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Callidus and Comedy: a New Argument for an Old Etymology
Published September 1, 2020

In the corpora of republican authors and the glosses of late antique grammarians, the lexemes callidus and calliditas are used to describe a certain variety of intelligence, which is often translated into English as “cleverness” or “cunning.” This paper looks more closely at these lexemes in order to explain how the ro...ot call- (“hard”) came to be associated with mental capacity and acuity. In short, I argue that the type of intelligence that callidus originally denoted ought to be linked to the brutal treatment of slaves and the coping mechanisms that they had to develop in light of their condition as chattel. Not only is this violent form of education depicted in Plautus’ comedies, but its implications and logic can also be found in later authors such as Cicero.

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The Comoedia Togata, a ‘Roman’ Literary Genre?
Published September 1, 2020

This paper aims to shed fresh light on the Togata. By analysing the extant fragments, I will investigate if and in what sense it may be defined as a ‘Roman’ literary genre. I will focus on its ‘Roman-ness’, and I will highlight that it is a complex concept, without the ‘nationalistic’ connotations that one normally gives to... the notion. I will demonstrate that the Togata is ‘Roman’ because it betrayed an attempt at creating a genre distinguished from the Palliata, and it had a widespread ‘Roman’ patina, with settings, names, and stereotypes which one would not find in other contemporary genres, in particular the Palliata. At the same time, I will also reflect on the fact that the Togata was a multifarious genre, with Latin, Italic, and Greek elements, and I will show that this was, paradoxically, another aspect of its ‘Roman-ness’.

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