©Damen, 2021

Classical Drama and Theatre

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It is worth considering that the lack of conventional drama based on spoken dialogue may be as much the result of the multiculturalism of late Rome as the dominance of low-brow tastes. That is, in an empire where no single language dominated, spoken text may have represented an enterprise too limited in scope to succeed. Conversely, gladiatorial games, chariot races, mock sea-battles, pantomimes and bilingual spoofs (see below, Charition) translate more broadly across the wide spectrum of cultures which later Rome embraced. In other words, the empire may simply have been too big for drama like Greek tragedy because, where Euripides and his fellow dramatists could rely on having an audience with at least some knowledge of the Greek language, the same was not true of later Roman playwrights.

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