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COMOEDIA.

gesticulation. The amusement became popular, and was imitated by the young Romans, who (though : how soon is not stated) improved upon the original entertainment by uniting with it extemporaneous mutual raillery, composed in a rude irregular mea­sure, a species of diversion which had been long known among the Romans at their agrarian fes­tivals under the name of Fescennina [fescen- ; nina]. They regulated their dances so as to ex- : press the sense of the words. Those who had an aptitude for this sort of representation set them­selves to improve its form, supplanting the old Fescennine verses by more regular compositions, which however had not as yet any thing like dramatic unity or a regular plot, but from the mis­cellaneous nature of the subjects introduced were called saturae [satura]. Those who took part in these exhibitions were called liistriones, liister being the Etruscan word which answered to the Latin ludio [HiSTRio]. It was 123 years after the first introduction of these scenic performances before the improvement was introduced of having a regular plot. This advance was made by Livius Andronicus, a native of Magna Graecia, in b. c. 240. His pieces, which were both tragedies and comedies, were merely adaptations of Greek dramas. His popularity increasing, a building on the Aven-tine hill was assigned to him for his use, which served partly a,s a theatre, partly as a residence for a troop of players, for whom Livius wrote his pieces. The representation of regular plays of this sort was now left to those who were histriones by profession, and who were very commonly either foreigners or slaves ; the free-born youth of Rome confined their own scenic performances to the older, irregular farces, which long maintained their ground, and were subsequently called eocodia, being, as Livy says, conserta fabelUspotissimum Atellanis. [ExoDiA ; satura.] Livius, as was common at that time, was himself an actor in his own pieces. His Latin adaptations of Greek plays, though they had no chorus, were interspersed with monodies, which were more lyrical in their metrical form, and more impassioned in their tone than the ordi­nary dialogue parts. In the musical recitation of these Livius seems to have been very successful, and was frequently encored. The exertion being too much for his voice, he introduced the practice in these monodies, or cantica, of placing a slave beside the flute player to recite or chaunt the words, while he himself went through the appropriate gesticulation. This became the usual practice from that time, so that in the cantica the histriones did nothing but gesticulate, the only parts where they used their voice being the dialogues (diverbia). Livy's account has been absurdly misunderstood as imptying that the introduction of this slave to chaunt the cantica led to the use of dialogue in the Roman dramas, as though there had been no dia­logue before ; in which case, as there was certainly no chorus, Livius must have adapted Greek dramas so as to admit of being represented in a series of monologues, a supposition which is confuted by its own absurdity. It is perfectly clear that the plays of Livius were an improvement on the old scenic saturae, which consisted of dialogue, and that the improvement was simply that of adapting the dia­logue to a regular plot. Hermann (Dissert, de Cant, in Fab. scenic. Opusc. vol. i. p. 290, &c.) has sufficiently shown that the cantica were not mere musical interludes accompanied by dancing or ges-

COMOEDIA.

ticulation, introduced between the acts, but the monodial parts of the plays themselves ; though (as is clear from Plautus, Pseud, i. 5. 160) there were cases in which the flute-player filled up the intervals between acts with music, as in the 5tau-\lov in the Greek theatre. But there is nothing to show that such musical interludes were accom­panied with gesticulation by any actor ; and it is not merely without but against all authority to call such interludes cantica. Hermann has also shown that it is quite a mistake to suppose that the lead­ing actors only gesticulated in the cantica, and took no part in the ordinary dialogue. The can­tica were only monodies put into the mouth of one or other of the dramatis personae. There is a use ful treatise on this subject by G. A. B. Wolff (de Canticis in Romanorum Fabulis scenicis), in which, the author has endeavoured to point out which are the cantica in the remaining plays of Plautus and Terence.

The first imitator of the dramatic works of Livius Andronicus was Cn. Naevius, a native of Cam­pania. He composed both tragedies and comedies, which were either translations or imitations of those of Greek writers. In comedy his models seem to have been the writers of the old comedy. (Diet, of Gr. and Rom. Biog. and Myth. art. Nae-vius.} The most distinguished successors of Nae­vius were Plautus (Ibid, art. plautus), who chiefly imitated Epicharmus, and Terence (Ibid. art. te-rentius), whose materials were drawn chiefly from Menander, Diphilus, Philemon, and Apollo-dorus. The comedy of the Romans was through­out but an imitation of that of the Greeks, and chiefly of the new comedy. Where the characters were ostensibly Greek, and the scene laid in Athens or some other Greek town, the comedies were termed palliatae. All the comedies of Terence and Plautus belong to this class. When the story and characters were Roman, the plays were called togatae. But the fabulae togatae were in fact little else than Greek comedies clothed in a Latin dress. (As Horace says : " dicitur Afrani toga convenisse Menandro." Epist. ii. 1.57.) They took their name because the costume was the toga. The togatae were divided into two classes, the trabeatae and tabernariae, according as the subject was taken from high or from low life (Euanthius, de Fabula). In the comediae paliiatae, the costume of the ordinary actors was the Greek pallium. The plays which bore the name of praetejrtatae, were not so much tragedies as historical plays. It is a mistake to represent them as comedies. There was a species of tragi-comedy, named from the poet who introduced that style Rhintkonica. A tragedy the argument of which was Greek was termed crepidata. The mimes are sometimes classed with the Latin comedies. (Hermann, de Fabula togaia. Opusc. vol. v. p. 254, &c.) Re­specting them, the reader is referred to the article mimus. The mimes differed from the comedies in little more than the predominance of the mimic representation over the dialogue, which was only interspersed in various parts of the representation. Latin comedies had no chorus, any more than the dramas of the new comedy, of which they were for the most part imitations. Like them, too, they were introduced by a prologue, which answered some of the purposes of the parabasis of the old comedy, so far as bespeaking the good will of the spectators, and defending the poet against

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