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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers how festivals, producers, and theatrical spaces influenced Roman comedy in the time of Plautus and Terence (ca. 210-160 BCE). Although the extant scripts and fragments of the comoedia palliata exhibit stylistic unity (Terence excepted), their theatrical contexts varied and evolved as opportunities for dramatic performances increased over time, both with regularly scheduled ludi (festivals in honor of divinities) and occasional opportunities. Little is known of the plays' producers, other than the names Publilius Pellio and Ambivius Turpio. Since no permanent stone theater existed in Rome until 55 BCE, theatrical presentations occupied temporary venues, often adjacent to temples and accommodating relatively small audiences, but evidence of their configurations has vanished. Didascaliae (production notices preserved in manuscripts) offer meager information; the literary and archaeological evidence from the Roman Empire and comparative evidence from Greek precedents can mislead.

Keywords: festivals, producers, theater, Roman comedy, Plautus, Terence, comoedia palliata, ludi, Pellio, Turpio, didascaliae

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