About the book:
2 volumes bound in 1. The first volume is on Juvenal, and the second, Plautus and Terence. They contain commentary on the life and times of ancient Rome, with selected excerpts from the various writers. They are not a compendium of works by the aforementioned Roman authors. Nevertheless a good and fairly scarce commentary/criticism of Juvenal, Plautus and Terence. See pictures for contents.
About Juvenal (from Wikipedia):
Juvenal was a Roman poet active in the late 1st and early 2nd century AD, author of the Satires. The details of the author’s life are unclear, although references within his text to known persons of the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD fix his terminus post quem (earliest date of composition).
In accord with the manner of Lucilius—the originator of the genre of Roman satire—and within a poetic tradition that also included Horace and Persius, Juvenal wrote at least 16 poems in dactylic hexameter covering an encyclopedic range of topics across the Roman world. While the Satires are a vital source for the study of ancient Rome from a vast number of perspectives, their hyperbolic, comic mode of expression makes the use of statements found within them as simple fact problematic. At first glance the Satires could be read as a critique of pagan Rome, perhaps ensuring their survival in Christian monastic scriptoria, a bottleneck in preservation when the large majority of ancient texts were lost.
About Plautus (from Wikipedia):
Titus Maccius Plautus (254 – 184 BC), commonly known as “Plautus”, was a Roman playwright of the Old Latin period. His comedies are the earliest surviving intact works in Latin literature. He wrote Palliata comoedia, the genre devised by the innovator of Latin literature, Livius Andronicus. The word Plautine refers to both Plautus’s own works and works similar to or influenced by his.
The historical context within which Plautus wrote can be seen, to some extent, in his comments on contemporary events and persons. Plautus was a popular comedic playwright while Roman theatre was still in its infancy and still largely undeveloped. At the same time, the Roman Republic was expanding in power and influence.
About Terence (from Wikipedia):
Terence was a playwright of the Roman Republic, of North African descent. His comedies were performed for the first time around 170–160 BC. Terentius Lucanus, a Roman senator, brought Terence to Rome as a slave, educated him and later on, impressed by his abilities, freed him. Terence apparently died young, probably in Greece or on his way back to Rome. All of the six plays Terence wrote have survived.
One famous quotation by Terence reads: “Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto”, or “I am a human being, I consider nothing that is human alien to me.” This appeared in his play Heauton Timorumenos.