Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Periplecomenus’s house

Periplecomenus’s house. Home of the old gentleman Periplecomenus in Ephesus, a Roman town in Asia Minor. The front of this house appears stage right (to the audience’s left); its front door opens onto the street, which is represented by the stage, on which all the action takes place. The stage right exit, right of the house, leads to the harbor. It is clear that the houses share a common wall through which a clever servant has made a secret opening, which is a key to the plot. The house’s roofs are also connected, since the soldier’s servant Sceledrus is able to move from one to the other while chasing a monkey.

Pyrgopolynices’ house

Pyrgopolynices’ house. Home of the braggart army captain, Pyrgopolynices, adjacent to Periplecomenus’s house. The description of this house gives much more detail on the structure of Roman houses. From the roof of Pyrgopolynices’s house, his neighbor’s servant violates his privacy by peering into his living quarters. This is possible because the roof slopes inward to an opening (impluvium) below which a courtyard or patio (atrium) is open to the sky. Here the slave observes the mistress of Pyrgopolynices kissing the houseguest of his neighbor Periplecomenus. This house is situated stage left (to the right of the audience), and the stage left exit next to it leads to the forum.