Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Terence, Roman African playwright

TERENCE (Roman, c. 195/185-159? BCE)

This Roman African playwright (who wrote six comedies) was actually Publius Terentius Afer; his last name indicates that he may well have been born in Africa, perhaps Carthage or the Roman province that is now Tunisia. Or not. Further, it is said that his mother may have been a slave. None of this suggests that he was of Black ancestry, as "slavery" and "Roman Africa" didn't necessarily mean any such thing at the time. It is almost certain that he himself was a slave; his owner, a Roman senator, had him educated and then, impressed by his talent, granted his freedom. He died around age 25, due either to shipwreck or disease.

  • The Latin of Terence's plays was so conversational that they were used for teaching that language in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
  • Shakespeare imitated some of Terence's plots, which he in turn had borrowed from the Greeks.


Please leave a comment - I can't WAIT to hear from you!