Accius, Principles for Playwrights

LCL 314: 588-589

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This work, like the Didasealica, dealt with the stage and ran into several books; it was written, however, in septenarii. (But cf. Havet, Rev. d. Phil. XV, 131.) The term πραγματικά was normally used in the Roman period to denote the contents

Liber I


Nonius, 156, 3: ‘Ponderitatem’ a pondere ut gravitatem. Accius Pragmaticon lib. I—

et cuncta fieri cetera inbecilla ob ponderitatem gravitatemque nominis.

Ex Incertis Libris


Nonius, 150, 11: ‘Perperos,’ indoctos, stultos, rudis, insulsos, mendaces. Accius Pragmaticis—

describere in theatro perperos popularis.

Idem eodem—

et eo plectuntur poetae quam suo vitio saepius ductabilitate animi nimia vestra aut perperitudine.

  • 2ob . . . nominis Madvig non quod . . . hominis cdd. imbecilla nunc | ob p. Havet
  • 5et eo cdd. ideo Iun.


Principles for Playwrights

of a treatise on the right methods of preparing public speeches, so that here Accius may have discussed the different sorts of style and diction suitable for stage-plays (cf. Immisch, Philol., LXIX, 59 ff.; Norden, Rh. Mus., XLVIII, 531 ff.).

Book I


Nonius: ‘Ponderitatem.’ From pondus, and used like ‘gravitatem.’ Accius in the first book of Principles for Playwrights

And all the rest to become feeble stuff Because of the name’s ponderousness and weightiness.

Unassigned Fragments


The function of comic poets; the faults of spectators:

Nonius: ‘Perperos,’ unlearned, silly, rude, tasteless, liars. Accius in Principles for Playwrights

to portray upon the stage The common crowd of tasteless folk.

The same poet in the same work—

And it’s for this that poets get a trouncing, Through your minds’ too great gullibility Or tastelessness more often than their fault.

  • 6animi add. Onions aut d. nimia Hermann ductei vilitate n. Quich.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.accius-principles_playwrights.1936