©Damen, 2021

Classical Drama and Theatre

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It is curious that the Roman playwright felt he needed to—or even could!—find more Menandrean originals. After all, Menander was by definition a limited commodity, as were his imitators like Apollodorus of Carystus. How many more plays like his could Terence have hoped to find? Besides, hadn't the young Roman playwright already taken some abuse for recklessly ricing Menander into Latin mash? So, why the interest in digging up new New Comedies—and wasn't that a oxymoron in the day, anyway?—when Terence's practice has inclined toward more and more radical contaminatio? Remember his words about Andria and Perinthia: "If you've seen one, you've seen them both!" And this is a man who wants more Menander? If so, he has had a serious change of heart about his profligate treatment of Greek originals, in the end so wasteful he was driven to go all the way to Greece to find more. That ought to have made Luscius Lanuvinus smile.

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