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date: 07 March 2021


  • Peter G. M. Brown


Palliata (sc. fabula, ‘drama in a Greek cloak (pallium)’), the type of comedy written at Rome by *Plautus and *Terence, either known or assumed in nearly all cases to be adaptations of (Greek) New Comedy (see comedy (greek), new); since the plays of Plautus and Terence are the only complete Latin comedies to have survived from antiquity, this term has come to be synonymous with Latin *comedy. Almost certainly a masked drama from the start (though the ancient evidence is contradictory), it shows Greek characters in a Greek setting, and in general the authors are believed to have preserved many of the essential elements of plot from their Greek originals. But Roman details sometimes intrude, particularly in Plautus, who adapted the Greek plays with considerable freedom and whose portrayal of stereotyped stock characters may well have been influenced by the *Atellana. Plautus was the first Latin playwright to devote himself exclusively to comedy; *Livius Andronicus, *Naevius, and *Ennius all wrote tragedies as well.

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