By Costas Panayotakis
It is a newly revised, severe 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 could be the main celebrated comedian playwright of the past due Republic, and the fragments of performs attributed to him contain the overpowering majority of the extant proof for what we conventionally name 'the literary Roman mime'. the amount additionally contains a survey of the features and improvement of the Roman mime, either as a literary style and as a kind of well known theatrical leisure, in addition to a second look of where of Laberius' paintings inside its ancient and literary context. this can be the 1st English translation of all of the fragments, and the 1st distinctive English statement on them from a linguistic, metrical, and (wherever attainable) theatrical viewpoint.
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Extra info for Decimus Laberius: The Fragments
Alexander (Ath. A), Agathocles of Syracuse (Diod. Sic. ), Antiochus II Theos (Ath. C), Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Ath. F, D; Diod. Sic. ), Ptolemy II Philadelphus (Ath. F), Sulla (Ath. C; Plut. ), Julius Caesar (Macr. Sat. ), Mark Antony (Cic. Phil. ; Plut. Ant. ), Caligula (Dio Cass. ), Nero (Tac. Ann. ; Suet. , ; Iuv. –), Domitian (Suet. Dom. ), Commodus (Herod. ), Elagabalus (Herod. –), Gallienus (HA, Gall. ), Carinus (HA, Car. ), Justinian (Chor. Apol.
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.
Educated Romans such as Laberius may have experimented with mime as a literary form, but it does not follow from this that they wanted to elevate the mime-genre as a whole to the literary heights of epic and tragedy. The contempt felt for mimes in antiquity may militate against a generous assessment of their literary value and artistic merit. But this contempt may often be explained both as intellectual snobbery and as a reaction to the potential (and often actual) threat mime posed to the social and political status quo.