I. Publius Terentius Afer, Karthagine natus, serviit Romae Terentio Lucano senatori, a quo ob ingenium et formam non institutus modo liberaliter sed et mature manumissus est. Quidam captum esse existimant, quod fieri nullo modo potuisse Fenestella docet, cum inter finem secundi Punici belli et initium tertii natus sit et1 mortuus; nec si a Numidis et Gaetulis captus sit, ad ducem2 Romanum pervenire potuisse, nullo commercio inter Italicos et Afros nisi post deletam Karthaginem coepto. Hic cum multis nobilibus familiariter vixit, sed maxime cum Scipione Africano et C.3 Laelio. Quibus etiam corporis gratia conciliatus existimatur, quod et ipsum Fenestella arguit, contendens utroque maiorem natu fuisse, quamvis et Nepos aequales omnes fuisse tradat et Porcius suspicionem de consuetudine per haec faciat:Source of text: Donatus’ Commentary on Terence. Suetonian authorship: attested by Donatus.
The Life of Terence
I. Publius Terentius Afer, born at Carthage, was the slave at Rome of Terentius Lucanus, a senator, who because of the young man’s talent and good looks not only gave him a liberal education, but soon set him free. Some think that he was taken in war, but Fenestella shows that that could not possibly be, since Terence was born and died between the end of the second Punic war and the beginning of the third;1 and even if he had been taken by the Numidians and Gaetulians, he could not have come into the hands of a Roman general, since commerce between the Italic and the African races did not begin until after the destruction of Carthage.2 He lived on intimate terms with many men of high rank, in particular with Scipio Africanus and Gaius Laelius. It is even thought that he won the favour of these two men by his youthful beauty, but Fenestella denies this too, maintaining that he was older than either of them. Nepos, however, writes that they were all three of an age, and Porcius rouses a suspicion of too great intimacy in the following words: