TITUS MACCIUS PLAUTUS (originally perhaps Maccus; cf.
Marx as indicating that Plautus was a member of the theatrical staff of Livius Andronicus.
The plays of Plautus are all based on Greek originals.'
Even the prologues, which later researches have shown to be in the main by the hand of Plautus himself, though certain passages were clearly added at a later date, e.g.
Plautus must therefore be regarded as primarily a translator or adapter, so far as our present knowledge goes.
But as a translator Plautus is nothing less than masterly.
"To read Plautus is to be once for all disabused of the impression that Latin is a dry and uninteresting language" (Skutsch, in Die Cultur der Gegenwart; 1905).
It is a mistake to regard the Latin of Plautus as "vulgar" Latin.
The plots of Plautus also are more varied than those of Terence.
In one respect Plautus must be regarded as distinctly original, viz.
The new comedy of Greece was probably limited for the most part to scenes written in the metres of dialogue; it remained for Plautus, as Leo has shown, to enliven his plays with cantica modelled on the contemporary lyric verse of Greece or Magna Graecia, which was in its turn a development of the dramatic lyrics of Euripides.
The lyrical metres of Plautus are wonderfully varied, and the textual critic does well not to attempt to limit the possibilities of original metrical combinations and developments in the Roman comedian.
Plautus was a general favourite in the days of republican Rome.
184), admired Plautus as elegans, urbanus, ingeniosus, facetus (De offic. i.
1: 58), where he says that Plautus was regarded as a second Epicharmus: Plautus ad exemplar Siculi properare Epicharmi - a passage which is important as suggesting that Plautus was under some obligation to the Sicilian representatives of the old Dorian comedy; cf.
It is possible that Plautus may have been working on the lines of the old comedy in the tell-tale names which he is so fond of inventing for his characters, such as Polymachaeroplagides (Pseud.
In the middle ages Plautus was little regarded, and twelve of his plays (Bacchides - Truculentus) disappeared from view until they were discovered (in the MS. called D) by Nicholas of Troves in the year 1429.
After the revival of learning Plautus was reinstated, and took rank as one of the great dramatists of antiquity; cf.
Seneca cannot be too heavy nor Plautus too light."
- Good characterizations of Plautus, from the literary point of view, are given by Sellar in his Roman Poets of the Republic, and Wight Duff, in his Literary History of Rome (1909).
There was no English translation, strictly so called, of any play of Plautus in the 16th or 17th century, except that of the Menaechmi by W.
A translation of the whole of Plautus in "familiar blank verse" by Bonnell Thornton and others appeared in 1767 (2nd ed., 1769-1774).
The imitation of Greek comedy, tragedy and epic poetry, which produced great results in the hands of Naevius, Plautus, Ennius and their successors, received its first impulse from him.
In January 1756 he says: " I determined to read over the Latin authors in order, and read this year Virgil, Sallust, Livy, Velleius Paterculus, Valerius Maximus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Quintus Curtius, Justin, Florus, Plautus, Terence and Lucretius.
Plautus in more than one place thinks it necessary to explain to the spectators of his plays that slaves at Athens enjoyed such privileges, and even licence, as must be surprising to a Roman audience.
Aristophanes and Plautus show us how often resort was had to the discipline of the lash even in the case of domestic slaves.
Towards the close he incurred the hostility of some of the nobility, especially, it is said, of the Metelli, by the attacks which he made upon them on the stage, and at their instance he was imprisoned (Plautus, Mil.
While he is never ranked as a writer of tragedy with Ennius, Pacuvius or Accius, he is placed in the canon of the grammarian Volcaaus Sedigitus third (immediately after Caecilius and Plautus) in the rank of Roman comic authors.
He is also appealed to, with Plautus and Ennius, as a master of his art in one of the prologues of Terence.
The titles of most of them, like those of Plautus, and unlike those of Caecilius and Terence, are Latin, not Greek.
As a dramatist he worked more in the spirit of Plautus than of Ennius, Pacuvius, Accius or Terence; but the great Umbrian humorist is separated from his older contemporary, not only by his breadth of comic power, but by his general attitude of moral and political indifference.
The power of Naevius was the more genuine Italian gift - the power of satiric criticism - which was employed in making men ridiculous, not, like that of Plautus, in extracting amusement from the humours, follies and eccentricities of life.
Terence's earliest play was the Andria, exhibited in 166 B.C. A pretty, but perhaps apocryphal, story is told of his having read the play, before its exhibition, to Caecilius (who, after the death of Plautus, ranked as the foremost comic poet), and of the generous admiration of it manifested by Caecilius.
Plautus, though, like Terence, he takes the first sketch of his plots, scenes and characters, from the Attic stage, is yet a true representative of his time, a genuine Italian, writing before the genius of Italy had learned the restraints of Greek art.
Terence justifies this practice by that of the older poets, Naevius, Plautus, Ennius, whose careless freedom he follows in preference to the "obscura diligentia" of his detractor.
He clears himself of the charge of plagiarizing from Plautus and Naevius.
His characters are finely delineated and discriminated rather than, like those of Plautus, boldly conceived.
He makes no claim to the creative exuberance of Plautus, but he is entirely free from his extravagance and mannerisms. The superiority of his style over that of Lucilius, who wrote his satires a generation later, is immeasurable.
The authors of the Augustan age are unduly depreciated, while Ennius, Plautus, Laberius, Sallust are held up as models of imitation.
Maccius Plautus (c. 254-184) was the greatest comic dramatist of Rome.
More than Naevius and Plautus he represented the pure native element in that literature, the mind and character of Latium, the plebeian pugnacity, which was one of the great forces in the Roman state.
In Naevius, Plautus, Ennius and Cato are represented the contending forces which strove for ascendancy in determining what was to be the character of the new literature.
Among the writers before the age of Cicero he alone deserves to be named with Naevius, Plautus Ennius and Cato as a great originative force in literature.
Although the artistic product of the first period of Latin literature which has reached us in a complete shape is limited to the comedies of Plautus and Terence, the influence may most appropriately be taken as marking the end of one period and the beginning of another.
He was the author of an ars grammatica and commentaries on Plautus, Virgil's Aeneid and probably Horace.
Amphitryon was the title of a lost tragedy of Sophocles; the episode of Zeus and Alcmene forms the subject of comedies by Plautus and Moliere.
Had he been a "semi-Graecus," like Ennius and Pacuvius, or of humble origin, like Plautus, Terence or Accius, he would scarcely have ventured, at a time when the senatorial power was strongly in the ascendant, to revive the role which had proved disastrous to Naevius; nor would he have had the intimate knowledge of the political and social life of his day which fitted him to be its painter.
But, notwithstanding the attempt to introduce an alien element into the Roman language, which proved incompatible with its natural genius, and his own failure to attain the idiomatic purity of Naevius, Plautus or Terence, the fragments of his dramas are sufficient to prove the service which he rendered to the formation of the literary language of Rome as well as to the culture and character of his contemporaries.
23), and it is considered very probable that the Menaechmi (a comedy of errors) of Plautus is an adaptation either from the "Oµoloi., or from some unknown comedy of Posidippus, called OLSvpoc, or perhaps MEvaixµoc. His statue in the Vatican is considered a masterpiece of ancient art.
Soranus was accused of intimacy with Rubellius Plautus (another object of Nero's hatred), and of endeavouring to obtain the goodwill of the provincials by treasonable intrigues.
They were known to the Romans, at least by name, in the time of Plautus, as is shown by the contemptuous reference in the Captivi (888).
But the authors whom he quotes most frequently are Virgil, and, next to him, Terence, Cicero, Plautus; then Lucan, Horace, Juvenal, Sallust, Statius, Ovid, Livy and Persius.
Of the plays then passing under the name of Plautus, he recognized twenty-five as genuine.
The twenty-one plays of Plautus accepted by Varro are doubtless the twenty now extant, together with the lost Vidularia.
420), the most scholarly representative of Christianity in the 4th century, the student of Plautus and Terence, of Virgil and Cicero, the translator of the Chronology of Eusebius, and the author of the Latin version of the Bible now known as the Vulgate.
The Latin poets to be studied include Virgil, Lucan, Statius, Ovid's Metamorphoses, and (with certain limitations) Horace, Juvenal and Persius, as well as Plautus, Terence and the tragedies of Seneca; the prose authors recommended are Cicero, Livy and Sallust.