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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 257

The “Pot of Gold” by Plautus is a story about a pot of gold that was entrusted by Euclio’s grandfather to his deity by burying it in the ground. The pot is kept hidden from all until Euclio’s daughter, Phaedria, endears herself to the god. The story has many characters who in one way or another contribute to the plot development, and they include:

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The guardian spirit – The guardian spirit speaks in the prologue and does not appear thereafter.

Staphyla – She is an old lady who acts as Euclio’s housekeeper.

Megadorus – He is a wealthy old man who is also Eunomia’s brother.

Euclio – He is the main character in the play. He is an old man and father to Phaedrium.

Eunomia – She is a woman of high status and a sister to Megadorus.

Lyconides – Lyconides is a young man and also Eunomia’s son.

Congrio – He is a cook who is hired for Phaedria’s wedding and is perceived to be rather slow.

Strobilus – Strobilus is a slave who works for megadorus.

Lyconides’ servant – No name is given in the play, but they act as a servant to Lyconides.

Anthrax – Anthrax is a cook who is portrayed as witty and clever.

Eleusium – She is a girl who plays the flute. She is depicted as slim and very attractive.

Phrygia – She is also a girl who plays the flute. Unlike Eleusium, she is portrayed as ugly and overweight.

Phaedrium – She is Euclio’s daughter. She is also a devoted servant to her household god.

Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 531


Euclio (EW-klee-oh), an old miser intent on hiding from others his possession of a pot of gold hidden by his miserly grandfather but revealed to him in its hiding place by his household god. Wishing to use the gold as a dowry to help his daughter Phaedria get a husband, Euclio hides it again, pretends poverty, and suspects everyone of trying to rob him or trick him out of his treasure. Unsure of Megadorus’ sincerity, he nevertheless agrees to let him marry Phaedria because of his willingness to take her without a dowry and to pay the wedding expenses. After the withdrawal of Megadorus as a suitor and the return of the stolen gold by Lyconides, Euclio accepts the young man as a son-in-law and even gives the gold to the newly wedded couple. The story of Euclio is probably based on one of Menander’s lost comedies.


Megadorus (meh-guh-DOH-ruhs), Euclio’s rich old neighbor. Scornful of marriage to a wealthy woman of high station who would squander his money and who might try to order him about, he is attracted to Phaedria because of her poverty, and he is willing to marry her without a dowry. For Lyconides’ sake, he gives up his marriage plans so that his nephew may have her. The playwright uses Megadorus as a mouthpiece for satirizing rich women and their expensive tastes.


Eunomia (ew-NOH-mee-uh), Megadorus’ sister, who wishes him to marry and father children. She later intercedes for Lyconides so that Phaedria may marry him rather than Megadorus.


Lyconides (li-KOH-nih-deez), Eunomia’s son, in love with Phaedria, whom he deflowered while drunk and whom he wishes to marry. He confesses his deed to Eunomia and asks her aid in getting Megadorus to let him marry Phaedria. Thinking Euclio has discovered his guilt, he confesses and begs forgiveness, only to be thought confessing the theft of Euclio’s gold. He recovers the gold from the real thief, returns it, and gets both Phaedria and the gold with Euclio’s blessing.


Staphyla (STA-fih-luh), an old slave belonging to Euclio. Aware of Phaedria’s pregnancy and wishing to help her, Staphyla worries about the discovery of the girl’s condition.


Phaedria (FEE -dree-uh), Euclio’s young daughter, who is favorably regarded by her household god...

(The entire section contains 1042 words.)

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