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EXODIUM 100.00%
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.
SATIRE 98.07%
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.
Rural festivals, of great antiquity, held by the population of Etruria and Latium, and named, from some cause which cannot now be ascertained, from Fescennium in South Etruria. At harvest festivals, at the feast of Silvanus, and others of the kind, and at weddings, the young men would appear in rough masks or with faces painted with vermilion, bantering each other for the amusement of the spectators in rude and indecent jests. These were thrown into a rough kind of metre, originally no doubt the Saturnian. The Italians had at all times a keen sense of the ridiculous, and a love for personal attack; tendencies which were much encouraged by their gift for improvization, and pointed repartee. In Rome these games were taken up by the young men at public festivals, and combined with a comic imitation of the religious dances introduced from Etruria in 390 B.C. to avert a pestilence. In this form they are supposed to have given birth to the dramatic satura. (See SATURA.) The license of personal abuse ended by going so far that it had to be restrained by a law of the Twelve Tables. The Fescennini versus were gradually restricted to weddings, and the word came to mean the merry songs sung when the bride was brought home.
COMEDY 67.29%
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)
Boethius was born in Rome, about 475 A.D., and belonged to the distinguished family of the Anicii, who had for some time been Christians. Having been left an orphan in his childhood, he was taken in his tenth year to Athens, where he remained eighteen years and acquired a stock of knowledge far beyond the average. After his return to Rome, he was held in high esteem among his contemporaries for his learning and eloquence. He attracted the attention of Theodoric, who in 510 A.D. made him consul, and, in spite of his patriotic and independent attitude, gave him a prominent share in the government. The trial of the consul Albinus, however, brought with it the ruin of Boethius. Albinus was accused of maintaining a secret understanding with the Byzantine court, and Boethius stood up boldly in his defence, declaring that if Albinus was guilty, so was he and the whole senate with him. Thus involved in the same charge, he was sentenced to death by the cowardly assembly whose cause he had represented. He was thrown into prison at Pavia, and executed in 525. The most famous work of Boethius, his Consolation of Philosophy, was written in, prison. It was much read in the Middle Ages, and translated into every possible language. The book is thrown partly into the form of a dialogue, in which the interlocutors are the author, and Philosophia, who appears to him to console him. As in the Menippean satura (See SATURA), the narrative is relieved by the occasional insertion of musical verses in various metres. The consolatory arguments are strictly philosophical.
[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.
Author of a satiric romance, certainly of the time of Nero, and probably the Gains Petronius whose licentiousness and congenial tastes obtained for him the high favour of Nero, at whose court he played the part of arbiter elegantiae (maître de plaisir), until, in 66 A.D., in consequence of the intrigues of his rivals, he committed suicide by opening his veins [Tacitus, Ann. xvi 18, 19]. Of his social romance, entitled Saturae, which must originally have consisted of about twenty books, only fragments are left to us, being part of books xv and xvi. The most complete and famous is the "Banquet of Trimalchio " (Cena Trimalchionis). Judging from the fragments, the scene was laid under Tiberius, or possibly Augustus, in S. Italy, chiefly in an unnamed colony in Campania, partly in Croton. The work is astonishing for the truth with which both manners and men are painted. A masterly hand appears in the treatment of the dialogue, adapted as it is in every instance to the character of the speaker, now plebeian, in the mouth of Trimalchio, the freedman who has become a millionaire; now refined, in the cultivated Greek Encolpius; or again bombastic, in the case of the poet Eumolpus. All situations in life (with a preference for the filthiest), and even literature and art, come under discussion. In the prose are introduced numerous and sometimes extensive pieces of poetry, mostly intended to parody some particular style.
ENNIUS 21.79%
The founder of the Hellenized type of Latin poetry. He was born 239 B.C. at Rudiae in Calabria, and was by descent a Graecised Messapian. He was probably educated at Tarentum, and served with the Romans in the Second Punic War in Sardinia, whence Cato took him to Rome in 204 B.C. His poetical talent here came to his aid, not in a pecuniary way (for he was in slender circumstances to the end of his life), but as an introduction to the favour of the great men. Among these must be mentioned the Scipios, and Fulvius Nobilior, who took him in his retinue to the Aetolian war in B.C. 189,and whose son procured him the citizenship five years later (184). A gouty affection did not prevent him from continuing his literary work to an advanced age.He was in his sixty-seventh year when he finished his Annales, and he put a tragedy on the stage shortly before his death. He died in 170 B.C., in his seventieth year, It was said that the Scipios placed his image in their family vault. Ennius wrote poetry with success in a great number of styles. But in his own opinion, as well as in that of his fellowcitizens, his greatest work was his Annales in eighteen books. This was a chronological narrative of Roman history in verse. Like Naevius' Bellum Poenicum, it began with the destruction of Troy, and came down to the poet's own times. In this poem Ennius created for the Romans their first national epic, the fame of which was only eclipsed by Vergil. But he did more. By the introduction of the Greek hexameter Ennius did much to further the future development of Latin poetry. His predecessor, Naevius, had continued to write in the native Saturnian metre, which was hardly capable of artistic development. But the practice of writing in the strict dactylic measure enabled the Latin poets to assimilate the other metrical forms presented by Greek literature. Of the Annals we possess, relatively speaking, only a small number of fragments. Some of these can only be distinguished from prose by their metrical form; others are very fine, both in form and ideas. Ennius showed considerable capacity, too, as a writer of tragedies. His dramas, which were very numerous, were composed after Greek models, especially the tragedies of Euripides. More than twenty of these Euripidean plays are known to us by their titles and surviving fragments. He also wrote proetextoe, or tragedies on Roman subjects, as, for instance, the Ambracia, representing the siege and conquest of this city by his patron Fulvius Nobilior. His comedies were neither so numerous nor so important as his tragedies. Besides these he wrote several books of saturoe, or collections of poems of various contents and in various metres. Several of his adaptations or translations of Greek originals were probably included in these: as, for instance, the Hedyphagetica, a gastronomic work after Archestratus of Gela; Epicharmus, a didactic poem on the "Nature of Things"; Euhemerus, a rationalistic interpretation of the popular fables about the gods; Proecepta or Protrepticus, containing moral doctrines; and others of the same kind. There was a poem entitled Scipio, written in honour of the elder Africanus. Whether this was a satura or a drama is uncertain. The memory of Ennius long survived the fall of the Republic. Even after literary taste had taken quite a different direction, he was revered as the father of Latin poetry, and especially as having done much to enrich the Latin language.
Type: Standard
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