The New International Encyclopædia/Terence
TER′ENCE (Publius Terentius Afer) (c.185–c.159 B.C.). A Roman writer of comedies. He was born at Carthage, and was perhaps of African (not Phœnician) origin. He was brought to Rome and there became the slave of the Roman senator Publius Terentius Lucanus. who, out of regard for his handsome person and unusual talents, gave him a good education, and finally manumitted him. On his manumission, he assumed his patron's prænomen and nomen. His first play was the Andria, which was put upon the stage in B.C. 166. Its success was immediate, and introduced its author to the most refined society of Rome, where his engaging address and accomplishments made him a particular favorite. His chief patrons were Lælius and the younger Scipio, after living with whom in great intimacy for some years in Rome he went to Greece, where he spent a year in studying the Greek comedies of Menander, Diphilus, Apollodorus, and others, and adapting them in Latin for the Roman stage. He never returned; and the accounts of how he came by his death are conflicting. He is supposed to have died by drowning in B.C. 159. Six comedies are extant under the name of Terentius, which arc perhaps all he produced: Andria, Hecyra, Heauton-timoroumenos, Eunuchus, Phormio, and Adelphi. Terence preserved a sort of charmed life throughout the dark ages when classical literature was almost forgotten, and on the revival of letters was studied as a model by the most accomplished playwrights. His language is pure, almost immaculate, and though inferior to Plautus in comic power, he is more than his match in consistency of plot and character, in tenderness, in wit, and in metrical skill. The best editions are those of Wagner (Cambridge, 1869), Umpfenbach (Berlin, 1870), Dziatzko (Leipzig, 1884), and Fleckeisen (ib., 1901). There are good English translations by Colman (London, 1841) and Riley (New York, 1859).