Amicitia in the plays of Terence



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Amicitia – Roman friendship – is delineated as an ideal reciprocal relationship between elite Roman males of fairly equal social standing. When individuals of unequal rank share this ideal reciprocal relationship, amicitia is labeled as “patronage” or “clientship”. This report seeks to test these ideals by examining the language of amicitia between individuals of equal and unequal rank in the plays of Terence. The results of this study show that Terence’s plays broaden the definition of amicitia to encompass a wide range of various friendships, including clientships. The language of amicitia supports the evidence available from late Republican and Imperial Rome that the measurement of reciprocity is indeterminate, amicitia and clientship share the same terminology of friendship, and that it can illuminate character development throughout the plays of Terence.