Plautus was one of the original comedy writers of ancient Rome.
A fragment from his play, Boeotian Women, is preserved by Aulus Gellius (Attic Nights, 3.3), and describes a Roman parasite's exaggerated complaints about the sundial.
The latin text is from the Perseus Digital Library.
Ut illum di perdant, primus qui horas repperit,
Quique adeo primus statuit hic solarium,
Qui mihi comminuit misero articulatim diem.
Nam unum me puero venter erat solaríum
Multo omnium istorum optimum et verissimum;
Ubivis monebat esse, nisi quom nil erat.
Nunc etiam quod est non estur, nisi soli libet;
Itaque adeo iam oppletum oppidum est solariis,
Maior pars populi iam aridi reptant fame.
Gods take the man who first discovered "hours"|
And also placed that first sundial here,
Which divvies up this poor soul's day to pieces!
When I was young, my tummy was my timepiece,
Wherever I was, reminding me to eat,
Except for those occasions, I had none.
Now, even when there's food, I can't partake,
But must await the bidding of the sun!
The town is so choked up with sundials now,
Most people, shrivelled with hunger, crawl around.
Questions? Comments? Reach me at: