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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the twenty-one Roman comedies of T. Maccius Plautus in the light of two predominantly competing modern paradigms, here called the "Saturnalian" and the "Hellenistic." Following a conventional list of Plautus's titles, Greek models, and date or festival occasions where known, discussion turns to the nature of Latin comoedia, which is not merely an adaptation (vorsio, "version") of Greek New Comedy but a highly musical adaptation of it across languages. Parallel texts of Menander (Dis Exapaton, an anonymous fragment) and Plautus (Bacchides, Pseudolus) illustrate the extent and effects of Plautus's alterations. The chapter concludes with a sketch of the genesis, axioms, and assumptions underpinning the contemporary "War of the Paradigms" that divides those scholars who envision Plautus as working within the Hellenistic tradition of Greek comedy from those who imagine him largely indifferent to it. Sample texts trace the origin of the split to minor verbal ambiguities.

Keywords: Plautus, Menander, contaminatio, Roman comedy, Dis Exapaton, vorsio, P.Freiburg 12, adespota K-A fr. 1027, Pseudolus, Bacchides, Trinummus, Curculio

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