Poenulus (“the little Carthaginian”) is 15th among Plautus’ comedies as selected and arranged by Varro (Varronian series). The text of the play is not particularly problematic, but the numerous sections in Punic have caused extensive textual and interpretative issues.
All scholars agree that Plautus most likely composed Poenulus around the time of the second Punic war (218-201 BCE). Nonetheless the possibility of pinpointing a more specific date could prove most useful for the interpretation of the play. Indeed, there are several occasions in the play where one may identify allusions to specific historical events. The so described “period of peace” at ll. 524-5 could allude to the pacification of Aetolia – a location mentioned in the comedy – which dates to the year
Citation: Gazzarri, Tommaso. "Poenulus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 September 2016 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=35813, accessed 06 December 2023.]