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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 464

Plautus' play, Pot of Gold (Latin: Auluaria) would have sounded like a funny to his Roman readers, too. Aulularia is a diminutive word translating to "little pot." Like many of Plautus' plays, it was based on a lost Greek original. The plot is constructed around a household god (Lar familiaris) who exposes a pot of gold in the household of the home's occupant, Euclio. The existence of a household god would not have been considered unusual; all Roman households had notional gods that they considered spiritual protectors of the home.

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The play begins with a statement to the audience of this household god, explaining how the course of events were set in place: The current occupant's miserly grandfather had a pot of gold that he hid from his son. The son, too, was irritable and unpleasant, and so the household god kept this secret inheritance hidden. However, his son (the home's current occupant, Euclio, grandson of the gold's original owner) has a daughter who was very devout, and prayed dutifully to this household god. This inspired the god to reveal the gold to Euclio.

Euclio becomes zealous in guarding his newfound treasure. The gold makes Euclio suspect of everyone with whom he comes into contact, including a suitor of his daughter, Megadorus (whose name is a pun on "great gift" in Greek). Megadorus offers to marry his daughter without a dowry, although Euclio still suspects he is after money.

Meanwhile, Euclio's daughter is pregnant by another man, Lyconides. Moments of dramatic irony include Euclio's interpretation of wedding preparations for his daughter and Megadorus as a mass attempt to steal his gold. Meanwhile, a slave of the man who impregnated Euclio's daughter witnesses where the gold has been hidden and steals it. Later, when Lyconides prepares to confess to...

(The entire section contains 464 words.)

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