Plautus

Plautus

Original Name Titus Maccius Plautus
Birth
Death unknown
Burial Body lost or destroyed, Specifically: Buried in Rome, Italy, location unknown to historians
Memorial ID 87866920 · View Source
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Playwright. The greatest creator of Ancient Roman comedy, he lived from 254 BC to 184 BC. His 20 surviving plays (out of an estimated 52) are the earliest complete examples of Latin literature. They include "The Brothers Menaechmi", "Amphitryon", "The Pot of Gold", "The Prisoners", "Epidicus", "The Swaggering Soldier", "The Little Ghost", and "The Rope". Titus Maccius Plautus was born into a peasant family at Sarsina in Umbria, Italy. He was associated with the Roman theatre from an early age, working his way up from stagehand to actor. Later he found success as a merchant but lost his fortune in an international moneylending scheme. He then served in the Roman Army for six years early in the Second Punic War (218 BC to 201 BC). Back in Rome Plautus supported himself through menial jobs while studying Greek dramas in manuscript. It is assumed that the wide variety of people and experiences he encountered were later channeled into his writing. The chronology of his plays is unknown but they apparently date from the last two decades of his life, a period in which he enjoyed growing fame and prosperity. "The greatest talents often lie buried out of sight" Plautus observed in "The Prisoners"; the same can literally be said for the author. There is no historical trace of his tomb in Rome except for the epitaph, which he reputedly wrote himself and was documented by others. The plays of Plautus were all adapted from Greek New Comedy of a century or two earlier. Half have been traced to lost or fragmentary originals by Menander, Diphilus, Philemon, and Alexis. He retained the Greek characters and settings but refashioned the plots to suit Roman tastes. If his great successor Terence wrote cultivated comedies for the aristocracy, Plautus played to the crowd with boisterous, rough-humored depictions of middle and lower-class life, a world of mistaken identities, cunning and insolent slaves, cowardly soldiers, young lovers, courtesans and spongers. His tone ranges from romantic comedy to burlesque and farce while his dialogue is studded with word play and a great variety of poetic meters. The early form of Latin he used grew outmoded after his death, plunging him into obscurity until the Renaissance; incredibly, he resurfaced with more surviving intact work than any other ancient playwright. The first printed edition of Plautus appeared in 1472 and he became widely influential through translations. His "The Swaggering Soldier" was the primary model for Nicholas Udall's "Ralph Roister Doister" (1553), the first English stage comedy. Shakespeare borrowed the plot of "The Brothers Menaechmi" for "The Comedy of Errors" (1594), and Molière based the title role of "The Miser" (1668) from a character in "The Pot of Gold". Plautus proved durable enough even for 20th Century Broadway, inspiring the Rodgers-Hart musical "The Boys from Syracuse" (1938) and Stephen Sondheim's "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" (1962).

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


Inscription

"Postquam est mortem aptus Plautus, Comoedia luget, scaena est deserta, dein Risus Ludus Iocusque et Numeri innumeri simul omnes conlacrumarunt".

("Since Plautus is dead, Comedy mourns, deserted is the stage; then Laughter, Jest and Wit, and Melody's countless numbers all together wept").


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 1 Apr 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 87866920
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Plautus (unknown–unknown), Find a Grave Memorial no. 87866920, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Body lost or destroyed, who reports a Buried in Rome, Italy, location unknown to historians.