Decimus Laberius: The Fragments by Costas Panayotakis

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By Costas Panayotakis

It is a newly revised, serious textual content of the fragments attributed to the Roman knight and mimographer Decimus Laberius, a witty and crudely satirical modern of Cicero and Caesar. Laberius may be the main celebrated comedian playwright of the past due Republic, and the fragments of performs attributed to him include the overpowering majority of the extant facts for what we conventionally name 'the literary Roman mime'. the amount additionally features a survey of the features and improvement of the Roman mime, either as a literary style and as a kind of renowned theatrical leisure, in addition to a re-examination of where of Laberius' paintings inside of its ancient and literary context. this can be the 1st English translation of all of the fragments, and the 1st specified English remark on them from a linguistic, metrical, and (wherever attainable) theatrical point of view.

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Caes.  van den Hout ). II O RI GI N S AND CH RONOLOGICAL DEV ELO P MENT OF THE GENRE The exact date of the first appearance of a mime-actor or actress on the stage of a Roman theatre during a festival or in an event that formed part of the entertainment at a private dinner-party is unknown. That the mime-profession, however, was clearly associated in the Roman mind with Greek-speaking lands is clearly inferred from literary and documentary sources, and formed an assumption which was fruitfully exploited in Roman rhetoric, historiography, and fiction as part of political invective, satirical abuse, and moral warning against the influence of foreign cultures.

TŸn d• tän jarm†kwn Ëp»qesin –k tän SÛjronov m©mwn metaj”rei (and Gow  –); S Arg. () par”plase d• t¼ poihm†tion –k tän par‡ SÛjroni ï Isqmia qem”nwn (and Gow  –).  These mimiamboi in choliambics co-existed with the scurrilous spectacles of jugglers, magicians, and other entertainers who were explicitly or implicitly associated with the mime-profession, but there is not enough evidence to suggest that they influenced in any substantial way the style and language of the so-called literary mimes of Laberius, Publilius, and their Latin colleagues.

Verso, dated to the second century AD), a motif paralleled in the works of both Theocritus () and Herodas (), is a far cry from the elaborate representation of unrequited love in the Alexandrian mimes. In the light of this rich tradition of mime, a term which by the Hellenistic period could signify a poem of superior literary qualities, a dramatic composition of unspecified length and high literary value, or an artless spectacle of actors performing tricks, dancing lasciviously, and making improvised, obscene jokes, it is frustrating to be unable to point with certainty to the means by which (and the form in which) mime was transferred from Greek-speaking lands into Italy and Rome.

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