Origins of Roman Theater

5th c.  Athenian Tragedy (Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides)
  "Old" Comedy (Aristophanes)
4th c.  "New" Comedy (Menander etc.)
4th/3rd c.  Revivals in Magna Graecia
240  Livius Andronicus (< Tarentum)
c. 220 Gnaeus Naevius
190s  Quintus Ennius
190s  Plautus (d. 184): 20 plays survive
c. 160 Terence: 6 plays survive

Dramatic Genres
Greek Setting Roman Setting
Serious Tragedy Fabula Praetexta
Comic Fabula Palliata 
(Plautus, Terence)
Fabula Togata


Conventions of the Comic Stage


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Poetry & Music

Masks Stock Characters Comedy & Society

C.L. Barber Shakespeare's Festive Comedy  (Princeton, 1959)

Artificial "Elsewhere"

Saturnalian Reversals Does comedy subvert societal norms or reinforce them?

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