The Music of Roman Comedy

Timothy J. Moore, The Meters of Roman Comedy

This database is dedicated to the memory of Cesare Questa (1934-2016), the incomparable master of Roman Comedy’s numeri innumeri, without whom it would not have been possible.

Introduction

This is a database of all metrical units (passages in an individual meter) in the extant plays of Plautus and Terence except for the fragmentary Vidularia.

Each record represents a metrical unit, or a passage in a single meter (these range from one verse to over 200 verses), and includes the following fields:

Fields immediately visible in each record:

Fields accessed by clicking "Notes" at the right of each record: (to hide the notes again, click on the box where they appear)

How to Use the Database

Always begin by clicking “Select All” under “Dimensions” in the upper left corner of the page.

To view Plautus and Terence’s metrical practice in its entirety:

Begin by clicking “Select All” under “Dimensions” in the upper left corner of the page.

Clicking on each of the dimensions in the left column will reveal the number of verses associated with each facet of each dimension.

You can also, if you wish, scroll through the metrical changes in all of Plautus and Terence. Note the page-changing controls at the upper right of the page, and click “Notes” to learn more details about each passage.

To examine the metrical features of an individual passage:

Begin by clicking “Select All” under “Dimensions” in the upper left corner of the page.

Click “Deselect All” under “Play” at the top of the page, then click on the play in which your passage occurs under “Play” in the left column. All the metrical units of the play you have chosen will appear, and you can scroll down to find the passage you are interested in. Click “Notes” to learn more details about the passage.

To study individual aspects of Plautus and Terence’s metrical practice:

Begin by clicking “Select All” under “Dimensions” in the upper left corner of the page.

Click “Deselect All” under the relevant dimension at the top of the page, then click the facet in which you are interested under that dimension on the left of the page.

Examples:

To view just the bacchiac meters in Roman Comedy, click “Deselect All” under “Meter Type” at the top of the page, then click “ba” under “Meter Type” on the left of the page. You will now see, for each facet of each dimension, the number of bacchiacs associated with that facet (e.g., you will see how many bacchiacs are delivered by each character and character type, and which meters come before and after bacchiacs); and each metrical unit including bacchiacs will appear.

To view the metrical practices of servi callidi, click “Deselect All” under “Character Type” at the top of the page, then click “servcal” under “Character Type” on the left of the page. You will now see, for each facet of each dimension, the number of verses delivered by servi callidi (e.g., you can see how many verses servi callidi deliver in each play, and how many verses of each meter and meter type they deliver); and each metrical unit in which servi callidi speak or sing will appear.

To study aspects of Plautus and Terence’s metrical practice in combination.

Begin by clicking “Select All” under “Dimensions” in the upper left corner of the page.

Click “Deselect All” under a dimension at the top of the page, then click the facet in which you are interested under that dimension on the left of the page; then repeat the process for each facet relevant to your search.

Examples:

To study the use of anapests by meretrices, click “Delect All” under “Character type” at the top of the page, then click “mer” under “Character Type” on the left of the page. Repeat the same process for “Meter Type” and “an.”

To study trochaic septenarii followed by trochaic octonarii in Terence, click “Deselect All” under “Playwright” at the top of the page, then click “Terence” under “Playwright” on the left of the page. Repeat this same process for “Meter” and “tr7” and then for “Meter After” and “tr8.”

For questions on the use of this database, contact tmoore26@wustl.edu.

Sources

Except where otherwise noted, the text and scansion of the verses described in this database derive from the following sources:

Plautus:

Text and scansion of all verses included in Caesar Questa (ed.), T. Macci Plauti Cantica (Urbino: QuattroVenti, 1995) derive from that work.

For passages of Plautus not included in Questa’s text:

Text: Friedrich Leo (ed.), Plauti Comoediae (Berlin: Weidmann, 1895-1896). Metrical identification: Wallace M. Lindsay (ed.), T. Macci Plauti Comoediae (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1904-1905)

Terence:

Text and metrical identification: Robert Kauer and Wallace M. Lindsay (eds.), P. Terenti Afri Comoediae (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1926, reprinted with additions by Otto Skutsch, 1958).


Decisions I made regarding the authenticity of questioned verses are noted throughout the database in the “comments, other” field, accessed by clicking “Notes” in each record. Note in particular that I did not include Stichus 48-57 or anything after verse 1331 of Poenulus (I believe both alternate endings are interpolations). I did not include the Vidularia or the fragments not attributed to extant plays, but I did include the fragments of Amphitruo, Aulularia, Bacchides, and Cistellaria.

This Database was created by Timothy J. Moore with technical assistance from William Porter of Polytrope LLC. Porter’s work was supported with funding from the Department of Classics and the College of Liberal Arts of the University of Texas at Austin. The database has been modified for web publication by the Humanities Digital Workshop and Olin Library of Washington University in St. Louis (my deepest gratitude to Kieran Etienne of Olin Library and Douglas W. Knox of the Humanities Digital Workshop). All material in this database is copyright Timothy J. Moore. It can be used for non-commercial purposes provided appropriate acknowledgment is included.

Abbreviations

Character Types

adul
adulescens (i.e., an adulescens who is not a lover: for total numbers of verses delivered by adulescentes, add “adul” and “adulama”).
adulama
adulescens amans
anc
ancilla
arg
argentarius
mat
matrona
mer
mercator
mulier
a woman who does not belong to a more specific character type such as matrona or meretrix; for total numbers of verses delivered by mortal women, add ancilla, anus, fidicina, lena, matrona, meretrix, mulier, nutrix, obstetrix, priestess, pseudo-meretrix, and virgo.
paed
paedagogus
par
parasite
pseudomer
pseudo-meretrix
sen
senes
serv
servus (i.e., a male slave who does not belong to a more specific character type such as servus callidus, servus bonus, paedagogus, coquus, or eunuchus)
servbon
servus bonus
servcal
servus callidus

Meter Types

adon
adonic
an
anapestic, anapest
as h
hemiasclepiad
ba
bacchiac
cat
catalectic
cho or chor
choriambic, choriamb
col
colon
colreiz
colon reizianum
cont
continuati
cr
cretic
da or dac
dactylic, dactyl
diph
diphilean
gl
glyconic
ia
iambic, iamb
ion
ionic
ith
ithyphallic
mol
molossus
proc
proceleusmatic
pros
prosodiac
reiz
reizianum or reizianus
sp
spondaic, spondee
sys
system
thy
thymelicus
tr
trochaic, trochee
tri
tribrach
versreiz
versus reizianus
wil
wilamowitzianus

Scholarly Works

Barsby
Barsby, J. (ed.) (1999) Terence: Eunuchus. Cambridge.
Beare
Beare, W. (1964) The Roman Stage. 3rd edn. London.
Boldrini
Boldrini, S. (1984) Gli anapesti di Plauto: metro e ritmo. Urbino.
Bruder
Bruder, H. W. (1970) Bedeutung und Funktion des Verswechsels bei Terenz. Zurich.
Dupont
Dupont, F. (1987) “Cantica et diverbia dans l’Amphitryon de Plaute,” in Filologia e forme letterarie: Studi offerti a Francesco Della Corte, vol. II. Urbino: 45-56.
Enk M
Enk, P. J. (ed.) (1932) Plauti Mercator. Leiden.
Enk T
Enk, P. J. (ed.) (1953) Plauti Truculentus. Leiden.
Gratwick CHLL
Gratwick, A. S. (1982) “Drama,” in The Cambridge History of Classical Literature, vol. II: Latin Literature, eds. E. J. Kenney and W. V. Clausen. Cambridge: 77-137.
Gratwick M
Gratwick, A. S. (ed.) (1993) Plautus: Menaechmi. Cambridge.
Law
Law, H. H. (1922) Studies in the Songs of Plautine Comedy. Menasha, Wis.
Leo
Leo F. (ed.). (1895-6) Plauti Comoediae. Berlin.
Leo Cant.
Leo, F. (1897) Die plautinischen Cantica und die hellenistische Lyrik. Abh. der könig. Ges. Göttingen, Phil.-Hist. Klasse 1.7. Berlin.
Lindsay
Lindsay, W. M. (ed.) (1904-1905) T. Macci Plauti Comoediae. Oxford.
Lindsay ELV
Lindsay, W. M. (ed.) (1922) Early Latin Verse. Oxford.
L-K or Lindsay-Kauer
Kauer R. and W. M. Lindsay (eds.), P. Terenti Afri Comoediae. Oxford (reprinted with additions by Otto Skutsch, 1958).
Martin
Martin, R. H. (ed.) (1976) Terence: Adelphoe. Cambridge.
Maurach
Maurach, G. (1961) “Kurzvers und System bei Terenz,” Hermes 89: 373-8.
Maurach P
Maurach, G. (ed.) (1988) Der Poenulus des Plautus. Heidelberg.
McCary and Willcock
McCary, W. T. and M. M. Willcock (eds.) (1976) Plautus: Casina. Cambridge.
Petersmann
Petersmann, H. (1973) T. Maccius Plautus: Stichus. Heidelberg.
Questa or Questa 1995
Questa, C. (ed.) (1995) Titi Macci Plauti Cantica. Urbino.
Questa Num.
Questa, C. (1984) Numeri innumeri: Ricerche sui cantica e la tradizione manoscritta di Plauto. Rome.
Questa 2001
Questa C. (ed.) (2001) Titus Maccius Plautus: Casina. Urbino.
Questa 2007
Questa C. (2007) La metrica di Plauto e di Terenzio. Ludus philologiae 16. Urbino.
Willcock
Willcock, M. M. (ed.) (1987) Plautus: Pseudolus. Oak Park, IL.
Woytek
Woytek, E. (1982) T. Maccius Plautus: Persa. Vienna.

Other

acc
accompanied, accompaniment
att
attribute
beg
beginning
clo
closure
dec
deception
dia
diaeresis
dub
dubitanter
eli
elision
enj
enjambment
excl
exclamation
l
long syllable
mon
monologue or monody
per
period
quest
question mark
reg
regular
res
resolution
s
short syllable

Other Resources

Users of this database are encouraged to consult the following publications by its author for further information on Plautus and Terence’s metrical choices: