Titus Maccius Plautus, Bacchides

John Barsby (University of Otago)
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The Two Bacchises

) has not been one of Plautus’ most popular plays over the centuries, even though it possesses one of the greatest of Plautine ‘tricky slaves’ (

serui callidi

) in the character of Chrysalus. One reason for its comparative neglect may be that the opening of the play (150 lines or more) has been lost in the manuscript tradition, so that it has never been possible since antiquity to appreciate the play in its entirety. Another reason may be the generally low tone of the play, which ends with two fathers joining their two wayward sons in a brothel. This scarcely provides for the ‘comic closure’ or ‘happy ending’ which comedy seems to require, in which the errant characters see the error of their ways and the norms of society are restored.


4539 words

Citation: Barsby, John. "Bacchides". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 January 2014 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=34724, accessed 29 May 2024.]

34724 Bacchides 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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