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DRAMA
Roman. Dramatic performances in Rome, as in Greece, formed a part of the usual public festivals, whether exceptional or ordinary, and were set on foot by the aediles and praetors. (See GAMES.) A private individual, however, if he were giving a festival or celebrating a funeral, would have theatrical representations on his own account. The giver of the festival hired a troupe of players (grex), the director of which, (dominus gregis), bought a play from a poet at his own risk. If the piece was a failure, the manager received no compensation. But after performance the piece became his property, to be used at future representations for his own profit. In the time of Cicero, when it was fashionable to revive the works of older masters, the selection of suitable pieces was generally left to the director. The Romans did not, like the Greeks limit the number of actors to three, but varied it according to the requirements of the play. Women's parts were originally played by men, as in Greece. Women appeared first in mimes, and not till very late times in comedies. The actors were usually freedmen or slaves, whom their masters sent to be educated, and then hired them out to the directors of the theatres. The profession was technically branded with infamia, nor was its legal position ever essentially altered. The social standing of actors was however improved, through the influence of Greek education; and gifted artists like the comedian Roscius, and Aesopus the tragedian in Cicero's time, enjoyed the friendship of the best men in Rome. The instance of these two men may show what profits could be made by a good actor. Roscius received, for every day that he played, £35, and made an annual income of some £4,350. Aesopus, in spite of his great extravagance, left Ae175,400 at his death. Besides the regular honoraria, actors, if thought to deserve it, received other and voluntary gifts from the giver of the performance. These often took the form of finely wrought crowns of silver or gold work. Masks were not worn until Roscius made their use general. Before his time actors had recourse to false bair of different colours, and paint for the face. The costume in general was modelled on that of actual life, Greek or Roman. As early as the later years of the Republic, a great increase took place in the splendour of the costumes and the general magnificence of the performance. In tragedy, particularly, a new effect was attained by massing the actors in great numbers on the stage. (See further THEATRE, TRAGEDY, COMEDY, and SATYRIC DRAMA.)

Pictures and Media
NIKE POURING A LIBATION BEFORE A CHORAGIC TRIPOD. (Panofka, Musee Blacas, pL 1; now in British Museum.)
REHEARSAL OF A SATYRIC DRAMA. (Mosaic from Pompeii, Naples Museum.)
SCENE FROM A ROMAN COMEDY (Fabula Palliata). (Mural painting from Pompeii, Naples Museum.)
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