Reference address :

ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Constantinople Home Page  

Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


III. From the Union of Italy to the Subjugation of Carthage and the Greek States

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter XIV - Literature and Art


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 81


Ennius proposed to himself the very same task as Naevius; but the similarity of the subject only brings out into stronger relief the political and poetical contrast between the national and the anti- national poet. Naevius sought out for the new subject a new form; Ennius fitted or forced it into the forms of the Greek epos. The hexameter took the place of the Saturnian verse; the ornate style of the Homeridae, striving after plastic vividness of delineation, took the place of the homely historic narrative.

Wherever the circumstances admit, Homer is directly translated; e. g. the burial of those that fell at Heraclea is described after the model of the burial of Patroclus, and under the helmet of Marcus Livius Stolo, the military tribune who fights with the Istrians, lurks none other than the Homeric Ajax; the reader is not even spared the Homeric invocation of the Muse.

The epic machinery is fully set agoing; after the battle of Cannae, for instance, Juno in a full council of the gods pardons the Romans, and Jupiter after obtaining the consent of his wife promises them a final victory over the Carthaginians. Nor do the "Annals" fail to betray the neological and Hellenistic tendencies of the author. The very employment of the gods for mere decoration bears this stamp.

Previous / First / Next Page of this Chapter

Do you see any typos or other mistakes? Please let us know and correct them

The History of Old Rome: Contents ||| The Medieval West | The Making of Europe | Constantinople Home Page

Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Receive updates :

Learned Freeware

Reference address :