The Annals of Quintus Ennius and the Italic Tradition
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 Vergil’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 to uncover the influence of the language of Roman ritual, kinship, and military culture on the Annals. Moreover, because these customs are themselves hybrids of earlier Roman, Etruscan, and Greek cultural practices, not to mention the customs of speakers of lesser-known languages such as Oscan and Umbrian, the echoes of cultural interactions generate layers of meaning for Ennius, his ancient audience, and the modern readers of the fragments of the Annals.
About the Author
Jay Fisher teaches classics at Rutgers University.
The Annals of Quintus Ennius and the Italic Tradition offers a fascinating study of the language of the first hexametric epic in Rome. The parallels between phrases in the text and what would appear to be traditional Italian collocations are striking and offer sound evidence for what we might have expected but have not yet seen demonstrated fully: the inclusion of traditional Italian ritual phrases in a consciously Hellenizing narrative... I enjoyed and learned much in reading this fine monograph.
I found his book challenging, indeed exciting; bold in its reconstructions, clear in setting out its methodology and honest in acknowledging the inevitable constraints arising from the paucity of epigraphic evidence for Ennius's pre-literary antecedents.
Other Titles in LITERARY CRITICISM / Ancient & Classical
Other Titles in Classical history / classical civilisation