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Is it really true that Terence only wrote 6 plays? How do we know this? jguk 22:08, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)


I recently heard that the first German translation of some of Terence's works was by Felix Mendelssohn, but I couldn't find anything on Google about it. Is this true? JackofOz 08:30, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Question has been answered - see Mendelssohn's talk page. JackofOz 11:24, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

ay ay ay[edit]

This article reeks of pov, man... Gonna trim the fat, unless someone else does.--Ioshus(talk) 02:36, 14 November 2006 (UTC)


I wonder whether the dates of Terence's birth, death and of his play's performances are correct... If he was really born in the 2nd century, how could his plays have been performed before Christ??! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ib2000 (talkcontribs) 17:42, 8 December 2006 (UTC).

He was born in the 2nd century BC (201-101BC). Not all scholars agree on the borth and death dates. I've included the 2 most prominent views about his borth date, with sources from respected scholars, so as to reflect where about the academic community stands in this issue. His death date depends heavily on his birth date. there are two views regarding this: that he died in the age of 25, the other on 35 (with the first been considered most probable, taking into account the ammount of his work). in this case, there are 4 possible dates: 195BC - 25 or 35, 185BC -25 or 35. Hectorian 21:05, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Origin and Translation of Homo Sum Quote[edit]

"Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto" is the latin translation of a greek line from a play by New Comedy playwright Menandros that Terence adapted. It's not his own creation. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 14:44, 5 March 2007 (UTC).

Shouldn't "Homo sum, humani nil a me alienum puto" be translated as "I am a human person, I consider nothing that is human alien to me"? Wasn't the Latin "homo" non-gender specific until the development of Romance languages? Or am I being too optimistic? See also: --Dawnfrenzy (talk) 05:32, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

The quote, borrowed from Menander, may have originated in a lighthearted vein -- as a comic rationale for an old man's meddling -- but it quickly became a proverb and throughout the ages was quoted with a deeper meaning, by Cicero and Saint Augustine, to name a few, and most notably by Seneca:

"Homo sum: humani nihil a me alienum puto.",“I am a man: and I deem nothing pertaining to man is foreign to me.” The words of the comic playwright P. Terentius Afer reverberated across the Roman world of the mid-second century BC and beyond. Terence, an African and a former slave, was well placed to preach the message of universalism, of the essential unity of the human race, that had come down in philosophical form from the Greeks, but needed the pragmatic muscles of Rome in order to become a practical reality. The influence of Terence’s felicitous phrase on Roman thinking about human rights can hardly be overestimated. Two hundred years later Seneca ended his seminal exposition of the unity of mankind with a clarion-call:

There is one short rule that should regulate human relationships. All that you see, both divine and human, is one. We are parts of the same great body. Nature created us from the same source and to the same end. She imbued us with mutual affection and sociability, she taught us to be fair and just, to suffer injury rather than to inflict it. She bid us extend or hands to all in need of help. Let that well-known line be in our heart and on our lips: Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.

–Richard Bauman, Human Rights in Ancient Rome (Routledge Classical Monographs, 1999), page 1.

A nineteenth-century edition of Terence's "The Self-Tormentor" in which the line appears, has this annotation:

"Homo sum: humani nihil a me alienum puto." St. Augustine says, that at the delivery of this sentiment, the theater resounded with applause; and deservedly, indeed, for it is replete with the very essence of benevolence and disregard of self. Cicero quotes the passage in his work De Officiis, B. i., c. 9. The remarks of Sir Richard Steele [1672-71729] upon this passage, in The Spectator, No. 502 [1712][1], are worthy to be transcribed at length. "The Play was "The Self-Tormentor". It is from the beginning to the end a perfect picture of human life, but I did not observe in the whole one passage that could raise a laugh. How well-disposed must that people be, who could be entertained with satisfaction by so sober and polite mirth! In the first Scene of the Comedy, when one of the old men accuses the other of impertinence for interposing in his affairs, he answers, 'I am a man, and can not help feeling any sorrow that can arrive at man.' It is said this sentence was received with an universal applause. There can not be a greater argument of the general good understanding of a people, than their sudden consent to give their approbation of a sentiment which has no emotion in it [i.e., expresses an abstract idea]. If it were spoken with ever so great skill in the actor, the manner of uttering that sentence could have nothing in it which could strike any but people of the greatest humanity—nay, people elegant and skillful in observation upon it. It is possible that he may have laid his hand on his heart, and with a winning insinuation in his countenance, expressed to his neighbor that he was a man who made his case his own; yet I will engage, a player in Covent Garden might hit such an attitude a thousand times before he would have been regarded."--The Comedies of Terence(Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2006), page 290.

Mballen (talk) 16:39, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Et Nihil Humanum?[edit]

Anyone know why the quote "homo sum" was quoted in a different form by Dostoyevsky ("But you've only to assume that I, too, am a man /et nihil humanum/", Crime and Punishment [2]; "Сатана sum et nihil humanum", The Brothers Karamazov [3])? Does this have to do with Latin grammar, or is there a variant translation of the quote? Puddleglum 16:59, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

In the original, "homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto", "humanus" is a noun in the genitive, which sounds more naturally Latin to me. It literally means "nothing of human [of human design/make/whatever]". But that is unnatural in English, where we would translate it as "nothing human". I don't know any Russian but perhaps it is more natural there as well. "Humanum" is then an adjective which agrees with the accusative "nihil" and "alienum" in the accusative infinitive construction. I see results for both versions on Google although "humani" appears much more often. Adam Bishop (talk) 14:50, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Real or unreal?[edit]

A sentence in this article reads, "A phrase from Terence's musicla collaborator is the only remaining fragment of ancient Roman music extant. This has recently been shown to be inauthentic." (1) If it is inauthentic, it is not a survival. (2) Lacking any comparitive data, how do we know it is inauthentic? Bigturtle 23:25, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 14:49, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Is this the cited work?[edit]

The Internet Archive has a book] that looks like Donatus's work cited in the article. I want to make sure it really is, and if so to link to it. Can somebody tell? trespassers william (talk) 00:58, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it seems to be the same. Adam Bishop (talk) 14:43, 28 December 2007 (UTC)


  • I'm a fan of infoboxes and put them on every page I can. But I see others of you don't like them. Is there a consensus on whether this page should have an infobox? Aristophanes68 (talk) 23:35, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

Link to Bellamira (play)[edit]

There is now a link to Sir Charles Sedley's play Bellamira: or, The Mistress which is partly modelled on Terence's Eunuchus. Dalmatiner Henry (talk) 12:18, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

'Homo' again[edit]

In contemporary English, homo here has to be translated as "human being" or perhaps "person." Homines in Latin means "people." The gendered "man" is an artifact of English translation practices in the Victorian era. Latin is not ambiguous about this: the word for "man" is vir (as in English "virile"). I can inundate you with a thousand footnotes if you like, but if we're giving a literal translation, "human being" is required in English to create the parallelism in Latin between homo and humanus. (That Terence probably meant the line to be funny, since a busybody utters it, is incidental to its place in the classical tradition as a saying.) Homo sum and Vir sum register in Latin quite differently. If we translate homo sum as "I'm a man," then we have no way in English to distinguish Vir sum, which really does mean "I'm a man." Basically, the first definition of homo in the Oxford Latin Dictionary is "human being (of either sex)", and this line is given as the first example of usage. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:52, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Removed outdated Claim and Reference.[edit]

I took out By borrowing from earlier Greek works, Terence provided in his plays what is considered to be an authentic view of Greek society in the 3rd century BC.[1]

You will notice that it is from the 1911; this idea is not in the updated Britannica, which reads, "scholars have been preoccupied with the question of the extent to which Terence was an original writer, as opposed to a mere translator of his Greek models. Positions on both sides have been vigorously maintained." <>

Calling the point "outdated" is siding with one viewpoint. More precisely, the matter is still a point of debate among academicians, so what is required are sourced statements to illustrate both viewpoints, rather than the removal of the one. On Wikisource, we have now added the entries on Terence from the DGRBM, the 1911 EB, and Collins' book on Plautus and Terence. These should provide ample access to the scholarship through the end of the 19th century, as they frequently quote (critically) the Classical, Medieval, Renaissance, and early Modern scholarship on the subject. --EncycloPetey (talk) 04:56, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
    • ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume XXVI. Cambridge: University Press, 1911. pp. 639-41.