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Adelphoe (also written Adelphoi and Adelphi, English: The Brothers) is a play by Roman playwright Terence, adapted partly from plays by Menander and Diphilus. It was first performed in 160 BC at the funeral games of Aemilius Paulus.[1] Exploring the best form of child-rearing, the play inspired Molière's The School for Husbands.[2]

Adelphoe is often considered Terence's masterpiece.[3][4]


Demea, father to Aeschinus and Ctesipho, decides to separate his children and raises Ctesipho while allowing his brother Micio to raise Aeschinus. Demea is a strict authoritarian father, and Micio is permissive and democratic. Ctesipho falls in love and Aeschinus decides to steal the girl away, accepting all blame for the affair. Demea and Micio spar over who did a better job at raising their sons. At the end of the play, Micio marries Sostrata and Aeschinus marries Pamphila.


  • Micio - Demea's brother and adopted father of Aeschinus
  • Demea - Micio's brother and father of Aeschinus and Ctesipho, raised Ctesipho
  • Sannio - A procurer, owner of the slave "Music Girl"
  • Aeschinus - son of Demea, raised by Micio
  • Syrus - slave of Micio
  • Ctesipho - son of Demea raised
  • Canthara - Sostrata's servant
  • Geta - Sostrata's slave
  • Hegio - close friend of Sostrata's late husband
  • Pamphila - daughter of Sostrata
  • Music Girl - slave of Sannio
  • Dromo - Demea's slave
  • Sostrata - widowed woman who lives next to Micio
  • Parmeno - a slave[5]


  1. ^ "Adelphi - a synopsis of the play by Terence". Theatre Retrieved November 20, 2008. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Damen, Mark (2012). "Chapter 14: Roman Comedy, Part 2 (Terence)". Retrieved August 29, 2016.  "Terrence's consummate masterpiece"
  4. ^ Forehand, Walter (1973). "Syrus' Role in Terence's "Adelphoe"". The Classical Journal. JSTOR 3295725. 
  5. ^ Riley, Henry Thomas (ed.). "P. Terentius Afer, Adelphi: The Brothers". Perseus Digital Library. Retrieved November 20, 2008. 

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