Terence's date of birth is disputed;
Aelius Donatus, in his incomplete Commentum Terenti, considers the year 185 BC to be the year Terentius was born;
Fenestella, on the other hand, states that he was born ten years earlier, in 195 BC.
He may have been born in or near
Carthage or in
Greek Italy to a woman taken to Carthage as a slave. Terence's
cognomen Afer suggests he lived in the territory of the Libyan tribe called by the Romans
Afri near Carthage prior to being brought to Rome as a slave.
 This inference is based on the fact that the term was used in two different ways during the republican era: during Terence's lifetime, it was used to refer to non-Carthaginian Libyco-Berbers, with the term Punicus reserved for the Carthaginians.
 Later, after the
destruction of Carthage in 146 BC, it was used to refer to anyone from the land of the Afri (
Tunisia and its surroundings). It is therefore most likely that Terence was of
 descent, considered ancestors to the modern-day
In any case, he was sold to P. Terentius Lucanus,
 a Roman
senator, who educated him and later on, impressed by Terence's abilities,
freed him. Terence then took the
nomen "Terentius," which is the origin of the present form.
He was a member of the so-called
When he was 25, Terence travelled to
Greece and never returned. It is mostly believed that Terence died during the journey, but this cannot be confirmed. Before his disappearance he exhibited six comedies which are still in existence. According to some ancient writers, he died at sea.