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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Menander’s textual tradition broke off in the ninth century. This chapter shows how it was partially recovered in modern times, first by gathering fragments from ancient literary and technical sources and then, beginning in the late nineteenth century, through the decipherment of new papyrus texts and the correct identification of mosaics and paintings. Cross identifications increased the mass of documents. These efforts improved our ability to compare and contrast Menander with his Latin imitators, Plautus and Terence, who had long been scholars’ first approach to the Greek poet. But new reflections on theatrical theory and practice in Menander’s comedies (especially the five-act rule) suggest we should be cautious rather than confident in making use of our improved knowledge.

Keywords: Menander, fragments, papyri, indirect tradition, crossed identifications, Terence, Plautus, five-act rule

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