Terence's story is a great one, a saga of upward mobility that should alert us to what a mobile society Republican Rome could be.  Publius Terentius Afer (195/185–159 BC), better known in English as Terence, was of North African descent, possibly from Carthage. His comedies were performed for the first time around 170–160 BC. Terentius Lucanus, a Roman senator, brought Terence to Rome as a slave, educated him, and, later on, impressed by his abilities, freed him. Terence apparently died young, probably in Greece or on his way back to Rome. All of the six plays Terence wrote have survived. Like Plautus, Terence adapted Greek plays from the late phases of Attic comedy. The first printed edition of Terence appeared in Strasbourg in 1470, and the first documented post-antique performance of one of Terence's plays, Andria, took place in Florence in 1476. There is evidence, however, that Terence was performed much earlier.

Terence's six plays are Andria (The Girl from Andros, 166 BC), Hecyra (The Mother-in-Law,65 BC), Heauton Timorumenos (The Self-Tormentor, 163 BC), Phormio (161 BC), Eunuchus (161 BC), and Adelphoe (The Brothers, 160 BC).



Michael Grant, History of Rome, Part III, "Rome Against Carthage"

We will read The Mother-in-Law (The Hecyra).


The Comedies,

Betty Radice, translator,

Penguin Classics,

ISBN 9780140443240