The Eunuch

The Eunuch
By P. Terentius Afer
Translated by: Henry Thomas Riley
Ney York Harper and Brothers 1874

Perseus Documents Collection Table of Contents


Funded by The Annenberg CPB/Project

  LACHES,1 an aged Athenian.
PHAEDRIA,2 his sons.

ANTIPHO,4 a young man, friend of Chaerea.
CHREMES,5 a young man, brother of Pamphila.
THRASO,6 a boastful Captain.
GNATHO,7 a Parasite.
PARMENO,8 servant of Phldria.
SANGA,9 cook to Thraso.
DONAX,10 servants of Thraso.

DORUS, a Eunuch slave.
THAIS,13 a Courtesan.
PYTHIAS,14 her attendants.

SOPHRONA,16 a nurse.
PAMPHILA,17 a female slave.

Scene.--Athens; before the houses of LACHES and THAIS.

Act introduction


Scene subject


A CERTAIN citizen of Athens had a daughter named Pamphila, and a son called Chremes. The former was stolen while an infant, and sold to a Rhodian merchant, who having made a present of her to a Courtesan of Rhodes, she brought her up with her own daughter Thais, who was somewhat older. In the course of years, Thais following her mother's way of life, removes to Athens. Her mother dying, her property is put up for sale, and Pamphila is purchased as a slave by Thraso, an officer and an admirer of Thais, who happens just then to be visiting Rhodes. During the absence of Thraso, Thais becomes acquainted with Phasdria, an Athenian youth, the son of Laches; she also discovers from Chremes, who lives near Athens, that Pamphila, her former companion, is his sister. Thraso returns, intending to present to her the girl he has bought, but determines not to do so until she has discarded Phaedria. Finding that the girl is no other than Pamphila, Thais is at a loss what to do, as she both loves Phaedria, and is extremely anxious to recover Pamphila. At length, to please the Captain, she excludes Phaedria, but next day sends for him, and explains to him her reasons, at the same time begging of him to allow Thraso the sole right of admission to her house for the next two days, and assuring him that as soon as she shall have gained possession of the girl, she will entirely throw him off. Phaedria consents, and resolves to spend these two days in the country; at the same time he orders Parmeno to take to Thais a Eunuch and an Aethiopian girl, whom he has purchased for her. The Captain also sends Pamphila, who is accidentally seen by Chaerea, the younger brother of Phaedria; he, being smitten with her beauty, prevails upon Parmeno to introduce him into the house of Thais, in the Eunuch's dress. Being admitted there, in the absence of Thais, lie ravishes the damsel. Shortly afterward Thraso quarrels with Thais, and comes with all his attendants to her house to demand the return of Pamphila, but is disappointed. In conclusion, Pamphila is recognized by her brother Chremes, and is promised in marriage to Chaerea; while Thraso becomes reconciled to Phaedria, through the mediation of Gnatho, his Parasite.