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Words of an Ancient Comic Poet: Titus Maccius Plautus

Who is Titus Maccius Plautus? The Roman comic Titus Maccius Plautus (most commonly referred to as Plautus), was also a playwright that created comedies that would later survive completely intact amongst some of the earliest displays of Latin literature. When it comes to musical theater, he is also viewed as one of the earliest pioneers.

In his lifetime, Plautus was periodically accused of teaching the public indifference and would often make a mockery of the gods. His characters within his plays were usually compared to a god. It didn’t matter if he did this to honor a character to mock an individual, the references were thought of as disrespectful to the gods. For instance, Plautus sometimes compared mortal women to a god. Even saying that he would rather be loved by a woman than by the gods was an insult.

Over the years however, the comic touched many lives and would influence the development of Greek comedy, as well as individuals like Menander (Athens-born Greek dramatist who played a significant role in the development of New Comedy) and Aristophanes (son of Philippus , a Greek Old Comic dramatist who earned the nickname of “Father of Comedy”).

“This is the great fault of wine; it first trips up the feet: it is a cunning wrestler.”

“I would rather be adorned by beauty of character than jewels. Jewels are the gift of fortune, while character comes from within.”

“If you are content, you have enough to live comfortably.”

“It is easy to rule over the good.”

“No one can be so welcome a guest that he will not annoy his host after three days.”

“One does nothing who tries to console a despondent person with word. A friend is one who aids with deeds at a critical time when deeds are called for.”

“The eye witness is better than ten hear sayers.”

“The poor man who enters into a partnership with one who is rich makes a risky venture.”

“Courage in danger is half the battle.”

“Laws are subordinate to custom.”

“Ones oldest friend is the best.”

“No man is wise enough by himself.”

“Wisdom is not attained by years, but by ability.”

“For nobody is curious, who isn’t malevolent.”

“What is thine is mine, and all mine is thine.”
“The day, water, sun, moon, night — I do not have to purchase these things with money.”

“He who seeks for gain, must be at some expense.”

“There are occasions when it is undoubtedly better to incur loss than to make gain.”

“Slander-mongers and those who listen to slander, if I had my way, would all be strung up, the talkers by the tongue, the listeners by the ears.”

“Where there are friends there is wealth.”

“Not by age but by capacity is wisdom acquired.”

“The best may slip, and even the most cautious fall; but he is more than human who errors not at all.”

“He whom the Gods love dies young, while he is in health, has his senses and his judgments sound.”

“Every man, however wise, needs the advice of some sagacious friend in the affairs of life.”

“Nothing is there more friendly to a man than a friend in need.”