See H. D. Jocelyn, The Tragedies of Ennius (1967); R. A. Brooks, Ennius and Roman Tragedy (1981); O. Skutsch, The Annals of Quintus Ennius (1985).
(born 239, Rudiae, southern Italy—died 169 BC) Roman poet, dramatist, and satirist. The most influential of the early Latin poets, he is considered the founder of Roman literature. His epic Annales, a narrative poem telling the story of Rome from the wanderings of Aeneas to the poet's own day, was the national epic until it was eclipsed by Virgil's Aeneid. He excelled in tragedy, adapting 19 plays from the Greek, of which only about 420 lines survive.
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Quintus Ennius (239 - 169 BC) was a writer during the period of the Roman Republic, and is often considered the father of Roman poetry. He was of Greek descent. Although only fragments of his works survive, his influence in Latin literature was significant.
Ennius' more famous works include: the Epicharmus, the Euhemerus, the Hedyphagetica, Saturae, and the Annals (Annales in Latin).
The Euhemerus presented a theological doctrine of a vastly different type in a mock-simple prose style modelled on the Greek of Euhemerus of Messene and several other theological writers. According to this doctrine, the gods of Olympus were not supernatural powers still actively intervening in the affairs of men, but great generals, statesmen and inventors of olden times commemorated after death in extraordinary ways.
The remains of six books of Saturae show a considerable variety of metres. There are signs that Ennius varied the metre sometimes even within a composition. A frequent theme was the social life of Ennius himself and his upper-class Roman friends and their intellectual conversation.
The Annals 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, 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.
"The idle mind knows not what it wants." - Ennius
"Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur." - Ennius (quoted by Cicero, Laelius 17.64) Translation: "A sure friend shows himself in an unsure time"