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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Apollodorus of Carystus and the tradition of New Comedy Dwyer, Justin Scott


This dissertation examines the lasting impact of Apollodorus of Carystus in the tradition of New Comedy. Apollodorus was the most renowned Greek playwright to follow Menander, but he has been conspicuously overlooked in discussions on the fragmentary poets. Taking an integrative approach, this dissertation introduces his fragments into the wider discussion of New Comedy and considers his enduring contribution to the genre through the Latin adaptations of his work: Terence’s Hecyra and Phormio. After contextualizing Apollodorus in modern scholarship, his sources, and the Hellenistic world (Chapter 1), I address the thirty-two surviving fragments. My approach to the fragments (Chapter 2) is an exercise in conjectural criticism that informs a focused, interpretative commentary presented in a discursive format. This analysis builds towards a composite poetic identity of Apollodorus which proves that previous assumptions about Apollodorus as a slavish adherent to the style of Menander must be revisited and that traditional narratives about third-century comedy be re-examined. The following chapters examine Terence’s Hecyra and Phormio as sites of reception for Apollodorus in Rome. Chapter 3 provides a more complete understanding of how Hecyra, in conjunction with Terence’s Adelphoe, functioned at the funeral games of L. Aemilius Paullus in 160 BCE. A systematic comparative analysis of the two plays not only provides new insight into how the tandem production was meant to honor the deceased, but also shows that political and financial motivations were at work as well. Chapter 4 refocuses modern interpretations of the complex characterization of the title character of Phormio by applying a reception-studies approach to character analysis using ninth-century Carolingian miniatures as the guiding reception event. This analysis validates the modern understanding of Phormio as an amalgamation of several stock characters and introduces previously undetected elements of his character drawing. This study represents the first discursive commentary on this overlooked playwright to consider all the extant fragments. It offers an important response to the Menandrocentric model of Greek New Comedy and provides crucial insight into the afterlife of Apollodorus in Roman contexts, addressing critical gaps in the scholarship by applying new approaches to old evidence.

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