Terentius, Publius Afer

According to the encyclopedia from my parents (translated in English by me):
Terentius, Publius (190 - 159 B.C.), Roman poet, came as slave from Carthage to Rome, was later released. Six comedies he wrote are known, compiled from Greek examples: Andria, Heautontimoroumenos, Eunuchus, Phormio, Hecyra, Adelphi.
Some more information on Terence can be found on a (very large: 130kb!) page about Plautus, Terence, and Cicero by Sanderson Beck. It gives a summary of the plays too -- they sound terribly complicated and confusing to me, with lots of characters and intrigues.

===> copy of the part about Terentius by Sanderson Beck (12 kb).


From a page where I found the French translation and from my Dutch dictionary I understand that the citation I give ["Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto"] originates Heautontimoroumenos (The Self-Tormentor), and that this expresses the feeling of human solidarity. Sanderson Beck writes in the part about the The Self-Tormentor:

Chremes (...) makes the wonderful humanist statement that being human he is concerned about anything human.
See this extract from a translation by Betty Radice (Penguin, 1965) for the use of the citation in the text.

The translation of the Latin "Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto" into "I am a human begin, so nothing homan is strange to me" is thus maybe not exactly correct, but then I have also found slightly different English versions -- see the page about the source of the translations.


The encyclopedia of a friend writes this about Terentius and his works (translated in English by me):

Terentius, Publius Afer (Carthage ca. 190 B.C. - ca. 160) Latin comedy writer. He was a released slave from senator Terentius Lucanus, hence his family name. He had close contacts with the philhellenean circle of the Scipions, who favoured a sophisticated humanism.
      There remain six comedies written by Terentius, namely Andria (The Woman of Andros), Heautontimoroumenos (The Self-Tormentor), Eunuchus (The Eunuch), Phormio (A Parasite), Hecyra (The Mother-in-Law), Adelphi (The Brothers). With regard to the contents the works of Terentius differ from the scheme f the Greek "new" comedy and the Roman epigones. They have an intricate plot, with at the centre a generation conflict. The personages are usually narrow-minded old men, thriftless youths, roguish slaves and clever courtesans. The situations are Greek, the scene is situates abroad. The essential features of Terentius' plays are a strong sensitivity for psychological nuances, respect for the personality and attention for the the emotional life. His language is refined and elegant.
      The art of Terentius was for Rome a novelty, and earn only little approval due to lack of "vis comica", the comical power, which was the most important gift of Plautus.

The Web site http://www.encyclopedia.com/ gives a little of information on lots of authors of books this company tries to sell. About Terentius:

Terence (Publius Terentius Afer), c. 185 or 195 - c. 159 B.C., Roman writer of comedy; b. Carhtage. Six of his comedies survice, freely adapted from the Greek plays of Menander and others. Polished and urban, they are characterized by gentle humor and realistic characterization.
From that site I learned that Plautus lived c. 254 - 184 B.C., and that Menander lived c. 342 - c. 291 B.C.


===> Some more encyclopedia extracts about Terentius


The Giga-USA.com website gives a large list of citations of Terentius

I found the Web sites I mention above on this page in Canada, which lists more book sites on the Web. And if you do a search on, say, Yahoo for "Terentius" you get a lot more, though most of this is not directly relevant.

<=== Page about the Terentius citation

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created: 4 November 1998
last modified: 18 February 2004