Italy Celebrates Ancient Playwright

The Italian Mint or IPZS(Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato) has released the second commemorative two Euro coin for 2016.

The coin commemorates th 2200th anniversary of famous Latin playwright Plautus.

Italy 2016 Plautus Commemorative 2 Euro Coin

Italy 2016 Plautus Commemorative 2 Euro Coin

Titus Maccius Plautus(c. 254 – 184 BC) was born in Sarsina, a small town now part of Italy's Emilia-Romagne region in northern Italy. He is considered one of the most iconic and influential writers of his period, specializing mostly in comedic plays. In his youth he worked as a menial laborer, baker and eventually as a set builder and stage hand at a playhouse. From there he was 'discovered' as an actor and then eventually began writing his own plays.

Today his body of work, or what remains thereof, is some of the earliest surviving examples of Latin literature. He wrote an estimated 130 plays during his career, most of which have sadly been lost to history. A large number only survive in fragments or partially however, 20 plays have survived in their entirety to this day.

The popularity of his plays have been attributed to the lively and flamboyant dialogue he imbued his characters with. His works tended to focus on low born, ordinary people, instead of the noble and wealthy. He wrote plays where, for example, a mischievous but intelligent slave would manage to outwit and manipulate his master while managing to avoid any adverse consequences himself. No doubt influenced heavily by his own experiences, after all he was a poor but self educated man who managed to obtain not only wealth but social status by applying his mind and wit. His work can thus be seen as acting in their own way as a subtle analysis and perhaps criticism of the social system he found himself in.

Greek Comedy Masks from a Mosaic in the Capitoline Museums in Rome

Greek Comedy Masks from a Mosaic in the Capitoline Museums in Rome

The coin's reverse design features two theatrical masks, commonly associated with Plautus. The comical masks are actually taken from a mosaic that is housed in the Capitoline Museums in Rome, Italy. Below appears the dates 184 AC and 2016. Slightly above the masks appears the initials”RI” indicating the originates from the Italian Republic(Repubblica Italiana).

The obverse bears the standard 2 Euro coin design shared by all commemorative 2 Euro coins minted across the continent.

2 Euro Commemorative Coin Obverse

2 Euro Commemorative Coin Obverse

The coin will have a limited proof mintage of 7000 units and is being made available in proof by the IPZS for €20.00 each.

After Plautus' death in 184 BC the following was inscribed as his epitaph :

Since Plautus is dead, Comedy mourns,
Deserted is the stage; then Laughter, Jest and Wit,
And Melody's countless numbers all together wept.

We at WNN think that this coin serves as a beautiful memorization to his life and work.

Italian Commemorative €2 Coins for 2016


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