Plautus, Titus Maccius
- Warren Anderson
- , revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen
( b Sarsina, Umbria, c 254 bce; dc 184 bce). Roman comic playwright . 20 of his comedies and a portion of another have survived, all fabulae palliatae (i.e. plays with Greek settings and costumes). They are free adaptations of Greek originals by Menander and other leading authors of the Athenian New Comedy (c330–270 bce), although none of Plautus's prototypes survives.
The abbreviations DV and C in the manuscripts of Plautus indicate the division of scenes into the two main categories of diverbium, spoken dialogue, and canticum, lines accompanied by a tibia player (tibicen). On average, nearly two-thirds of the play is occupied by canticum. There were apparently two varieties of canticum: the first was recitative, written in iambic, trochaic or anapaestic septenarii or octonarii (seven- or eight-feet lines); the second was lyric song in more intricate and variable metres, chiefly cretics, bacchics and ionics. Although a ...