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date: 01 March 2021

Caecilius Statiuslocked

  • Peter G. M. Brown

Extract

Caecilius (RE 25) Statius, author of fabulae palliatae (fl. 179 bce, d. 168), according to Jerome, who says he was an Insubrian Gaul, perhaps from Milan. He was taken to Rome as a slave and subsequently freed. *Terence, Hecyra 9–27, tells how his plays were produced by *Ambivius Turpio, who encouraged him after initial setbacks and helped him to succeed. He was highly regarded in antiquity: among others, *Volcacius Sedigitus ranked him first of the authors of palliatae, and *Varro praised his plot-construction and ability to stir the emotions. Cicero criticized his Latinity but assumed general familiarity with his works. Some 42 titles and about 280 lines survive, showing a style akin to that of *Plautus. Most important are three passages of Plocium (‘The Necklace’), quoted by Gell. NA 2. 23 together with *Menander (1)'s original Greek, which show Caecilius to have adapted as freely as Plautus; until 1968 these were the only extended passages of Roman comedy that could be compared with their Greek original.

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