->''Credo, hercle! adveniens nomen mutabit mihi,\\
Facietque extemplo [[GallowsHumor Crucisalum me ex Chrysalo]].''

->By Hercules, I think that if he shows up he'll change my name,\\
and instantly transform me from "Christopher" to "Cross-offer!" [[note]]literally, from "Chrysalus"="Goldie" to "Crucisalus"="Jump-onto-the-cross." That one probably had 'em rolling in the aisles.[[/note]]
-->-- '''Chrysalus the Slave''', in Plautus's ''Bacchidæ''

Titus Maccius Plautus (c. 254184 BC) was a Roman comic playwright of the Old Latin period. Imitating most of his plots from the Greek playwright Menander, he gave them a distinctly Roman feel, despite the fact that (in order to escape the charge of "slandering the Roman People and State") he put his characters in the PaperThinDisguise of Greek names. With his fellow playwright, Terence (Publius Terentius Afer), he popularized the "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl" plot, typical of the Greek "New Comedy," that has been perhaps the most common dramatic structure in Western drama ever since. He also helped to establish an array of StockCharacters, including the Nice Young Man and Girl, the Nice Young Man's slightly racier Best Friend, the Rival (who is often a [[MilesGloriosus Boastful Soldier]]), the Parasite who lives off him and [[ServileSnarker makes sarcastic remarks behind his back]], the HenpeckedHusband, the [[GrandeDame uptight, domineering Matron]], and the Clever Servant who manages his master's affairs, that have been common (with variations) in comedy ever since.

In Plautus, however, we never forget that all these characters are Romans -- there is a particularly brutal edge to his jokes (he tends to be rougher and cruder than Terence, who was consciously aiming his plays at a more aristocratic audience) and we are never allowed to forget that if the Clever Servant is caught in his tricks, he will be [[DisproportionateRetribution tortured and crucified]]. Nor does the fact that his setting is in Athens or Syracuse prevent his characters from making snide remarks about "those Greeks" nor the gods from appearing under their Latin appellations.

One of Plautus's plays is the TropeNamer for MilesGloriosus. His works were also the principal inspiration for the later musical comedies ''The Boys From Syracuse'' and ''Theatre/AFunnyThingHappenedOnTheWayToTheForum''. And his ''Menaechmi'' was the basis for Creator/{{William Shakespeare}}'s ''Theatre/TheComedyOfErrors''.

!!Tropes found in his works:

* MilesGloriosus: TropeNamer, though derived from a now-lost Athenian comedy.
* MissingEpisode: We have twenty of his plays--more than any other Greco-Roman dramatist--but he wrote at least fifty-one.
* MyHovercraftIsFullOfEels: The attempts to translate Carthaginian in ''Poenulus'' [[{{Understatement}} leave something to be desired]].
* ScoobyDoobyDoors: His plays are possibly the UrExample, as Roman comedy was one of the first forms of theatre that featured multiple working doors onstage.
* SeparatedAtBirth: The title characters in ''Menaechmi''.
* SmugSnake: Ballio the pimp in ''Pseudolus'' is a raging egomaniac who threatens his courtesans with demotion to low-class whoress--as well as floggings--if they fail to obtain rich birthday presents for him from their lovers; and he takes a nasty delight in telling Calidorus that his [Calidorus'] beloved is about to be sold. In the end, when he's been tricked out of the deal, he resolves to hang himself.
** TropeNamer: "Ballio" became the Latin word for that sort of character.
* YouMakeMeSick: One of the surviving fragments of ''Frivolaria'' runs as follows:
-->'''Unidentified Character''': He was a bilious attack to me, an ague, a cough, a dropsy.