Menander's Theophoroumene between Greece and Rome


This article identifies and discusses a fragmentary fresco (Ufficio Scavi di Pompei 20545), which is of interest to scholars of both ancient drama and music. This panel, which reproduces an excerpt of the climactic scene of Menander's Theophoroumene, provides new and early evidence for the process of manipulation of the Early-Hellenistic archetype of this illustration. In particular, the gigantic pipe it features can be better identified as a Roman tibia than a Greek aulos. Re-elaborated and variously adjusted, the Theophoroumene boasts a rich visual record which is in stark contrast with the overall poor survival of this play as a text. Our sources for the ancient reception of this comedy point to the independence of its iconographic tradition from both its performance tradition and its textual transmission.