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PUBLILIUS SYRUS 100.00%

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A Roman writer of mimes (See MIME), a younger contemporary and rival of Laberius; he flourished about 43 B.C. Probably born at Antioch in Syria, he came to Rome in early youth as a slave. On account of his wit he was liberated by his master, and received a careful education. As a writer of mimes and as an improviser, he was exceedingly popular, and, after the death of Laberius, held sole sway on the stage. His mimes contained, in addition to the farcical humour of this sort of writing, a great number of short, witty sayings. These were so much admired that they were excerpted at an early date, and used in schools, while the pieces themselves were soon forgotten. In the Middle Ages these sayings were popular under the name of Seneca. We have an alphabetical collection of nearly two hundred of these apophthegms, bearing the title, Publilii Syri Mimi Sententioe [e.g. "Necesse est multos timeat, quem multi timent"; "Beneficium accipere, libertatem est venders"; and (the motto of the Edinburgh Review) "Iudex damnatur cum nocens absolvitur"].
 
MIME 100.00%

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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.
 
SOPHRON 89.23%
 
LABERIUS 72.38%
The originator and leading representative of the mime (q.v.) as a form of literature; born about 105 B.C. Being a Roman knight with a strong love of freedom, he roused the wrath of the dictator Caesar; accordingly in B.C. 45 the latter compelled him to appear on the stage at the age of sixty, and to compete with his rival Publilius Syrus. In the prologue to the piece, one of the most beautiful monuments of Roman literature which have come down to us, Laberius complains bitterly of the indignity put upon him. His appearing as an actor involved the loss of knightly rank, which in this case, however, was restored to him by Caesar. He died at Puteoli in 43. Apart from the prologue already mentioned, we have only unimportant fragments of more than forty of his mimes. These bear witness to the originality of his wit and the vigour of his style.
 
FLORA 26.30%

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A goddess, originally Sabine, of the spring and of flowers and blossoms in general, to whom prayers were offered for the prospering of the ripe fruits of field and tree. She was also regarded as a goddess of the flower of youth and its pleasures. Her worship was said to have been introduced into Rome by the Sabine king Titus Tatius, and her special priest, the Flamen Floralis, to have been appointed by Numa. A temple was erected to her in the Circus Maximus in 238 B.C. At the same time a theatrical festival, the Floralia, was instituted at the behest of the Sibylline books. At this feast the men decked themselves and their animals with flowers, especially roses; the women put aside their usual costume, and wore the gay dresses usually forbidden. The scene was one of unrestrained merriment. From 173 B.C. the festival was a standing one, and lasted six days, from April 28, the anniversary of the foundation of the temple, to May 3. For the first five days of the games, for the superintendence of which the curule aediles were responsible, there were theatrical performances, largely consisting of the very indecent farces called mimes. On the last day goats, hares, and other animals were hunted in the circus. The people were regaled during the games with porridge, peas, and lentils. Flora was in later times identified with the Greek Chloris (See HORAe). In works of art she was represented as a blooming maiden, decked with flowers.
 
MASKS 21.55%
An indispensable part of the equipment of a Greek actor. Their use, like the drama itself, goes back to the mummery at the festivals of Dionysus, in which the face was painted with lees of wine or with vermilion, or covered with masks made ofleaves or the bark of trees. The development of the drama led to the invention of artistic masks of painted linen which concealed not only the face, but the whole head, a device ascribed to Aeschylus. The opening for the eyes was not larger than the pupil of the actor concealed under the mask; similarly, in the masks of tragedy (figs. 1-4), the hole for the mouth was only a little larger than sufficed to let the sound pass through; while the masks of comedy (figs. 6-10) had lips that were distorted far apart, and in the form of a round hole, so as to make the voice louder. By moulding and painting them in different ways, and variously arranging the hair of the head and the beard, the masks were made to represent many different types of character, men and women of various ages, slaves, etc; the expression also was made to agree with the dominant nature of the parts [Pollux, iv 133-164]. Among the Romans, masks were at first only used at the Atellanoe (q.v.) , popular farces acted by amateurs; they were not introduced on the stage till the 2nd century B.C., and were not generally employed before the time of the celebrated actor Roscius, an older contemporary of Cicero. After that time, the mimes seem to have been the only actors without masks.
 
PANTOMIMUS 21.11%

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The representation of a dramatic subject by dancing and rhythmic gesticulation alone, as practised by the Romans. It originated in the custom of the ancient Roman drama, of only allowing an actor on the stage to make the necessary movements of dancing and gesticulation, while another actor sang the recitative to the accompaniment of the flute. This recitative was called canticum, and was a monologue composed in rhythmical form. The illustrative dance was raised to a separate, independent branch of art by Pylades and Bathyllus under Augustus, 22 B.C. There were comic and tragic pantomimes, but the latter variety prevailed on the stage of the Empire. The subjects were chiefly taken from tragedies founded on mythological love stories, and treated so that the chief situations were included in a series of cantica. All of these were represented by a single pantomimus, the dancer, as well as the performer, being designated by that name. He thus had to represent several characters, male and female, in succession, while a chorus, accompanied by flutes and other instruments, sang the corresponding song. The pauses necessary for the change of mask and costume for each successive part were apparently filled up with the recital of music by the chorus, which served to connect the chief scenes with each other. It was only in the latest times of the Empire that women were employed in pantomime. Pantomime, aiming at sensual charm alone, went beyond all bounds of decorum in the representation of delicate subjects. As an understanding of the subtleties of the art required a cultivated taste, pantomime was specially favoured by the higher classes, while the mime, with his buffoonery, was more pleasing to the multitude. On the true dramatic ballet of imperial times, see PYRRHIC.DANCE.
 
DRAMA 17.82%
 
IAMBIC POETRY 12.64%
Iambic poetry, like the elegiac poetry which was also nearly contemporaneous with it and was similarly cultivated by the Ionians of Asia Minor, forms a connecting link between epic and lyric poetry. While elegy however is directly connected, both in metrical form and expression, with epic poetry, iambic poetry is in direct contrast to it, both as regards subject-matter, diction and metre. The difference between the subject-matter of the two is as marked as the distinction was between tragedy and comedy in later times. While the aim of epic poetry is to awake admiration for its heroes, iambic poetry strains all the resources of art and irony, sarcasm and satire, to bold up the faults and weaknesses of human nature to mockery and contempt. This form of poetry, in keeping with its subject, confined itself to the simple, unadorned language of everyday life, and made use of the pliant iambic metre, which lent itself readily to such language, and had long been popularly employed to clothe in a poetic garb the raillery which formed part, of the rustic feasts of Demeter. This custom, as well as the application of the word iambus to verses of this kind, was traced to the Thracian maiden Iambe (also called the daughter of Pan and Echo). When the goddess Demeter was plunged in grief for the loss of her daughter Persephone, on entering the house of Celeus at Eleusis, it was the jests of Iambe that forced her to smile and restored her appetite. Iambic poetry was brought to artistic perfection by Archilochus of Paros (about 700 B.C.). He did not remain satisfied with the simple repetition of the same iambic verse, but invented the most varied forms, linking the longer iambic measures with the shorter, as well as with dactylic metres, and thus forming epodes. Instead of the iambus ( -), he also made use of its inverted form, the trochee (- ). Further representatives of this class were his younger contemporary Simonides of Amorgus, and Hipponax of Ephesus (about 540 B.C.), the inventor of the metre called the choliambus or scazon iambus, the "lame" or " limping iambus," in which the last iambic foot is replaced by a trochee, which as it were limps at the end of the verse and gives it a comic effect. Solon employed the iambic form in justifying his political aims in the face of his opponents. Of the later iambic writers may be mentioned Herlides or Herondas, whose extant poems (editio prinreps, 1891), may be assigned to the 3rd century B.C. He was the composer of mimes in iambic metre, a kind of imitative pourtrayal of manners in choliambic verses, similar to those of the Roman Gnaeus Matius in the let century B.C. From the middle of this century onwards lampoons in iambic verse became common among the Romans. Its earliest representatives included Furius Bibaculus, Catullus, and also Horace, who in his epodes imitated the metres of Archilochus. Under the Empire, a few poems by Martial and Ausonius belong to this class.
 
MEALS 6.76%
 
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