Quintus Ennius (/ˈkwɪntəs ˈɛniəs/; c. 239 – c. 169 BC) was a writer and poet who lived during the Roman Republic. He is often considered the father of Roman poetry. He was born in Rudiae,[1] formerly a small town located near modern Lecce in the heel of Italy (ancient Calabria, today Salento), and could speak Oscan as well as Latin and Greek. Although only fragments of his works survive, his influence in Latin literature was significant, particularly in his use of Greek literary models.

Double herm with the portrait of the Roman poets Virgil or Ennius
Double herm with the portrait of the Roman poets Virgil or Ennius
BornQuintus Ennius
c. 239 BC
Rudiae, Roman Republic
Diedc. 169 BC
GenreEpic poetry


Very little is reliably known about the life of Ennius. His contemporaries hardly mentioned him and much that is related about him could have been embroidered from references to himself in his now fragmentary writings.[2] Some lines of the Annales, as well as ancient testimonies, for example, suggest that Ennius opened his epic with a recollection of a dream in which the ancient epic-writer Homer informed him that his spirit had been reborn into Ennius.[3] It is true that the doctrine of the transmigration of souls once flourished in the areas of Italy settled by Greeks, but the statement might have been no more than a literary flourish. Ennius seems to have been given to making large claims, as in the report by Maurus Servius Honoratus that he claimed descent from Messapus, the legendary king of his native district.[4] The partly Hellenised city of Rudiae, his place of birth, was certainly in the area settled by the Messapians. And this, he used to say, according to Aulus Gellius, had endowed him with a triple linguistic and cultural heritage, fancifully described as "three hearts… Greek, Oscan and Latin”.[5]

The public career of Ennius first really emerges in middle life, when he was serving in the army with the rank of centurion during the Second Punic War. While in Sardinia in the year 204 BC, he is said to have attracted the attention of Cato the Elder and was taken by him to Rome. There he taught Greek and adapted Greek plays for a livelihood, and by his poetical compositions gained the friendship of some of the greatest men in Rome whose achievements he praised. Amongst these were Scipio Africanus and Fulvius Nobilior, whom he accompanied on his Aetolian campaign (189). Afterwards he made the capture of Ambracia, at which he was present, the subject of a play and of an episode in the Annales. It was through the influence of Nobilior's son Quintus that Ennius subsequently obtained Roman citizenship. But he himself lived plainly and simply in the literary quarter on the Aventine Hill with the poet Caecilius Statius, a fellow adapter of Greek plays.

At about the age of 70 Ennius died, immediately after producing his tragedy Thyestes. In the last book of his epic poem, in which he seems to have given various details of his personal history, he mentioned that he was in his 67th year at the date of its composition. He compared himself, in contemplation of the close of the great work of his life, to a gallant horse which, after having often won the prize at the Olympic Games, obtained his rest when weary with age. A similar feeling of pride at the completion of a great career is expressed in the memorial lines which he composed to be placed under his bust after death: “Let no one weep for me, or celebrate my funeral with mourning; for I still live, as I pass to and fro through the mouths of men.”[6]


Ennius continued the nascent literary tradition by writing plays in Greek and Roman style (praetextae and palliatae), as well as his most famous work, a historic epic in hexameters called the Annales. Other minor works include the Epicharmus, Epigrammata, the Euhemerus, the Hedyphagetica, Praecepta/Protrepticus, Saturae (or Satires), Scipio, and Sota.[7]

The Annales

The Annales was an epic poem in fifteen books, later expanded to eighteen, covering Roman history from the fall of Troy in 1184 BC down to the censorship of Cato the Elder in 184 BC. It was the first Latin poem to adopt the dactylic hexameter metre used in Greek epic and didactic poetry,[8] leading it to become the standard metre for these genres in Latin poetry. The Annals became a school text for Roman schoolchildren, eventually supplanted by Virgil's Aeneid. About 600 lines survive. A copy of the work is among the Latin rolls of the Herculaneum library.

Minor works

The Epicharmus was inspired by the philosophical hypotheses developed by the Sicilian poet and philosopher Epicharmus of Kos, after which Ennius's work took its name.[9][10] In the Epicharmus, the poet describes a dream he had in which he died and was transported to some place of heavenly enlightenment. Here, he met Epicharmus, who explained the nature of the gods and taught Ennius the physics of the universe.[11]

The Euhemerus presented a theological doctrine based on the ideas Greek of Euhemerus of Messene, who argued that the gods of Olympus were not supernatural powers that interference in the lives of humans, but rather heroes of old who after death were eventually regarded as deities due to their valor, bravery, or cultural impact (this belief is now known as euhemerism). Both Cicero and Lactantius write that the Euhemerus was a "translat[ion] and a recount[ing]" of Euhemerus's original work the Sacred History, but it is unclear if this means Ennius simply translated the original from Greek into Latin, or added in his own elements. Most of what is preserved of this work comes to us from Lactantius, and these snippets suggest that the Euhemerus was a prose text.[12]

The Hedyphagetica took much of its substance from the gastronomical epic of Archestratus of Gela. The extant portions of Ennius's poem discuss where a reader might find the best type of fish. Most of the fragments, replete with unique terms for fish and numerous place names, are corrupt or damaged. The Hedyphagetica is written in hexameters, but differs from the Annales in regards to "metrical practices"; this difference is largely due to each works' distinct subject matter.[13]

The titles Praecepta and Protrepticus were likely used to refer to the same (possibly exhortatory) work. However, given this work's almost non-existent nature (only the word pannibus—an "unusual" form of the word pannis, meaning "rags"—is preserved in the work of the Latin grammarian Charisius), this position is extremely difficult to verify.[7][14]

The Saturae is a collection of about thirty lines from satirical poems—making it the first extant instance of Roman satire.[7] These lines are written in a variety of poetic metres.[7][15] The poems in this collection "were mostly concerned with practical wisdom, often driving home a lesson with the help of a fable."[9]

Ennius's Scipio was a work (possibly a panegyric poem) that apparently celebrated the life and deeds of Scipio Africanus. Hardly anything remains of this work, and what is preserved is embedded in the works of others. Unfortunately, "no quotation of [Scipio] supplies a context".[16] Some have proposed that the work was written before the Annales, and others have said that the work was written after Scipio's 201 BC triumph that followed the Battle of Zama (202 BC).[16]

The Sota was a poem, potentially of some length, named after the Greek poet Sotades. The work, which followed a metre established by Sotades known as the "Sotadeus", concerned itself with a number of disparate topics and ideas.[17]


  • Quinto Ennio. Le opere minori, Vol. I. Praecepta, Protrepticus, Saturae, Scipio, Sota. Ed., tr., comm. Alessandro Russo. Pisa: Edizioni ETS, 2007 (Testi e studi di cultura classica, 40).
  • Warmington, E. H. (1935). Ennius (Q. Ennius). Remains of Old Latin. Edited by Eric Herbert Warmington. Vol. 2: Ennius and Caecilius. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

See also


  1. ^ Smith (1852), p. 359. "Rudiae is celebrated as the birthplace of Ennius."
  2. ^ E. Badian, “Ennius and his Friends” in Ennius, Fondation Hardt, Geneva 1972, pp.149-99
  3. ^ Aicher (1989), pp. 227–32.
  4. ^ Commentary on the Aeneid, vii. 691
  5. ^ Noctes Atticae 17.17.1
  6. ^ Most of this section is drawn from the 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica
  7. ^ a b c d La Barbera (2014).
  8. ^ "FJCL Latin Literature Study Guide" (PDF). Florida Junior Classical League. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  9. ^ a b Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica (2016).
  10. ^ Ennius, Goldberg, & Manuwald (2018), pp. 220–21.
  11. ^ Merry (1891), p. 65.
  12. ^ Ennius, Goldberg, & Manuwald (2018), pp. 238–40.
  13. ^ Ennius, Goldberg, & Manuwald (2018), pp. 260–61.
  14. ^ Ennius, Goldberg, & Manuwald (2018), pp. 268–69.
  15. ^ Ennius, Goldberg, & Manuwald (2018), pp. 270–71.
  16. ^ a b Ennius, Goldberg, & Manuwald (2018), pp. 286–87.
  17. ^ Ennius, Goldberg, & Manuwald (2018), pp. 296–97.


Further reading

  • Bettini, M. (1979). Studi e note su Ennio. Pisa: Giardini.
  • Brooks, R. A. (1981). Ennius and Roman Tragedy. New York: Arno Press. ISBN 0-405-14030-4.
  • Elliott, J. (2009). "Ennius' 'Cunctator' and the History of a Gerund in the Roman Historiographical Tradition". The Classical Quarterly. 59 (2): 532–42.
  • Elliott, J. (2010). "Ennius as Universal Historian: The Case of the Annales." Historiae Mundi: Studies in Universal History. Ed. Peter Liddel and Andrew Fear. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 148–161.
  • Evans, R.L.S. (1999). "Ennius". In Briggs, Ward (ed.). Ancient Roman Writers. Dictionary of Literary Biography. 211.
  • Fisher, J. (2014). The 'Annals' of Quintus Ennius and the Italic Tradition. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Fitzgerald, W., and Emily Gowers, eds. (2007). Ennius Perennis. The Annals and Beyond. Proceedings of the Cambridge Philolological Society, Supplementary Volume 31. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Goldberg, S. M. (1995). Epic in Republican Rome. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509372-0.
  • Goldberg, S. (1989). Poetry, Politics, and Ennius. Transactions of the American Philological Association 119: 247–261.
  • Goldschmidt, N. (2012). Absent Presence: Pater Ennius in Renaissance Europe, Classical Receptions Journal, 4(1), 1–19.
  • Goldschmidt, N. (2013). Shaggy Crowns: Ennius' Annales and Virgil's Aeneid. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Jocelyn, H. D. Ennius (Q. Ennius). (1967). The Tragedies of Ennius: The Fragments. Edited by Henry David Jocelyn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Jocelyn, H. D. (1972). The Poems of Quintus Ennius. Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt 1.2. Edited by Hildegard Temporini, 987–1026.
  • Morgan, L. (2014). A Metrical Scandal in Ennius. The Classical Quarterly, 64(1), 152–159. Cambridge University Press.
  • Sciarrino, E. (2006). The Introduction of Epic in Rome: Cultural Thefts and Social Contests. Arethusa 39: 449–469.
  • Skutsch, O. (1968). Studia Enniana. London: Athlone.
  • Skutsch, O. Ennius (Q. Ennius). (1985). The Annals of Q. Ennius. Oxford: Clarendon.

External links

Aka II of Commagene

Aka II of Commagene also known as Aka II or Aka (Greek: Άκα) was a Princess from the Kingdom of Commagene who lived in the second half of the 1st century BC & first half of the 1st century, who was of Armenian, Greek and Median descent.

Aka II is one of the daughters born to the King of Commagene, Mithridates III who reigned from 20 BC until 12 BC from his cousin-wife Queen Iotapa, thus was a sister of Antiochus III of Commagene. She was mostly probably born, raised and educated in Samosata, the capital of the Kingdom of Commagene. Aka II is the namesake of Aka I of Commagene, a former Commagenian Princess who was the daughter of Antiochis of Commagene who was the first cousin of her parents.

At an unknown date in the late first century BC, Aka II married an Egyptian Greek called Thrasyllus of Mendes and the circumstances that led Thrasyllus to marry Aka II are unknown. Aka II is known from a preserved incomplete poem, that mentions Aka II as the wife of Thrasyllus and mentions she was of royal origins.Thrasyllus was a Grammarian, Literary Commentator who served as the astrologer and became the personal friend of the Roman emperor Tiberius, who reigned from 14 until 37. As Tiberius had held Thrasyllus in the highest honor, Tiberius rewarded Thrasyllus for his friendship by giving him, Roman citizenship to him and his family. From given Roman citizenship, Aka II became known as Claudia Aka, as her husband became known as Tiberius Claudius Thrasyllus. Aka II died at an unknown date in the first century.

Aka II bore Thrasyllus two known children:

an unnamed daughter who married the Eques Lucius Ennius. She bore Ennius, a daughter called Ennia Thrasylla and perhaps a son called Lucius Ennius who was the father of Lucius Ennius Ferox, a Roman Soldier who served during the reign of the Roman emperor Vespasian from 69 until 79

a son called Tiberius Claudius Balbilus, through whom she had further descendants

Annales (Ennius)

Annales (Latin: [anˈnaː.leːs]; Annals) is the name of a highly fragmentary Latin epic poem written by the Roman poet Ennius in the 2nd century BC. While only snippets of the work survive today, the poem's influence on Latin literature was significant. Although written in Latin, stylistically it borrows from the Greek poetic tradition, particularly the works of Homer, and is written in dactylic hexameter. The poem was significantly larger than others from the period, and eventually comprised 18 books.

The subject of the poem is the early history of the Roman state. It is thought to be based mostly on Greek records and the work of Quintus Fabius Pictor. Initially viewed as an important cultural work, it fell out of use sometime in the 4th century AD. No manuscripts survived through the Middle Ages. When interest in the work was revived during the Renaissance period the poem was largely reconstructed from quotations contained in other works. Subsequent academic study of the poem has confirmed its significance for its period.

Artitropa comus

Artitropa comus, the western nightfighter, is a butterfly in the family Hesperiidae. It is found in Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia. The habitat consists of forests.

Adults are attracted to pawpaw flowers.

The larvae feed on Dracaena species, including Dracaena uganda, Dracaena manni, Dracaena usambarensis, Dracaena reflexa var. nitens, Dracaena steudneri and Dracaena perrotteti.

Aventine Hill

The Aventine Hill (; Latin: Collis Aventinus; Italian: Aventino [avenˈtiːno]) is one of the Seven Hills on which ancient Rome was built. It belongs to Ripa, the twelfth rione, or ward, of Rome.

Carmen Priami

The Carmen Priami ("Priam's Song") is a lost Latin poem known from the quotation of a single line by Varro. The unknown poet, "a remarkable reactionary," rejects the Hellenizing trend in Latin poetry led by Ennius (ca. 239–169 BC) and adopts a deliberately archaic style, invoking the Camenae:

The invocation of the Muse is a convention of Greco-Roman poetry, and Ennius announced his intention to leave behind the rusticity of native poetic traditions and embrace the sophistication of the Greeks with service to the Muses. His immediate predecessors Livius and Naevius had asserted their place among traditional Roman poets, or vates, by continuing to invoke instead the Camenae, a group of goddesses, varying in number, who were associated with fresh-water springs, or fontes, and thus metaphorically "sources" of inspiration. These were attributes also of the Muses, and while the Camenae never lost their Roman character, they became increasingly identified with their Greek counterparts.The poet of the Carmen Priami uses artificially archaic language: ueteres Casmenas cascam rem uolo profarei. The line was composed in the Saturnian meter, which had ceased to be used and which the poet misunderstands, misplacing the caesura. "The motive for such a use," notes literary historian Gian Biagio Conte, "could only be to lend substance to some intuition of primitive preliterary epic composition."The poem is among the "countertendencies" in Latin literature that reveal Roman ambivalence toward the adoption of Greek culture.

Dii Consentes

The Dii Consentes, also as Di or Dei Consentes (once Dii Complices), was a list of twelve major deities, six gods and six goddesses, in the pantheon of Ancient Rome. Their gilt statues stood in the Forum, later apparently in the Porticus Deorum Consentium.The gods were listed by the poet Ennius in the late 3rd century BC in a paraphrase of an unknown Greek poet:

Juno, Vesta, Minerva, Ceres, Diana, Venus,

Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Neptune, Vulcan, ApolloLivy arranges them in six male-female pairs: Jupiter-Juno, Neptune-Minerva, Mars-Venus, Apollo-Diana, Vulcan-Vesta and Mercury-Ceres. Three of the Dii Consentes formed the Capitoline Triad: Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva.

Ennia (gens)

The gens Ennia was a family of Calabrian descent. It is known chiefly from a single individual, Quintus Ennius, a soldier, dramatist, and poet, whom the Romans came to regard as the father of their literature. Ennius was born at Rudiae, a village near Brundisium in Calabria, in 239 BC. He claimed descent from the ancient lords of Messapia. As a young man, he served as a soldier in the Roman army, rising to the rank of centurion. At the age of thirty-eight, he came to Rome in the train of Marcus Porcius Cato. Most of his works have been lost, or exist only in fragments, but he was greatly influential on later Roman writers, including Vergil.

Ennia Thrasylla

Ennia Thrasylla, also known as Ennia Naeva or Ennia Naevia, Ennia the wife of Macro, Ennia and Eunia (about 15-38, Ennia in Greek Greek: Έννίας, Ennia Thrasylla in Greek Greek: Έννία Θράσυλλα) was a Roman noblewoman who lived in the 1st century in the Roman Empire.

Gaius Lucilius

Gaius Lucilius (c. 180 – 103/02 BC), the earliest Roman satirist, of whose writings only fragments remain, was a Roman citizen of the equestrian class, born at Suessa Aurunca in Campania. He was a member of the Scipionic Circle.

Latin Anthology

The Latin Anthology is a collection of Latin verse, from the age of Ennius to about 1000, formed by Pieter Burmann the Younger. Nothing corresponding to the Greek Anthology is known to have existed among the Romans, though professional epigrammatists like Martial published their volumes on their own account, and detached sayings were excerpted from authors like Ennius and Publius Syrus, while the Priapeïa were probably but one among many collections on special subjects.

The first general collection of scattered pieces made by a modern scholar was Scaliger's Catalecta veterum Poetarum (1573), succeeded by the more ample one of Pithoeus, Epigrammata et Poemata e Codicibus et Lapidibus collecta (1590). Numerous additions, principally from inscriptions, continued to be made, and in 1759-1773 Burmann digested the whole into his Anthologia veterum Latinorum Epigrammatum et Poematum, the editorship of which fell to philologist Johann Christian Wernsdorf after Burmann's death. This, occasionally reprinted, was the standard edition until 1869, when Alexander Riese commenced a new and more critical recension, from which many pieces improperly inserted by Burmann are rejected, and his classified arrangement is discarded for one according to the sources whence the poems have been derived. The first volume contains those found in MSS., in the order of the importance of these documents; those furnished by inscriptions following. The first volume (in two parts) appeared in 1869-1870, a second edition of the first part in 1894, and the second volume, Carmina Epigraphica (in two parts), in 1895-1897, edited by Franz Bücheler. An Anthologiae Latinae Supplementa, in the same series, followed. Having been formed by scholars actuated by no aesthetic principles of selection, but solely intent on preserving everything they could find, the Latin anthology is much more heterogeneous than the Greek, and unspeakably inferior. The really beautiful poems of Petronius and Apuleius are more properly inserted in the collected editions of their writings, and more than half the remainder consists of the frigid conceits of pedantic professional exercises of grammarians of a very late period of the empire, relieved by an occasional gem, such as the apostrophe of the dying Hadrian to his spirit, or the epithalamium of Gallienus. The collection is also, for the most part, too recent in date, and too exclusively literary in character, to add much to our knowledge of classical antiquity. The epitaphs are interesting, but the genuineness of many of them is very questionable.

Latin poetry

The history of Latin poetry can be understood as the adaptation of Greek models. The verse comedies of Plautus are considered the earliest surviving examples of Latin literature and are estimated to have been composed around 205-184 BC.

The start of Latin literature is conventionally dated to the first performance of a play in verse by a Greek slave, Livius Andronicus, at Rome in 240 BC. Livius translated Greek New Comedy for Roman audiences, using meters that were basically those of Greek drama, modified to the needs of Latin. His successors Plautus and Terence further refined the borrowings from the Greek stage and the prosody of their verse is substantially the same as for classical Latin verse.The traditional meter of Greek epic, the dactylic hexameter, was introduced into Latin literature by Ennius (239-169 BC), virtually a contemporary of Livius, who substituted it for the jerky Saturnian meter in which Livius had been composing epic verses. Ennius moulded a poetic diction and style suited to the imported hexameter, providing a model for 'classical' poets such as Virgil and Ovid.The late republic saw the emergence of Neoteric Poets, notably Catullus—rich young men from the Italian provinces, conscious of metropolitan sophistication, and looking to the scholarly Alexandrian poet Callimachus for inspiration. Catullus shared the Alexandrian's preference for short poems and wrote within a variety of meters borrowed from Greece, including Aeolian forms such as hendecasyllabic verse, the Sapphic stanza and Greater Asclepiad, as well as iambic verses such as the choliamb and the iambic tetrameter catalectic (a dialogue meter borrowed from Old Comedy).Horace, whose career crossed the divide between republic and empire, followed Catullus' lead in employing Greek lyrical forms, identifying with Alcaeus of Mytilene, composing Alcaic stanzas, and also with Archilochus, composing poetic invectives in the Iambus tradition (in which he adopted the metrical form of the Epode or 'Iambic Distich'). Horace was a contemporary of Virgil and, like the epic poet, he wrote verses in dactylic hexameter, but in a conversational and epistolary style. Virgil's hexameters are generally regarded as "the supreme metrical system of Latin literature."

Lucius Ennius

Lucius Ennius was a Roman Eques who lived in the second half of the 1st century BC and first half of the 1st century.

Little is known about the origins of Ennius, however he may have been originally from the Roman province of Creta et Cyrenaica. Ennius was a member of the gens Ennia, hence he was a relative of Quintus Ennius, a poet who lived during the Roman Republic, and Manius Ennius, a Roman soldier who served with Germanicus in 14 AD on the Rhine River frontier.

In 22, Ennius was accused of treason by the Roman Senate, for having converted a statue of the Roman emperor Tiberius to the common use of silver plate. However Tiberius forbade Ennius for his matter to be put on trial and saved him from prosecution, although the Roman Senate did not approve of the actions of the emperor. After this event, no more is known of Ennius.

At an unknown date sometime in the early 1st century, Ennius married a Roman noblewoman from Alexandria, in the Roman Province of Egypt who was of Greek, Armenian and Median descent. His wife was the unnamed daughter of Thrasyllus of Mendes and his wife, Aka II of Commagene. Thrasyllus was an Egyptian Greek grammarian and literary commentator who served as the astrologer and became the personal friend of the Emperor Tiberius, who reigned from 14 until 37, while Aka II was a princess from the Kingdom of Commagene. His brother-in-law was Tiberius Claudius Balbilus.Ennius had with his wife, a daughter called Ennia Thrasylla who married the Praetorian prefect of the Praetorian Guard, Naevius Sutorius Macro. Ennius with his wife, may also have had a son called Lucius Ennius who was the father of Lucius Ennius Ferox, a Roman soldier who served during the reign of the Roman emperor Vespasian from 69 until 79.


Metempsychosis (Greek: μετεμψύχωσις) is a philosophical term in the Greek language referring to transmigration of the soul, especially its reincarnation after death. Generally, the term is derived from the context of ancient Greek philosophy, and has been recontextualised by modern philosophers such as Arthur Schopenhauer and Kurt Gödel; otherwise, the term "transmigration" is more appropriate. The word plays a prominent role in James Joyce's Ulysses and is also associated with Nietzsche. Another term sometimes used synonymously is palingenesis.


In Greek and Roman mythology, Misenus (Μισηνός) was a name attributed to two individuals.

Misenus was a friend of Odysseus.

Misenus was a character in Virgil's epic poem the Aeneid. He was a brother-in-arms of Hector and, after Hector's death, Aeneas' trumpeter. In Book VI, it is revealed that he had challenged the gods to a musical contest on the conch shell, and for his impudence was drowned by Triton. Aeneas was told by the Cumaean Sibyl at that time that Misenus's body had to be buried before he could enter the Underworld. The passage detailing the funeral rites gives a valuable insight into Roman burial customs and the importance the Romans placed on respect for the dead. It is regarded as the passage of the Aeneid most imitative of the Annales of Ennius. Cape Misenum, near Cumae, is supposedly named for Misenus, as noted in Virgil's Aeneid. His being called Aeolides arose from the legendary connection between the Aeolian and Campanian Cumae.


Marcus Pacuvius (; 220 – c. 130 BC) was an ancient Roman tragic poet. He is regarded as the greatest of their tragedians prior to Lucius Accius.


The praetexta or fabula praetexta was a genre of Latin tragedy introduced at Rome by Gnaeus Naevius in the third century B.C. It dealt with historical Roman figures, in place of the conventional Greek myths. Subsequent writers of praetextae included Ennius, Pacuvius and Lucius Accius. The name refers to the toga praetexta, the official dress of Roman magistrates.

All Roman Republican tragedies are now lost. From the Imperial era only one play has survived, the Octavia.

Rhea Silvia

Rhea Silvia (also written as Rea Silvia), and also known as Ilia , was the mythical mother of the twins Romulus and Remus, who founded the city of Rome. Her story is told in the first book of Ab Urbe Condita Libri of Livy and in fragments from Ennius, Annales and Quintus Fabius Pictor.

Saturnian (poetry)

Saturnian meter or verse is an old Latin and Italic poetic form, of which the principles of versification have become obscure. Only 132 complete uncontroversial verses survive. 95 literary verses and partial fragments have been preserved as quotations in later grammatical writings, as well as 37 verses in funerary or dedicatory inscriptions. The majority of literary Saturnians come from the Odysseia (more commonly known as the Odissia or Odyssia), a translation/paraphrase of Homer's Odyssey by Livius Andronicus (c. 3rd century BC), and the Bellum Poenicum, an epic on the First Punic War by Gnaeus Naevius (c. 3rd century BC).

The meter was moribund by the time of the literary verses and forgotten altogether by classical times, falling out of use with the adoption of the hexameter and other Greek verse forms. Quintus Ennius is the poet who is generally credited with introducing the Greek hexameter in Latin, and dramatic meters seem to have been well on their way to domestic adoption in the works of his approximate contemporary Plautus. These Greek verse forms were considered more sophisticated than the native tradition; Horace called the Saturnian horridus. Consequently, the poetry in this meter was not preserved. Cicero regretted the loss in his Brutus:

Atque utinam exstārent illa carmina, quae multīs saeclīs ante suam aetātem in epulīs esse cantitāta ā singulīs conuīuīs dē clārōrum uirōrum laudibus in Orīginibus scrīptum relīquit Catō.'I heartily wish those venerable Odes were still extant, which Cato informs us in his Antiquities, used to be sung by every guest in his turn at the homely feasts of our ancestors, many ages before, to commemorate the feats of their heroes.'However, it has been noted that later poets like Ennius (by extension Virgil, who follows him in both time and technique) preserve something of the Saturnian aesthetic in hexameter verse. Ennius explicitly acknowledges Naevius' poem and skill (lines 206–7 and 208–9 in the edition of Skutsch, with translations by Goldberg):

[...] scrīpsēre aliī rem

uorsibus quōs ōlim Faunei uātesque canēbant'[...] Others have given an account

in rhythms which the Fauns and seers sang.'nam neque Mūsārum scopulōs ēscendit ad altōs

nec dictī studiōsus fuit Rōmānus homō ante hunc.'For no Roman scaled the Muses' lofty crags

or was careful with his speech before this man.'Ancient grammarians sought to derive the verse from a Greek model, in which syllable weight or the arrangement of light and heavy syllables was the governing principle. Scholars today remain divided between two approaches:

The meter was quantitative (but not borrowed from Greek).

The meter was accentual or based on accented and unaccented syllables.Despite the division, there is some consensus regarding aspects of the verse's structure. A Saturnian line can be divided into two cola or half-lines, separated by a central caesura. The second colon is shorter than or as long as the first. Furthermore, in any half-line with seven or more syllables, the last three or four are preceded by word-end. This is known as Korsch's caesura or the caesura Korschiana, after its discoverer.


A sibyna (Ancient Greek: Σιβύνη) was a type of spear used for hunting or warfare (see boar spears) in ancient times.A long heavy spear the Illyrians used was described by the poet Ennius according to Festius. Hesychius of Alexandria, (5th century) calls it similar to a spear. Suda lexicon (10th century) calls it a Roman javelin.

The word may be Illyrian or Thraco-Phrygian.

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