The earlier generation of dramatic poets, such as Livius Andronicus, Gnaeus Naevius and Quintus Ennius, composed both tragedies and comedies. Titus Maccius Plautus was the first poet to break with this tradition and dedicate his entire theatrical career to the composition of comedies, thus signaling his return to an older tradition of Greek playwrights who wrote either comedies or tragedies. His plays constitute the earliest extant comic literature that survives complete. Along with Terence, the other Roman comic playwright whose works have come down to us, Plautus has had the strongest influence on the development of western comedy.

There is much uncertainty surrounding Plautus’ life. He was born in about 254 BCE, in the Umbrian town of Sarsina. At line 796 in Mostellaria (The Haunted

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Citation: Frangoulidis, Stavros. "Titus Maccius Plautus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 October 2006; last revised 18 November 2009. [, accessed 25 July 2024.]

3581 Titus Maccius Plautus 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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