restricted access Thomas Francklin’s Minos: A Recently Discovered Imitation of Lucian from the 1770s


Thomas Francklin’s comic two-act play, Minos, was neither performed nor published and only known from Francklin’s correspondence with David Garrick in the 1770s. A manuscript of this play has recently come to light, filling in a gap in theater history and revealing the last significant imitation of Lucian in the eighteenth century. This article describes and analyzes the play and its satirical targets, contextualizes the play in Francklin’s oeuvre, and explains its relationship to other imitations and translations of Lucian. I suggest that one reason this play remained unperformed was that the combination of classical themes and performable drama found in Minos was no longer appealing to theater audiences, signaling the decline of classical imitation in the later eighteenth century.