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Document Details :
Title: Women Chattering about a Ritual
Subtitle: Plautus' Poenulus in the Light of Theocritus (Id. XV), Herondas (Mim. IV) and Aristophanes (Thesm.)
Author(s): PHILIPPIDES, Katerina
Volume: 77 Issue: 4 Date: 2018
This paper attempts to show that scenes I.ii and V.iv of Poenulus constitute one coherent sequence, in which women visit a temple and chatter about their preparation and the marvelous things they see there. Such a sequence is found in poetic texts earlier than Plautus, which belong to different Greek comic genres. A comparative close reading of scenes I.ii and V.iv of Poenulus and other texts of this type (Aristophanes’ Thesmophoriazusae, Herondas’ Mimiamb IV, and mainly Theocritus’ Idyll XV) brings to light poetic and dramatic aspects unnoticed until now. It also casts serious doubt on the assumption that Plautus borrowed scene I.ii only from an unknown Greek play and inserted it awkwardly within his comedy, the basic model for which was Καρχηδόνιος; regardless of their origin (New Comedy or mime), the two scenes are related not only to each other, but also – artfully – to the rest of the play.