Classical Studies 2300 Chapter Notes -Ludi, Ancient Greek Comedy, Ennius

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Published on 17 Apr 2013
Western University
Classical Studies
Classical Studies 2300
Feb. 26, 2013
‘Give us your applause’ The World of Theatre – Gladiators and Caesars Chapter 5
Romans stage plays tragedy and comedy
The Romans were in fact the only people of classical antiquity in a position to
adapt Greek literature into their own language
Greek as the international cultural language of the time
Roman theatre was not predominantly for a certain class of society as it is
o Everyone went to theatre
The birth of Roman drama
A Roman did not have to travel far to see a Greek play. Greece was only next
door, for until the third century BC Sicily and most of southern Italy had been
A good deal of Etruscan influence can be traced in the language of the Roman
Livius Andronicus was the first to write a genuine play with a plot on the
Greek pattern
Plays were not only to be set in Greece but must sound like authentic Greek
drama, echoing the sound to which audiences in Greek theatres were
The further history of Roman drama
Andronicus, Naevius wrote both tragedies and comedies, whereas all the
dramatists of Greece had specialized in only one of those genres
Quintus Ennius of Calabria, speaking three languages, he said he had ‘three
hearts’, tria corda: one Oscan, one Greek and one Latin
The drama genre died after the death of Accius
The holding of performances
In a modern European city you would find either a subsidized national
theatre or a commercial theatre open
It was very different in ancient Rome, where plays were performed only on
the occasion of public state games [ludi] or festivals, and were part of a
religious context
There were special festivals such as the ludi votive (games held in fulfillment
of a vow), for example triumphs, and ludi funebres, funeral games for famous
The expenses of these funeral games A/ere met by the dead person’s
Regular state games were organized and financed by the aediles
In a performance of the fine comedy The Mother-in-Law (Hecyra) by
Terence, which had to be broken off not, as is sometimes claimed today,
because the public felt bored and walked out: what really happened was that
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