Decimus Laberius

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Decimus Laberius (c. 105 BC – 43 BC) was a Roman eques and writer of mimes (farces).


Laberius seems to have been a man of caustic wit, who wrote for his own pleasure. In 46 BC, Julius Caesar ordered him to appear in one of his own plays in a public contest with the actor Publilius Syrus. Laberius pronounced a dignified prologue on the degradation thus thrust on his sixty years, and directed several sharp allusions against the dictator. Caesar awarded the victory to Publilius, but restored Laberius to his equestrian rank, which he had forfeited by appearing as a mimus. Laberius was the chief of those who introduced the mimus into Latin literature towards the close of the Republican period. He seems to have been a man of learning and culture, but his pieces did not escape the coarseness inherent to the class of literature to which they belonged; and Aulus Gellius accuses him of extravagance in the coining of new words. Horace speaks of him in terms of qualified praise.[1]


  1. ^ Public Domain One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Laberius, Decimus". Encyclopædia Britannica 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 3. 

Further reading[edit]

  • An edition and English translation of the surviving fragments of his work by Costas Panayotakis were published in January 2010 as no 46 in Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries (ISBN 978-0-521-88523-2).