Ethics Of Publilius Syrus

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There is a minimal amount of background information about Publilius Syrus in history, and few know of his name, yet he still made a historic imprint with the few discovered pieces from his mines. From what historians have gathered, Publilius had an interesting life and was a brilliant man. He is mostly famously known by the collection of sentences and sayings from his mimes, the collection was titled The Sententiae. From The Sententiae, a reader can learn about the ethics of ancient Rome and be introduced to mines; “a dominant genre in Roman theater....”(Roman Period Theatre Vasiliki Karakitsou). Not only that, but as a reader, I was able to make connections with the ethics and morals of ancient Rome to the ones held in society today. Researching…show more content…
Though there is no evidence that he was born into slavery. Historians suppose that he became one when his native country, Syria, was turned into a Roman province. Around 64 B.C. Pompey had disposed of the monarchy that resided in Syria and reconstituted it as a Roman province (Pompey in the East). It is believed that Publilius Syrus was brought to Rome by Domitius -an officer of the Roman army- soon after the reconstitution of Syria and that Publilius was about twelves years old at the time. This is also when he received the name Syrus, following the custom of giving slaves a praenomen derived from their original province. Publilius was described as, “ [being] fair, and well formed, of lively wit, and at repartee” (L.E. Bernard, 1856). When Publilius Syrus was presented to a new master, the affair is described to have occurred the following…show more content…
Laberius has produced one of the firsts mimetic poems, and he sought to use mimes for a new purpose; “He made the theater a school of morals, and a vehicle of political satire; and… he sprinkled them with biting epigrams designed to hit the all-powerful Caesar” (L.E. Bernard, 1856). Publilius Syrus worked hard to create mimetic poems himself, written in prose, and he quickly established himself as famous performer and actor. He quickly gained fame with his lengthy and philosophic work and brilliant performances, and there is one story that states that his fame had reached Rome and he had gathered Caesar’s attention. After Caesar was elected, he decided to provide a public festival to celebrate. In the festival, Caesar has invited a multitude of beloved and well known authors, Publilius Syrus was one of them. Publilius Syrus decided to challenge the other poets in the festival to a contest of wits and surprisingly he beat all of them, including his role model Laverius. Sadly, not one of Publilius Syrus’ completed works have been found, only sentences and fragments of his poems. This is why The Sententia is used as an insight to the writing style and message of Publilius Syrus’

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