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Publius Terentius Afer, comic playwright of the Roman Republic. His comedies were performed for the first time in the 160s, and he died young in 159 BC. He wrote 6 plays, all of which survive. His predecessor Plautus wrote 21 surviving plays.

Terence was a slave, later manumitted. He is commonly supposed to be from Carthage by birth, a supposition based on his approximate age and his cognomen, Afer, or "African".

Like Plautus, Terence adapted Greek plays from the late phases of Attic comedy. He was more than a translator, as modern discoveries of ancient Greek plays have confirmed. However, Terence's plays use a more convincingly 'Greek' setting rather than Romanizing the characters and the situation.

Terence worked to write natural conversational Latin, and most students who persevere long enough to be able to read him in Latin, find his style particularly pleasant and direct. He remained popular throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The mediaeval playwright Hroswitha of Gandersheim claims to have written her plays so that her nuns would spend less time reading Terence.

see also:

Latin literature

External link

The six plays of Terence at The Latin Library: http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/ter

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