Plautus (Titus Maccius Plautus) (plô´təs), c.254–184 BC, Roman writer of comedies, b. Umbria. His plays, adapted from those of Greek New Comedy, are popular and vigorous representations of middle-class and lower-class life. Written with a mastery of idiomatic spoken Latin and governed by a genius for situation and coarse humor, Plautus' comedies achieved a great reputation. Characteristic of his plays are the stock comic figures—the knavish, resourceful slave, the young lover and his mistress, the courtesan, the parasite, and the braggart soldier. His plots and characters have had great influence upon later literature, with adaptations and imitations by many writers, e.g., Molière, Corneille, Jonson, and Shakespeare. The chronological order for Plautus' plays is unknown; 21, more or less complete, survive: Amphitruo (Amphitryon), Asinaria, Aulularia, Bacchides, Captivi, Casina, Cistellaria, Curculio, Epidicus, Menaechmi, Mercator, Miles gloriosus, Mostellaria, Persa, Poenulus, Pseudolus, Rudens, Stichus, Trinummus, Truculentus, and Vidularia (in fragments).

See G. E. Duckworth, The Complete Roman Drama (1942) and other translations by P. Nixon (5 vol., rev. 1952–62) and J. Tatum (1983); study by E. Segal (1968).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Plautus: Selected full-text books and articles

Plautus and Terence
Gilbert Norwood.
Longmans, Green, 1932
Slaves, Masters, and the Art of Authority in Plautine Comedy
Kathleen McCarthy.
Princeton University Press, 2000
FREE! Deception in Plautus: A Study in the Technique of Roman Comedy
Helen E. Wieand.
R.G. Badger, 1920
Encountering Plautus in the Renaissance: A Humanist Debate on Comedy
Hardin, Richard F.
Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 60, No. 3, Fall 2007
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Shakespeare and Classical Comedy: The Influence of Plautus and Terence
Robert S. Miola.
Clarendon Press, 1994
Writing down Rome: Satire, Comedy, and Other Offences in Latin Poetry
John Henderson.
Clarendon Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Hanno's Punic Heirs: Der Poenulus-Neid des Plautus"
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