Comedy and the Rise of Rome

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Comedy and the Rise of Rome invites the reader to consider Roman comedy in the light of history and Roman history in the light of comedy. Plautus and Terence base their dramas on the New Comedy of fourth- and third-century BC Greece. Yet many of the themes with which they engage are peculiarly alive in the Rome of the Hannibalic war, and the conquest of Macedon. This study takes issues as diverse as the legal status of the prisoner of war, the ethics of ambush, fatherhood and command, and the clash of maritime and agrarian economies, and examines responses to them both on the comic stage and in the world at large. This is a substantially new departure in ways of thinking about Roman comedy and one that opens it up to a far wider public than has previously been the case.