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BABRINS 100.00%
The compiler of a comprehensive collection of Aesop's fables in choliambic metre. The book is probably to be assigned to the beginning of the 3rd century A.D. Until 1844 nothing was known of Babrius but fragments and paraphrases, bearing the name of Aesopus (see AeSOPUS). But in that year a Greek, Minoides Minas, discovered 123 of the original fables in a monastery on Mount Athos. In 1857 he brought out 95 more, the genuineness of which is disputed. The style of Babrius is simple and pleasing, the tone fresh and lively.
AESOPUS 100.00%
The famous writer of fables, the first author who created an independent class of stories about animals, so that in a few generations his name and person had become typical of that entire class of literature. In course of time, thanks to his plain, popular manner, the story of his own life was enveloped in an almost inextricable tissue of tales and traditions, which represent him as an ugly hunchback and buffoon. In the Middle Ages these were woven into a kind of romance. A Phrygian by birth, and living in the time of the Seven Sages, about 600 B.C., he is said to have been at first a slave to several masters, till Iadmon of Samos set him free. That he next lived at the court of Croesus, and being sent by him on an embassy to Delphi, was murdered by the priests there, is pure fiction. Under his name were propagated in all parts of Greece, at first only by tradition in the mouth of the people, a multitude of prose tales teaching the lessons of life under the guise of fables about animals. We know how Socrates,during his last days in prison, was engaged in turning the fables of Aesop into verse, The first written collection appears to have been set on foot by Demetrius of Phalerum, B.C. 00. The collections of Aesop's Fables that have come down to us are, in part, late prose renderings of the version in choliambics by Babrius (q.v.), which still retain here and there a scrap of verse; partly products of the rhetorical schools, and therefore of very different periods and degrees of merit.
DRAMA 42.19%
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.)
Type: Standard
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