We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

The Annals of Quintus Ennius and the Italic Tradition

Jay Fisher

Publication Year: 2013

Quintus Ennius, often considered the father of Roman poetry, is best remembered for his epic poem, the Annals, a history of Rome from Aeneas until his own lifetime. Ennius represents an important bridge between Homer’s works in Greek and Virgil’s Aeneid. Jay Fisher argues that Ennius does not simply translate Homeric models into Latin, but blends Greek poetic models with Italic diction to produce a poetic hybrid. Fisher's investigation uncovers a poem that blends foreign and familiar cultural elements in order to generate layers of meaning for his Roman audience. Fisher combines modern linguistic methodologies with traditional philology in order to uncover the influence of the language of Roman ritual, kinship, and generalship on the Annals. Moreover, because these cultural practices are themselves hybrids of earlier Roman, Etruscan, and Greek cultural practices, not to mentionthe cultures of speakers of lesser-known languages such as Oscan and Umbrian, these echoes of cultural interactions also generated layers of meaning for Ennius, his ancient audience, and the modern readers of the fragments of the Annals.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF (62.1 KB)

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (59.2 KB)
pp. ix-xii

The idea for this book (and many other books, I imagine) fi rst came to me while I was writing a paper for a graduate seminar taught by Joshua Katz, who also supervised the dissertation that further developed my ideas about Ennius and the Italic tradition. Before that paper became a dissertation, Corey Brennan supervised a master’s thesis on the same topic at Bryn Mawr College. There...

read more

1. Ennius and the Italic Tradition

pdf iconDownload PDF (214.2 KB)
pp. 1-26

If a classic is “a book which people praise and don’t read,”1 then for all practical purposes the Annals of Quintus Ennius was a classic by the time of the emperor Domitian. The epic poet Silius Italicus, one of Domitian’s contemporaries, caps his description of the deeds of Ennius at a battle fought during the Second Punic War with an intervention by the god Apollo, who saves Ennius from a spear...

read more

2. The Annals and the Greek Tradition

pdf iconDownload PDF (235.2 KB)
pp. 27-56

If later generations emphasized the Greek features of the Annals, they had good reasons to do so. Ennius, after all, seems to have claimed that the soul of Homer lived on in his body.1 Moreover, the dactylic hexameter would have been foreign to the audience of the Annals, since it was unique to the Greek tradition before Ennius. Although Greek meter was familiar to those who attended the performances...

read more

3. Ritual and Myth in the Augurium Romuli (Annals 72–91)

pdf iconDownload PDF (231.1 KB)
pp. 57-86

The language of the Annals does more than tell a story. Combinations of words and even individual words that belonged to important cultural contexts, such as ritual, continually emerge, if only partially, and then submerge, leaving semantic ripples on the surface of the narrative. Although the promise that Jupiter will not overturn but support someone does not imply a ritual context...

read more

4. Ritual, Militia, and History in Book 6 of the Annals

pdf iconDownload PDF (277.9 KB)
pp. 87-126

To judge from the number and length of its fragments, book 6 of the Annals was especially popular with its ancient audience. Skutsch’s edition assigns forty-two lines to book 6 distributed over nineteen fragments, a number of lines exceeded only by book 1 and book 8. Moreover, the only surviving papyrus of the Annals from Herculaneum contains fragmentary lines that are either assigned to book 6...

read more

5. Ritual, Kinship, and Myth in Book 1 of the Annals

pdf iconDownload PDF (261.7 KB)
pp. 127-162

If the number of lines preserved by other sources for a particular book is any indication, then book 1 of the Annals was even more popular than book 6. One hundred and twelve of 623 extant lines are assigned to book 1 in Skutsch’s edition, including two fragments that exceed 18 consecutive lines. There are also a number of testimonia for parts of book 1 that attest to its significance for later...

read more

Conclusion. The Annals of Quintus Ennius and the Modern Tradition

pdf iconDownload PDF (62.4 KB)
pp. 163-166

The public high school that I attended had a Latin motto: dum clavum teneam, “until I may hold the helm.” (My Latin teacher, Charles Speck, taught me that it was a temporal clause that expressed intent.) The motto is not only appropriate for an educational institution but also an allusion to the Annals. When I was reading all the fragments of...


pdf iconDownload PDF (54.0 KB)
pp. 167-168


pdf iconDownload PDF (206.7 KB)
pp. 169-190


pdf iconDownload PDF (122.8 KB)
pp. 191-200


pdf iconDownload PDF (519.0 KB)
pp. 201-206

E-ISBN-13: 9781421411309
E-ISBN-10: 142141130X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781421411293
Print-ISBN-10: 1421411296

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 20 halftones
Publication Year: 2013