1. L. Afranius
, a Roman comic poet, who lived at the beginning of the first century B. C.
His comedies described Roman scenes and manners (Comoediae togatae
), and the subjects were mostly taken from the life of the lower classes. (Comoediae tabernariae.) They were frequently polluted with disgraceful amours, which, according to Quintilian, were only a representation of the conduct of Afranius. (10.1.100.)
He depicted, however, Roman life with such accuracy, that he is classed with Menander, from whom indeed he borrowed largely. (Hor. Ep. 2.1. 57
; Macr. 6.1
; Cic. de Fin.
He imitated the style of C. Titius, and his language is praised by Cicero. (Brut.
45.) His comedies are spoken of in the highest terms by the ancient writers, and under the empire they not only continued to be read, but were even acted, of which an example occurs in the time of Nero. (Vell. 1.17
; Cell. 13.8; Suet. Nero 11
.) They seem to have been well known even at the latter end of the fourth century. (Auson. Epigr.
71.) Afranius must have written a great many comedies, as the names and fragments of between twenty and thirty are still preserved.
The fragments have been published by Bothe, Poet. Lat. Scenic. Fragmenta,
and by Neukirch, De fibula togata Roman.