Theatre History: Roman Theatre

The history of theatre starting from 6th Century BCE towards the end of the Italian Renaissance; includes names, dates, events, and other significant items.



366 BC

public games held for the benefit and entertainment of the Roman people, began around the 2nd century BC
sometimes held in conjunctions with Roman religious festivals, presented as part of the cult of state
Ludy Romani began in 366BC

Roman Theatre

240 BC

became popular in 3rd century BC, included festival performances, street theatre, and acrobatics
first experienced it in 4th century BC
first dramas started in 240 BC


126 BC - 062 BC

a slave born in Lavigra who became a famous actor
believed that the highest art lies in moderation, not clown-like antics
had manly features
had grace and elegance on stage, excelled in comedy
was a paid actor (1000 denarii=21000 [2005])


080 BC - 015 BC

1st century Roman author of De Architectura, the 5th book of which includes "How to Construct a Roman Playhouse", rediscovered in the Renaissance


004 BC - 065 AD

stoic philosopher who wrote Latin versions of Medea, Phaedra, Agamemnon, and Oedipus

(Julius) Pollux

0180 AD - 0238 AD

second century AD writer who gives detailed descriptions of the different masks worn by the actors of Greek comedy


529 AD

ancient Roman culture, infamia was a loss of legal or social standing
official exclusion from the legal protections enjoyed by a Roman citizen
started by Justinian I