Terence (Publius Terentius Afer), a Roman comic poet, born in Carthage about 195 B. G, died about 159. He became a slave of P. Terentius Lucanus, a Roman senator, who gave him an excellent education, and finally freed him. The Andria, his first play, was acted in 166, and its success introduced him into the best society of Rome, Laelius and the younger Scipio being among his associates. Later in life he went to Greece, and there translated 108 of Menander's comedies. The manner of his death is uncertain, though the common account ascribes it to grief at the loss of all his translations of Menander. Six of his comedies are extant, and besides the Andria (" The Woman of Andros"), the plot of which was adopted by Steele in his "Conscious Lovers," there are Hecyra ("The Stepmother"), produced in 165; Heauton - Timoroumenos ("The Self-Tormentor"), produced in 163; Eunuchus ("The Eunuch"), the most popular of his plays, for which he received 8,000 sesterces, produced in 162; Phormio, produced in 162; and Adelphi ("The Brothers"), acted first in 160. - The dramas of Terence all belong to the fabula palliata, and with the exception of the last two were first performed at the Megalesian games.
The plots were borrowed from Menander. Terence's Latinity is elegant, and his works have been handed down in a very correct state. There have been numerous imitations of his comedies by the moderns, and they have been translated into nearly all the languages of Europe. The first edition is probably that of Milan (fol, 1470). Recent editions of the text with notes are those of Davies (London, 1869), Wagner (London, 1869), and Umpfenbach (Berlin, 1870). Among English translations are those of Colman (London, 1765), Patrick (Dublin, 1829), and Riley (London, 1853).