Terence brought to the Roman stage a bright comic voice and a refined sense of style. His six comedies--first produced in the half dozen years before his premature death in 159 BCE--were imaginatively reformulated in Latin plays written by Greek playwrights, especially Menander. For this new Loeb Classical Library edition of Terence, John Barsby gives us a faithful and lively translation with full explanatory notes, facing a freshly edited Latin text.
Volume I contains a substantial introduction and three plays: The Woman of Andros, a romantic comedy; The Self-Tormentor, which looks at contrasting father-son relationships; and The Eunuch, whose characters include the most sympathetically drawn courtesan in Roman comedy. The other three plays are in Volume II: Phormio, a comedy of intrigue with an engaging trickster; The Mother-in-Law, unique among Terence's plays in that the female characters are the admirable ones; and The Brothers, which explores contrasting approaches to parental education of sons.
The Romans highly praised Terence--"whose speech can charm, whose every word delights," in Cicero's words. This new edition of his plays, which replaces the now outdated Loeb translation by John Sargeaunt (first published in 1912), succeeds in capturing his polished style and appeal.
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Andria (English: The Girl from Andros) is a comedy adapted and translated through history by Niccolò Machiavelli (see Andria (Machiavelli)), Terence, and Menander. It was both Machiavelli's and Terence's first forays into playwriting. Machiavelli adapted through translation from Terence's play, and Terence adapted through translation from Menander's play. It was first performed at Rome, about 170 BC. It was also the first of Terence's plays to be performed post-antiquity, in Florence in 1476. Heauton Timorumenos (The Self-Tormentor) has presented academics with some problems. Firstly it is not entirely clear whether Heauton Timorumenos is Terence's second or third play. More importantly, due to the scant survival of Menander's play of the same name, there is no simple way to judge how much Terence's version is translation and how much is invention. It is set in a village in the countryside of Attica. Eunuchus (The Eunuch) is a comedy written by the Roman playwright Terence featuring a complex plot of familial misunderstanding.