The assimilated assimilator.
Quintus Ennius (239–169 BC), widely regarded as the father of Roman literature, was instrumental in creating a new Roman literary identity and inspired major developments in Roman religion, social organization, and popular culture. Born in the Calabrian town of Rudiae in Magna Graecia, Ennius claimed descent from Messapus, eponymous hero of Messapia, and was uncle to the tragic dramatist Pacuvius. Brought in 204 from Sardinia to Rome in the entourage of Cato, Ennius took up independent residence on the Aventine and, fluent in his native Oscan as well as Greek and Latin, became one of the first teachers to introduce Greek learning to Romans through public readings of Greek and Latin texts. Transcending partisan interests, Ennius cultivated familiar relationships with several of Rome’s most distinguished families, including that of Marcus Fulvius Nobilior, through whose patronage he eventually attained Roman citizenship.
Best known for domesticating Greek epic and drama, Ennius also pursued a wide range of literary endeavors and, with the apparent exception of comedy, found success in all of them. He thus played a major role in setting Latin literature on the assimilationist course that was to be its hallmark throughout the Republican period. His tragedies were long regarded as classics of the genre, and his Annals gave Roman epic its canonical shape and pioneered many of its most characteristic features. Other endeavors included philosophical works in prose and verse, epigrams, didactic poems, dramas on Roman themes (praetextae), and occasional poetry that informed the later development of satire.
This two-volume edition of Ennius, which inaugurates the Loeb series Fragmentary Republican Latin, replaces that of Warmington in Remains of Old Latin, Volume I and offers fresh texts, translations, and annotation that are fully current with modern scholarship.
- 592 pages
- 4-1/4 x 6-3/8 inches
- Harvard University Press
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