Plautus' Pseudolus 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. Pseudolus 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 …

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Christenson, David M.. "Pseudolus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 April 2009
[, accessed 30 November 2015.]