*Epidamnus (ihp-ah-DAHM-nahs). Roman port on Greece’s Macedonian coast (also known as Dyrrhachium). Epidamnus is home to the merchant who kidnapped Menaechmus, one of the twins, raised him as his son, bought him a suitable wife, made him his heir, and then suddenly died. As Plautus sets the stage in his prologue, he reveals that Menaechmus’s dwelling could be anybody’s house in the Roman world. Menaechmus himself prefers the house across the street, where his mistress lives; her house is the place where he entertains his guests. When the other twin, renamed by his grandfather “Menaechmus,” to honor the name of the stolen twin, arrives in Epidamnus on a quest to find his brother, the farce begins, hilarious encounters revolve around confusion over the two “Menaechmi.”
*Tarentum (tah-rehn-tahm). Roman port in southern Italy. In the prologue, Plautus uses cargo ships to move his characters from Syracuse to Tarentum to Epidamnus. It is to Tarentum that Moschus takes Menaechmus along with a shipload of merchandise. When the boy is lost, the father dies of grief and is buried in Tarentum. Plautus thus removes the scene of tragedy from both the family’s hometown and from the scene of the comedy in Epidamnus.
*Syracuse. Sicilian port city that is home of the merchant Moschus and his wife, to whom the Menaechmi are born. It is also of the grandfather who renames the remaining brother Menaechmus in honor of the one that is lost. That the brothers leave for Syracuse after they are reunited speaks to the tenuous hold that Roman society had on the hearts of its subjects, and the strong sense of place identified as home.