Heautontimorumenos: The Self-Tormenter

Heautontimorumenos: The Self-Tormenter
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

  CHREMES,1 an old gentleman, living in the country.
MENEDEMUS,2 an old gentleman, his neighbor.
CLINIA,3 son of Menedemus.
CLITIPHO,4 son of Chremes.
DROMO,5 son of Clinia.
SYRUS,6 servant of Clitipho.
SOSTRATA,7 wife of Chremes.
ANTIPHILA,8 a young woman beloved by Clinia.
BACCHIS.9 a Conrtesan, the mistress of Clitipho.
The Nurse of Antiphila.
PHRYGIA,10 maid-servant to Bacchis.

Scene.--In the country, near Athens; before the houses of CHREMES and MENEDEMUS.


Scene subject


CHREMES commands his wife, when pregnant, if she is delivered of a girl immediately to kill the child. Having given birth to a girl, Sostrata delivers her to an old woman named Philtera to be exposed. Instead of doing this, Philtera calls her Antiphila, and brings her up as her own. Clinia, the son of Menedemus, falls in love with her, and treats her as though his wife. Menedemus, on learning this, is very angry, and by his harsh language drives away his son from home. Taking this to heart, and in order to punish himself for his ill-timed severity, Menedemus, though now an aged man, fatigues himself by laboring at agricultural pursuits from morning till night. At the period when the Play commences, Clinia has just returned to Attica, but not daring to go to his father's house, is entertained by Clitipho, the son of Chremes, who is the neighbor of Menedemus. Clitipho then sends for Antiphila, whose supposed mother has recently died, to come and meet her lover. On the same day, Chremes learns from Menedemus how anxious he is for his son's return; and on hearing from his son of the arrival of Clinia, he defers informing Menedemus of it until the next day. Syrus, the servant who has been sent to fetch Antiphila, also brings with him Bacchis, an extravagant Courtesan, the mistress of Clitipho. To conceal the truth from Chremes, they represent to him that Bacchis is the mistress of Clinia, and that Antiphila is one of her maids. Next morning Chremes informs Menedemus of his son's arrival, and of the extravagant conduct of his mistress, but begs that he will conceal from Clinia his knowledge of this fact. Bacchis requiring ten minae, Syrus devises a plan for obtaining the money from Chremes, while the latter is encouraging him to think of a project against Menedemus. Syrus tells him a story, that the mother of Antiphila had borrowed a thousand drachmae of Bacchis, and being dead, the girl is left in her hands as a pledge for the money. While these things are going on, Sostrata discovers in Antiphila her own daughter. In order to obtain the money which Bacchis persists in demanding, Syrus suggests to Chremes that it should be represented to Menedemus that Bacchis is the mistress of Clitipho, and that he should be requested to conceal her in his house for a few days; it is also arranged that Clinia shall pretend to his father to be in love with Antiphila, and to beg her as his wife. He is then to ask for money, as though for the wedding, which is to be handed over to Bacchis. Chremes does not at first approve of the plan suggested by Syrus; but he pays down the money for which he has been informed' his daughter is a pledge in the hands of Bacchis. This, with his knowledge, is given to Clitipho, who, as Syrus says, is to convey it to Bacchis, who is now in the house of Menedemus, to make the latter more readily believe that she is his mistress. Shortly after this, the plot is discovered by Chremes, who threatens to punish Clitipho and Syrus. The Play concludes with Chremes giving his consent to the marriage of Clinia with Antiphila, and pardoning Clitipho, who promises to abandon the Courtesan, and marry. Unlike the other Plays of Terence and Plautus, the Plot of this Play extends over two days.