The imitation of Greek comedy, tragedy and epic poetry, which produced great results in the hands of Naevius, Plautus, Ennius and their successors, received its first impulse from him.
We learn from Suetonius that, like Ennius after him, he obtained his living by teaching Greek and Latin; and it was probably as a school-book, rather than as a work of literary pretension, that his translation of the Odyssey into Latin Saturnian verse was executed.
The influence of Hellenism over them is shown by finds in the tombs and the fact that they spoke the Greek language as well as their own (bilingues in Ennius).
His taste, however, was curious; he preferred Cato the elder, Ennius and Caelius Antipater to Cicero, Virgil and Sallust, the obscure poet Antimachus to Homer and Plato.
If these lines were dictated by a jealousy of the growing ascendancy of Ennius, the life of Naevius must have been prolonged considerably beyond 204, the year in which Ennius began his career as an author in Rome.
While he is never ranked as a writer of tragedy with Ennius, Pacuvius or Accius, he is placed in the canon of the grammarian Volcaaus Sedigitus third (immediately after Caecilius and Plautus) in the rank of Roman comic authors.
He is also appealed to, with Plautus and Ennius, as a master of his art in one of the prologues of Terence.
As a dramatist he worked more in the spirit of Plautus than of Ennius, Pacuvius, Accius or Terence; but the great Umbrian humorist is separated from his older contemporary, not only by his breadth of comic power, but by his general attitude of moral and political indifference.
Naevi Fabularum Reliquiae (1885), and (Bellum Punicum) in his edition of Ennius (1884) monographs by E.
On Virgil's indebtedness to Naevius and Ennius, see V.
In Latin literature it was employed for the first time by the poet Ennius, who wrote in the interval between the First and Second Punic Wars (Ann.
Ennius, Pacuvius, Accius and Lucilius is their relation to the national and moral spirit of the age in which they were written.
Living in the interval between Ennius and Lucilius, whose original force and genius survive only in rude and inartistic fragments, he produced six plays, which have not only reached our time in the form in which they were given to the world, but have been read in the most critical and exacting literary epochs, and still may be read without any feeling of the need of making allowance for the rudeness of a new and undeveloped art.
Terence justifies this practice by that of the older poets, Naevius, Plautus, Ennius, whose careless freedom he follows in preference to the "obscura diligentia" of his detractor.
The authors of the Augustan age are unduly depreciated, while Ennius, Plautus, Laberius, Sallust are held up as models of imitation.
His silence on the subject of Roman greatness and glory as contrasted with the prominence of these subjects in the poetry of men of provincial birth such as Ennius, Virgil and Horace, may be explained by the principle that familiarity had made the subject one of less wonder and novelty to him.
His devotion to Epicurus seems at first sight more difficult to explain than his enthusiasm for Empedocles or Ennius.
Yet he could not have been insensible to the immense superiority in rhythmical smoothness which the hexameter of Lucretius has over that of Ennius and Lucilius.
His only important precursors in serious poetry were Ennius and Lucilius, and, though he derived from the first of these an impulse to shape the Latin tongue into a fitting vehicle for the expression of elevated emotion and imaginative conception, he could find in neither a guide to follow in the task he set before himself.
Medea is the heroine of extant tragedies of Euripides and Seneca; those of Aeschylus and Ennius (adapted from Euripides) are lost.
Ennius (239-169) of Rudiae in Messapia, that a new direction was given to Latin literature.
Although Rome wanted creative force to add a great series of tragic dramas to the literature of the world, yet the spirit of elevation and moral authority breathed into tragedy by Ennius passed into the ethical and didactic writings and the oratory of a later time.
The idea which inspired Ennius was ultimately realized in both the national epic of Virgil and the national history of Livy.
Porcius Cato the Censor2 1 (3449), the younger contemporary of Ennius, whom he brought to Rome.
In Naevius, Plautus, Ennius and Cato are represented the contending forces which strove for ascendancy in determining what was to be the character of the new literature.
Pacuvius (c.220-132), the nephew of Ennius, called by Cicero the greatest of Roman tragedians; and, in the following generation, by L.
But the interval between the death of Ennius (169) and the beginning of Cicero's career, while one of progressive advance in the appreciation of literary form and style, was much less distinguished by original force than the time immediately before and after the end of the second Punic war.
The one complete survival of the generation after the death of Ennius, the comedy of P. Terentius Afer or Terence (c. 185-159), exemplifies the gain in literary accomplishment and the loss in literary freedom.
Roman satire, though in form a legitimate development of the indigenous dramatic satura through the written satura of Ennius and Pacuvius, is really a birth of this time, and its author was the youngest of those admitted into the intimacy of the Scipionic circle, C. Lucilius of Suessa Aurunca (c. 180-103).
Among the writers before the age of Cicero he alone deserves to be named with Naevius, Plautus Ennius and Cato as a great originative force in literature.
The general results of the last fifty years of the first period (130 to 80) may be thus summed up. In poetry we have the satires of Lucilius, the tragedies of Accius and of a few successors among the Roman aristocracy, who thus exemplified the affinity of the Roman stage to Roman oratory; various annalistic poems intended to serve as continuations of the great poem of Ennius; minor poems of an epigrammatic and erotic character, unimportant anticipations of the Alexandrian tendency operative in the following period; works of criticism in trochaic tetrameters by Porcius Licinus and others, forming part of the critical and grammatical movement which almost from the first accompanied the creative movement in Latin literature, and which may be regarded as rude precursors of the didactic epistles that Horace devoted to literary criticism.
The higher poetical imagination had appeared only in Ennius, and had been called forth in him by sympathy with the grandeur of the national life and the great personal qualities of its representative men.
Since the Annals of Ennius no great and original poem had appeared.
The Latin hexameter, which in Ennius and Lucretius was the organ of the more dignified and majestic emotions, became in his hands the most perfect measure in which the softer and more luxurious sentiment of nature has been expressed.
The epic of national life, vividly conceived but rudely executed by Ennius, was perfected in the years that followed the decisive victory at Actium.
Its first note is struck by Ennius in his translation of the Sceptl- Sicilian rationalist Euhemerus, who explained the genesis m, of the gods as apotheosized mortals.
The statement of Porphyrion, the old commentator on Horace, that Florus himself wrote satires, is probably erroneous, but he may have edited selections from the earlier satirists (Ennius, Lucilius, Varro).
Had he been a "semi-Graecus," like Ennius and Pacuvius, or of humble origin, like Plautus, Terence or Accius, he would scarcely have ventured, at a time when the senatorial power was strongly in the ascendant, to revive the role which had proved disastrous to Naevius; nor would he have had the intimate knowledge of the political and social life of his day which fitted him to be its painter.
to xxix., which were written in the trochaic and iambic metres that had been employed by Ennius and Pacuvius in their Saturae.
According to his own statement (prologue to book iii.), not perhaps to be taken too literally, he was born on the Pierian Mountain, but he seems to have been brought at an early age to Italy, for he mentions that he read a verse of Ennius as a boy at school.
MARCUS PACUVIUS (c. 220-130 B.C.), Roman tragic poet, was the nephew and pupil of Ennius, by whom Roman tragedy was first raised to a position of influence and dignity.
In the interval between the death of Ennius (169) and the advent of Accius, the youngest and most productive of the tragic poets, he alone maintained the continuity of the serious drama, and perpetuated the character first imparted to it by Ennius.
Like Ennius he probably belonged to an Oscan stock, and was born at Brundusium, which had become a Roman colony in 244.
He was less productive as a poet than either Ennius or Accius; and we hear of only about twelve of his plays, founded on Greek subjects (among them the Antiope, Teucer, Armorum Judicium, Dulorestes, Chryses, Niptra, &c., most of them on subjects connected with the Trojan cycle), and one praetexta (Paulus) written in connexion with the victory of Lucius Aemilius Paulus at Pydna (168), as the Clastidium of Naevius and the Ambracia of Ennius were written in commemoration of great military successes.
Cicero, who frequently quotes from him with great admiration, appears (De optimo genere oratorum, i.) to rank him first among the Roman tragic poets, as Ennius among the epic, and Caecilius among the comic poets.
His work was translated by Ennius into Latin, but the work itself is lost, and of the translation only a few fragments, and these very short, have come down to us.
from Ennius, Pacuvius, Accius, Lucilius, Cato and Varro.
His mission as an envoy to the Roman senate, " shortly after the death of Ennius " in 169 B.e., had a remarkable influence on literary studies in Rome.
On his Aetolian campaign he was accompanied by the poet Ennius, who made the capture of Ambracia, at which he was present, the subject of one of his plays.
He had a great reputation as an orator, and is characterized by Ennius as "the quintessence of persuasiveness" (suadae medulla).
QUINTUS ENNIUS (239-170 B.C.), ancient Latin poet, was born at Rudiae in Calabria.
Through the influence of Nobilior's son, Ennius subsequently obtained the privilege of Roman citizenship (Cicero, Brutus, 20.79).
Till the appearance of Ennius, Roman literature, although it had produced the epic poem of Naevius and some adaptations of Greek tragedy, had been most successful in comedy.
Ennius, on the other hand, was by temperament in thorough sympathy with the dominant aristocratic element in Roman life and institutions.
The saturae of Ennius were collections of writings on various subjects, written in various metres and contained in four (or six) books.
The satire of Ennius seems to have resembled the more artistic satire of Horace in its record of personal experiences, in the occasional introduction of dialogue, in the use made of fables with a moral application, and in the didactic office which it assumed.
But the chief distinction of Ennius was gained in tragic and narrative poetry.
In these remains of the tragedies of Ennius we can trace indications of strong sympathy with the nobler and bolder elements of character, of vivid realization of impassioned situations, and of sagacious observation of life.
Ennius prided himself especially on being the first to form the strong speech of Latium into the mould of the Homeric hexameter in place of the old Saturnian metre.
And although it took several generations of poets to beat their music out to the perfection of the Virgilian cadences, yet in the rude adaptation of Ennius the secret of what ultimately became one of the grandest organs of literary expression was first discovered and revealed.
The inspiring idea of the poem was accepted, purified of all alien material, and realized in artistic shape by Virgil in his national epic. He deliberately imparted to that poem the charm of antique associations by incorporating with it much of the phraseology and sentiment of Ennius.
He as well as Cicero speaks of him with pride and affection as "Ennius poster."
On Virgil's indebtedness to Ennius see V.
The use of double consonants which has been already pointed out in the Messapian inscriptions has been very acutely connected by Deecke with the tradition that the same practice was introduced at Rome by the poet Ennius who came from the Messapian town Rudiae (Festus, p. 293 M).
Ennius called his didactic poem on natural philosophy Epicharmus after the comic poet.
He has little, if anything at all, of the high imaginative mood - the mood of reverence and noble admiration - which made Ennius, Lucretius and Virgil the truest poetical representatives of the genius of Rome.
As to the first decade, it is generally agreed that in the first and second books, at any rate, he follows such older and simpler writers as Fabius Pictor and Calpurnius Piso (the only ones whom he there refers to by name), to whom, so far as the first book is concerned, Niebuhr (Lectures, p 33) would add the poet Ennius.
In his earlier books especially there are numerous phrases and sentences which have an unmistakably poetic ring, recalling sometimes Ennius and more often his contemporary Virgil.
Hardly a mile west was Rudiae, the birthplace of the poet Ennius, spoken of by Silius Italicus as worthy of mention for that reason alone.
CAECILIUS STATIUS, Or Statius Caecilius, Roman COI/11C poet, contemporary and intimate friend of Ennius, died in 168 (or 166) B.C. He was born in the territory of the Insubrian Gauls, and was probably taken as a prisoner to Rome (c. 200), during the great Gallic war.
For his own countryman Ennius he expresses an affectionate admiration; and he imitates his language, his rhythm and his manner in many places.
He seems to have taken at first Ennius and Lucilius as his models, and wrote an epic, entitled Bellum Sequanicum, eulogizing the exploits of Caesar in Gaul and Britain, and also Satires, of which Horace (Satires, i.
The example set by Crates led to the production of a new edition of the epic poem of Naevius, and to the public recitation of the Annals of Ennius, and (two generations later) the Satires of Lucilius.
A sentence of Quintilian expresses the feeling of reverence for his genius and character, mixed with distaste for his rude workmanship, with which the Romans of the early empire regarded him: "Let us revere Ennius as we revere the sacred groves, hallowed by antiquity, whose massive and venerable oak trees are not so remarkable for beauty as for the religious awe which they inspire" (Inst.
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