Pyrgopolinices (pihr-goh-pol-ih-NI-sees), a vain and stupid braggart and professional soldier. Convinced that all women find him irresistible, he seizes a young Athenian girl, Philocomasium, and carries her off to his house in Ephesus. The slave of the girl’s sweetheart is, by coincidence, also in the braggart’s household. Pleusicles, the girl’s lover, takes up residence in the house of an old man next door to Pyrgopolinices. Pleusicles and his slave, Palaestrio, plot to free the girl. Pyrgopolinices is convinced that the wife of his neighbor is in love with him. A courtesan, playing the part of the wife, tempts Pyrgopolinices and asks him to make room for her in his house. Philocomasium pretends, when Pyrgopolinices tries to send her away, that she is overcome with grief at having to leave him. To get rid of her, the braggart presents her with expensive gifts and allows Palaestrio to accompany her. That night, Pyrgopolinices is escorted into the house next door, where he expects to meet his latest conquest. Instead, he is soundly beaten by the servants of the house, who have been lying in wait for him.
Palaestrio (pa-LEES-tree-oh), Pleusicles’ faithful slave. Hurrying by sea to inform his master that Philocomasium had been abducted, Palaestrio had been captured by pirates. His captors presented him to Pyrgopolinices. When...
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