Titus Maccius Plautus, Pseudolus

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debuted in Rome at the festival of the Magna Mater or “Great Mother”, i.e. the goddess Cybele, in April of 191 BCE. It thus falls relatively late in Plautus' career, and since antiquity has been one of his most admired comedies.


is also one of Plautus' most self-consciously theatrical or “metatheatrical” productions.

Its plot is an extremely common one in Plautus and New Comedy in general. Calidorus, a lovesick and impoverished young man faces the loss of his beloved (Phoenicium), as her pimp is about to sell her to a soldier. The play opens with Calidorus' melodramatic plea for assistance to his family's clever slave Pseudolus (his name means “Liar”). By the end of Scene 1, the arch-trickster Pseudolus pledges to secure funds to purchase the girl,

1210 words

Citation: Christenson, David M.. "Pseudolus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 April 2009 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=21417, accessed 05 March 2024.]

21417 Pseudolus 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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