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p512 Exodia

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D, F.R.S.E, Rector of the High School of Edinburgh,
on p512 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

EXO′DIA (ἐξόδια, from ἐξ and ὁδός) were old-fashioned and laughable interludes in verses, inserted in other plays, but chiefly in the Atellanae (Liv. VII.2). It is difficult to ascertain the real character of the exodia; but from the words of Livy we must infer that, although distinct from the Atellane, they were closely connected with them, and never performed alone. Hence Juvenal calls them exodium Atellanae (Sat. VI.71), and Suetonius (Tib. 45) exodium Atellanicum. They were, like the Atellanae themselves, played by young and well-born Romans, and not by the histriones. Since the time of Jos. Scaliger and Casaubon, the exodia have almost generally been considered as short comedies or farces which were performed after the Atellanae; and this opinion is founded upon the vague and incorrect statement of the Scholiast on Juvenal (Sat. III.174). But the words of Livy, exodia conserta fabellis, seem rather to indicate interludes, which, however, must not be understood as if they had been played between the acts of the Atellaneae, which would suggest a false idea of the Atellanae themselves. But as several Atellanae were performed on the same day, it is probable that the exodia were played between them. This supposition is also supported by the etymology of the word itself, which signified something ἐξ ὁδοῦ, extra viam, or something not belonging to the main subject, and thus is synonymous with ἐπεισόδιον. The play, as well as the name of exodium, seems to have been introduced among the Romans from Italian Greece; but after its introduction it appears to have become very popular among the Romans, and continued to be played down to a very late period (Sueton. Domit. 10).


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