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Form: Marcus.
The Roman tragedian, born about 220 B.C. at Brundisium, son of Ennius' sister, and pupil of the poet. He spent most of his life at Rome, where he gained his livelihood as a dramatic poet and as a painter. In his old age he returned to Brundisium, and died there, at the age of ninety, about 130 B.C. He is the first Roman dramatist who confined himself to the composing of tragedies. Titles and fragments of some thirteen of his imitations of Greek plays are preserved, as well as fragments of a proetexta (q.v.) entitled Paulus, whose hero was probably the victor of Pydna, 'milius Paulus. If this small number justifies any opinion on his poetical activity, he was far less productive than his predecessor Ennius and his successor Accius. Nevertheless, he and Accius were considered the most important tragedians of Rome. In the judgment of literary critics, who followed the traditions of the Ciceronian age, he was preferred to Accius for finish and learning, but Accius excelled him in fire and natural power [Horace, Ep. ii 1, 55, 56; Quintilian, x 1, 97; see Prof. Nettleship, "On Literary Criticism in Latin Antiquity," in Journal of Philology, xviii 263]. His style was praised for its copiousness, dignity, and stateliness, but Cicero [Brutus, 258] declines to give him credit for pure and genuine Latinity. Even in Cicero's time, however, the revival of his plays was often welcomed by Roman audiences.
Type: Standard
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