prologusne quoi sit vostrum mirum quor partis seni poeta dederit quae sunt adulescentium, id primum dicam, deinde quod veni eloquar. ex integra Graeca integram comoediam 5hodie sum acturus Heauton Timorumenon, duplex quae ex argumento factast simplici. novam esse ostendi et quae esset. nunc qui scripserit et quoia Graeca sit, ni partem maxumam existumarem scire vostrum, id dicerem. 10nunc quam ob rem has partis didicerim paucis dabo. oratorem esse voluit me, non prologum. vostrum iudicium fecit, me actorem dedit, si hic actor tantum poterit a facundia quantum ille potuit cogitare commode 15qui orationem hanc scripsit quam dicturus sum. nam quod rumores distulerunt malevoli multas contaminasse Graecas dum facit paucas Latinas, factum id esse hic non negat
- 13si Bentley, sed codd.
Some of you may be wondering why the playwright has given to an old man 6 a role usually reserved for the young. I will explain that first, and then deliver the speech I have come to deliver. Today I am about to perform a fresh comedy from a fresh Greek play, “The Self-Tormentor,” a double play based on a single plot. 7 I have revealed that it is a new play and given you its name; I would tell you who wrote it and the author of the Greek original, but I judge that most of you know this already. 8
Now I will explain briefly why I have taken on this role. The playwright wanted me as an advocate, not as a prologue speaker. He has turned this into a court, with me to act on his behalf. I only hope that the eloquence of the actor can do justice to the aptness of the arguments which the writer of this speech has contrived to put together.
Malicious people have spread rumours to the effect that the playwright has contaminated 9 many Greek plays while creating few Latin ones. He does not deny that this is so; he does not regret
- 6This prologue was evidently spoken by Ambivius Turpio, as was that of the third performance of The Mother-in-Law (see Introduction).
- 7On the problem caused by this line see Introductory Note.
- 8The implication is that these details were posted on notices by the aediles who were in charge of the games.
- 9On “contamination” see Introduction.