The paper explores the genre of scarcely studied play by Russian minor writer Alexei V. Timofeev (1812–1883) "Rome and Carthage" (1837). Timofeev’s contemporary literary critic Osip Senkovskii treated like poet’s failure his use of romantic techniques in the play on ancient plot. Taking into account this opinion the paper analyzes the paratextual elements in the play, the way of describing characters, the division of the play into acts, the connection of the plot events with historical facts. The paper argues that the play approaches the kind of romantic drama, which the author suggests to call “historical fantasy” Its main feature is the coexisting in the plot mythology and religious tradition, on the one hand, and historical events, on the other, the heroes of historical chronicles and the heroes of folk legends, belief in miracles and rationalism. The goal of historical fantasy is to produce a generalized image of the time, to convey the spirit of the epoch while the dramatic action takes a secondary place. Samples of the genre were given in the works of Alexander A. Shakhovskoi, Alexander I. Gertsen, Apollon N. Maikov. Timofeev’s play was just in the way to this kind of drama.
A.V. Timofeev; O.I. Senkovskii; dramatic poem; “historical fantasy”; Hannibal; Sophonisba; Rome; Carthage; Russian romanticism of the 19th century.