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they will guide young students in scanning the lines, and they will complete the general account in the Introduction by pointing out the particular illustrations to be found in the text of this play.
In writing the commentary I have made use of all previous editions and have to acknowledge my indebtedness especially to those of Brix and Ussing. I have tried to make the notes illustrate the grammar and phraseology not merely of this play, but of Plautus as a whole, and with that object have quoted more freely than I should otherwise have done from the rest of the plays. Moreover I have attempted in the notes to call attention to as many points as possible—some of them may seem of minor importance -believing that a better knowledge of the language and more valuable habits of mind are acquired by the thorough study of one work, or even of a portion of one work, than by the hasty reading of half-adozen.
The grammars to which I have referred are Roby's Grammar of the Latin Language and Kennedy's Revised Latin Primer; these are referred to as R. and K., and quoted by sections. In the quotations from other Plautine plays the references are to Tyrrell's Miles, Benoist's Cistellaria, Ussing's Mostellaria and Persa, and in the case of the remainder to Ritschl's new edition.
THE PLOT OF THE CAPTIVI.
1 HEGIO, a rich old gentleman of Aetolia, had two sons; the younger, when a boy of four, was stolen by one of the slaves, Stalagmus, and neither boy nor slave had since been heard of. Twenty years afterwards war broke out between Aetolia and Elis, and Hegio's remaining son Philopolemus, serving in the army, was taken prisoner by the Eleans. Thereupon Hegio, with a view to negotiating an exchange, began to buy the Elean prisoners-of-war who were from time to time sold into slavery by the Aetolian authorities ; among them he bought two young men Philocrates and Tyndarus, the latter of whom had in Elis been the slave of the former. This is the state of affairs when the play opens. 2 The scene is a street in front of Hegio's house in a seaport town of Aetolia, and when the curtain rises (or rather falls, for in a Roman theatre the curtain was fixed at the bottom, not the top, and was raised and lowered by pulleys) the two captives are standing, fettered together,
at the back of the stage. 3 In the Prologue we are at once informed that of the two captives the one who appears to be the master is really the slave, Tyndarus; he has changed clothes with
his master Philocrates in the hope of facilitating the latter's escape. We are further told that this Tyndarus is no other than the long-lost younger son of Hegio; the slave Stalagmus had taken him to Elis and there sold him to Theodoromedes the father of Philocrates, who had brought him up with his own son, a boy of about the same age. The two boys had become firm friends, and it is on the devotion of Tyndarus to his young master that the whole
play turns. 4 In the first scene of Act I., Ergasilus enters; he wears I. i. a black or dark grey cloak (pallium), the recognised stage
dress of a parasite, but lest the spectators should be in any doubt what he is he begins by discussing the parasite's life and its hardships; he then explains that he is the hanger-on of Hegio's family but that, as he has now lost his particular patron, Philopolemus, he is often in sad
straits for a dinner. 5 This soliloquy is interrupted by the entrance of Hegio I. ii. from his house followed by his slave-overseer, to whom he
is giving directions that the two captives are no longer to be fettered together but may
be allowed a certain amount of liberty. He is accosted by Ergasilus who feelingly laments the loss of Philopolemus. Hegio consoles him by saying that he hopes to manage an exchange with the Elean prisoner ; and on the strength of this Ergasilus, alleging that it is his birthday, invites himself to dinner with Hegio. The old man agrees to give him a frugal meal, if he cannot in the meantime get a better invitation, and they part, Hegio returning to his house and Ergasilus
going off to the market-place. 6 In the second Act the captives appear in front of the II. i. house attended by the slave-overseer and his subordinates.
They are allowed to have a private conversation, which serves to impress on the audience that Philocrates who is dressed as the slave is really the master, and vice versâ. Philocrates urges Tyndarus by the memory of past
kindness to be faithful to him although no longer under any obligation to be so, and Tyndarus replies that he has proved his loyalty by agreeing to change clothes and stay behind, in order that Philocrates may escape; he implores Philocrates, when he has effected his own escape, not to
abandon him to his fate. 7 Hegio coming out to question his new purchases, PhiII. ii. locrates at once assumes the pert manner of the stage
slave, and Hegio takes him apart and questions him about the position of his master's family in Elis ; Tyndarus creeps up behind to listen and enjoys the adroitness with which Philocrates acts his assumed character. Hegio is told, in order to induce him to think of a ransom, that Philocrates' father is known as Thensaurochrysonicochrysides on account of his fabulous wealth, but that he is as niggardly as he is rich. Turning to Tyndarus, Hegio questions him too apart, and Tyndarus (who, it must not be forgotten, is Hegio's own son) assumes an air of high-souled resignation such as would become a freeborn man who had fallen into adversity, and assures Hegio that he is the son of a rich father. Only the audience know the real facts and are able to enjoy the spectacle of Tyndarus doing his best to deceive Hegio and yet occasionally telling the truth in spite of himself. Hegio then proposes an exchange for his own son who, he has learnt, has been sold in Elis to a certain doctor called Menarchus. He is informed that this Menarchus is a client of Philocrates' father, and Tyndarus persuades him to send Philocrates (who is, of course, supposed to be the slave Tyndarus) back to Elis to negotiate
the exchange. 8 This arrangement being announced to the pretended II. iii. slave, Philocrates, he conceals his joy but professes his
readiness to do anything he is ordered. In a pathetic scene, which moves the feelings of the old man, Tyndarus appeals to Philocrates not to forget him when safe in his own country, and Philocrates in reply assures him that he
will be true to the trust reposed in him. The language of both is designedly ambiguous, as Hegio is standing by, but the whole of the dialogue is very cleverly managed. Hegio then takes Philocrates away to his banker's to provide him with money for the journey and Tyndarus
dejectedly reenters the house. 9 The third Act is opened by Ergasilus who is on his III. i. way from the market-place to the harbour. This is, he
says, the most unfortunate day for him, the meanest and most niggardly day that in his long experience he has ever come across, and he would like to punch its head. He has tried to screw an invitation out of the young men in the market-place, but with one accord they have all refused to have anything to do with him. In the harbour he thinks he may possibly meet some new arrival who in the joy of getting home may give him a dinner, so he sets off there intending, if that last resource fail him,
to return and claim Hegio's frugal meal. 10 Hegio then enters and in animated language describes III. ii. how he has provided Philocrates with journey money and
a passport and sent him off to Elis. He has been overwhelmed with the congratulations of his fellow-citizens on what now seems the certainty of recovering his son Philopolemus. He has then gone to a suburban farm where several other Elean prisoners whom he had bought were kept, and has discovered that one of them, Aristophontes, used to be an intimate friend of Philocrates in his own country. At this man’s earnest entreaty he has brought him back to town to see his old friend and in
the highest of spirits now takes him into the house. 11 No sooner have they gone in than Tyndarus comes III. iii. running out in a state of the greatest alarm. Aristo
phontes will of course recognise him, and Hegio will then discover how he has been deceived; he tries to hit upon some device to avoid this, but his wits refuse to work and he is interrupted by the appearance of Hegio and Aris