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date: 29 November 2022

Atellanalocked

Atellanalocked

  • Peter G. M. Brown

Extract

Atellana (sc. fabula), in origin a native Italian farce, named after *Atella in Campania but doubtless common in Oscan towns, and probably early known in Rome, where it was normally performed in Latin. (Livy 7. 2 and Val. Max. 2. 4. 4 provide evidence for the amateur status of actors in Atellana; the implications are disputed.) It was a masked drama, largely improvised, with stock characters: Bucco (‘the fool’), *Dossennus (‘the glutton’), Maccus (‘the clown’, the most frequently occurring name in titles of Atellanae), Manducus (‘the chewer’, an ogre or bogeyman, thought by many to be an alternative name for Dossennus), Pappus (‘the old gaffer’). It became a literary form for a short time in the period of *Sulla, its principal exponents being L. *Pomponius and *Novius. Other named authors are Aprissius (one line survives) and perhaps Sulla himself (if this is what his ‘satyric comedies’ were); and a Mummius is said by Macrobius to have revived the genre later (three short fragments survive). Atellanae continued to be performed at least until the time of *Juvenal.

Subjects

  • Latin Literature

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