Terence, celebrated author of six comedies, has been studied in many classrooms during Antiquity. A witness of this fact is the extensive commentary by Donatus. Among most fathers of the Church, Terence had a bad press. For Lactantius, the eloquence displayed in comedy is altogether pernicious. Augustine singles out a well-known passage from the Eunuch for censure on several occasions.
In Renaissance education, nonetheless, Terence remained a prerequisite for mastering eloquence. Erasmus strongly recommended him to teachers of his age. Melanchthon's belief in Terence as a master of excellence in everyday Latin and a model of rhetorical skill was strengthened by his positive appraisal of Terence's moral intentions. In the theological philosophy he developed, ancient ethics acquired a prominent place. Disciples of the praæceptor Germaniæ published extensive commentaries on Terence's comedies. J. Willich carefully defined the moral issues of each individual scene in his surprisingly detailed analysis of Terence's comedies. His commentary (1550) enjoyed considerable fame.