135. Miles Gloriosus (The Swaggering Solider) by Plautus (c.206 BC)

Plot:  A self-adoring braggart Pyrgopolynices has abducted young Philocomasium and taken her back to his house. Her lover’s slave Palaestrio plots a scheme to free her and turn the tables on the arrogant soldier.

My copy is the Penguin Classic The Pot of Gold and other plays, translated by E. F. Watling (ISBN 0140441492)

My thoughts:  This started as a comedy of mistaken identity with Philocomasium pretending to be her own twin sister, and I expected lots of popping in and out of doors, but Plautus seems to have changed his mind halfway through and made it all about the ego of the braggart leading to his downfall. Read quickly and still enjoyable.

Plautus (full names Titus Maccius Plautus) succeeded Livius Andronicus as the pre-eminent comic playwright in early Roman literature. The names Maccius (a comic character type) and Plautus (flat-footed or flat-eared) are nicknames he inherited or adopted. Twenty of his 130 plays have survived.

Personal rating: 6/10

Also around that year: The Romans start to get the upper hand, defeating the Carthaginians in Italy (207 BC) and driving them from Spain under the leadership of Scipio (206 BC)

Next :  Mercator by Plautus (c.204 BC?)

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