- Lucius Afranius was also the name of a consul of 60 BC. For others with this name, see Afranius.
was an ancient Roman
comic poet, who lived at the beginning of the 1st century BC
. His comedies described Roman scenes and manners (the genre called comoediae togatae
) and the subjects were mostly taken from the life of the lower classes (comoediae tabernariae
). They were considered by some ancients to be frequently polluted with disgraceful amours, which, according to Quintilian
, were only a representation of the conduct of Afranius. He depicted, however, Roman life with such accuracy that he is classed with Menander
, from whom indeed he borrowed largely. He imitated the style of Gaius Titius
, and his language is praised by Cicero
. His comedies are spoken of in the highest terms by the ancient writers, and under the empire
they not only continued to be read, but were even acted, of which an example occurs in the time of Nero
. They seem to have been well known even at the latter end of the 4th century
. Afranius must have written a great many comedies, as the names and fragments of between twenty and thirty are still preserved.