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The Pot of Gold and Other Plays (Penguin Classics) Paperback – September 30, 1965


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (September 30, 1965)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140441492
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140441499
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Titus Maccius Plautus was born in Sarsina, Umbria, in about 254 BC, and was originally named, after his father, Titus. Little is known of his life, but it is believed that he went to Rome when young and worked as a stage assistant. His potential as an actor was discovered and he acquired two other names: Maccius, derived perhaps from the name of a clown in popular farce, and Plautus, a cognomen meaning ‘flat-footed’. Somehow Plautus saved enough capital to go into business as a merchant shipper, but this venture collapsed, and he worked (says the tradition) as a miller’s laborer, and in his spare time studied Greek drama. From the age of forty onwards he achieved increasing success as an adaptor of Greek comedies for the Roman stage. Much of his work seems to be original, however, and not mere translation. He was rewarded by being granted Roman citizenship. According to Cicero he died in 184 BC.
E.F. Watling was educated at Christ's Hospital and University College, Oxford. His translations of Greek and Roman plays for the Penguin Classics include the seven plays of Sophocles, nine plays of Plautus, and a selection of the tragedies of Seneca.
 

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By ninjasuperstar on March 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
Plautus is an important Roman comedian, because he preserves Greek works (The Swaggering Soldier is a re-telling of a lost Greek play, Alazon, or The Braggart), and he shows us some of the similarities between ancient Greek and Roman senses of humor, which are not far from contemporary Western senses of humor. Plautus also influenced other great playwrights. For example, The Brothers Menaechmus is generally considered a simpler template for Shakespeare's richer The Comedy of Errors.

In this selection, one will encounter some of Western society's earliest slapstick comedies and humorous, moral critiques of undesirable human behaviors. Plautus' penchant for wordplay is also showcased in this text. Plautus' plays are very easy and quick to read, and this 1965 translation definitely has a modern sensibility to it. For example, you will find that Plautus' characters like to cuss a lot, generally at the expense of women.

I recommend this book to readers of ancient Rome and readers interested in the history of the stage.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By physics student on September 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
I agree with another reviewer that this collection of plays makes a good history lesson, but for me the lesson went beyond the development of people's sense of humor over time. Plautus avoids philosophy and politics, skipping right to slice-of-life stories about ordinary people, stories that today would be considered situation comedies. (Several of the plays in this book were amalgamated into the modern-day musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.") Reading this book gave me a sense of what life on the streets of ancient Rome was like.

A final comment about whether Plautus should be considered Greek or Roman. Plautus wrote in Rome more than 200 years after the classical Greek playrights Aeschylus, Euripides and Aristophanes and more than 100 years after the "new comedy" of the Greek Menander. He borrowed Greek plots and set his own plays in Greece, but I regard this as a convention (much as 20th century playwrights habitually set theirs in New York City) and to me the attitudes of Plautus' characters seem Roman more than Greek.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lori on June 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
Plautus was an extraordinary Roman comic playwright. He adapted Greek comedy to Roman tastes and the Latin language. Like Shakespeare, who borrowed greatly from him, Plautus writes on both a pratfall/slapstick level and on a witty wordplay level. This author is guaranteed entertainment, and this is a very good translation. Still don't believe me? Just remember that Plautus' work was the basis for "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Parisa Mirdamadi on June 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great for anyone who enjoys Roman literature. I liked it! Very easy and enjoyable. Could return and reread without getting bored.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By frumenty on February 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Kindle version of this Penguin Classics book is full of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) typos, like "dungs" for "things", "Unes" for "Lines". Don't publishers use proofreaders any more?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Norma Urban on March 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ever wonder what it was like to live in Rome during the Conquest Period? Were Roman slaves loyal? Why or why not? Reading the plays of the classic Roman period provide an excellent insight into the life and times of the Romans...the everyday life in Rome!
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