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(Latin, derived from fabula, "tale, fable, play" and (toga) praetexta, q.v.)

A genre in classical Roman literature, a drama dealing with subject matter drawn from Roman history. The name is derived from the toga praetexta, because the characters portrayed were notable Romans. Tradition attributes the invention of the genre to Gnaeus Naevius.

Only one complete fabula praetexta is preserved, the tragedy Octavia, sometimes attributed to Seneca, but probably the work of a later imitator. Fragments of eleven other works in the genre exist, including works by Naevius, Quintus Ennius, Marcus Pacuvius, Lucius Accius and Pomponius Secundus.

Compare: fabula togata, fabula crepidata, fabula palliata.

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