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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
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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


IV. The Revolution

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 XIII - Literature and Art


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Page 18

But of the Latin local tints, which are so distinctly marked in Titinius the creator of this species of art, we find not much in Afranius;(8) his subjects retain a very general character, and may well have been throughout imitations of particular Greek comedies with merely an alteration of costume.

8. External circumstances also, it may be presumed, co-operated in bringing about this change. After all the Italian communities had obtained the Roman franchise in consequence of the Social war, it was no longer allowable to transfer the scene of a comedy to any such community, and the poet had either to keep to general ground or to choose places that had fallen into ruin or were situated abroad. Certainly this circumstance, which was taken into account even in the production of the older comedies, exercised an unfavourable effect on the national comedy.

A polished eclecticism and adroitness in composition-- literary allusions not unfrequently occur--are characteristic of him as of Terence: the moral tendency too, in which his pieces approximated to the drama, their inoffensive tenor in a police point of view, their purity of language are common to him with the latter. Afranius is sufficiently indicated as of a kindred spirit with Menander and Terence by the judgment of posterity that he wore the -toga- as Menander would have worn it had he been an Italian, and by his own expression that to his mind Terence surpassed all other poets.

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