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date: 17 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on law and legal language in Roman comedy. It outlines the development of different approaches to the topic over the last 150 years and highlights the methodological problems that arise from the fragmentary transmission of Attic and early Roman law, and from the fact that Roman comoediae palliatae are adaptations of Greek plays. The chapter then gives an overview of the use of law and legal language in the plays of Plautus and Terence and in some of the fragments of Naevius, Caecilius, and other early Roman poets. It explores the literary aims of the poets, their originality, the comic effect of law and legal language, and the problems of translating Greek legal scenarios into Latin. Finally, it discusses how the plays may have affected the Roman audience's perception of law and justice.

Keywords: Plautus, Terence, Attic law, Roman law, legal language, originality, adaptation, comic effect, poetic justice, legal translation

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