Plautus Quotes


Things which you do not hope happen more frequently than things which you do hope.

(Mostellaria - Act I)

The poor man who enters into a partnership with one who is rich makes a risky venture.


Wisdom is not attained by years, but by ability. 
Variant: Not by age but by capacity is wisdom acquired.

Plautus (Trinummus - Act II)

If you strike the goads with your fists, your hands suffer most.

Plautus (Truculentus - Act IV)

No man is wise enough by himself. 


This is the great fault of wine; it first trips up the feet: it is a cunning wrestler. 


How often the highest talent lurks in obscurity.
Variant: The greatest talents often lie buried out of sight.

Plautus (Captivi - Act I)

To love is human, it is also human to forgive.

Plautus (Mercator - Act II)

What you lend is lost; when you ask for it back, you may find a friend made an enemy by your kindness. If you begin to press him further, you have the choice of two things - either to lose your loan or lose your friend.

Plautus (Trinummus - Act IV)

He who would eat the kernel, must crack the shell.

Plautus (Curculio - Act I)

The stronger always succeeds.

Plautus (Truculentus - Act IV)

Let deeds match words. 


We should try to succeed by merit, not by favor. He who does well will always have patrons enough.


Where there are friends there is wealth. 
Variant: Your wealth is where your friends are. 


Nothing is more wretched that the mind of a man conscious of guilt.

Plautus (Mostellaria - Act III)


Each man reaps on his own farm.

(Mostellaria - Act III)

The day, water, sun, moon, night - I do not have to purchase these things with money. 


Courage is the very best gift of all; courage stands before everything, it does, it does! It is what maintains and preserves our liberty, safety, life, and our homes and parents, our country and children. Courage comprises all things: a man with courage has every blessing.

Plautus (Amphitryon - Act II)

If you speak insults you will hear them also.

Plautus (Pseudolus - Act IV)

To blow and swallow at the same moment is not easy.

Plautus (Mostellaria - Act III)

He who seeks for gain, must be at some expense.
Variant: You must spend money to make money.


I trust no rich man who is officiously kind to a poor man.

Plautus (Aulularia - Act II)

Besides that, when elsewhere the harvest of wheat is most abundant, there it comes up less by one-fourth than what you have sowed. There, methinks, it were a proper place for men to sow their wild oats, where they would not spring up.

Plautus (Trinummus - Act IV)

If you are wise, be wise; keep what goods the gods provide you.

Plautus (Rudens - Act IV)

Patience is the best remedy for every trouble.

Plautus (Rudens - Act II)

It well becomes a young man to be modest. 


There are occasions when it is undoubtedly better to incur loss than to make gain.

Plautus (Captivi)

Nothing is more wretched than a guilty conscience.

Plautus (Mostellaria - Act V)

He whom the gods love dies young.


Oh, are not the pleasures in life, in this daily round, trifling compared with the pains!

Plautus (Amphitryon - Act II)

Practice yourself what you preach.

Plautus (Asinaria - Act III)

A contented mind is the best source for trouble. 


What is yours is mine, and all mine is yours.

Plautus (Trinummus)

Disgrace is immortal, and living even when one thinks it dead.

Plautus (Persa - Act III)

You love a nothing when you love an ingrateful person.

Plautus (Persa - Act II)

They call me mad, while they are all mad themselves.

Plautus (Menoechmi - Act V)

If you have overcome your inclination and not been overcome by it, you have reason to rejoice.

Plautus (Trinummus - Act II)

Nothing is there more friendly to a man than a friend in need.

Plautus (Epidicus - Act III)

No guest is so welcome in a friend's house that he will not become a nuisance after three days.

Plautus (Miles Gloriosus - Act III)

Courage easily finds its own eloquence. 


Speak no evil of an absent friend.

Plautus (Trinummus - Act IV)

It is well for one to know more than he says. 


It is wretched business to be digging a well just as thirst is mastering you.

Plautus (Mostellaria - Act II)

That man is worthless who knows how to receive a favor, but not how to return one.

Plautus (Persa - Act V)

Consider the little mouse, how sagacious an animal it is which never entrusts its life to one hole only.
Variant: A mouse does not rely on just one hole.

Plautus (Truculentus - Act IV)

Keep what you have; the known evil is best. 


Flame is very near to smoke.

Plautus (Curculio - Act I)

Man is no man, but a wolf, to a stranger.

Plautus (Asinaria - Act II)

There's no such thing, you know, as picking out the best woman: it's only a question of comparative badness, brother. 


Plautus Biography

Born: 254 BCE
Died: 184 BCE

Titus Maccius Plautus was a Roman comic playwright. He had an big impact on two very literary giants, Shakespeare and Molière. His influence has been huge throughout history on playwrights.

Notable Works


Miles Gloriosus