The Asinaria (Comedy of the Asses) deserves to be better known than it is. While it cannot claim to be Plautus’ greatest work, it displays a number of interesting features, particularly in its treatment of stock scenes and characters (Slater), and offers some truly hilarious moments. It is, in effect, boiled-down Plautus.


The plot follows a familiar arc, but introduces a number of surprising twists along the way. A young Athenian of respectable family but limited financial resources (Argyrippus) has fallen in love with a youthful prostitute next door named Philaenium, who loves him in return but lives under the control of a ruthless lena (procuress) named Cleareta. The latter leases out her �…

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Porter, John. "Asinaria". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 June 2013
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]