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Written by Plautus
Characters Agorastocles
slave boy
Setting a street in Calydon, Before the houses of Agorastocles and Lycus, and the Temple of Venus

Poenulus, also called The Little Carthaginian or The Little Punic, is a Latin comedic play for the early Roman theatre by Titus Maccius Plautus, probably written between 195 and 189 BC.[1] The play is noteworthy for containing text in Carthaginian Punic, spoken by the character Hanno in the fifth act.[2]


Agorastocles is in love with a woman named Adelphasium who is a slave that belongs to the pimp Lycus. Like Agorastocles, she and her sister Anterastilis were stolen (as children) from Carthage and sold. Agorastocles was purchased as an adopted son, whereas the girls were bought to become prostitutes.

Milphio, the slave of Agorastocles, attempts to help his master obtain Adelphasium. Their plan is to trick Lycus and get him into legal trouble. Eventually, Hanno arrives from Carthage, and they soon discover he is the cousin of Agorastocles' parents as well as the father of the two girls. The pimp loses in the end, and the story concludes with a happy family reunion. Hanno gives Agorastocles his blessing to marry his daughter.[3]



  1. ^ Gregor Maurach, Der Poenulus des Plautus (Carl Winter, 1988; ISBN 3533038939), p. 33.
  2. ^ Sznycer, Maurice (1967). Les passages puniques en transcription latine dans le Poenulus de Plaute. Paris: Librairie C. Klincksieck.
  3. ^ Cf., H. J. Rose, A Handbook of Latin Literature (London: Methuen 1936; 3d ed. 1954, reprint Dutton 1960) at 51-52.
  4. ^ Plautus; Translated by Wolfgang de Melo (2012). Plautus, Vol IV: The Little Carthaginian; Pseudolus; The Rope. Loeb Classical Library. ISBN 067499986X.

External links

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