The Captives

by Plautus

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Hegio (HEE-jee-oh), a rich Aetolian who spends his time negotiating for the return of a son, Philopolemus, who was captured in war by the Elians. Hegio mourns another son, Tyndarus, kidnapped when he was four years old. Prisoner exchanges take place, confessions are made, false identities are put straight, and Hegio’s sons are at last reunited with their father.


Tyndarus (TIHN-duh-ruhs), the son who, kidnapped when four years old, is returned to his father because the slave who had stolen the boy is caught and confesses the deed, thus identifying to Hegio the now adult Tyndarus.


Philopolemus (fih-luh-PO-leh-muhs), the captive son who is returned to Hegio in exchange for Philocrates, the wealthy Elian whom Hegio held captive.


Ergasilus (ur-guh-SI-luhs), a parasite who, fearing the loss of favors from his host Hegio, works diligently to straighten out the confusion attendant on the prisoner exchange. Hegio rewards Ergasilus’ good work by promising him board for the rest of his life.


Philocrates (fih-LO-kruh-teez), a very rich Elian prisoner of war and Tyndarus’ master. He is bought in a lot of prisoners by Hegio when the father is looking for an Elian to exchange for Philopolemus.


Aristophontes (eh-RIHS-toh-FON-teez), a prisoner of war who knows Philocrates. It is Aristophontes who explains to Hegio that a hostage he holds, Tyndarus, is not Philocrates. Ironically, Hegio, not knowing that Tyndarus, posing as Aristophontes, is his son, sends Tyndarus to work in the quarries.


Stalagmus (steh-LAG-muhs), Hegio’s former slave, who kidnapped Tyndarus and sold him to the Elians. When he confesses his crime, Tyndarus is brought home to his father’s house and Stalagmus, in Tyndarus’ chains, takes the son’s place in the quarries.

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