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L10 Latin 4215: Plautus


The following is a select list of items in English; most of these items do not appear on our course syllabus. To look for additional sources, use bibliographies of course readings, the library catalog, L’Annee Philologique, and the irreplaceable physical browsing through the stacks. (Librarian's note: Search the Mobius Catalog if  WU copies  of titles are checked out.)

Handbooks on Latin literature


Conte, Gian Biago. Latin Literature: A History. Tr. Joseph B. Solodow, Rev. Don Fowler and Glenn Most. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1994. (arranged chronologically; look for the entry on Plautus)

Fantham, Elaine. Roman Literary Culture: From Plautus to Macrobius. Second Edition. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2013. (conceived as a companion to Conte above; more discussion of authors and works in combination and in their historical and cultural contexts.

Some books on the history and form of Roman comedy


Beacham, Richard C. The Roman Theatre and its Audience. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991.

Duckworth, George E. The Nature of Roman Comedy: A Study in Popular Entertainment. Second Edition, with a Foreword and Bibliographical Appendix by Richard Hunter. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994. (First edition: Princeton, 1952)

Fraenkel, Eduard. Plautine Elements in Plautus. Tr. Tomas Drevikovsky and Frances Muecke. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. (request MOBIUS copy)

Hunter, Richard. The New Comedy of Greece and Rome. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. (ebook)

Moore, Timothy. Music in Roman Comedy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012                                                                                                                          

Some interpretive studies of Plautus and Roman comedy


Anderson, W.S. Barbarian Play: Plautus' Roman Comedy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993. (ebook)

Dutsch, Dorota M. Feminine Discourse in Roman Comedy : On Echoes and Voices. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. (ebook)

Leigh, Matthew. Comedy and the Rise of Rome. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.(ebook)

Moore, Timothy. The Theater of Plautus: Playing to the Audience. Austin, 1959.

Segal, Erich. Roman Laughter: The Comedy of Plautus. Second Edition. New York  and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987. (First edition: Harvard, 1968) (ebook)

Segal, Erich, ed. Oxford Readings in Menander, Plautus, and Terence. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Slater, Niall. Plautus in Performance: The Theatre of the Mind. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic, 2000.

Zagagi, Netta. Tradition and Originality in Plautus: Studies of the Amatory Motifs in Plautus. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1980.


Some websites

The site for the Summer NEH Seminar on Roman Comedy in Performance, led by Professors Tim Moore and Sharon James (University of North Carolina).

The blog of the aforementioned NEH Seminar.

The archived videos of comic scenes staged, with various methods and styles, in the aforementioned NEH Seminar.

Didaskalia. An open-access, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to ancient performance and contemporary performance of ancient plays (but NOT the only journal in which you will find relevant sources!)

The Ancient Theatre Archive: A Virtual Reality Tour of Greek and Roman Theatre Architecture. Features a clickable map of Europe linked to photos of ancient theater sites and facts.

The Rome Reborn project. Digital reconstructions of Roman buildings and neighborhoods.

The Theatrum Pompei project. Image database on Pompey the Great and his accomplishments, including the construction of Rome’s first permanent theater building. Images include not just ruins but plans and drawings from throughout history.

Vroma: A Virtual Community for Teaching and Learning Classics. A community of scholars, both teachers and students, who create online resources for teaching about the Latin language and ancient Roman culture. The project includes a collection of freely accessible resources, including a large searchable archive of digital images relating to classical antiquity. (Try searches for "comedy," "slaves," actors," etc.)

Lacus Curtius: Into the Roman World. A collection of links to extremely useful online resources, including ancient texts and translations, an online version of Platner's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, and – most important for our commentary reports – William Smith's Dictionary of Roman Antiquities.

Smith is an encyclopedic work containing a lot of good basic information (and references to primary sources), published in 1875; it is thus an educational resource in the public domain. (editions in HathiTrust). It is illustrated with its own woodcuts and some additional photographs added by Bill Thayer, creator of Lacus Curtius. You can find information and primary citations about things like theaters and other entertainment structures, dance, holidays, social customs, marriage & children, slaves, law, religion, clothing, and an awful lot more.