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Atta, T. Quinctius

a Roman comic poet, of whom very little more is known than that he died at Rome in B. C. 78, and was buried at the second milestone on the Praenestine road. (Hieronym. in Euseb. Chron. Ol. 175, 3.) His surname Atta was given him, according to Festus (s. v.), from a defect in his feet, to which circumstance many commentators suppose that Horace alludes in the lines (Ep. 2.1. 79),
Recte, necne, crocum floresque perambulet Attae
Fabula, si dubitem
but the joke is so poor and far-fetched, that we are unwilling to father it upon Horace. It appears, however, from this passage of Horace, that the plays of Atta were very popular in his time. Atta is also mentioned by Fronto (p. 95, ed. Rom.); but the passage of Cicero (pro Sestio, 51), in which his name occurs, is evidently corrupt.


The comedies of Atta belonged to the class called by the Roman grammarians togatae tabernariac (Diomedes, iii. p. 487, ed. Putsch), that is, comedies in which Roman manners and Roman persons were introduced. The titles and a few fragments of the following plays of Atta have come down to us:


The fragments of Atta are collected by Bothe, in Poet. Scen. Lat. vol. v. par. ii. p. 97, &c.; compare Weichert, Poet. Lat. Reliquiae, p. 345.

Further Information

Macr. 2.14); Tiro Proficiscens. (Priscian, viii. p. 828.)

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78 BC (1)
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    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 7.9
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