, quoting Varro: Graecas fabulas ab habitu aeque palliatas Varro ait nominari. Diomedes admits that a communis error has grown up of limiting togata to one form of native comedy, namely tabernaria, so that people speak of the togatae of Afranius, while even Horace, he regrets to say, contrasts togatae with praetextae. Diomedes himself uses palliata to include tragedy, comedy, satyric drama and mime, while under togata he includes praetextata,tabernaria,Atellana,planipedia. The word palliata occurs in two passages, viz. Donatus, De Com. vi, §§ 1 and 6; in both these passages it is used in its modern sense of Latin adaptations of Greek comedy. Evanthius, who is concerned with native Latin drama, and Lydus, who is classifying tragedy, have no occasion to use the word; but it is surprising to find that Donatus on Ad. 7, in his attempt at a complete classification of drama, does not mention palliata: his list here is tragedy, comedy, togata,tabernaria,praetextala,crepidata,Atellana,μιμ∘ς,Rhinthonica. As it is inconceivable that Donatus, in his commentary on Terence, should have left out of consideration the very form of drama which Terence composed, we must suppose that one of the nine terms in this list can bear the meaning 'Latin adaptation of Greek comedy'. So far, then, against two uses of palliata in the modern sense, we have one where

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