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"Pro Iuppiter!" - A Study of the Use of Oaths, Curses, and Prayers in Roman Comedy


  • Olivia Peukert Stock

Summary, in English

This thesis concerns oaths, curses, and prayers in Roman comedy, more precisely the comedies by the playwriter Terence (185/84 - 159 BC). So-called informal/interjectional oaths and prayers constitute the main focus of this investigation, however, asseverations, formal oaths, formal prayers, and curses are included as well. In this study, carried out by utilizing the methodological frameworks hermeneutics and discourse analysis together with the method corpus analysis and a new adaption of the ancient septem circumstantiae-system, information on how the Romans of the 2nd century BC – the era of Terence – utilized religion to express themselves in everyday-life situations has been provided. A categorization by type, use, function, and frequency of a large amount of Latin colloquial expressions as well as a mapping of common emotional triggers for these expressions are found in this research. Further, included as well are discussions on the differing gender-usages of these religious-rooted utterances, the Romans’ attitude towards their gods, and their fear of perjury. Finally, by distinguishing distinct Roman traits in the use of oaths, curses, and prayers this thesis helps to strengthen the notion that the comedies are adaptions, not translations, of their Greek models in order to be appreciated by a Roman audience.


  • Latin
  • Master's Programme: Language and Linguistics






Examensarbete för masterexamen (Två år)


  • Languages and Literatures


  • oath curse prayer Roman comedy Terence Latin ancient history Rome 2ndcenturyBC Jupiter Iuppiter Hercules Pollux Castor gods religion swearing cursing praying formal informal interjectional hercle mehercle edepol pol ecastor mecastor di deus deos fidem Terentius ed bön förbannelse Rom antiken


  • Cajsa Sjöberg (senior lecturer)