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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 26

Dramatic Arrangements

Lastly as regards the development of dramatic arrangements we are not in a position to set forth in detail--what is clear on the whole--that the general interest in dramatic performances was constantly on the increase, and that they became more and more frequent and magnificent. Not only was there hardly any ordinary or extraordinary popular festival that was now celebrated without dramatic exhibitions; even in the country-towns and in private houses representations by companies of hired actors were common.

It is true that, while probably various municipal towns already at this time possessed theatres built of stone, the capital was still without one; the building of a theatre, already contracted for, had been again prohibited by the senate in 599 on the suggestion of Publius Scipio Nasica. It was quite in the spirit of the sanctimonious policy of this age, that the building of a permanent theatre was prohibited out of respect for the customs of their ancestors, but nevertheless theatrical entertainments were allowed rapidly to increase, and enormous sums were expended annually in erecting and decorating structures of boards for them. The arrangements of the stage became visibly better.

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