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MUMMIUS 100.00%
A Latin writer of Atellance (see ATELLANA), after 90 B.C.
ATELLANA 100.00%
[A farce or comedy, which the ancients supposed was originally acted or invented at the Oscan town of Atella in Campania. Modern scholars incline to the opinion that it was a species of Latin drama representing scenes at Atella, or scenes of country-town life.Its characteristics were (1) that it was performed by free-born youths, not by professional actors; (2) that certain conventional characters, as Bucco ("Fatchaps"), Dossennus ("The Glutton"), Pappus ("The old father"), Maccus ("The fool") always occurred in it; (3) that it contained puzzles to explain, either in the plot or in single lines.] The Atellance came into fashion at Rome as after-pieces (exodia) about the end of the 3rd century B.C., displacing the saturoe. (See SATURA). Till the beginning of the last century of the Republic the Atellana was probably an improvisation; but, in the hands of Pomponius of Bononia and Novius, it was raised to the position of a regular comedy on the Greek model. From about the middle of the 1st century B.C., the Atellana went out of fashion in favour of the mimus, but was revived, probably in the reign of Tiberius, by a certain Mummius. It lived on for some time under the Empire, till at last it became undistinguishable from the mimus.
EXODIUM 52.30%
A play of a lively character acted on the Roman stage at the end of a serious piece. It corresponded in character to the satyric drama of the Greeks. The place of the exodium was originally taken by the dramatic satura, and later by the Atellana and Mimus.
COMEDY 35.19%
Roman. Like the Greeks, the Italian people had their popular dramatic pieces; the versus Fescennini, for instance, which were at first associated with the mimic drama, first introduced in 390 B.C. from Etruria in consequence of a plague, to appease the wrath of heaven (see FESCENNINI VERSUS). From this combination sprang the satura, a performance consisting of flute-playing, mimic dance, songs, and dialogue. The Atellana (q.v.) was a second species of popular Italian comedy, distinguished from others by having certain fixed or stock characters. The creator of the regular Italian comedy and tragedy was a Greek named Livius Andronicus, about 240 B.C. Like the Italian tragedy, the Italian comedy was, in form and contents, an imitation, executed with more or less freedom, of the Greek. It was the New Greek Comedy which the Romans took as their model. This comedy, which represents scenes from Greek life, was called palliata, after the Greek pallium, or cloak. The dramatic satura, and the Atellana, which afterwards supplanted the satura as a concluding farce, continued to exist side by side. The Latin comedy was brought to perfection by Plautus and Terence, the only Roman dramatists from whose hands we still possess complete plays. We should also mention Naevius and Ennius (both of whom wrote tragedies as well as comedies) Caecilius, and Turpilius, with whom, towards the end of the 3nd century B.C., this style of composition died out. About the middle of the 2nd century B.C. a new kind of comedy, the togata, (from toga) made its appearance. The form of it was still Greek, but the life and the characters Italian. The togata was represented by Titinius, Atta, and Afranius, who was accounted the master in this kind of writing. At the beginning of the 1st century B.C. the Atellana assumed an artistic form in the hands of Pomponius and Novius; and some fifty years later the mimus, also an old form of popular farce, was similarly handled by Laberius and Publilius Syrus. The mimus drove all the other varieties of comedy from the field, and held its ground until late in the imperial period. The Roman comedy, like its model, the New Comedy of the Greeks, had no chorus, the intervals being filled up by performances on the flute. The play consisted, like the Roman tragedy, partly of passages of spoken dialogue in iambic trimeters, partly of musical scenes called cantica. (See CANTICUM)
MIME 35.01%
really denotes a farcical mimie, a buffoon, such as used to show themselves from the earliest times in Italy and Sicily on the public places at popular entertainments, etc., and also served to while away the time during meals. It afterwards came to be applied to the farcical imitation of persons and scenes in ordinary life. The mimes of the Syracusan Sophron were character-sketches in dialogue taken from the life of the people; but these were at most meant to be recited, certainly not to be acted. In Italy, especially among the Latians and at Rome, the representation of such farcical scenes from low life on the stage was no doubt as old as the stage itself; and as great a scope was at all times given to improvisation in these as in the Atellanae, from which the mimes mainly differed in not being confined to stock-characters (see ATELLANA). At Rome the mime was for a long time confined to fifth-rate theatres, but in B.C. 46 it appears to have ousted the Atellanae as an interlude and afterpiece on the more important stages, and received at the hands of Decimus Laberius and Publilius Syrus a technical development on the lines of the existing kinds of drama. The native name for these national farces was planipes, probably because the performers appeared planis pedibus, i.e. without the theatrical shoes used in tragedy and comedy. There were also no masks, the use of which would have of course rendered impossible the play of the features, which is such an important means of imitation. The costume worn was the centunculus,a kind of harlequin's dress, and the ricinium, a peculiar little cloak. Contrary to the custom in all other dramatic performances, the female parts were really taken by women, who, like all the actors, in mimes, were in very bad repute. Besides the chief actor, archimimus or archimima, who had to carry through the plot, there was always a second performer with a clean-shaven head, whose part is characterized by the names given him, parasitus or stupidus (fool). The mimes were acted on the front part of the stage, which was divided from the back part by a curtain (siparium). As they depicted the life of the lower classes, and as it was their chief aim to rouse the laughter of the spectators in every possible way, they were full of plebeian expressions and turns, and abounded in the most outrageous buffoonery and obscenity; cheating and adultery were, the favourite subjects. In particular the dances that occurred in the mimes were remarkable for the extravagance of the grimaces and the disgusting nature of the gestures. Owing to the continually degenerating tastes of the Roman public, they and the pantomimes enjoyed the greatest popularity during the Empire, especially as here, no less than in the Atellance, a certain freedom of speech was sometimes permitted; and among dramatic representations proper they occupied the first place.
SATIRE 10.26%
The word properly denotes a medley of heterogeneous things, and in particular a kind of dramatical farce, which consisted of a mixture of speech, song, music, and dancing. (See FESCENNINI.) Before the rise of an artistic type of Roman drama, these farces were performed on festive occasions by itinerant minstrels, the representation taking place upon the public stage erected at Rome in 390 B.C. After the introduction of the Greek drama by Livius Andronicus, 240 B.C., the saturae sank to the position of after-pieces (exodia) which were improvised by masked Roman youths after the conclusion of the performance proper; in this shape they lasted until they were entirely supplanted by the Atellanae. As an artistic composition the satura is wholly undramatical, and designates in the first instance a collection of miscellaneous pieces of poetry of heterogeneous contents and metres; in this form it seems to have been first introduced into literature by ENNIUS. A definite impress, fixing its character for all future time, was given to the satura in the 2nd century B.C. by LUCILIUS, who made it essentially what we now understand by satire, and is therefore designated by Horace [Sat. ii 1, 62] as the inventor of this branch of literature. Even his satires, as may be gathered from the fragments that survive, were of a very miscellaneous character, as regards matter and as regards form. All possible aspects of the life of the time were made the objects of a discussion, which might be serious, jocular, or censorious, as occasion required. It was composed in the form sometimes of an essay, sometimes of a letter, sometimes of a dialogue, and in the conversational style in vogue at the time. In his earlier poems he made use of various metres, afterwards almost exclusively of the hexameter. The significant example of Lucilius invited emulation all the more, because the prosaic and didactic element in satire was in the most thorough accordance with the Roman character and poetical capacities. Accordingly a number of imitators are mentioned reaching down to the end of the Republic, though, in the judgment of Horace, their endeavour to attain the level of their model was a vain one [Sat. i 10, 47]. A revival and development answering to the more refined taste of the time was given to the Lucilian saturo by Horace, who, however, confined himself to social and literary life, and used the hexameter alone. In the, latter respect his example was followed by PERSIUS and JUVENAL; but these treated the contrast between the ideal and the actual, which provokes the satire, not with the humour of Horace, but with bitterness and severity. An ancient (or pre-Lucilian) style of satura was revived towards the end of the Republic by the "most learned of the Romans," Terentins VARRO, with his Menippean Satires, in which, following the example of the Cynic Menippus of Gadara, he treated serious subjects in humorous fashion and in a mixed form of prose and poetry. This mixed form was also adopted in the time of Nero by PETRONIUS in his satirical romance of manners, and by SENECA in his satire on Claudius, as well as in later times by the emperor JULIAN in his Caesares, written in Greek. The satire is a thoroughly Roman species of poetry [Quintilian, x 1 § 93: Satura quidem tota nostra est]; for though there is much in the poetry of the Greeks which, in regard to subject-matter, corresponds in some degree to the satire, still they were never able to produce a literature of this kind stamped with a definite character of its own, and described by a distinctive name.
Type: Standard
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