Infobox Writer
name = Ennius

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birthdate = 239 BCE
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deathdate = 169 BCE
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nationality = Roman
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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 was born at Rudiae in Salento, a town where the Greek, Oscan and Latin languages were in contact with one another. (But see also a remark under Messapian language.)

Ennius' more famous works include: the "Epicharmus", the "Euhemerus", the "Hedyphagetica", "Saturae", and the "Annals" ("Annales" in Latin).

The "Epicharmus" presented an account of the gods and the physical operations of the universe. In it, the poet dreamed he had been transported after death to some place of heavenly enlightenment.

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 "Hedyphagetica" took much of its substance from the gastronomical epic of Archestratus of Gela. The eleven extant hexameters have prosodical features avoided in the more serious "Annales".

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"

Further reading

*R. A. Brooks, "Ennius and Roman Tragedy" (1981)
*R.L.S. Evans, Ennius in "The Dictionary of Literary Biography: Latin Writers." Ed.Ward Briggs. Vol. 211, 1999.
*H. D. Jocelyn, "The Tragedies of Ennius" (1967)
*O. Skutsch, "The Annals of Quintus Ennius" (1985)

External links

* [http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/enn.html Fragments of Ennius' "Annals"] at The Latin Library; text from Wordsworth (1874), line numbering from Warmington (1935)Persondata
NAME = Ennius
PLACE OF BIRTH = Rudiae, Salento, Italy

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  • ENNIUS — QUINTUS (ENNIUS 239 ENNIUS 169) Poète épique, auteur dramatique et satirique, le plus influent des poètes latins de la première époque, Quintus Ennius est appelé à juste titre le père de la littérature romaine. Son épopée Les Annales , poème… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Ennĭus — Ennĭus, Quintus, geb. 239 v. Chr. zu Rudiä in Calabrien; studirte die Griechische Literatur u. kam im zweiten Punischen Kriege nach Sardinien; der ältere Cato brachte ihn 204 nach Rom, wo er bald den Scipionen, dem Fulvius Nobilior u. A.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Ennĭus — Ennĭus, Quintus, der Vater der röm. Kunstpoesie, 239–169 v. Chr., ein Halbgrieche aus Rudiä in Kalabrien, ließ sich in Rom nieder, wo er, seit 184 im Besitz des Bürgerrechts und mit den angesehensten Männern, namentlich dem ältern Scipio,… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Ennius — Ennĭus, Quintus, röm. Dichter, geb. 239 v. Chr. zu Rudiä in Kalabrien, gest. 169, Vater der röm. Kunstpoesie; Bruchstücke seiner Gedichte, darunter Annales, Saturae und Tragödien, von Bährens (1886) gesammelt …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Ennius — Ennius, Quintus, um 240 v. Chr. zu Rudiä in Calabrien geboren, kam mit Cato Censorinus nach Rom, war Freund des ältern Scipio und Lälius, der erste röm. Dichter von Bedeutung, behandelte die röm. Geschichte episch, besang auch die Thaten seines… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • ENNIUS — praenom. Lucius, Eques Rom. Maiestatis ab Ateio Capitone postulatus, quod effigiem Principis promiscuum ad usum argenti vertisset: Sed a Tiberio Caes. inter reos recipi vetitus. Vide Tacit. l. 3. Annal. c. 70 …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Ennius — Quintus Ennius est né en 239 av. J. C. à Rudiæ dans le territoire anciennement appelé Calabre et aujourd hui denommé Salento, et mort en 169 av. J. C.. Il est un auteur de l’époque de la République romaine. On le considère également comme le… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ennius — Quintus Ennius (* 239 v. Chr. in Rudiae (Apulien) † 169 v. Chr.) war ein Schriftsteller der Römischen Republik und wird oft als Vater der römischen Poesie bezeichnet. Obwohl nur Fragmente seiner Werke überlebten, ist sein Einfluss vor allem als… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ENNIUS (Q.) — Q. ENNIUS Poeta antiquissimus, Rudiis Calabriae oppido natus, circa A. U. C. 515. Qu. Valerio, et C. Manlio Coss. Ovid. de arte Amandi. l. 3. v. 389. Ennius emeruit Calabris in montibus ortus Contiguus poni, Scipio magne, tibi. A Catone Quaestore …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Ennius — Ẹnnius,   Quintus, lateinischer Dichter, * Rudiae (Kalabrien) 239 v. Chr., ✝ 169 v. Chr.; mindestens dreisprachig aufgewachsen (griechisch, lateinisch, oskisch), kam er 204 v. Chr. nach Rom, zuerst wohl als Hauslehrer, und fand Zugang zu den… …   Universal-Lexikon

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