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Ensemble Scenes in Plautus Author(s): George Fredric Franko Source: The American Journal of Philology, Vol.

Ensemble Scenes in Plautus Author(s): George Fredric Franko Source: The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 125, No. 1 (Spring, 2004), pp. 27-59 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: Accessed: 25-04-2018 22:37 UTC

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Abstract. If Greek New Comedy never presented more than three concurrent

speakers, then any scene in the Palliata with four or more concurrent speakers

contains renovations. Plautus uses ensemble scenes to underscore lively or

dramatically significant symposia, eavesdropping, or family reunions and be-

trothals, especially at the finale. Terence uses ensemble scenes more pervasively for shorter, calmer, and less significant episodes. The authorship of the Greek

original may influence the extent of ensemble scenes. Plautus probably created

ensemble scenes by rearranging entrances and exits and by endowing mute

characters with speech, often transforming silent women into important speaking



primarily by the extant works of three playwrights: Menander, Plautus,

and Terence. Comparison of the plots, characterization, language, and

stagecraft of these three poets helps to isolate what is common to the

genre or particular to one author. One point of composition and staging

that merits further exploration is the use of what may be termed "en-

semble scenes," the presence of four or five concurrent speakers in a

given scene.1 The extant scripts and fragments of Menander contain no

such scenes. We do not know whether he avoided them in accord with a

rule of dramatic competitions, widespread custom, or personal prefer

ence.2 In contrast, the extant scripts of Roman comic authors freely

1 The idea to examine systematically scenes in Roman comedy with four or mor

speakers is not new. Gaiser (1972,1073-79) made preliminary remarks and Barsby (198

87) invited further investigation of the subject. Lowe (1997) gives a useful discussion o

such scenes in Terence, and the format of the present article derives from his study. 2 Nothing points to the use of four concurrent speakers in any scene of Greek New Comedy. The evidence, albeit limited, is of four different types. First, no extant scene of Menander, or of any other Greek New Comic author, employs more than three concurren

speakers (Gomme and Sandbach 1973, 16-19; Sandbach 1975; Hourmouziades 1973; Fros

1988, 2-3). Study of Old Comedy is useful for comparison: MacDowell 1994 (four speaki

actors and never more) and Marshall 1997 (three speaking actors through ventriloquis

and lightening changes, except in Lysistrata). Second, no extant ancient mosaics or pain

American Journal of Philology 125 (2004) 27-59 ? 2004 by The Johns Hopkins University Press

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employ four or more concurrent speakers. Five of Tere

contain ensemble scenes, and at least thirteen of Plautus'

plays contain an ensemble scene.3 This article catalogues

scenes in Plautus, examines them for general tendencies, com

tendencies with those of Terence, and speculates on Plaut

to Greek originals. This article does not examine scenes

concurrent speakers whose performance requires more th

ing actors due to exits, entrances, and other issues of b

scenes raise a different issue, namely, the Roman reliance speaking actor for rapid transition in continuous action.4

ings of Greek New Comedy show more than three masked characters

assume that unmasked characters were mutes, then we have no visual

concurrent speakers in a scene (Webster 1995, 2). Third, the remarks

Horace (A.P 192), and Diomedes (G.L. 1.490-91, quoted below) sugge

three speakers in Greek drama was, if not ironclad, at least commonly

spectators and readers. Fourth, inscriptions from the Soteria at Delphi (m list troops of three actors for productions of both tragedy and comedy, a limit of three speakers (Pickard-Cambridge 1988, 155-56, 283-84; cf. ske

Walton and Arnott 1996,65-67).

3 Only two plays certainly avoid four speakers onstage concurren

and Stichus. Possibly three more plays with substantial lacunae contai

scenes: Amphitruo, Aulularia, and Cistellaria. Given Plautus' preference f

the loss of the final scene from Aulularia invites extra caution. Two

insignificant fourth concurrent speaker for only a single line: Mercato

word eo, 788) and Pseudolus (a slave says three words, 159).

4 For example, at Miles V.1, Periplectomenus and his slave Cario tor

Pyrgopolynices. Periplectomenus and Cario exit in the same line th

catches sight of his slaves entering (1427-28). Pyrgopolynices then con

his slaves. Performance requires four speaking actors, even though o

occupy the stage concurrently. Other scenes that require four speaking a

only three characters ever speak concurrently, include: Captivi II (the l

but are silent in 11.2) and V (see catalogue); Casina V.3 (only Lysidamus

characters eavesdrop); Mostellaria IV.2-III.3 [sic] (Phaniscus and Pinaciu

silently and without eavesdropping on Theopropides and Tranio); Pers

silent in IV.6; Leo and Lindsay's attribution of 729-30 to Sagaristio, wh

wrong) and V.1 (Paegnium, addressed in V.1, does not begin speaking

III.4 (the women speak in III.3 and remain silent onstage throughout the r

lorarius may have one line at 764) and III.5 (with the women and lorari speaks with Labrax; after Daemones departs, Labrax converses with on

For discussion of the deployment of actors, see Conrad 1915; Prescott 1923,

1932; Duckworth 1952, 94-98; Marshall 1997. This article also does not

four-speaker scenes that could be created if more than one member of a

as the lorarii in Captivi and Rudens or the fishermen in Rudens; we si

whether these groups spoke as individuals or had a single spokesman (c

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The conclusions in the text rest upon the details highligh

catalogue. In general, Plautus uses four or more speakers to

festive, boisterous, or dramatically significant scenes. More

he uses additional speakers to enliven symposiastic scenes,

and affirm family reunions and betrothals, and to create marke

rical effects with eavesdroppers. He likes to close plays with

scenes, and he favors vigorous trochaic septenarii and cantic

iambic senarii and iambic octonarii in ensemble scenes. There is no

evident correlation between the chronology of his plays and his

ensemble scenes.

These conclusions about Plautus' general practices are modest, bu

a comparison with Terence illuminates significant differences in tec

nique. Terence inserts additional speakers more pervasively than do

Plautus and for shorter episodes. He commonly exploits a fourth spea

for eavesdropping and rarely for boisterous scenes. Although someti the dramatic significance of an ensemble scene in Terence is minimal

indiscernible, Plautine ensemble scenes are almost always either signi

cant to the development of the plot or boisterous at the least, and wh

Terence's ensemble scenes have no cantica, he uses iambic senarii and

iambic octonarii much more readily than does Plautus.

Comparison of Plautine scripts with lost Greek originals is high

speculative. There may be a correlation between the presence of en semble scenes in Plautus and the authorship of the Greek original.

appears that Plautus sometimes rearranged entrances and exits or brough

offstage action onto the stage, thereby creating ensemble scenes. Plau

likely endowed mute characters with speech more often than creatin

new speaking characters; in particular, it seems that Plautus enjoye

transforming the silent women in his models into significant, persuasive

speaking characters. At the most basic level, the dramatic impact of a fourth or fif

concurrent speaker is an increase in a scene's magnitude. Diome

(G.L.1.490-91) grasped this when he claimed that Roman playwright added speakers to enliven the spectacle: "in Graeco dramate fere tre

personae solae agunt, ideoque Horatius ait: 'ne quarta loqui perso

laboret,' quia quarta semper muta. at Latini scriptores complures per

nas in fabulas introduxerunt, ut speciosiores frequentia facerent." Plautus

In Phormio 11.4, the three advocati do speak singly, but they are named individuals. Final

Curculio 11.2 is not an ensemble scene because Palinurus exits at 257 and his later lines

should be attributed to the cook (Lowe 1985, 96-97).

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generally limits ensemble scenes to one or two key location and the additional speaker frequently amplifies the farcical

the scene. Although there appears to be no restriction on w activity can or cannot be presented with four or more speak does use ensemble scenes to great advantage in animating th

lar comic tropes. His ensemble scenes present lively sympo

and validate the reunion of families or betrothals, and crea

metatheatrical effects with eavesdroppers and their asides.

Symposiastic ensemble scenes are distinctively Plautine.

streetfront setting of Greek and Roman New Comedy bri

intimate, domestic activities into full view of the audience,

toiletry scenes of Mostellaria and Poenulus, it seems that wild s

behavior in Greek New Comedy normally occurs behind cl

and is only reported to viewers. For example, at the close of

Dyskolos, Getas reports that inside the cave, "it's rowdy in ther

drinking [wine]" (901-2), and Sikon describes women beginni

and dance (946-53). While Terence also refrains from showin

parties onstage, Plautus shows his audience several memora

sia.5 These need not be ensemble scenes (witness the wil

Stichus), but three of his liveliest parties make full use of extra

the endings of Asinaria (cat. no. 2) and Persa (cat. no. 18), an in Mostellaria (cat. nos. 15, 16). The onstage party in Mostell

than just farcical fun because it signals a transition from t exposition of the play's first three hundred lines to the fre

that pervades the rest of the piece. The audience has witness

denouncement of hedonistic revelry, Philolaches' canticum la

dissolute ways, Philolaches' observation of his beloved Phil

grooming, and, finally, his conversation with Philematium.

sentation of two carousing couples onstage vividly confirms for tators the reports of past debauchery and demonstrates the mag

the challenge that Tranio now faces in concealing such from

father, who has arrived at the harbor in mid-debauch. While th

Mostellaria shows the young lover already enjoying his bel

parties that close Asinaria and Persa celebrate the successful

of the beloved (Philaenium and Lemniselenis) from the con

5For arguments that Plautus moved the symposiastic scenes outsi

(1995); for the spectacular impact of nonverbal and improvised elements,

(1995, 209-10, on Mostellaria) and Erren (1995, 225, on Persa). In general, difference between "Terentian restraint and Plautine exuberance and vul

presentation of drunkenness (Duckworth 1952, 326-27).

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lena or leno to the control of the lover (Argyrippus and parties allow the audience a vicarious taste of the victory

clever ruse. A contrast with the aforementioned offstage

Dyskolos underscores a major point. In Dyskolos, as often the feast celebrates a betrothal: it is a wedding party. In three onstage revels are liaisons between adulescentes ama

etrices rather than betrothals between freeborn citizen lovers.

As the final scenes in Asinaria and Persa demonstrate by their

unions of adulescentes amantes and meretrices, Plautus does not necessar-

ily aim for a play to culminate in the establishment of a family uni

through a legitimate marriage.6 Nevertheless, the ostensible goal of many

pieces of New Comedy is the reunion of an old family or the formatio

of a new family through marriage. Long-lost parents, children, or siblings

are reunited, and young lovers overcome obstacles to their unions (Fry

1957, 163-71). Plautus sometimes chooses to follow that paradigm, sta ing ensemble scenes to witness and validate the reunions of families i

Captivi (cat. no. 4), Curculio (cat. nos. 9-10), Poenulus (cat. nos. 22-26

and Rudens (cat. no. 28), as well as to seal the betrothal scene that end

Trinummus (cat. no. 29). His use of ensemble scenes in Curculio and Poenulus is especially happy, for in both of these plays, Plautus has

exploited the availability of four or more concurrent speakers to com

press several discrete ideas into one tidy and emotional sequence. In

both plays, the audience experiences without interruption the recogn tion of an enslaved young woman, the reunion of her family, a conse

quent removal of a soldier's opposition to a betrothal, the betrothal itself, and a final settlement with the leno. Such scenes would requi

exits or choral interludes to perform with only three concurrent speakers

The availability of a fourth concurrent speaker enables Roman

playwrights to create ensemble scenes in which eavesdroppers listen t and comment upon the dialogue of other characters in a way not avai

able to Greek playwrights acknowledging a rule of three speakers. Eave

droppers need not gain any valuable information and seldom do

Roman comedy.7 More importantly, their asides serve to enhance th

theatricality of the situation and perhaps help shape the responses of the

6 On the propensity for Menander's plots to end in marriage and Plautine plots t

end more often in arrangements between courtesan and paramour, see Brown 1993; Wi

1989. Recall that Plautus relegates the recognition and betrothal of Casina to an epilogu

7 Hiatt 1946,1-21. There are important exceptions as, for example, Chalinus' discov-

ery through eavesdropping that Lysidamus plans to spend the night with Casina at t

neighbor's house (436-503).

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viewing audience (Slater 1985, 162-65). Several episodes in P

veal the playwright's attempt to stretch the boundaries of c

eavesdropping. For example, his presentation of unusually

eavesdropping scenes highlights the climax of Casina. Only we find the presentation of three or more eavesdroppers o

(cat. nos. 7, 8). The women, who have taken control of the

scripted a play-within-a-play, overhear the reports of Oly Lysidamus, both of whom are trying to take the audience

confidence about their misadventures with the false bride "Casina." The

men are unaware of any internal audience onstage, let alone the size o

that audience. The tables have been turned, and ensemble scenes mar

the ultimate triumph of the women and debasement of the men, who are overheard by the rest of the cast.

More commonly, two eavesdroppers listen to and comment upo the dialogue of two other characters, creating what may be termed

"double dialogue."8 These scenes, which are highly unnaturalistic in th

one dialogue freezes while the other resumes, range from purely farcic

diversions with little or no advancement in plot (e.g., cat. nos. 1, 3, 19, 23)

to integral components in the planning and execution of a ruse (cat. no

13, 17, 21). Of these, the double dialogue deceptions scripted by Plaut

in Miles (cat. no. 13) and Persa (cat. no. 17) merit special attention

Eavesdroppers generally occupy a position of power, for while they ha

the potential to acquire secret information, their eavesdropping main enables them to establish great rapport with the audience (Moore 1998

33-40). The scenes from Miles and Persa rely on that tradition to con

struct exceptionally complex, metatheatrical scams in which the victim is

bamboozled by witnessing a play-within-a-play alongside the very dire

tor of that play. The victims think that they hold a position of powe

when, in fact, the overheard dialogue is staged to deceive them (cf. Slater

1985, 164). The repeated deceptions at the end of Miles rely heavily on

ensemble scenes. In catalog number 12, the clever slave Palaestrio re-

hearses with his actors the script for his deception of the soldier, and the deception is performed capably by the cast in catalog numbers 13 and 14.

The double dialogue scene in catalog number 13 is remarkable for its

presentation of the two women play-acting for an internal audience o

the two eavesdroppers, the soldier Pyrgopolynices and Palaestrio. Palae

8 Catalogue numbers 1, 2 (actually two characters eavesdrop on three speakers), 3

13, 17, 19, 21, 23. For discussion of double dialogues, see Duckworth 1952, 113-14; Low 1997. Eavesdropping is here considered as the extended activity rather than the simp

overhearing of an entrance monologue followed by a greeting of the new arrival.

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trio's comments serve to shape the soldier's understanding o

overhear, and thus he is gulled by the arrival of the young love

as a ship's captain. Similarly in Persa, the pimp is egged on b

they overhear a rehearsed conversation between Sagaristio and h ter, disguised as Persians. The trick works, as the pimp, gulled b

performance, is ready to buy her even before he proceeds to

her. Naturally, such scenes cannot exist in plays with only th

rent speakers, because the ruses require three speakers to ho

victim: two to be overheard and one to engage and misdirect

The placement of ensemble scenes can be as important

typology. Of the thirteen Plautine plays with ensemble scenes, four or five concurrent speakers onstage in the last scene.9 This

a Plautine preference for ending with a bang onstage rather

the report of a loud party offstage, and the grand finale can be

manifestation of the essential comic spirit that expects a ko end (cf. Segal 2001, 10-26; Frye 1957, 163-64). In marked con

the frequent grand finales, not a single Plautine play begi ensemble scene. In fact, none opens with more than two co

speakers, except for Cistellaria, which begins with a canticu

women. His earliest presentation of four concurrent speaker

occurs after a lengthy prologue and some seventy lines of

Perhaps the playwright saw the need for expository episode

duce plot and delineate characters for his audience before

them with more ambitious, potentially confusing four-speaker s

9 Note also that the staging of Miles requires four speaking actors at th

n. 4). Although Plautus aims for a grand finale, his limit seems to be five speak

no extant scene contains six concurrent speakers except for one (spurious

Poenulus. Our manuscripts preserve two endings of Poenulus, neither of whic

genuine Plautine ending (Maurach 1988, 174-80, 210-13). The second endin contains six speakers. The only other scene possibly requiring six speaker

Phormio 11.4 where three advocati listen in silence to three other speakers, th

to Demipho.

10My own experience with staging plays of Plautus in Latin sugge

hundred lines of senarii occupy roughly ten minutes of stage time. If, as seem

entire extant prologue of Poenulus were genuine, the ensemble scene would b

twenty minutes into the play. One need not accept Jocelyn's (1969) concl

extant prologue is a conflation of the work of three poets, none of whom ma himself, to admit that sizeable portions of the Poenulus prologue could be int the other hand, Slater (1992) defends the theatrical efficacy of the extant scr

1 Donatus hints that a plurality of speakers can become confusing (a

"hic inducitur multiplex concursus dissimilium personarum et tamen virtu

poetae discretarum, ut confusio nulla sit facta sermonis."

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The variety of plots, resolutions, and denouements means t

can be no single overriding motivation or typology for clos

ensemble scene. Nevertheless, some common points in stag

that closing with an ensemble scene might serve to enhance

humiliation of blocking characters. For example, the final trium

recalcitrant leno tends to invite a relatively large number o

thus the end of Curculio (cat. no. 10) has four or five speakers,

no. 18) has five, and Poenulus (cat. nos. 25, 26) five or six. P

relatively crowded stage to witness the humiliation of this bloc acter reflects the outcry of the entire civic community against

typed leno, who traffics in freeborn women wrongfully en

larly, both Asinaria (cat. no. 2) and Casina (cat. no. 8) present th

triumph of matronae over senes in raucous finales requiring

ers. The presentation of five rather than three speakers visually the humiliation of the vanquished senex amator, effectively du

for his scandalous intentions and validating the matrona's o

front of not only the family but also the entire comic polis.

There is no necessary connection between the type of co

the presence or absence of ensemble scenes; that is, a ruse t

pimp can employ four concurrent speakers (Persa) or not ( In one circumstance, the refusal to present an ensemble sc

significant. The comedies featuring twins or doubles invite s

tion, especially if the palliata employed masks. The two play

on the repeated confusion of identities, Menaechmi and Amphit

present scenes of four or more concurrent speakers. Unless has been lost in a lacuna, it seems that Plautus did not pres

Sosias and two Amphitruos all onstage together, such as we

from seeing Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors. Nor does Plau

the two Menaechmi together with two other concurrent spe

This avoidance of ensemble scenes in Menaechmi and A

becomes more remarkable in light of the possibility that the

in Bacchides either were twins or at least wore very simil

Plautus does present the two Bacchis sisters together near th

and in the ensemble scene that closes the play, which may

thematic point. Bacchides shows the two Bacchis sisters w gether at the beginning and end of the play to manipulate

12 The case for taking the sisters as twins, or at least similar in appearan

the dubious attribution of fragment V: sicut lacte lactis similest (Barsby 198

1983, 316-18). The confusion of the sisters centers upon the identical nam

identical appearance (Garcia-Hernandez 2001, 157).

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around them; thus, Plautus may have presented their two masks

side-by-side and reinforcing each other. The masks could visu

the Bacchides' power over other individuals. In contrast, Amp

Menaechmi show two identical masks in conflict, with one sid

assert supremacy over a mirror image (Amphitruo) or stru

account for the actions of its other half (Menaechmi). The au

the masks of the male twins try to negate each other rather

force each other.

The impact of Plautine ensemble scenes on an audience is not only

visual but also auditory. Changes in meter reflect and reinforce the

excitement of lively ensemble scenes. For example, in Casina (cat. no. 5)

Olympio and Lysidamus speak in unaccompanied iambic senarii until Chalinus and Cleostrata arrive for the lottery, whereupon the meter shifts to musically enhanced trochaic septenarii. Granted, changes in

meter often mark the entrance or exit of a character, but the preponder-

ance of verses not in iambic senarii for ensemble scenes in Plautus is

remarkable. Of the thirty-two scenes catalogued, only seven are w

or partly in iambic senarii, and five of those come from Poenulus. A

from that play, only two ensemble scenes contain iambic senarii (cat. no

9, 27). Ensemble scenes are by nature lively and thus iambic senar

unaccompanied by the tibiae-would sound inappropriately flat. It sh

come as no surprise that spirited trochaic septenarii, the most com

meter in Plautus, dominates ensemble scenes.13 Moreover, one-quart

Plautine ensemble scenes are wholly or partly in mixed cantica. T

presence of a fourth singer is particularly striking when it creates paired duets in Bacchides (two sisters seduce two old men) and Poen (Agorastocles and a companion eavesdrop and comment on the rema

of two women in cat. nos. 19 and 23, the only cantica in the play). Plaut

has certainly subjected scenes in polymetric cantica to extensive met

renovation, and we can suspect that his alterations sometimes inclu

the creation of ensemble scenes.

Although the chronology of Plautus' plays is murky, it is possi

that Plautus grew bolder over time in his use of polymetric cantica (Buck

1940; Sedgwick 1949; Schutter 1952), and this possibility could invi

speculation about emergent tendencies in Plautus' use of ensemble sce

However, the only two plays with secure dates, Stichus (200) and t relatively late Pseudolus (191), have no four-speaker scenes, except

13 Nearly two-thirds of Plautus' ensemble scenes employ trochaic septenarii: fifte

are wholly in trochaic septenarii, and five more are partly in that meter. Furthermore, t

scenes employ iambic septenarii (cat. nos. 1, 13, 23).

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three words by the slave at Pseudolus 159. Bacchides, thou

is performable by three speakers up until the final scene. Ca to be late, requires five speaking actors, but so too does Asin

to be early. Such data suggest a negative conclusion: ther

connection between the chronology of Plautus' plays

ensemble scenes.

We can gain a greater understanding of Plautus' distinctive tech-

niques and priorities by comparing his deployment of ensemble scene

with the practice of Terence. There are some broad similarities. For

example, Terence also evidently aims for a grand finale, as four of hi

plays require four speakers in the final scene.14 Again, like Plautus, Terence's opening scenes are monologue or dialogue, and the earliest introduction of a fourth speaker comes a quarter of the way throug

Heauton Timorumenos (line 242). But five major differences suggest th

Plautus may have used ensemble scenes more sparingly for greater dr

matic impact.

First, Terence uses ensemble scenes more routinely and pervasively

than does Plautus. Out of his six plays, only Hecyra lacks an ensemble

scene. In general, Terence is more willing to introduce ensemble scenes throughout a play than is his predecessor. Whereas Plautus tends, with

the exception of Poenulus, to confine ensemble scenes to only one or two

passages in each play, Terence includes them passim.15 Comparison of

scripts based on Menandrean originals is especially telling: while Terence

presents many ensemble scenes throughout all four of his Menandrean

originals, Plautus apparently only adds one speaker to one scene of

Bacchides. In this important regard, Terence may be considered to take

more liberties than Plautus.

Second, Plautus tends to write longer, more complex ensemble scenes than does Terence. Entrances and exits in Terence lead to very

short ensemble scenes such as Heauton Timorumenos IV.1 (8 lines)

Andria III.1 (9 lines), and Heauton Timorumenos 11.3 (9 lines). While th

longest of the twenty-three Terentian ensemble scenes are Phormio IV.

(76 lines) and Phormio V.9 (66 lines), the rest contain fifty lines or fewer, which means that they are generally brief episodes occupying fewer than

14 Heauton Timorumenos, Eunuchus, Phormio, and Adelphoe. Later producers per

haps felt the impulse to end with a grand finale: while the Terentian ending of Andria ha

three speakers, in the alternate ending someone has added a fourth speaker for a tidy


15 Heauton Timorumenos has six ensemble scenes. Andria and Eunuchus have five

each. Phormio has four and Adelphoe has three.

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five minutes of stage time. Plautus, rather than peppering his s

ensemble scenes, served them to his audience in one or two

tions. Such lengthy ensemble scenes as Poenulus 1.2 (200 line

III.3 (155 lines), Persa IV.4 (124 lines), and Rudens IV.4 (138 the ending of Poenulus (V.4 to V.6 or V.7, over 200 lines ei

require the audience to follow the interaction of four or more c

speakers for more than ten minutes. The very length of t

ensemble scenes allows greater scope for memorable activiti

brief Terentian episodes.16 The third point may relate to the relative length of ensemb

While the addition of a fourth speaker sometimes makes litt

impact in scenes of Terence, the impact in a given Plautine

scene is readily discernible. Lowe concluded that a majority o

ensemble scenes involved eavesdropping, then frankly adm

with the rest "it is not possible to see any special dramatic e

participation of more than three speakers" (1997, 159). In h

the presence of a fourth speaker is often "incidental," "disp "a sort of doublet" of a third speaker, perhaps because man

ensemble scenes are quite short and often one speaker has ve

say. We can imagine many Terentian ensemble scenes with speaking characters at little to no cost. In contrast, Plautin scenes are usually boisterous and often significant to the a excision of a fourth speaker would considerably lessen the

impact of the drinking parties, the double seduction of the

Bacchides, the slapstick lottery in Casina, the two episodes of

ping on women in Poenulus, the duping of the soldier in Mi

forth. We must also remember that the speakers interact with e

on the non-verbal level as well. A fourth speaker may have

but much to contribute to a scene's total impact through gestur

movement, and the performance of a character's stereotype

Fourth, there are differences in the relative frequency and

of eavesdropping scenes. Lowe (1997) has rightly pointed o

majority of Terentian ensemble scenes exploit an additional

16 Consideration of mean averages may be worthwhile but should no

For Terence: 721 lines in 23 ensemble scenes yields a mean of 31 lines per e

for Plautus, the 32 scenes in the catalogue have 2042 lines, yielding a mean of

number of lines per ensemble scene in Plautus is actually much higher if

several of the scenes catalogued run continuously (cat. nos. 15-16,23-25/26,

17 Cf. Gerdes (1995,96-106) on how the marked silence of speaking fe

ters can make them the focal point of a scene.

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eavesdropping, especially in order to create double dialo

which two characters eavesdrop on the conversation of t make emotional asides. Only twelve (roughly one-third) o

semble scenes involve eavesdropping. Of these, eight pr dialogues, and half of those provide farcical bits to enh

without advancing the plot (cat. nos. 1, 3,19,23). But in four

Plautus uses a double dialogue with eavesdropping to adv

in crucial ways. Terence does not do this. As discussed abo

ping and double dialogue are necessary parts of a ruse in

13) and Persa (cat. no. 17). In Poenulus (cat. no. 21), the

with double dialogue marks the entrapment of the pimp. Lik

end of Asinaria (cat. no. 2), the matrona and parasite

comment upon the conversation of the husband and son,

ing the old man red-handed in his lascivious pursuits and

beloved from the clutches of the senex. There is no scene in Terence like

the climax of Casina (cat. nos. 7-8), where multiple eavesdroppers hear a


Finally, the two authors differ markedly in their use of meter for

ensemble scenes. While Plautus avoids iambic senarii in ensemble scenes,

eight of Terence's twenty-three ensemble scenes (and slightly over one-

third of the total lines in such scenes) are wholly or partly in that unac- companied meter. Despite the inherent bustle of a stage crowded by four

speakers, Terence's characters still manage to talk to each other in a conversational meter. Plautine characters in ensemble scenes speak in

more animated, less naturalistic modes. Indeed, while a quarter of Plautine

ensemble scenes contain polymetric cantica, there are no such songs in Terence.19 It is also noteworthy that six Terentian ensemble scenes are

wholly or partly in iambic octonarii, a meter that Plautus almost entirely

avoided in his ensemble scenes.20 The difference in technique of the two

18 Terence does present one character eavesdropping on three speakers in Andria (twice) and Phormio; Plautus does this only in Truculentus (cat. nos. 30-32).

19 However, Phormio 485-533 is a stichic mixture of iambic octonarii and trochaic

septenarii, with one iambic senarius and one iambic septenarius.

20 Out of 721 verses in ensemble scenes, Terence uses iambic octonarii for 126 verses

(17 percent); in contrast, out of over 2000 verses in ensemble scenes, Plautus uses iambic

octonarii only for Casina 897-98, Poenulus 1192a-95 and 1226. In the corpora as a whole,

Terence uses iambic octonarii in some 870 verses, Plautus only in some 420 verses, and then

generally for soliloquies (which might provide a clue as to why he found iambic octonarii

antithetical to ensemble scenes). On Terence's relative predilection for iambic octonarii,

see Duckworth 1952, 368.

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authors is thus audible, and, not surprisingly in light o

point, Terence sounds more sedate while Plautus sounds m

While there is ample evidence for comparing ensem

Plautus and Terence, and one can make reasonable con

Terence's insertions of ensemble scenes to his Greek origi

parison of Plautine ensemble scenes with passages in los

nals remains speculative. Trying to explicate the relatio

Plautine comedies and lost Greek originals by studying e

in Plautus remains far more tenuous than comparing Plaut

or comparing Terence and Menander. Since the evidence

three speakers in Menander is fairly solid, Lowe (1997) wa

firm ground in discussing four speaker scenes in Terentian r

Menander. In contrast, most of the plays of Plautus do no

Menander, and the Plautine plays derived from Diphilus

boisterous scenes that require us to entertain the possibil

ensemble scenes were penned by Diphilus rather than Pl

still attempt some general remarks with the understanding t be corroborated or exploded by discovery of a complete scrip

or Alexis.

We can see at the outset that the authorship of the Greek original may make a difference to Plautus' practice. His adaptations of Menander

and Philemon are conservative in their ensemble scenes. Stichus, the

lacunose Cistellaria, and Aulularia (if from Menander) nowhere require

four concurrent speakers, while Bacchides requires a fourth speaker only

for the final scene-that fourth speaker is very likely a Plautine addition.

Likewise, the two plays from Philemon essentially require only three

speakers: Mercator needs a fourth speaker for a single word and Trinum- mus only for the play's final fifteen lines. Mostellaria, if from Philemon,

requires four or five speakers only for the drinking party, a party very

likely brought onstage by Plautus. Probably Menander and Philemon

adhered to a rule of three speakers, and Plautus did not see fit to insert

additional speakers with the freedom that Terence did. In contrast, the

two plays from originals by Diphilus (Casina and Rudens) require five

concurrent speakers and have several scenes with more than three speak-

ers. The Asinaria from Demophilus requires five concurrent speakers,

and the Poenulus from Alexis requires at least that number. The large

number of speakers required in these plays may suggest that Diphilus,

Alexis, and Demophilus did not adhere to the three-speaker rule ac-

knowledged by Menander. Or it may reflect different comic sensibilities

of the Greek authors, differences exaggerated by Plautus' introduction

of additional speakers. That is, Diphilean comedy may contain more

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farcical or spectacular episodes that lend themselves to emb

with additional speakers.21 On the grounds that this could be

is worthwhile to attempt to isolate which speakers are Plautine a

Evidence for Plautus' methods of inserting additional s

scant and indirect. The best piece of evidence is the remark o

quoted above that Roman authors added quite a few (complur

ers to their scripts. From this we can suppose that Plautus di

and enliven his Greek originals through the insertion of addition

ers and that sometimes he created ensemble scenes. The solid evidence

for Terentian insertion of particular speakers also allows speculation

Plautine practice. Terence himself claims (Eunuchus 30-33) that he ad two characters to Eunuchus: Gnatho the parasite and Thraso the soldi

It is significant that Thraso and Gnatho appear in four of the five e

semble scenes in that play. In addition, Donatus observes in seve

places that Terence has introduced characters into his originals, som

times creating ensemble scenes.22 It may also be worth recalling Plau

excision of speakers. In the fragments of Menander's Dis Exapaton,

father of Sostratos converses with his son both before and after a choral

interlude (47-90). In the corresponding lines of Bacchides (520-30) that

father, Nicobulus, is nowhere to be found. If Plautus sometimes deletes

speakers, he might also occasionally add them.

We can posit three ways in which Plautus could renovate his origi-

nals to create ensemble scenes (Gaiser 1972, 1073). He could rearrange entrances and exits to keep four speaking characters on the stage. He

could create a character outright. He could endow a character with

speech that was entirely mute or mute in a particular scene. The cata-

21 Webster's (1970,152-83) general appraisal of Diphilus still seems largely correct.

Especially relevant for the present study are his remarks that in Diphilus "[s]pectacle with

tableaux and violent action plays a large part" and that his plays present "a progressive action between two opposed characters round which the minor characters are grouped,

and the speed of action is more important to the poet" (171).

22 In his comments on Andria, Donatus observes that Terence added the adulescens

Charinus and the slave Byrria (ad An. 301) and that he inserted material from Menander's

Perinthia into the opening, thereby replacing a monologue with a dialogue and changing

one of the speakers from a wife to a freedman (ad An. 14). He claims that Terence added

the protactic character Antipho to Eunuchus, thereby making a dialogue out of a mono-

logue (ad Eun. 539). He also remarks that Terence inserted the eavesdropper Antipho in

Phormio (ad Phor. 606), creating an ensemble scene. Note that the metatheatrically signifi-

cant name of the latter two added speakers is "Antipho," perhaps "Mr. Reply." Cf. Lowe

1997; Gaiser 1972, 1077-78; Barsby 1999,18. We also have solid evidence for later poets or

producers adding speakers to Terence's plays because our manuscripts preserve two end-

ings for Andria.

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logue offers some speculative remarks on which speakers have added to particular scenes.23

The rearrangement of exits and entrances can gen

semble scene without creating new characters or endowin

ters with speech. For example, at the close of Captivi, t

presence of the kidnapper Stalagmus creates an ensemble 4). He could be sent off after he reveals the identity of

Plautus sees fit to retain him until the end. We can sus

availability of four or more speaking actors allowed Plaut

sequences of three-speaker scenes, thereby eliminating

trances with changes of costume. For example, the close o

no. 2) is accelerated by having the parasite and matrona

senex on the couch with his son and girlfriend. Likewise,

recognition, betrothal, and settlement with leno and soldier i

in Curculio (cat. nos. 9-10) and Poenulus (cat. nos. 23-26) i

the actors can remain onstage rather than exit to change

be necessary with a rule of three speakers. Similarly, en

may have offered Plautus a convenient means of patching ov in his originals. For example, it seems that Plautus portrays

ensemble scene onstage in Mostellaria (cat. nos. 15-16) wh

original offered a choral interlude partly motivated by

actors to change roles (Gaiser 1972, 1074-75; Barsby 198

If Plautus did create characters, he probably wove th

fabric of a play rather than simply tacking them onto create an ensemble scene. For example, two characters w

tagged as Plautine creations, Paegnium in Persa (Hug

23 Speculation about specific Plautine additions in any particular s

cially perilous in light of Lowe's caution in diagnosing alterations to s

Terence, for whom we have better evidence of his practice (1997, 153

changed his models is more difficult to establish and in some cases frank

wisest policy"). Cf. the cautious suggestions of Barsby on the five ens Eunuchus (1999, 18, 169, 212, 229, 276, 280). Evidence of Plautine wor

lexical or metrical level is of limited value in a discussion of alterations i cannot be the decisive factor for determining which speaker was added. E

catalogue bears the hallmarks of Plautine verbal fireworks and has, at

tagged by scholars as containing lexical plautinisches. But that evide

whether or how specifically Plautus altered the blocking or endowed a m

speech in order to create an ensemble scene. The same is true for the a Since the meters in cantica are Plautine compositions not attested in G

have evidence that Plautus at the very least made metrical renovations to strengthens our suspicion that his renovations included the addition of a short of proving who the addition could be.

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Charmides in Rudens (Lef6vre 1984, 10-13), participate in m

just ensemble scenes. Furthermore, most of the ten speaking

that appear exclusively in ensemble scenes advance the plot in

ways: Giddenis, Adelphasium, and Anterastilis in Poenulus; Callicles, and his two maids in Truculentus; Artemona in A

danista in Epidicus; and Delphium in Mostellaria.24 Of these phium's remarks are truly dispensable, though amusing. Th

that Plautus does not give dramatically insignificant charact

appearance solely for the purpose of composing ensemble scen

it suggests that Plautus reworked entrances and exits with the r

the aforementioned dramatically significant characters happe

only in ensemble scenes.

It is plausible that Plautus created ensemble scenes by

characters with speech who were entirely mute in the Greek

at least mute in a given scene. In particular, there are seve

characters whose lines were probably crafted by Plautus rath

author of a Greek original. If so, this would suggest that Plautus

ately chose to highlight persuasive female speakers who mani

or help to bring about a harmonious ending. The cleares

conspicuous examples of ensemble scenes in which we can s

Plautus gives a female character an important speaking role are:

(the Bacchis sister in cat. no. 3); Casina (Cleostrata in cat. no. 5, M

in cat. nos. 7,8); Curculio (Planesium in cat. no. 10); Mostellari

in cat. nos. 15, 16); Persa (the virgo callida in cat. no. 17 and

nis in cat. no. 18); and Poenulus (Anterastilis in the reunion of ca

Adelphasium in cat. no. 24, both in cat. no. 26). The effects alteration vary according to the dictates of the play, but u

speech of these women reflects their power and their ability to others, particularly men. The goals of influential female speech can be classified in tw

persuasion and mediation. Examples of the former include th

the eponymous virgo callida in Persa (whose dazzling oratori

overwhelms both her victim and her supporters and is the cente

24 Giddenis confirms that the girls are indeed Hanno's daughters; Adelp

speak with her lover Agorastocles, Anterastilis with her lover Antamoenide

one of them must speak with Hanno; Cyamus kindles the soldier's jealousy for

and Callicles elicits from the maids that Phronesium's baby is actually the child

and Callicles' daughter (one maid is perhaps a doublet, for only one need sp

the secret); Artemona's intervention at the finale saves Philaenium from the cl

senex; the danista closes the deal that secures Telestis (who stays onstage with

Stratippocles after the banker departs).

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the play), the speech of the Bacchis sister (which underscores th control of both fathers and sons), and the speeches of Cleostrata

and Pardalisca (which establish them as a triummatronat of

scripting the action for the hapless men). These women use t

persuasion to secure the compliance of socially superior male

Second, a significant number of women speak out-often wit

words-to mediate or reconcile victors with blocking cha

thereby facilitate a festive, happy ending.25 We see several

sume the function of mediator: Planesium, Anterastilis, and

speak very few words during arguments between their love

members and the pimp, but their pleas are effective and co

men to forego prosecution of the pimp.26 In a similar manner,

ous senex amator Lysidamus appeals to Myrrhina as his Casina (1000), and Myrrhina succeeds in obtaining his pa

Cleostrata and bringing the play to a close (My: censeo eca

hanc dandam. Cl: faciam ut iubes.).

Finally, it is worth noting that Plautus features maids

exceptionally active with large speaking roles (Duckworth 1

Pardalisca in Casina, Milphidippa in Miles, and Astaphium in

all figure prominently in the execution of deceptions, and al

in ensemble scenes. This suggests that Plautus either has a p

for Greek plays with prominent maids or else he takes pains

enhance their speaking roles.27

25 Seven of the nine plays ending with an ensemble scene present fema

the finale, the exceptions being Captivi (a play devoid of female roles) and play nearly devoid of female roles).

26 The case of Lemniselenis is instructive. She speaks only at the close o

no. 18; Leo and Ernout attribute to her the outcry miser est qui amat in 1

manuscripts), helping Toxilus to celebrate his victory in drunken revelr reconciliation between him and Dordalus. Chiarini (1979,202-3) may be co benevolent words towards Dordalus are mere play-acting. However insinc

may be, they are clearly a foil to the outright maliciousness of Paegnium,

reluctance to join this ludificatio of the pimp suggests some sincerity in h

(833-34: Tox: hunc ludificemus. Lem: nisi si dignust, non opust. et me haud p

27 Terence, too, may have created or expanded speaking female role

ensemble scenes. In Heauton Timorumenos, there are grounds for believin composed four ensemble scenes by endowing with speech Antiphila, the N

and Sostrata (Lowe 1997, 161-64). Phormio closes with an ensemble sc

Nausistrata dictates terms of the final settlement. Enhancement of the role of the maid

Dorias may have created a four-speaker scene in Eunuchus (Lowe 1997,165), and Terence

may also be credited with giving Lesbia two sentences in Andria (Lowe 1997,160). Most of

these female speakers make brief and dispensable remarks, but the role of Nausistrata and Sostrata in effecting a resolution is reminiscent of Plautine practice.

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Plautus has a reputation for delighting in the disru

progress of naturalistic Greek New Comic plots. With its sodes of farce, improvisation, and musically enhanced ca

comedy strikes us as a different theatrical experience fro

of Menander and Terence. The foregoing analysis of ens

provides yet another means for identifying, assessing, an

those differences and, I hope, invites others to pursue

along these lines.28





The following catalogue briefly lists the speakers and their activ It suggests how the presence of a fourth or fifth speaker enhan

impact, especially through techniques that are characteristi

speculates on which speaker could be a Plautine addition. Both

and line numbers are given because the precise point of entry o

ance is often flexible. An asterisk (*) denotes the final scene o

scenes (cat. nos. 6, 30, 32) are doubtful cases regarding the pr more speakers and are thus bracketed.

1. Asinaria, III.3 (591-745). 4 speakers. Iambic septenarii: Th

and Leonida eavesdrop on, then tease their young master

his girlfriend Philaenium. The scene is drawn out by mu metatheatrical fun. It begins as eavesdropping with a dou

which the slaves, having successfully perpetrated a ruse to

plan and direct a second small play that is a slapstick ludifica

(note recurrent compounds of ludo; Slater 1985, 63; Lowe

Their play-within-a-play offers an outstanding example of

element in Plautine drama, as Argyrippus must debase himse

slaves in order to receive the money from them (Segal 1 Demophilus employed only three speakers, perhaps Liban because Leonida actually has the money (570). Alternative

enium's presence is not required for the transfer of money, i

Plautus added her to the scene (Lowe 1992, 163-70) or end

speech. Her role as a speaking character here nicely illumin

28 wish to thank for their helpful comments Timothy J. Moore, S

C. W. Marshall, the editor and anonymous referees of AJP, and those

draft of this study at the 2001 annual meeting of the American Philolo

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lous bravado of the slaves and further humiliates Argyrippu

endure watching his girlfriend embrace, kiss, and wheedle th

2. Asinaria, V.2 (882-941)*. 5 speakers. Trochaic septenarii: In V and his father Demaenetus are engaged in a drinking party

Philaenium. The matrona Artemona and the parasite enter in

tion (851). They eventually notice, then eavesdrop on, and fin

revelers. Philaenium speaks to join in the recrimination of t

ensemble scene makes a dramatic impact in three ways. First

on stage makes for a spectacular ending, and Plautus may be re

moving this party from behind closed doors onto the stage (

73). Second, the arrival of Artemona and the parasite, by cre

dialogue and final confrontation, compresses and intensifi

have to be a series of scenes with two or three speakers in whi

observes the party, reports his observations to Artemona, a confronts Demaenetus. As Plautus has written it, Artemona

with the audience, sees and hears Demaenetus' demands to

with Philaenium and confronts him immediately. Third, the

of Demaenetus' lechery, as opposed to a mere report of it,

whatever goodwill in the audience the old man had gained b

son. The son and his mistress endorse Artemona's interven

saving her from being seen as a ruthless killjoy. The advance

tus-reminiscent of Lysidamus' obsession to enjoy the ius pri

Casina-dishearten Argyrippus who, as in III.3, must see his

the clutches of one of his "helpers." Again, like Casina, the m

intervention foils the lewd senex amator and helps ensure a

come for the young lovers (cf. Konstan 1983, 49-51).

3. Bacchides, V.2 (1120-1206)*. 4 speakers. Mixed cantica: T

sisters soothe and seduce the two angry fathers, inviting them sons at a party inside. The sisters play-act to create a sequence

ping with asides from 1121-40. If Menander had included a tion scene, it is likely that one Bacchis sister was mute, and

would be responsible for endowing her with speech (Barsb

1986,184-88).The gain is obvious, for two speaking Bacchides

score the "duality method" (Duckworth 1952,184-85) manife

out the play in two fathers, two sons, and two courtesans. Plau

change the title from Dis Exapaton to Bacchides suggests a shif from the wily slave to the manipulative twin sisters (Anderson

Indeed, the play ends not with Chrysalus writing the script, bu

women, the only women in the play, directing the action (Sl

17). It is thus fitting that both coaxing courtesans verbally sedu

men. There is perhaps some inconsistency in the characteriza men as suddenly libidinous "sheep." On the one hand, consiste

ary to the desire for a festive, farcical ending; on the other, the

of the old men attests to the power of the Bacchis sisters, w ensnares fathers as easily as sons.

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4. Captivi, V.4 (998-1028)*. 4 speakers. Trochaic septenarii: Tyn

learn his birthright and be reunited with his father Hegio in

his former master Philocrates and his kidnapper Stalagmus.

speaks only the final line, at least according to the Palatine m all modern editors, but he has been onstage since V.1 and spea

out V.2 (with Hegio) and V.3 (with Hegio and Philocrat

Stalagmus could be dismissed after his interrogation in V.3, as

have happened in the Greek original. However, his visible pr

utes powerfully to the resolution. As kidnapper, he has played

to that of a leno who traffics in wrongfully enslaved freebo

thus the staging of his chastisement at the play's end may rem

settlements with a leno (cf. Segal 1987, 212-13, which sug

ending toys with stereotyped comic resolutions). This is not a reunion of long-lost family members. Even allowing for ignor ties, the son has guilefully abused the fides of his father, and inflicted servile physical punishments on the son. Perhaps Stal his closing words volunteers to take chains upon himself, fulf

scapegoat necessary for a satisfactory, if relatively unfes

(Konstan 1983, 69-72; McCarthy 2000, 198-201).

5. Casina, 11.6 (353-423). 4 speakers. Trochaic septenarii: Old Lysid

Cleostrata, and the slaves Olympio and Chalinus perform a l

disposition of the slave Casina. The eponymous scene of Dip

menoi probably presented the old man supervising the lotter

peting servile suitors. Cleostrata, whose presence is not nec

lottery, could possibly have been mute in the Greek play.

impact of an active and speaking Cleostrata is at one level p

for it creates a balanced conflict between two pairs. The slav

insult each other under the direction of their masters in one of Plautus' most

slapstick scenes. At a deeper level, her activities may alter the plans of

Lysidamus and increase suspense: fortuna, not the rigged lottery planned by

Lysidamus (342: sortiar), determines the fate of the girl. By endowing

Cleostrata with speech here and elsewhere, Plautus seems to have enhanced

her role (Anderson 1993,53-58; Lefevre 1979,326-28; Franko 2001,178-79;

Lowe 2003).

[6. Casina, IV.4 (815-35). 4 speakers. Mixed cantica.]: Lysidamus and Olympio

receive the "bride" (a silent Chalinus in disguise) from Cleostrata and

Pardalisca. The attribution of speakers is highly uncertain. Cleostrata's pres-

ence is guaranteed by 835 (iamne abscessit uxor?) but she need not speak

(Leo keeps her silent in his edition). She is the director of the play to entrap

Lysidamus (Slater 1985, 84-93) and thus could silently control the action

through her player Pardalisca. On the other hand, the advice to the "bride,"

replete with echoes of traditional Roman wedding formulae, is best spoken by the matron Cleostrata (Williams 1958, 17-22). The gains of the ensemble

scene are visual and thematic. At the visual level, the audience sees "Casina"

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torn between balanced and competing pairs. At the thematic l

pairs recall and reify what was at stake in the lottery (cat. no. 5): t

and her subordinate now hand over the bride to the master and his subor- dinate.

7. Casina, V.2 (875-936). 4 speakers. Mixed cantica: Cleostrata, Pardalisca, a

the neighbor Myrrhina eavesdrop on Olympio's account of his adventure

with the cross-dressed Chalinus. The scene is highly metatheatrical, fo

Olympio speaks to the audience directly (879: operam date) in a kind of

tragic messenger speech while the triummatronat as an internal audienc

enjoys his account of a performance that they themselves have scripte

(Moore 1998, 176). The entrapment of Olympio is an unexpected bonus fo

Cleostrata, whose real target is Lysidamus himself (862-63: pervelim progredi

senem). Perhaps this entire doublet of Lysidamus' humiliation is a Plautin

addition. A play with only three speakers could function with a mute Myrrhina. Pardalisca interrogates Olympio directly and ceases to speak

after 935, possibly so that the actor could leave the stage to reemerge as

Chalinus at 960. See further cat. no. 8.

8. Casina, V.4 (963-1011)*. 5 speakers. Trochaic septenarii: In V.3, Cleostrata,

Myrrhina, and Olympio silently eavesdrop on Lysidamus (937-62). Pardalisca

could also be present and mute, but more likely she has exited at 935 (cf. cat.

no. 7). Lysidamus, like Olympio before him, delivers a monologue to the

audience about his misadventures with Casina. Moore, who draws attention

to a "hierarchy of rapport" in which characters at the bottom of the hierar-

chy have their monologues and asides to the audience overheard (1998, 33-

35), notes that Lysidamus here is at his nadir, overheard by the women and

his own crony (1998, 177). No one else in Plautus sinks so low in the

hierarchy of rapport.

With the arrival of Chalinus (963), the group compels Lysidamus to

confess his misdeeds. The origin of this exceptionally farcical ending is hotly

contested. While there is widespread belief that Plautus altered the ending

of Diphilus' Kleroumenoi by excising a scene of recognition and betrothal,

there is little agreement on whether his point of departure included the ruse

of a transvestite bride and its subsequent revelation (cf. concise review of

contaminatio by Cody 1976,462-76; Lefevre 1979). Comparison with Rudens

suggests that Diphilus was fond of what MacCary (1973,208) dubbed "spec-

tacular scenes," and one element enhancing his spectacles may have been

the presence of four or more concurrent speakers. Whether this closing

ensemble scene derives from Diphilus or Plautus, the additional speakers enhance Cleostrata's triumph over Lysidamus by making it public. The

speeches of the other three characters are very well motivated and dramati- cally effective. Chalinus provides snippets of sordid details that make Lysida-

mus' shame all the greater; Olympio turns stool pigeon to incriminate the old man with details of his plot; Myrrhina successfully mediates between

Cleostrata and Lysidamus to close the play with minimal rancor.

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9. Curculio,V.2 (610-78). 4 speakers. Trochaic septenarii (610-34

(635-78): The soldier Therapontigonus reemerges to co

Phaedromus, his girlfriend Planesium, and the parasite Cur

examining a ring owned by the girl's father. Therapontigonus ring and realizes that he and Planesium are siblings. The recou

family history is marked by the change from septenarii to sen

of musical accompaniment lends itself to exposition scenes. Th then betroths his sister to Phaedromus. Thus, the scene compa

functions: family reunion and betrothal. The sudden endor

formerly adversarial soldier is reminiscent of a scene in Po 24). What of Curculio? His presence is thematically superfl

ably a Plautine addition (Lefevre 1991a, 80-81), perhaps to

dwindling role of his title character. Curculio's jokes and cl typical of a parasite's preoccupation with food, make good

the context of an imminent wedding feast.

10. Curculio, V.3 (679-729)*. 4 or 5 speakers. Trochaic septenari

Planesium, and Therapontigonus overhear the brief entranc

the pimp Cappadox and then accost him. Most editors a

assume that Curculio leaves the stage after 675; however,

assigned lines 712 and 713-14 (as does Ernout, following B), t

ing five speakers. Therapontigonus and Phaedromus both thr

at length, and it seems that a three-speaker scene would re

these three characters, with Planesium either silent or offstag are minimal but effective: in one and one-half lines (697-98), s

purity and thereby helps to mediate between the disputants,

mediation by the women at the ending of Poenulus (cat. no.

11. Epidicus, V.1 (627-47). 4 speakers. Trochaic septenarii: Epi Stratippocles meet Stratippocles' beloved Telestis and the d

barely an ensemble scene, for the four speakers do not conver even on the same subject. In effect, there is an inner and an o

dialogue: the banker and Stratippocles discuss payment, w

exiting to fetch the money (627-33); Epidicus recognizes and

Telestis (634-45); Stratippocles reenters with the purse at 646,

says goodbye at 647. This ensemble scene may be motivated

considerations. Something needs to happen onstage while S

fetches the money, and a comparison with a similar disposa Plautus' adaptation of Dis Exapaton may be instructive.

In Dis Exapaton, Sostratos has decided to return money

They meet and enter the house together. During a choral inter hands over the money, and then the two return to the stage i In Bacchides, Mnesilochus decides to return the money and exi

enters and delivers a four-line monologue. Mnesilochus retu

that he has handed over the money. Plautus, working withou

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ludes, inserted Pistoclerus' brief monologue to allow for the tr

gold (Barsby 1982, 81-82; 1986, 142-43). Plautus need not be

an interlude in order to use this technique (cf. cat. no. 21). If t wholesale Plautine renovation from 648 forward is well founde

1940, on 648-65 and on 666-733), then some necessary rearra

have resulted in this short ensemble scene.

12. Miles, IV.4 (1137-96). 4 speakers. Trochaic septenarii: The clever slave

Palaestrio, the young lover Pleusicles, the courtesan Acroteleutium, and her

maid Milphidippa rehearse a ruse. The scene exemplifies how a clever slave

can script and direct his assistants to perform a deceitful play-within-a-play (Petrone 1983, 39-42; cf. cat. no. 20). The scene could function perfectly well

with a mute Milphidippa. The maid has already established herself as an

important figure by a lengthy performance in which she duped the soldier

into believing that he has an admirer (IV.2). She must be present here to

learn her role in IV.6, but she need not speak to hear her part (cf. her mute

presence in III.3). Furthermore, two points suggest that Plautus may have

endowed her with speech here. First, she only has a few lines at the begin-

ning of the scene, and they have nothing to do with the planning of the ruse

(1138-42). Second, her exchange with Palaestrio concerning who is the

better architectus doli bears thematic and lexical hallmarks of Plautine ag-

grandizement of the role of the clever slave.

13. Miles, IV.6 (1216-80). 4 speakers. Iambic septenarii: Acroteleutium and

Milphidippa enter and stage a conversation to dupe the soldier Pyrgopoly- nices, who eavesdrops alongside Palaestrio. The fourth speaker creates two

dramatic effects that would not be possible in a three-speaker scene. First, it

allows a double dialogue to trick the eavesdropper (cf. cat. no. 17). The

soldier would no doubt be gulled if he alone overheard the women, but his

responses are controlled more tightly by Palaestrio's directions. Second, it

heightens the bombastic overacting of Acroteleutium through her inability

to speak once she catches sight of the soldier. Acroteleutium falls dumb in

the awesome presence of Pyrgopolynices (1266), and Milphidippa must step

forward to speak on behalf of her mistress (cf. Nixon's stage directions).

Throughout cat. no. 12 and 13, the women are consummate actresses, "distin-

guished by their zeal for the show; they improvise with skill and wit, and delight in opportunities for affectation" (Gerdes 1995, 159). As soon as the women depart (1280), Pyrgopolynices catches sight of Pleusicles in disguise

(1281). Performance probably requires a fifth actor, though only four actors speak concurrently.

14. Miles, IV.8 (1311-53). 4 speakers. Trochaic septenarii: Pleusicles, disguised as

a captain, enters to carry off his beloved Philocomasium, as Palaestrio con-

tinues to function as the director of the deception of Pyrgopolynices. Played

with only three speakers, this scene could limit its focus either to the farcical

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deception of the soldier (Pyrgopolynices, Pleusicles, and P

the romantic union of the lovers (Pyrgopolynices, Pleusicle

masium). The availability of a fourth speaker generates a mi

and romance. The young lovers' impatient, joyful emotions so

whelm their attempts to stay in character for tricking the sol

kissing explained as an attempt to hear her breathing), ther

this exquisite "dance at the edge of the well" (Vogt-Spira 19 entrance of mute porters bearing Philocomasium's luggage

magnifies this moment of grand deception.

15. Mostellaria, 1.4 (313-47). 4 speakers. Mixed cantica: Young

his beloved Philematium meet their tipsy friends Callidamates and they plan to continue their drinking party. This is one of

spectacular sympotic scenes, enriched by the lyric mode (

319), and all the more noteworthy for not being part of a festi

It serves to manifest Philolaches' debauchery (pergraecari!)

absence and further Philematium's characterization as a bona meretrix de-

voted to Philolaches. Plautus may have brought the party outside (Barsby 1982,85; Lowe 1995,24-27) and also endowed Delphium with speech (Barsby 1982, 84-86; Gaiser 1972, 1074-75). The scene continues in cat. no. 16.

16. Mostellaria, II.1 (348-98). 4 speakers. Trochaic septenarii: Tranio the clever slave interrupts the revelers. The scene has four speakers, but staging re-

quires five speaking actors because Tranio, Philolaches, Callidamates, and

Delphium all talk, while Philematium, who spoke in 1.4, falls silent in II.1

(her continuing presence is attested at 397). In a play with only three speak-

ers, a mute extra could take her role after the previous scene, freeing the

actor to become Tranio. But that is only possible after a choral interlude, not

in a play with continuous action (Barsby 1982, 84-86). Since Callidamates

and his servants are later needed for the denouement, Barsby is probably

correct to postulate a three-actor scene in which Tranio confronts the inebri-

ated males with silent women hanging on. If so, Plautus has endowed the courtesan Delphium with speech.

17. Persa, IV.4 (549-672). 4 speakers. Trochaic septenarii: Staging throughout

Act IV requires four or five speaking actors, but only here do we have four

concurrent speakers. Sagaristio speaks with the virgo callida as Toxilus and

the pimp Dordalus eavesdrop. The four then converse together (576ff.),

leading to the pimp's purchase of the girl. This highly metatheatrical ruse

has two parts. First, the conspirators gull Dordalus by letting him eavesdrop,

which normally is a position of power. In reality, he overhears a staged

conversation, a play-within-a-play (cf. Miles cat. no. 13; Slater 1985, 48-49,

164). He is already prepared to make the purchase when Toxilus suggests an

interrogation of the virgo. This is unnecessary for the trick but provides the

chance for a bravado performance by the virgo. It is likely that Plautus has

endowed her with speech to prolong and enliven the deception (Chiarini

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1978; Lowe 1989). Her characterization as now noble, now cunning

sistent, but there is little compelling evidence to proclaim that Pla

took a mala meretrix and exaggerated her simulated modesty (C made a good girl act with malitia and calliditas (Lowe).

18. Persa, V.2 (777-857)*. 5 speakers. Mixed cantica: In V.1, Sagaristi

his girl Lemniselenis, the mute slave Paegnium, and other attend

a drinking party. When Dordalus enters at 777, all taunt him,

Paegnium begins to speak (794). The scene is a spectacular e

onstage symposiastic revelry, enhanced by the lyric mode (Frae

319) and bearing the marks of massive Plautine renovation (Lowe

28, n.15). The degree of reconciliation is ambiguous. The pimp, who

itous arrival is unmotivated, is both ridiculed and invited to join

His refusal to join the festivity marks him as an agelast and th

abuse (Segal 1987, 87-90; McCarthy 2000, 156-58). The conflictin for closing the comedy-to mock and expel the pimp or forgive

grate him-are embodied in the behavior of Paegnium and Lem

The former is abusive, both verbally and physically. His presenc

throughout the play may be attributed to Plautus (Hughes 1984).

nis, who is named symposiarch at 770, tries to dissuade Toxilus

menting Dordalus (833) and seems to be an unwilling participa

ludificatio (833,834) until she is browbeaten by Toxilus into joini

cf. Auhagen 2001, 104-6; Lowe 1995, 28, n.15). Perhaps she, rat

Toxilus, demands an end to the mockery at 854 (satis sumpsimu

iam; see Woytek 1982, on 854). She also tries to soothe Dordalu

convince him to join the festivity (799-801, 849, 851). Once again woman mediating to try to achieve a more harmonious ending.

19. Poenulus, 1.2 (210-409). 4 speakers. Mixed cantica (210-60), trocha

(261-409): Agorastocles and his slave Milphio eavesdrop on, the

(330) the girls Adelphasium and Anterastilis. The ancilla also spe

(332). The scene is hilarious, and the extent to which a fourth

affords opportunities for comic business becomes obvious when

pare this scene to the less exuberant Mostellaria 1.3 in which

makes asides to himself (or the audience) while watching Philem

Scapha. This scene also lays the groundwork for later parallels w

23 in content, staging, and meter (these are the only two cantica in

Oddities of 1.2 make it a target for claims of contaminatio or fr

composition. For example, the men, having decided to enter the ho

end of I.1, remain onstage. Furthermore, characterization of all f

ers is reduced to the comic stereotypes of pathetic lover, crafty

meretrices, which is especially jarring in that Adelphasium here

role of seasoned meretrix with gusto. While the conversation of

is necessary to the development of the plot, the asides of the

master are pure silliness, and their scurrilous behavior smacks

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composition (Lowe 1988). Possibly, only the lover was eavesdr

Alexis' play, and Plautus has added Milphio to enhance his role

1982, 110, n. 2; cf. cat. no. 22).

20. Poenulus, III.2 (578-608). 4 speakers. Trochaic septenarii: Milp

his plan to fool the pimp with Agorastocles, their helper Colly some advocati, who will serve as witnesses. The scene is largely

because Milphio already has divulged his scheme to Agoras

Agorastocles already has given money to Collybiscus (415) and

the advocati on their role (III.1); and Milphio already has

Collybiscus on his role (III.2). The entire scene is a rehearsal, induzione," for an elaborate ruse that is thoroughly Plautine conscious theatricality (Petrone 1983, 15-33; note especially t

breaking joke of the advocati about stage money, 597-99). We

that Plautus has tinkered with the portrayal of the advocati, per

lowering their social status (Rosivach 1983) or perhaps making s

of mute extras in Alexis' Karchedonios (Lowe 1990, 278-93). A

latter view, Arnott contends that an unassigned fragment of Ale adapted by Plautus at 522ff., a passage spoken by the advocati at

(Arnott 1996, 285-86, 740-43).

21. Poenulus, III.4 (711-20). 4 speakers. Iambic senarii: The advoca Agorastocles to watch Collybiscus, who is disguised as a Spart

trick the pimp Lycus. This is a rudimentary form of double eav

Agorastocles speaks only five words (711), observes the encount

of Collybiscus and Lycus at 720, and then converses with the a

about twenty lines. His presence as a witness is unnecessary an

that the advocati were adduced to be the witnesses. Furthermore,

and the money need only be reported in Lycus' house; a witn

actual entry is not crucial to bring charges. But Plautus likes t

audience a trick rather than merely report it. Lowe (1990, 285- structural grounds for this ensemble scene, arguing that both

and Agorastocles are Plautine additions to help patch over an e

created by the departure of Collybiscus and Lycus and to cov

interlude during which Lycus received the money (cf. cat. no. 1

22. Poenulus, V.3 (1120-54). 4 speakers. Iambic senarii: Milphio su

Carthaginian nurse Giddenis to identify the newly arrived Ha

presence of Agorastocles and a bunch of Punic porters. This cro

falls amidst a sequence that, in Gratwick's analysis (1982, 98-1

the hand of Plautus in trying to graft a second trick onto Alexis' Ka

Milphio's trick, in which Hanno would pose as the father of

unnecessary because he is the father of the girls. At this point, a

between the nurse and Hanno is necessary to establish that the

daughters, and it is important for the lover Agorastocles to hear t

unnecessary presence here seems like the last attempt in a perv

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enhance his role (cf. cat. no. 19), and Hanno and Agorastocle

him from the stage (1147-54). As a consequence of Milphio

steal the limelight, Agorastocles has stood by in a dramaturgic

silence from 1086-1136. The nurse's son also speaks a word i

a conjecture of Angelius), marking a brief and sincere famil

foreshadows and contrasts with Hanno's convoluted reunion with his


23. Poenulus, V.4 (1174-1279). 4 speakers. Mixed cantica (1174-1200), troc

septenarii (1201-25), iambic septenarii (1226-73), trochaic septenarii (1

79): Agorastocles and Hanno eavesdrop on, then converse with Hann daughters Adelphasium and Anterastilis. Plautus is having fun with

inconsistent characterization of Hanno, making this one of the oddest fa

reunions in the corpus. Hanno replaces Milphio as a servus callidus to wisecracks with Agorastocles in a double-eavesdropping scene that mir

cat. no. 19; he accosts the girls in a flirtatious manner; he cruelly toys w

them as if a Roman jurisconsult; and finally, after the recognition, gi pious prayer of thanksgiving (Franko 1996). The use of a fourth speak

excellent, because a scene with only three speakers would have to forego

double eavesdropping. But the reunion itself, which culminates visually

four-part nervom bracchialem (1269), involves basically three speakers. F

the moment the men hail the girls (1212), Adelphasium does all the tal

to her father and lover while Anterastilis says nothing or next to not

(Leo, Ernout, and Lindsay assign her parts of 1260-61 and 1268).

24. Poenulus, V.5 (1280-1337). 5 speakers. Trochaic septenarii (1280-1303),

bic senarii (1304-37): The soldier Antamoenides enters, beholds the Car

ginian family engaged in a group hug, and begins insulting Hanno a

Agorastocles. The scene has potential to be one of the most spectacular

noisy in Plautus, especially when Agorastocles orders his mute attendant

fetch clubs (1319-20). The soldier's taunt at Agorastocles (te cinaedum

arbitror, 1318) appears to reproduce a fragment of the Greek original (ba

ei; Arnott 1996,285-87), which implies that Alexis presented a confronta

between the soldier and the young man (unless Plautus transferred insult from Hanno to Agorastocles). If Alexis had employed only th

speakers, he might have shuttled the two girls offstage before the arriv the soldier or else shown them onstage as mute extras, perhaps after a c

interlude. In the previous scene, Adelphasium conversed with father

lover while Anterastilis stood by; here, Adelphasium has little to say ( while Anterastilis now speaks up to mediate between her paramour an

family (1322-25). A conciliatory tone may be central to Anterastilis' ch

ter (Maurach 1988, 220).

25. Poenulus, V.6 (1338-67)*. 4 speakers. Iambic senarii: Agorastocles, Ha

and Antamoenides confront Lycus. Agorastocles sends the two wome

side (1356). If genuine, this would be the only ending in the palliata in s

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(cf. the microscopic analysis of endings in Zwierlein 1990, 56-

wrangling among the four men shows a typically crowded settlem


26. Poenulus, V.7 (1372-1422)*. 6 speakers. Iambic senarii (1372-97) septenarii (1398-1422): Agorastocles, Hanno, Antamoenides, an

women confront Lycus. If genuine, this might be our only clear s

scene. The settlement with the leno is reminiscent of the close of Curculio

(cat. no. 10). The availability of four or more speakers allows Plautus to

compress into one sequence two different disputes (Hanno's family versus Lycus for kidnapping; Antamoenides versus Lycus for repayment). Unlike

the other ending to Poenulus, the women here speak, and they are su-

premely efficient in bringing the play to a harmonious close, needing to

deliver only one line apiece (1405-6) to convince Hanno not to pursue a

legal settlement with the pimp.

27. Rudens, III.6 (868-91). 4 speakers. Iambic senarii: In Act III, there are never

more than four concurrent speakers, although the staging presents a bewil- deringly rapid succession of characters who do speak: Daemones, Plesidippus,

Trachalio, Charmides, Labrax, Palaestra, Ampelisca, lorarii (see further

Prescott 1932,122-23).The quip of a lorarius at 764 could permit classification

of III.4 as an ensemble scene (above, n. 4). Aside from that remark, the

sequence demonstrably requiring four concurrent speakers begins with the

arrival of the pimp's friend Charmides at 868, where Plesidippus and a

talking lorarius drag off the pimp, who appeals to Charmides in vain for help

(868-91). Lefevre may be correct that Charmides is a Plautine creation (1984, 10-13), and one suspects that the talking lorarii are also Plautine

renovations. The silence of the women Ampelisca and Palaestra is remark-

able. They speak in III.3, then stand silently by the altar from III.4 (cf. the

deictic hasce at 736) through III.6. Gaiser (1972, 1075-76) argues that in

Diphilus' play they were inside the temple and that Plautus brought them

onstage to the altar, thereby increasing the dramatic tension by making the

threats of Labrax visible and more imminent. Kurrelmeyer (1932, 77-79)

suggests that the speaking actors who play the girls exit around 701 and can be replaced by mutes, prompting the question and response at 707: ubi sunt?

huc respice. If so, and if it were somehow clear to the Roman audience that

the girls were now being played by mute extras, Labrax's appeals to them to

intercede for him take on a metatheatrical dimension: Palaestra says noth-

ing to help Labrax as he is hauled away because she is a kophon prosopon!

28. Rudens, IV.4 (1045-1183). 5 speakers. Trochaic septenarii: Father Daemones

arbitrates between the slaves Gripus and Trachalio and recognizes his daugh- ter Palaestra. Ampelisca is silent except for the final line of the scene (1183).

Plautus crowds the stage to make more spectacular the climax of his play. Anderson (1993,46-53) argues that Diphilus, obeying a rule of three speak-

ers, presented first a scene of arbitration with Daemones, Gripus, and Trachalio

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and then a scene of recognition with Daemones, Gripus, and contends that Plautus desired to increase the length and viv

more farcical confrontation between the slaves, even to the po

ing Trachalio throughout the more melodramatic family reu

also accepting the three-actor rule for Diphilus, argues pla

Ampelisca is a Plautine creation (1984, 7); he less plausibly ar

Trachalio and Palaestra were added by Plautus for the arbi

recognition, leaving in Diphilus a two-speaker scene of

Gripus (1984, 20-21).

29. Trinummus, V.2 (1176-89)*. 4 speakers. Trochaic septenarii

out his friend Lesbonicus to reconcile him with his father Charmides in the

presence of the neighbor Callicles. The ensemble scene closes the play with

forgiveness for wrongs done and promises of future good behavior sealed by

two betrothals: Lesbonicus will wed Callicles' daughter, and Lysiteles will wed Lesbonicus' sister. Lefevre (1995, 116-19, 124) contends that Lysiteles'

presence is a Plautine renovation, supposing that in Philemon's play, Callicles

was father of Lysiteles and that Callicles and Charmides arranged two

marriages for their offspring. On the other hand, although the attribution of

speakers is not perfectly clear, Callicles seems to make only one negligible

wisecrack (1185-86), which indicates the play could easily have closed with

only the other three speakers.

[30. Truculentus, 11.7 (551-630). 4 speakers. Mixed cantica.]: The soldier Stra-

tophanes eavesdrops on and then confronts the meretrix Phronesium and

Cyamus, the slave of young Diniarchus, who arrives with a number of porters

bearing gifts. It is uncertain whether the maid Astaphium is in fact a fourth

speaker. Lefevre (1991b, 182, n. 33) follows Leo and Lindsay in attributing

parts of 584-86 to her; Ernout does not, nor does Enk (1953, 21-22), who

accepts the contention of Kurrelmeyer (1932, 22) that the actor playing

Astaphium also played Cyamus. The text is corrupt and the attribution of

speakers unclear. Phronesium ordered Astaphium to leave at 541, but she is

apparently back onstage with Phronesium when Cyamus greets them at 577

(vos). Astaphium's presence and remarks do not appreciably increase the dramatic impact of this particular scene, whose focus is on the dialogue between Cyamus and Phronesium and its effect on the eavesdropping

Stratophanes (cf. cat. no. 31); however, giving Astaphium a visible and au-

dible presence could fit a pattern of portraying her as an exceptionally

forceful and savvy maid (cf. cat. no. 32).

31. Truculentus, IV.3 (775-849). 4 speakers. Trochaic septenarii: Diniarchus eaves- drops on Callicles' interrogation of two maids and then confronts them. He

learns that the baby in Phronesium's possession actually belongs to him and

Callicles' daughter. As with cat. no. 30, the presence of a fourth speaker is of

less dramatic importance than the eavesdropping itself. Moore studies the

prevalence of eavesdropping in the play and observes that eavesdroppers

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"share with the audience a sense of superiority. The eavesdroppin

Truculentus, however, have quite the opposite effect. The prin droppers in this play are Diniarchus and Stratophanes, and wh

serve and hear gives them not superiority, but frustration and e

tion" (1998, 151).

[32. Truculentus, V (914-67)*. 4 speakers. Trochaic septenarii.]: St

converses with Phronesium and Astaphium. He hands a purse to P

who orders a servant (presumably Astaphium) to take it inside

atque auferto intro (914). The rest of verse 914 begins the entry

of young Strabax, which means that, even if this is not an ens

quite yet, the staging here requires four speaking actors. More im

does Astaphium return at some point to overhear the three-wa

tion of Phronesium, Strabax, and Stratophanes? This is explicit

directions of Nixon (1938, 325). Perhaps so, and she might remain

Leo, Ernout, Lindsay, and Enk all follow Schoell's attribution to

of the gnomic proclamation at 950: stultus atque insanus damnis c

salvae sumus. The plural does suggest the sentiment of someon

nesium's household, rather than of just Phronesium herself, an

characteristic of Astaphium. Professor James Tatum informs me Astaphium this remark is extremely effective in performance. T

tion of lines to Astaphium in cat. nos. 30 and 32 would be cons

Plautus' portrayal of her as an exceptionally important servant, o

of extended cantica in I and II. As Duckworth (1952,255), who a

attributions, observed: "Astaphium is unique in having a more act

far than does any other maid in Plautus. She is onstage during

thirds of the action and what she says about Phronesium and

gives the play much of its cynical and satirical tone."


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