By Costas Panayotakis
It is a newly revised, severe 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 may be the main celebrated comedian playwright of the overdue Republic, and the fragments of performs attributed to him include the overpowering majority of the extant proof 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 re-assessment of where of Laberius' paintings inside its historic and literary context. this can be the 1st English translation of the entire fragments, and the 1st unique English observation on them from a linguistic, metrical, and (wherever attainable) theatrical point of view.
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Extra info for Decimus Laberius: The Fragments
De orat. v. and J. Lawson, Mime: The theory and practice of expressive gesture with a description of its historical development (London ); T. Leabhart, Modern and post-modern mime (London ); and the articles in J. , Themes in Drama (Cambridge ). html. Among the numerous studies on the history of Roman mime see introduction in the edn of Bonaria –; Beacham Theatre –; Beare Stage –; Cicu Problemi; Duckworth Comedy –; Fantham Mime –; Giancotti Mimo –; Horsfall Mime –; Kehoe Adultery –; McKeown Elegy –; Nicoll Masks –; Rieks Mimus – and – (with bibliography); W¨ust Mimos –; and F.
I N T RO D U C T I O N the literary genre to which mime-plays belonged (Cic. Pro Cael. ), and (metaphorically) a hoax or sham or pretence which was staged at someone’s expense (Sen. Contr. Nauck), and by the fourth century BC we find it in the sense of ‘an actor’ (Dem. ) and ‘a form of drama’ (Arist. Po. b). Was the Roman mime a theatrical product imported from Greece? The significant literary contribution to the development of farcical comedy made by Sophron and Epicharmus in Sicily in the fifth century BC and by the erudite ‘Alexandrian’ poets Theocritus and Herodas in the third century BC, as well as the lively presence of mime-actors in the courts of Macedonian and Eastern royal palaces (Dem.
Even so, Cicero’s invective must contain at least a grain of truth, otherwise it would not have made sense in the context of the speeches. Cicero draws extensively on mime in order to create a detailed negative example for those wishing to achieve the ideal of the perfect orator. His instructions include constant warnings to future public speakers to avoid excessive mimicry, ‘for, if the imitation is exaggerated, it becomes a characteristic of mime-actors who portrayed characters, as also does obscenity’ (De orat.