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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


III. From the Union of Italy to the Subjugation of Carthage and the Greek States

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter XIV - Literature and Art


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Page 56

National Comedy - Titinius

But, while the government did not allow the Roman comedian to depict the state of things in his native city or to bring his fellow-citizens on the stage, a national Latin comedy was not absolutely precluded from springing up; for the Roman burgesses at this period were not yet identified with the Latin nation, and the poet was at liberty to lay the plot of his pieces in the Italian towns of Latin rights just as in Athens or Massilia. In this way, in fact, the Latin original comedy arose (-fabula togata- (35)): the earliest known composer of such pieces, Titinius, flourished probably about the close of this period.(36)

35 -Togatus- denotes, in juristic and generally in technical language, the Italian in contradistinction not merely to the foreigner, but also to the Roman burgess. Thus especially -formula togatorum- (Corp. Inscr. Lat., I. n. 200, v. 21, 50) is the list of those Italians bound to render military serviee, who do not serve in the legions. The designation also of Cisalpine Gaul as -Gallia togata-, which first occurs in Hirtius and not long after disappears again from the ordinary -usus loquendi-, describes this region presumably according to its legal position, in so far as in the epoch from 665 to 705 the great majority of its communities possessed Latin rights. Virgil appears likewise in the -gens togata-, which he mentions along with the Romans (Aen. i. 282), to have thought of the Latin nation.

According to this view we shall have to recognize in the -fabula togata-the comedy which laid its plot in Latium, as the -fabula palliata- had its plot in Greece; the transference of the scene of action to a foreign land is common to both, and the comic writer is wholly forbidden to bring on the stage the city or the burgesses of Rome. That in reality the -togata- could only have its plot laid in the towns of Latin rights, is shown by the fact that all the towns in which, to our knowledge, pieces of Titinius and Afranius had their scene--Setia, Ferentinum, Velitrae, Brundisium,--demonstrably had Latin or, at any rate, allied rights down to the Social war. By the extension of the franchise to all Italy the writers of comedy lost this Latin localisation for their pieces, for Cisalpine Gaul, which -de jure- took the place of the Latin communities, lay too far off for the dramatists of the capital, and so the -fabula togata- seems in fact to have disappeared. But the -de jure- suppressed communities of Italy, such as Capua and Atella, stepped into this gap (ii. 366, iii. 148), and so far the -fabula Atellana- was in some measure the continuation of the -togata-.

36. Respecting Titinius there is an utter want of literary information; except that, to judge from a fragment of Varro, he seems to have been older than Terence (558-595, Ritschl, Parerg. i. 194) for more indeed, cannot he inferred from that passage, and though, of the two groups there compared the second (Trabea, Atilius, Caecilius) is on the whole older than the first (Titinius, Terentius, Atta), it does not exactly follow that the oldest of the junior group is to be deemed younger than the youngest of the elder.

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