Curculio (play)

Curculio, also called The Weevil, is a Latin comedic play for the early Roman theatre by Titus Maccius Plautus. It is the shortest of Plautus's surviving plays.

Written byTitus Maccius Plautus
CharactersPalinurus, slave of Phaedromus
Phaedromus, young man
Leaena, old woman
Planesium, slave girl of Cappadox
Cappadox, pimp
Curculio, parasite
Lyco, banker
Therapontigonus, soldier
Settinga street in Epidaurus, before the houses of Phaedromus and Cappadox, and a temple of Aesculapius


In Curculio, Phaedromus is in love with Planesium, a slave girl belonging to the pimp Cappadox. Phaedromus sends Curculio (a stock parasite character) to borrow money. Unsuccessful, Curculio happens to run into Therapontigonus, a soldier who intends to purchase Planesium. After Curculio learns of his plans, he steals the soldier's ring and returns to Phaedromus. They fake a letter and seal it using the ring. Curculio takes it to the soldier's banker Lyco, tricking him into thinking he was sent by Therapontigonus. Lyco pays Cappadox, under the conditions that the money will be returned if it is later discovered that she is freeborn. Curculio takes the girl back to Phaedromus. When the trick is later discovered, the angry Therapontigonus confronts the others. However, Planesium has discovered from the ring that she is actually Therapontigonus's sister. Since she is freeborn, Therapontigonus is returned his money, and Planesium is allowed to marry Phaedromus.



  1. ^ Plautus; Translated by Wolfgang de Melo (2011). Plautus, Vol II: Casina; The Casket Comedy; Curculio; Epidicus; The Two Menaechmuses. Loeb Classical Library. ISBN 067499678X.
  • John E. Thorburn (2005). The Facts On File companion to classical drama. Infobase Publishing. p. 159. ISBN 0-8160-5202-6.

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