Roswitha, also known as Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim, was a tenth century German canoness, dramatist, and poet. A remarkable woman, she has been called the first Western playwright since antiquity as well as the first known woman playwright. She was inspired by the Roman comic playwright Terence, who wrote six farces filled with disguises, misunderstandings, and pagan debauchery. Upset by Terence’s immoral subject matter but also inspired by his well-crafted plays, Roswitha sought to “Christianize” his work by writing six plays of her own.
Roswitha wrote six dramas in Latin. Two are concerned with the conversation of nonbelievers (Gallicanus and Callimachus), two are concerned with the repentance of sinners (Abraham and Paphnutius), and two are concerned with the martyrdom of virgins (Dulcitus and Sapientia).
This edition, originally published in 1923, includes an introduction by Cardinal Francis Aidan Gasquet (an English Benedictine monk and scholar), a critical preface by the translator (Christopher St. John), and prefaces written by Roswitha herself.
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