were old-fashioned and laughable interludes in verses, inserted by the
Romans in other plays, but chiefly in the Atellanae (Liv.
). It is difficult to ascertain the real character of the
exodia; but from the words of Livy we must infer that, although distinct
from the Atellanae, they were closely connected with them, and never
performed alone. Hence Juvenal calls them exodium
Suetonius (Suet. Tib. 45
They were, like the Atellanae themselves, played by
young and well-born Romans, and not by the histriones. Since the time of
Jos. Scaliger and Casaubon, the exodia have almost generally been considered
as short comedies or farces which were performed after the Atellanae; and
this opinion is founded upon the vague and incorrect statement of the
Scholiast on Juvenal (Sat.
3.174). But the
words of Livy, exodia conserta fabellis,
rather to indicate interludes, which, however, must not be understood as if
they had been played between the acts of the
Atellanae, which would suggest a false idea of the Atellanae themselves. But
as several Atellanae were performed on the same day, it is probable that the
exodia were played between them. This supposition is also supported by the
etymology of the word itself, which signifies something ἐξ ὁδοῦ,
or something not belonging to the
main subject, and thus is synonymous with ἐπεισόδιον.
The play, as well as its name of exodium, seems
to have been introduced among the Romans from Italian Greece; but after its
introduction it appears to have become very popular among the Romans, and
continued to be played down to a very late period. (Sueton.
10.) Teuffel (Röm. Lit.,
§ 6, n. 4) considers the exodium to have been a comic play
performed after any serious piece, and at first to have had no special
connexion with the Atellanae. [COMOEDIA
p. 522 b.