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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%
 
FESCENNINI 75.95%

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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%

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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 61.77%

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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.
 
ATELLANA 35.85%

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[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.
 
PETRONIUS ARBITER 34.98%
 
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.
 
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