Roman comic playwright (c. 254 – 184 BC)

Titus Maccius Plautus (254 BC – 184 BC), born at Sarsina, Emilia-Romagna, was a comic playwright in the time of the Roman Republic. The years of his life are uncertain, but his plays were first produced between about 205 BC and 184 BC.

[F]acias ipse quod faciamus nobis suades. (Practice yourself what you preach.) ~ Asinaria, Act III, scene 3, line 54.

Quotes edit

Amphitryon edit

  • The face that thou shalt smite in earnest is bound thereafter to be boneless.
    • Amphitryon, Act I, scene 1.
  • Satin parva res est voluptatum in vita atque in aetate agunda praequam quod molestum est?
    • Oh, are not the pleasures in life, in this daily round, trifling compared with the pains!
    • Amphitryon, Act II, scene 2.
  • [V]irtus praemium est optimum ; virtus omnibus remus anteit profecto : libertas salus vita res et parentes, patria et prognati tutantur, servantur : virtus omnia in sese habet, omnia adsunt bona quem penest virtus.
    • Valour’s the best reward ; ‘tis valour that surpasses all things else : our liberty, our safety, life, estate, our parents, children, country, are by this preserved, protected : valour everything comprises in itself ; and every good awaits the man who is possess’d of valour. (translator Thornton)
    • Amphitryon, Act II, scene 2, line 16.
    • Variant translation: Courage is the very best gift of all; courage stands before everything, it does, it does! It is what maintains and preserves our liberty, safety, life, and our homes and parents, our country and children. Courage comprises all things: a man with courage has every blessing.

Asinaria (The Donkey Man) edit

  • non tu scis? quae amanti parcet, eadem sibi parcet parum.
    • Don't you know? A woman who is generous to her lover is not generous enough to herself.
    • Asinaria, Act I, scene 3.
  • Quasi piscis itidem est amator lenae: nequam est nisi recens.
    • For a brothel-keeper a lover is like a fish: he's no good unless he's fresh.
    • Asinaria Act I, scene 3.
  • Necesse est facere sumptum qui quaerit lucrum.
    • He who seeks profit must first make an expenditure.
    • Asinaria Act I, scene 3.
  • fortiter malum qui patitur, idem post patitur bonum.
    • The chap that endures hard knocks bravely enjoys a soft time later on.
    • Asinaria, Act II, scene 2.
  • o Libane, uti miser est homo qui amat!
    • I say, Libanus, what a poor devil a chap in love is!
    • Asinaria, Act III, scene 3.
  • Lupus est homo homini, non homo, quom qualis sit non novit.
    • Man is no man, but a wolf, to a stranger.
    • Asinaria, Act II, scene 4 (line 495 of full Latin text).
    • Variant translation: A man is a wolf rather than a man to another man, when he hasn't yet found out what he's like.
    • Often quoted as "Homo homini lupus" [A man is a wolf to another man].
  • facias ipse quod faciamus nobis suades.
    • Practice yourself what you preach.
    • Asinaria, Act III, scene 3, line 54 (line 644 of full Latin text).
    • Variant translation: Do you then yourself do that which you would be suggesting to us to do. (translator Henry Thomas Riley, 1912)

Aulularia (The Pot of Gold) edit

  • Altera manu fert lapidem, panem ostentat altera
    • In one hand he is carrying a stone, while he shows bread with the other.
    • Alternate translation: And so he thinks to ‘tice me like a dog, by holding bread in one hand, and a stone, ready to knock my brains out, in the other.
    • Aulularia, line 195 (Act II, sc. 2, line 18)
    • Cf. Jesus, Matthew 7:9: "Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?"
  • Pol si est animus aequos tibi, sat habes qui bene vitam colas.
    • If you are but content, you have enough to live upon with comfort.
    • Aulularia, line 187 (Act II, sc. 2, line 10)
  • Quid opust verbis? facta est pugna in gallo gallinacio.
    • I had a regular battle with the dunghill-cock.
    • Aulularia, line 472 (Act III, sc. 4, 13); reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Non temere est quod corvos cantat mihi nunc ab laeva manu
    • It was not for nothing that the raven was just now croaking on my left hand.
    • Aulularia, line 624 (Act iv, sc. 3, 1); reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919). Referenced in "That raven on yon left-hand oak/(Curse on his ill-betiding croak!)/Bodes me no good", John Gay, ''Fables, Part I, The Farmer’s Wife and the Raven.

Bacchides (The Bacchises) edit

  • Sperat quidem animus : quo eveniat, dis in manu est
    • Man proposes, God disposes. (translated by Thornton)
    • Literal translation: The mind hopes, but how things turn out is in the hand of the gods.
    • Bacchides Act I, scene 2, line 36 (line 144)
  • Nam ego illum periisse dico, quoi quidem periit pudor.
    • For I regard that man as lost, who has lost his sense of shame.
    • Bacchides Act III, scene 3, line 80 (line 485)
  • Quem di diligunt, adulescens moritur
    • He whom the gods love, dies young.
    • Bacchides Act IV, scene 7, lines 18–19 (lines 816–817)
    • Derived from Menander's The Double Deceiver. The Menander line (quoted by Stobaeus) is: ὃν οἱ θεοὶ φιλοῦσιν ἀποθνῄσκει νέος (hon hoi theoi philousin apothnēskei neos)

Captivi (The Prisoners) edit

  • In re mala animo si bono utare, adjuvat.
    • Our best support and succor in distress is fortitude of mind. (translator Thornton)
    • Captivi, Act II, scene 1, line 8
    • Variant translation: The best assistance in distress is fortitude of soul. (translator unknown)
  • Est etiam, ubi profecto damnum praestet facere, quam lucrum.
    • There are times when loss should be preferr’d to gain. (translator Thornton)
    • Captivi, Act II, scene 2, line 75.
    • Variant translation: There are occasions when it is undoubtedly better to incur loss than to make gain. (translation by Henry Thomas Riley)

Casina (The Lot Drawers) edit

  • Vincite virtute vera.
    • Conquer by means of true virtue.
    • Casina, Prologue, line 87
  • Victi vicimus
    • Conquered, we conquer
    • Casina, Act II, scene viii, line 74

Cistellaria (The Casket) edit

  • Amor et melle et felle est faecundissimus.
    • Love is very fruitful both of honey and gall.
    • Cistellaria, Act I, scene 1, line 70
  • Quod dedi datum non vellem, quod relicuum est non dabo.
    • What I've given I wish I hadn't given; what's left, I won't give.
      (Referred to in line 505 as verbum vetus "an old proverb".)
    • Cistellaria, line 506.

Curculio (The Weevil) edit

  • Qui e nuce nucleum esse vult, frangat nucem.
    • He who would eat the kernel, must crack the shell.
    • Curculio, Act I, scene 1, line 55
  • Nulli est homini perpetuum bonum.
    • No blessing lasts forever.
    • Curculio, Act I, scene 3, line 32

Epidicus edit

  • Nihil agit, qui diffidentem verbis solatus suis. Is est amicus, qui in re dubia te juvat, ubi re est opus.
    • The man that comforts a desponding friend with words alone, does nothing. He’s a friend indeed who proves himself a friend in need.
    • Epidicus, Act I, sc. 2, line 9.

Menaechmi (The Brothers Menaechmus) edit

  • You are seeking a knot in a bulrush.
    • Menæchmi, Act II, sc. 1, line 22; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919). A proverbial expression implying a desire to create doubts and difficulties where there really were none. It occurs in Terence, the "Andria", act v. sc. 4, 38; also in Ennius, "Saturæ", 46.

Mercator (The Merchant) edit

  • Feliciter is sapit, qui alieno periculo sapit.
    • He gains wisdom in a happy way, who gains it by another’s experience.
    • Mercator, Act IV, scene 7, line 40

Miles Gloriosus (The Swaggering Soldier) edit

  • Hospes nullus tam in amici hospitium divorti potest, quin, ubi triduum continuum fuerit, jam odiosis siet.
    • Whene’er a man is quartered at a friend’s, if he but stay three days, his company they will grow weary of. (translator Thornton)
    • Miles Gloriosus, Act III, scene 1, line 146.
    • Variant translation: No guest is so welcome in a friend's house that he will not become a nuisance after three days. (translator unknown)

Mostellaria (The Haunted House) edit

  • Bibite ! pergraecamini ! Este ! effercite vos !
    • Drink ! live like the Greeks ! eat ! gorge !. (translator unknown)
    • Mostellaria, Act I, scene 1, lines 61-62
  • Ego verum amo, verum vol mihi dici : mendacem odi.
    • I love truth, and wish to have it always spoken to me : I hate a liar. (translated by Thornton)
    • Mostellaria, Act I, scene 3, line 26
  • Insperata accidunt magis saepe quam que speres.
    • Things we hope not for oftener come to pass than things we wish for. (translated by Thornton)
    • Act I, scene 3, line 42.
    • Variant translation: Things which you do not hope happen more frequently than things which you do hope. (translator unknown)
  • Nihil est miserius, quam animus hominis conscius.
    • Nothing so wretched as a guilty conscience.
    • Act III, scene i, line 13.
    • Variant translation: Nothing is more wretched than the mind of a man conscious of guilt. (translator unknown)
  • Each man reaps on his own farm.
    • Act III, sc. 2, line 112; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • To blow and swallow at the same moment is not easy.
    • Act III, sc. 2, line 104; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

Persa (The Persian) edit

  • Te de aliis, quam alios de te suavius est fieri doctos.
    • It is better to learn from the mistakes of others than that others should learn from you.
    • Persa, Act IV, scene 3, line 70
    • Variant translation: ’Tis sweeter far wisdom to gain from other’s woes, than others should learn from ours. (translation by Bonnell Thornton)
  • Dictum sapienti sat est.
    • A word to the wise is enough.
    • Persa, Act IV, scene 7, line 19
    • Variant translation: A sentence is enough for a sensible man. (translator unknown)
    • More commonly found as Verbum sapienti (same meaning) and abbreviated to verb. sap. ; proverbially, “A word to the wise is sufficient”

Poenulus (The Little Carthaginian) edit

  • Male partum, male disperit.
    • For what is idly got is idly spent.
    • Poenulus, Act IV, sc. 2, line 22

Pseudolus edit

  • Bonus animus in mala re, dimidium est mali.
    • Courage in danger is half the battle.
    • Pseudolus, Act I, scene 5, line 37

Rudens (The Rope) edit

  • Nam multa praeter spem, scio, multis bona evenisse. At ego etiam qui speraverint, spem decepisse multos.
    • For true it is, good oft befalls us when we least expect it. And true it is, that when we trust in hope, we’re often disappointed.
    • Rudens, Act II, scene 3, line 69
  • Animus aequus optimus est aerumnae condimentum.
    • Patience, then, is the best remedy against affliction.
    • Rudens, Act II, sc. v, line 71.
    • Variant translation: Patience is the best remedy for every trouble. (translation by Henry Thomas Riley)
  • [S}i sapias, sapias : habeus quod di dant boni.
    • If you are wise, be wise; keep what goods the gods provide you.
    • Rudens, Act IV, sc. 7, line 3; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
    • Variant translation: [A] word to the wise! Keep what the Gods have given you. (translation by Cleveland King Chase)

Stichus (The Parasite Rebuffed) edit

  • Ut cuique homini res parata est, firmi amici sunt : si res labat, itidem amici collabascunt. Res amicos invenit.
    • According as men thrive, their friends are true; if their affairs go to wreck, their friends sink with them. Fortune finds friends.
    • Variant translation: According as men thrive, their friends are true; if fortune fails, friends likewise disappear. Prosperity finds friends. (translator unknown)

Trinummus (The Three Coins) edit

  • Habeus ut nactus ; nota mala res optima’st.
    • Keep what you’ve got ; the evil that we know is best. (translator Thornton)
    • Trinummus, Act I, scene 2, lines 25
  • Quod tuum’st, meum’st; omne meum est autem tuum.
    • For what is yours is mine, and mine is yours.
    • Trinummus, Act II, sc. 2, line 47.
  • Non aetate, verum ingenio apiscitur sapientia.
    • Not by age but by capacity is wisdom acquired.
    • Trinummus, Act II, sc. 2, line 88.
  • Non optuma haec sunt neque ut ego aequom censeo : verum meliora sunt quam quae deterruma.
    • These things are not for the best, nor as I think they ought to be; but still they are better than that which is downright bad. (translator Henry Thomas Riley)
    • Trinummus, Act II, sc. 2, line 111; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
    • Alternate translation : This is not the best thing possible, nor what I consider proper ; but it is better than the worst. (translator A. H. Evans)
  • Non tibi illud apparere, si sumas, potest, nisi tu immortale rere esse argentum tibi. Sero atque stulte, prius quod cautum oportuit, postquam comedit rem, post rationem putat.
    • You cannot eat your cake and have it too, unless you think your money is immortal. The fool too late, his substance eaten up, reckons the cost. (translator Thornton)
    • Trinummus, Act II, scene 4, lines 12
  • Nequam illud verbum‘st, Bene vult, nisi qui bene facit.
    • That expression, "He means well," is useless unless he does well.
    • Trinummus, Act II, sc. 4, line 37.
  • Ne male loquare absenti amico.
    • You should not speak ill of an absent friend.
    • Trinummus, Act IV, sc. 2, line 81.

Truculentus edit

  • The valiant profit more
    Their country, than the finest cleverest speakers.
    • Truculentus, Act II, scene ii
  • Pluris est oculatus testis unus, quam auriti decem. Qui audiunt, audita dicunt: qui vident, plane sciunt.
    • One eyewitness weighs more than ten hearsays. Seeing is believing, all the world over.
    • Truculentus, Act II, sc. 6, line 8.
  • Cogitato, mus pusillus quam sit sapiens bestia, aetatem qui uni cubili nunquam committit suam : quia si unum ostium obsideatur, aliud perfugium gerit.
    • But ne’ertheless reflect, the little mouse, how sage a brute it is! Who never trusts its safety to one hole : for when it finds one entrance is block’d up, it has secure some other outlet.
    • Truculentus, Act IV, sc. iv, line 15.
    • Variant translation: Consider the little mouse, how sagacious an animal it is which never entrusts its life to one hole only. (translator unknown)

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