By Costas Panayotakis
This can be 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 is likely to 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 facts for what we conventionally name 'the literary Roman mime'. the quantity additionally contains 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 second look of where of Laberius' paintings inside of its historic and literary context. this is often the 1st English translation of all of the fragments, and the 1st specific English statement on them from a linguistic, metrical, and (wherever attainable) theatrical viewpoint.
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Extra resources for Decimus Laberius : the fragments
Dio Chrys. Orat. ; Philo In Flac. ; Pallad. Laus hist. . Oxy. verso) occasionally makes sense only if we assume that the protagonist embellished her lines with actions that are now irretrievable, and has an ending which seems dramatically contrived and abrupt. To my knowledge, only Nicoll Masks is sceptical about this assumption: ‘There is not . . Although these features square with what we know about mime-drama in the republican era, it should be emphasized that our primary source for mime in this period is Cicero himself, and it is thus difficult to disentangle what is accurately reported on mime-practice from the distorted or even invented mime-details which suit the argument of Cicero’s case.
While the conversation between Aeneas and Anchises in the underworld is, according to Augustine (Serm. –), a familiar theatrical scene in the minds of his readers; for a recent discussion of this topic see C. Panayotakis, ‘Virgil on the popular stage’, in E. Hall and R. , New Directions in Ancient Pantomime (Oxford ) –. This is hardly surprising. Mime with its low-life stories and worthless characters was pre-eminently the genre of crude realism in antiquity: a maskless actor or actress, usually a slave or freedman/freedwoman, would expose himself/herself to the public gaze, and satirise people and contemporary events with inelegant and uncouth words that belonged to the vocabulary of the lower classes.
Apol. Mim. . But this bad reputation was not always justified, and often served a specific social and moral purpose (discussed below). D E F I NI N G TH E ROM A N M I M E Their function was to preserve the chastity of decent wives, whose role was to be faithful to their husbands and produce legitimate children. In fact, the body of the mime-actress seems to have been exploited to such an extent that it became a stereotypical source of entertainment; this was the case especially in the festival traditionally associated with the mimes, the Floralia, which became annual in or after (Val.