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Terence – Plays – Roman literature

By | 2017-09-04T08:18:04+00:00 September 4th, 2017|Africa, Literature, Romans|

A page from a manuscript of Terence, written about 825 AD (now in the Vatican) Terence was born about 185 BC, soon after the end of the Second Punic War. His whole name was Publius Terentius Afer. Because he has "Afer" (which means Africa) as part of his name, people think he may have come [...]

Plautus – Roman plays – ancient Rome

By | 2017-09-04T00:45:19+00:00 September 4th, 2017|Literature, Romans|

Actors in ancient Rome During the Roman Republic, when the Romans first began to go to plays, there weren't any plays written in Latin, only plays in Greek. Plautus (PLAW-tuss or PLOW-tuss) was one of the first people who wrote plays in Latin for these Roman audiences, in the late 200s BC (about the time of the Second Punic [...]

Puritans – American religion

By | 2017-08-14T15:33:52+00:00 August 14th, 2017|Modern Europe, North America, Religion|

A Puritan family about 1563 About 1563 AD, some people in England decided that they wanted to follow a way of life that they thought would be more according to what the Christian God wanted. They called themselves "the godly", but other people called them "Puritans." Puritan people, like Calvinists, thought only God decided whether you got into Heaven. [...]

William Shakespeare – Plays – England

By | 2017-08-06T18:46:51+00:00 August 6th, 2017|Literature, Modern Europe|

William Shakespeare In 1600 AD, in the time of Queen Elizabeth, it was still a pretty new thing to write anything in English rather than Latin. William Shakespeare took advantage of the Renaissance. Scholars had translated Greek and Latin plays into Italian and English. Nore and more people were reading them. Everyone was excited [...]

Plot of the Trojan Women – Euripides

By | 2017-07-11T03:16:58+00:00 July 11th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Cassandra dragged away from the altar (House of Menander, Pompeii, ca. 70 AD) Euripides lived in ancient Athens. He wrote the Trojan Women in 415 BC during the Peloponnesian War. This was just after the Athenians had killed every man on the island of Melos, and enslaved all the women and children. The play [...]

Who was Sophocles? Greek playwright

By | 2017-07-11T02:04:27+00:00 July 11th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Papyrus with part of Sophocles' play Antigone written on it Aeschylus is the first playwright whose plays survive, but Sophocles (ca. 496-406 BC) is the second. Sophocles lived at the same time as Aeschylus, but he was younger and he lived longer. He died at the age of about 100, right before the [...]

Phaedra’s suicide – Euripides’ Phaedra

By | 2017-07-11T01:46:43+00:00 July 11th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Hippolytus drives his chariot away (Southern Italy, ca. 350 BC) So the clueless chorus is singing about the need for love and balance in people's lives. But suddenly the slave runs in to say that Phaedra has hanged herself! The slave finds a suicide note Phaedra wrote which accuses Hippolytus of raping her, [...]

Phaedra and Hippolytus – Euripides

By | 2017-07-10T04:01:32+00:00 July 10th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Phaedra falls in love with the hunter Hippolytus (Pompeii, ca. 79 AD) Phaedra is a play written by the Greek playwright Euripides. It is concerned with dike, justice, but also with sophrosyne, or control: how do people control themselves? When should they control themselves? Is control always good? In this way, the play [...]

Oedipus at Colonus – Sophocles

By | 2017-07-10T03:58:35+00:00 July 10th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

A later painting of Antigone and Oedipus, by Camille Felix Bellanger, in the 1800s. Oedipus at Colonus is a play written by Sophocles. It tells the story of what happened to Oedipus after he left Thebes. Oedipus is old now, and he's blind, because he pulled out his own eyes. His daughter (and [...]

Oedipus Rex – Sophocles – Summary and Themes

By | 2017-12-24T15:29:59+00:00 July 10th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Oedipus Rex: The shepherd tells his story to Oedipus, while Jocasta listens in horror (now in the Getty Museum) Sophocles wrote this very famous play in the 400s BC. It is mainly about fate, and how men do not control their own fate, no matter how much they try. It's about accepting that [...]