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).
The most recent works bearing on Old Latin syntax, are Sjogren, Zum Gebrauch des Futurums im Altlateinischen (1906); Lindsay, Syntax of Plautus (1907); Sonnenschein, The Unity of the Latin Subjunctive (1910).
- A comprehensive view of the influence of Plautus on modern literatures is given by Reinhardstoettner, Spatere Bearbeitungen plautinischer Lustspiele (1886).
Of English plays, the interlude called Jack Juggler (between 1547 and 1553) was based on the Amphitruo, and the lost play called the Historie of Error (acted in 1577) was probably based on the Menae-chmi; Nicholas Udall's Ralph Royster Doyster, the first English comedy (acted before 1551, first printed 1566), is founded on the Miles gloriosus; Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors (about 1591) is an adaptation of the Menaechmi; and his Falstaff may be regarded as an idealized reproduction or development of the braggart soldier of Plautus and Terence - a type of character which reappears in other forms not only in English literature (e.g.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.