Thursday, April 9, 2009


Version at BMCR home site
William Fitzgerald, Emily Gowers, Ennius Perennis: The Annals and Beyond. Cambridge Classical Journal. Supplementary Volume, 31. Cambridge: Cambridge Philological Society, Pp. xiii, 172. ISBN 9780906014301. $90.00.
Reviewed by Sandro La Barbera, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa

[Authors and titles are listed at the end of the review.]

This volume comes in a revolutionary season of Ennian reappraisal, and in a long expected series of contributions to the study of the Annals, predominantly, and less frequently of the Tragedies and minor works. Although Ennius perennis is somewhat too broad (mocking, even) a definition for the scanty pieces of that otherwise gigantic author, it seems aptly chosen when describing the perennial well from which so many fragments have been drawn to fit into as many new contexts. For that is the main aim of these contributions, to study Ennius from behind the posthumous lens of Reception. No wonder in that, since, like Emily Gowers states in her Introduction, we are today provided with excellent (if still perfectible) Ennian resources, such as Jocelyn's and Skutsch's commented editions, Courtney's Ennian sections or Suerbaum's thorough bibliography;1 unfortunately, more recent works which would have afterwards proved to be of essential reference (like Russo's edition of 'minor' Ennius,2 or Laurens's partial edition of the Africa3 for discussions on Petrarch and Ennius), were still unavailable to the contributors, whose papers were submitted to the 2005 Laurence Seminar entitled "Ennius perennis: revolutionary and figurehead"; the book was published two years later. I should here add that I apologize for delivering this review far later than I had hoped, only partially sharing my fault with inter-continental post (dis)services.

With regard to printing, the volume has been prepared with due attention to typographic and bibliographic coherence, and also with remarkable editorial consistency in the contributors' cross-references to each other's papers. The only visible defect from this point of view lies in the absence of a more detailed Index which, if particularly desirable when dealing with ancient sources, is nevertheless pardonable in such a collection of essays to whose inner secrets the light Index supplied may give proper access. Only minor slips can be found in ancient texts, as well as in English ones.4

As to contents, I will briefly summarize each paper, its methods and peculiarities, trying to show its objective achievements and limits. But it might be useful to have first a general sketch of the whole collection. First of all, a brilliant team of both long-reputed and new Ennianists could not but produce a sound gathering of observations and discussions which will certainly affect future interpretations of Ennius's poetry; in particular, the mediation of later authors (Cicero and Virgil in primis) in handing the Father of Latin literature down to his descendants, is highlighted with important new considerations in matters of literary theory and canon consolidation. In this respect, one could argue that deeper textual discussions on how Ennius' lines were sifted over centuries should have been paired with literary ones, and it might be generally stated that in this case textual criticism has been almost completely ousted from some essays which would have been better supported by textual defence. Texts, incidentally, are sometimes referred to but not quoted literally, which could complicate the readers' approach to arguments, should they not know those fragments by heart; however, those which are reported directly in Latin or Greek are then accompanied by the authors' translations (and sometimes translations demote texts to the footnotes). Furthermore, some general statements about Ennius and his whole literary career, offspring and afterlife, would have certainly benefited from a closer inspection of all (though fragmentary) of his works, however specifically limited to the Annals the papers, as well as the volume itself and the occasion which produced it, may have been conceived to be.5 Also, such an opportunity to establish some clearer ways of tradition into Late Antiquity for the first Latin hexameter masterwork could be better exploited, though Middle Ages are well represented by Petrarch's reception. Some sort of late antique flavour is yet to be found in the generally sparkling tone of the volume, which can sound much more striking when one considers that, more or less, it similarly permeates the style of seven different authors, to whom we now proceed. It is by the way time to say that there are actually eight papers, but the last of them is a "Petrarchan" text, as we will later see; the eight papers are subdivided into 4 sections, and are preceded by Gowers's Introduction.

The first section is entitled 'The Ennian Corpus' and includes essays by James E. G. Zetzeland Gowers (at pp. 1-16 and 17-37, respectively).

Zetzel's paper immediately shocks his readers with its title 'The influence of Cicero on Ennius'. What lies behind this paradox is the assumption that our perception of Ennius is in fact our perception of Cicero's Ennius, meaning that -- as the most relevant fragments from the Annals resurface from Cicero's works, together with his peculiar way of treating and focusing on them -- it is therefore obvious that it would be easier to talk about the interpretation Ennius had already undergone in antiquity than allowing us any new one. Important remarks about Ennian quotation shares in Cicero show that he preferred a definite set of works (namely Annals, Andromacha and Medea) and, within them, certain passages (which are therefore repeatedly alluded to or quoted) or contexts; moreover, such quotations are mostly meant to fit into Cicero's own arguments and demonstrations, so that they are not chosen for aesthetic reasons, but just in compliance with specific concepts. It should be here noted that a further general analysis could have given, and still could, a neater picture of Cicero's behaviour and aims in all cases of quotations from Ennius, although this is not the aim of the paper, which is for its part carefully developed, and which is alert to Cicero's attitude and literary language. In particular, the relationships between his appreciation of Ennius and his dislike of the cantores Euphorionis are so explored as to strengthen the impression of a rejection of Hellenizing style and Epicurean contents through a remodelled view of Ennius' real production (whichin fact included such an item as Epicharmus).6 Tagging Cicero as "a traditionalist in language" is probably excessive if one rightly thinks of him as a pathfinder of Latin poetic language, but it seems true that he plays a fundamental role in transforming Ennius into a thenceforth lasting stereotype of long-established, archaic, "anti-neoteric" phrasing, maybe, as Zetzel states, because of "his own growing [sc. in the late 50s] interest in the Roman past" (p. 7). The last part of the paper is mostly devoted to the discussion of the famous Pro Archia passage where Cicero's client is compared to Scipio's (and other great men's) encomiast (Arch. 22). That discourse has many times caused conjectural skirmishes on how much or how little reliance may be placed upon Cicero's account of Ennius' relationship to Roman noblemen, which -- Zetzel intends to show -- is itself rather conjectural than historically correct, and is therefore to be regarded circumspectly and not used as evidence (although he seemingly favours some reconstructions); the author also inclines to think that many anecdotes regarding Ennius have in time derived from the evaluation of Cicero, who would not even be in the know. Finally two issues related to Cicero's influence are debated. The first is the composition of the Annals, i.e. the reconstruction of how Ennius ultimately came to the closure of his Roman epic: Gellius (17.21.43) tells us that, according to Varro, in book 12 Ennius stated he was then 67, which would mean that book 12 should be dated to 172 BC, when his death should be dated only three years later in 169 BC; that is why scholars generally emend Gellius' text in order to have higher numbers and consequently more yearly instalments for the composition of books 13-18. On the contrary, Zetzel believes that the right date is the transmitted one, and that we should rather try later anecdotes about composition and book additions, collaterally accepting the fact that the Annals must have been composed very rapidly at the end of Ennius' life. This can also mean that in his days Ennius was particularly known, during his Roman sojourn, because of other works (the Tragedies above all) rather than for the Annals which appeared far later than any other work of his: again Cicero might have instead made the Annals the most important one (as if it were such even to Ennius' contemporaries). The epigram on Scipio (43 Courtney) is the last text examined, and its seriousness is challenged in favour of a possible ironic interpretation of this (apparently mutilated) text, since it was written after Scipio's death, as well as Scipio, both of them being "not immediate reflections of Scipio as Ennius' patron" (p. 16). Some statements may sound bald and will surely make doubts rise in the minds of readers, who will nevertheless appreciate Zetzel's lucidity and important new achievements.

After introducing the volume, Gowers reappears as its second contributor, again with her bubbly style which eases the staging of the Ennian body, but not in its literary sense: 'The cor of Ennius' should precisely sound as 'Ennius' heart', although -- this appears to be the aim of the paper -- it is just in order to reach the core of Ennius' poetry that he is being dissected. I must confess I was a little disappointed as I had the impression that mere statistics about the not intended recurrence of cor (and its derivatives) in extant fragments were being proposed; nevertheless, if statistics actually propelled this paper (Gowers herself admits that on p. 17), single reasonings on single lines and groups of lines turn out to be, if not always conclusive, very interesting. Two main hypotheses are pursued: "that the multiple appearances of cor in the fragments reflect what was a genuinely central position in Ennius' work; and that the word cor (...) is intimately connected with Ennius' conception of himself, his poetics and the wider world, and with later poets' reception of his legacy" (p. 18). A preliminary note tries to show that Ennius' cor derives from Homer's, in both a literary (poetic affiliation) and concrete (metempsychotic transfer) sense, and that should, if I am not mistaken, positively prompt the speculation on the first hypothesis. 'Cardiocentrics' is the title of the second paragraph, which goes into the matter of heart transmigration, founding it on ancient sources both literary and philosophical; it might be found useful in particular for such information,7 and I do not really believe that the seeming abundance of cor falls into a precise poetic strategy, also because we should first check, and we unfortunately cannot, the relevance of that word to common Latin language in Ennius' days. In particular, a link with Empedocles is sought, in order to restore a genealogical chain (from Empedocles to Ennius, to Lucretius and later to Ovid) formerly investigated by Philip Hardie.8 Connections with Empedocles are again at the start of section 3 ('Discordia and bodily landscapes'), in which Ennius' lines on Paluda (Ann. 220s.) are as usual interpreted from an Empedoclean perspective; some observations about the iconic displacement of words and its possible relation to Greek (and later Latin) philosophies are offered (although I do not share them, métrique verbale here being all too stretched); disiectio in Ennius' language is further interpreted also with reference to Horace and Lucretius, as well as Democritus and Philodemus -- but one could almost argue that too many arguments have been advanced.9 A discussion on the famous tria corda which our poet claimed to possess (if it is not a case of later autoschediastic frills) could not be missing, and section four ('Hearts of iron, hearts in threes') sees to that. Gowers's conclusion seems to be that the tria corda are not to be generally taken as three "consciousnesses, even national or linguistic identities" (p. 28) but three "memory banks" (p. 29), which would descend from a supposed adherence to a stem of cor-words within the semantic area of memory. 'Fixed and wandering hearts' are those which, in Gowers's words, paradoxically "mark out various literary genres" (p. 30), meaning that in particular Juvenal's mention of a cor Enni (Iuu. 6.10) can raise questions about the work (and its genre) in which it had been said to pulse, the possible solutions to which questions Gowers tries to give also trying new approaches. Section seven ('Heart and marrow') gives other body parts the chance to stand out, marrow in particular, as the notorious uersus propinas flammeos medullitus could suggest; whatever limb or organ may be given prominence, the point is that, if no incontrovertible definition of cor to Ennius can be produced, that should nevertheless sound like proof that "we could see cor as a multipurpose symbol of the essence of Ennius" (p. 33). Empedocles lastly reappears in Ringkomposition as epigrams written about him by Diogenes Laertius (8.75) are offered as parallels for the medullitus distich (but I dare say they are not too fitting). This paper will be found useful for its rich collection of ancient and modern sources, and for a rearrangement (however welcomed) of typical Ennian issues.

The second, gendered section of the book is 'Ennian voices and landscapes', in which Jacqueline Elliot and Alison Keith discuss mainly about social functions of Ennian characters and related matters (pp. 38-54 and 55-72).

With her 'The voices of Ennius' Annals', Elliot means to investigate the possibility that Ennius showed "sympathy for the underdogs of the Roman political establishment, such as women and Rome's military enemies" (p. 38), which she intends to deduce from speeches in extant fragments. These, we are reminded, fall into three main categories, which respectively include fragments transmitted for grammatical interest, for their contextual aptness in narrations or generic quotations, and for their influence on Virgil. The relative reliability of the first category, i.e. grammatical quotations, is pronounced undamaged by those ideological interpretations which are potentially to be found in the other categories. One could here object that many lines transmitted as Ennius' have in fact been taxed with spuriousness (and still many more could be, in my opinion) and if they are not genuine they can indeed fall into a kind of archaic-style-stereotype ideology -- but that impression is substantially right. Going on to the second category, a notorious line (moribus antiquis etc.: Ann. 156) is offered as an example of how a writer, in this case Augustine (who quoted Ennius from Cicero's recollection in De republica), could be completely unaware of the original context of a quotation and could therefore transform later perceptions of such quoted lines (which is the same point as Zetzel's in his paper). In particular, it seems likely to Elliot that, although that line has been long believed to belong in a speech by an authoritative moral paradigm (such as Manlius Torquatus Imperiosus), we must face that the longest extant speeches (which coincide with some of the longest fragments transmitted) "do not belong to Roman men, but to women and enemies of Rome" (p. 43), namely Ilia and Pyrrhus (Ann. 36-50 and 183-90 respectively), so that caution is invoked when it comes to giving figures about Ennian 'narrative grammar' (Conte's definition). Thirdly, sources dealing with Virgil are taken into high consideration, as they "offer us (...) momentary and partial views of a Virgilian perspective" on the Annals (p. 44); above all, they are rightly condemned as incomplete accounts of Ennius' substance, just inasmuch they rather use it to form the basis of Virgil's poetry, as if it were teleologically destined for that. All of this prompts possible new readings of fragments yoked with Virgil's texts, and Elliot gives some proof of such possibilities, which also entail considerations about the underdogs before alluded to. For instance, Ann. 361 et simul erubuit ceu lacte et purpura mixta is (maybe correctly) reassigned to book 11 or 10, depending on mss., against Skutsch's objection that those books cannot contain such female blushing, and Elliot also shows that it can rather link Homer's prototype to Virgil's revision through Ennius' own reworking of epic into dramatic diction, though still in a warring context. Ilia's dream is the next, and of course longest-discussed, example: always interpreted as an indirect celebration of the founding of Rome, it is here seen as rather insisting on Ilia's psychology and narrative function. I found it unlikely that, as Elliot ultimately believes, Ilia's dream, the only founding account dealt with by Ennius, should be taken as a patent predilection for women's point of view: in my opinion, we likelier owe this yet unfathomable pearl to some Hellenistic genre affiliation, and it can be used only perilously to demonstrate "the uselessness of the male and imperialistic perspective to Ilia". Nevertheless, we have to admit that the focus, here as well as at Ann. 58s. or 158, is on the female character's psychology and, although I would not deepen such a gendered perspective, many statements on Ennius' alleged obsession for sturdy authorities must in fact be dethroned. Ann. 162 cogebant hostes lacrumantes ut misererent is then said to be "ambiguous" since "it seems at first as if hostes will be the subject of cogebant, lacrumantes a descriptor of its direct object" (p. 52): that would prove the existence of multiple perspectives, intended as such by Ennius himself and his iconic composition -- yet readers might be in doubt (and some mss. have the less problematic hostis). The last example is Pyrrhus' speech (Ann. 183-90) which, through Cicero's pointed remark about genus Aeacidarum and its apparent opposition to Ennian Appius' stolidum genus Aeacidarum, would reversely conceal an inner intended contradiction of the Annals and its "complex process of characterization and counter-characterization" which would be "in a way reminiscent of the Aeneid" (p. 54). The idea of the Annals as a poem with a polyphonic structure, if sought through sometimes excessive or doubtful evidence, is an intriguing one, and it sensibly widens the array of Ennian questions that scholars can now deal with.

Keith's paper, entitled 'Women in Ennius' Annals', draws on the perspective already adopted in her recent book about Engendering Rome: Women in Latin Epic (Cambridge, 2000), where she admits that Ennius' case had not been studied in depth. In that volume, Latin epic poems are analyzed with regard to the narrative and symbolicfunction of women as they are fitted into a manly genre conceived to carry out men's education. Here the emphasis is particularly on the "exploration of the dynamics of gender in Ennius' imperial narratives of foreign conquest and external expansion" (p. 55) and the assumption is that "contests over dominion of Latium that preceded the Roman conquest of Italy and the Mediterranean (...) are conceived in gendered terms" (p. 57). Putting the example of Ilia (whose past handling in Engendering Rome is briefly summarized) aside, Aeneas' arrival in Latium (Ann. 26-32) is involved in the first discussion, which seeks to prove that a sort of metaphorical ground lies behind Aeneas' marriage to Latinus' daughter, since it would more deeply represent "the Trojans'territorial acquisition as a joint project of the Trojans and the native Italians" (p. 58). The next item is the rape of the Sabines and the related speech attributed to Hersilia (Ann. 98-103), which is thoroughly analyzed in its linguistic texture and is shown to be interpretable as possibly coinciding -- by means of repeated markers of physical/territorial/linguistic appropriation -- with Ennius' own participation in "the Roman imperial project" (p. 62). Virgil's fall of Troy (especially Aen. 2.313, 486-90) is rightly presented as deriving from Ennius' destruction of Alba Longa (as Servius ad loc. lets us guess), but things are maybe stretched too far when it comes to Ennius' specific representation, which only conjecturally could have staged it "from the perspective of the women who inhabit the city and whose removal from the city both rehearses the rape of the Sabines and similarly symbolizes Roman territorial conquest" (pp. 62f.). Paluda is the protagonist of the next section of Keith's paper, where etymology and interlinguistic puns are the basis for a detailed characterization which somehow extrudes from the main discussion but is very rich, although not all apparent punning schemes and observations sound cogent.10 In the last section, Keith tries to draw Greek Muses -- female Muses, to be exact, that appear as such in the proem at Ann. 1, and in the proems to books 7 and 10 (Ann. 206-210, 322f.) -- into the previously seen model of "female victims of Rome's imperial ambitions" (p. 71) who perform the joining of different empires so that, in Keith's opinion, "despite their Greek origin, in Ennius' poem the Muses speak the language of their captors, Latin, and celebrate the defeat of their fellow Greeks". In conclusion, this paper is suited to scholars of both gender studies and erudite reconstructions, who will find proper material for their experiments -- but I am afraid that any further engendering of Ennius and his fragile, bruised body, could rather result in unwelcome endangering, the best scholarly designs notwithstanding.

The title of the third section, 'Ennius and Virgil', could let the reader think that Ingo Gildenhard and Sergio Casali aim to develop Norden's long-established model, but they actually reinterpret it and establish new ways of analysis (their papers are at pp. 73-102 and 103-128 respectively).

A theoretical premise on Freudian (literary) relationships between Ennius and Virgil introduces Gildenhard's paper, entitled 'Virgil vs. Ennius, or: The Undoing of the Annalist', which in fact deals with 'evolutive' comparison between Ennius and Virgil's respective "authorial self-fashioning, political culture, views of the supernatural and (...) [way of relating] literary format and conception of history" (p. 75). The two authors are studied separately in a diptych structure, and priority is naturally given to Ennius, in relation to whose Selbstdarstellung the first section discusses an anonymous epigram on Ennius (Cic. Tusc. 1.34) -- where importance is given to the anomalous collective address to the ciues (although this is the epigrammatist's formulation, not Ennius') -- and the famous Lunai portum etc. (op. inc. 1 Sk. = Pers. 6.9-11), which is accepted into the Annals (following Kissel's idea)11 and again offers an apostrophe to ciues (this time in Ennius' own words), thus establishing a likely noteworthy social background for Ennius' operation. Socio-political observations recur in the second section, in which Gildenhard reminds us of how Homer's substance was Romanized into a poem which "did not just celebrate the exploits of the ruling elite" as "the Annals contain the success story of a civic community, in which aristocrats and common soldiers excelled in equal measures" (p. 80); furthermore, it is stated that ethnic peculiar identities are subsumed under the general sphere of common citizenship, since to Ennius "Rome is a citizenry rather than an ethnos" (p. 82): we cannot be sure about the quantitative aspects of Ennius' assertions about ethne and civic brotherhood, but certainly this seems at any rate the most enticing option. Religion, too, entails cultural medley, since rites and divination especially mingle archaic, hierarchized practices with foreign or private ones, as well as Roman beliefs with Greek theories. Politics finally reappear in the last Ennian section, since on the one hand it deals with the "literary format (of the poem) and its conception of history" (this is the section title), but on the other links the literary aspect to a political one. In fact, the joining of cultures that the Annals seem to promote could take on Nobilior's attitude as a censor, who had to (and managed to) reconcile parties, and whose magistrate list was as open-ended as the Annals (which from that kind of list derive their name) would later prove to be, as Ennius decided to add three more books to the original bulk just in order to celebrate his patron. The Virgilian section starts with an antiphrasis of the preceding sketch of Ennius: Virgil reminds us of an ancient uates while his predecessor preferred the label of poeta, diffracts the civic fraternity into ethnic heterogeneity, superimposes fatum on that multi-religious world we saw staged in the Annals, and encloses the annalistic historical open-endedness in an aoristic, immutable myth narrative. 'The return of the uates' gives matter to the first argument, where the political implications of this terminological choice are explored as contrary to the republican elite's (as well as Ennius') favourite divination, insofar as it is now individual and specific and comes directly from the gods, thus also being addressed not to citizens but to the king. Such a connection between kings and prophets is spotted in Aeneas' ascension to the Sibyl, during which he becomes a "uates retrouersus, prefiguring current events" (p. 91) -- this connection connects with the one which subsists between Augustus and Virgil, the latter reviving the very voice of the Sibyl and with it justifying Augustus' new 'edition' of her oracles. A discussion of Romanam condere gentem (Aen. 1.33) follows, in which Gildenhard tries to demonstrate that gens, a marker of familiarity (gens as aristocratic clan) or foreign countries (gentes), was paradoxically used to designate the populus Romanus and have it coincide with Aeneas' gens, less than a paradox if one considers Virgil's political project. All of this "desenfranchizes the republican elite and prepares the ground for a novel vision of Roman history and its heroes" (p. 94). The Anchises episode in book 6 is the object of further discussion, where even the lament for Marcellus is reinterpreted according to this populus/gens scheme. Gildenhard concludes that two "identity-schemes" act in the Aeneid: "the (...) 'agnatic' lineage of the gens Iulia" and "a looser notion of Roman ethnicity by which the Romans become the people of Aeneas" (p. 97). The open-endedness with which we credited the Annals, which progress with the years and for the future, is in Virgil shut down and gives way to a conception of historical events overwhelmed by prejudicing fatum, already written as Sibylline oracles were and whose readers were those uates Ennius once despised as bestowing some sense of inevitability upon unwelcome events. As to narrative form, according to Gildenhard, "in two places in the Aeneid Virgil evokes annalistic history à la Ennius" (p. 100), i.e. the pageant of heroes at Aen. 6.864 and the Shield (8.626-9), but there Virgil's predecessor is modified in order to obtain results matching the political project already seen, so that "the republican past and the annalistic scheme are thus bent out of shape, becoming a marginalized backdrop to a historical vision, in which the mythic past and the Augustan present assume an overpowering pre-eminence" (p.101); one could also add that for Ennius myth is only the beginning of the narrative, while in Virgil it is the narrative itself and prefigures archaic legitimating of the present: in short there could be uncertainty on the degree of premeditation in Virgil's overturning. This paper is really rich in substance and provides a revealing insight into Ennian and Virgilian macro-issues which, although related to different projects and times, seem to be configurable as opposing facets (republican, open-minded, rational vs. imperial, prejudicial, inspired) of authentic -- though evolving -- Latin thinking.

Casali's paper deals with 'Killing the father: Ennius, Naevius and Virgil's Julian imperialism'. The starting point is that Virgil, like for the 'repressed' Lucretius, similarly had to correct Ennius, since with all certainty he (as well as Naevius) did not include a male son of Aeneas' as founder (or at least precursor) of Rome and its deeds, in particular those related to the gens Iulia. A first correction is made to Alba's ancestry, which Ennius rightly depicted as Italic: Virgil would instead advocate a Trojan descent by laying Ennius' representation of the destruction of Alba upon his own destruction of Troy, thus "suggesting (not only) an 'Alban Troy', but also a 'Trojan Alba'" (p. 109); furthermore, the detail of people -- the Julian gens among them -- fleeing from Alba is seen in relation to Aenas and Iulus' departure from Troy, which would therefore draw on the former in order to configure a more ancient (and nobler) "displacement toward 'Rome' of Augustus' ancestors -- exactly as the destruction of Alba does" (p. 110): Casali's suggestion, with which can agree, is that Virgil is precisely aiming to revitalize "the only Julian detail" in Ennius' work. Anchises plays a major role in the following discussion (he is in a sense the 'Father' of the paper title), which begins from 'Elysium as a theme-park of metapropaganda', an intriguing metaphor for the exceptionally figurative character of afterlife encounters with one's ancestors. Casali tries to show that the prominence given in Aen. 6 to both Greek poets and Roman offspring can be analyzed from an Ennian point of view, according to which Musaeus is chosen to point to Anchises since the "Greek man-of-the-Muses" is best suited to leading to "the Roman man-of-the-Muses par excellence", as Anchises could be defined when taken as "a deeply Ennian figure" (p. 112). I must admit some scepticism on my part for this case, as well as for the opinion that Aen. 6.644 pedibus plaudunt choreas et carmina dicunt could literally (and phonosymbolically) suggest Ann. 1 Musae, quae pedibus magnum pulsatis Olympum (as stated at p. 112). Further analyzed is the genealogical table, where Aen. 6.650 Ilusque Assaracusque et Troiae Dardanus auctor is shown to be a new, Virgilian-minded counterpart of Iliad 20.232, whose non-Augustanism Virgil would remedy with such a hyper-correction. But more is said on the interrelationship between that line and georg. 3.34-6, and Ennius' Assaraco natus Capys optimus isque pium ex se / Anchisen generat (Ann. 28f.), so as to prove that actual Roman adaptation of Trojan myths was already present in Ennius' work, and that Virgil's extended reworking both improves Ennius and rehabilitates him inasmuch as Virgil would be mostly interested in his predecessor's use of "genealogy as an instrument of political propaganda" (p. 114). Anchises' death seems to reconfigure him as the archaic character of Ennius and Naevius, so that he recovers the prophetic powers they had equipped him with; but just this recovery again corrects Ennius, since no Julian prophecy could be made in the Annals while the Aeneid does quite the contrary. And any act -- Casali repeatedly suggests -- which involves changing "Father Anchises" and his attitudes, also involves changing "Father Ennius" and (to minor extent) "Father Naevius". The first consequence lies in Anchises' attitude towards the escape from falling Troy: in Ennius it was him who probably urged Aeneas to escape (if Skutsch rightly comments on Ann. 17), in Virgil it is Aeneas who sponsors running away, just because prophecy is no longer granted to Anchises, who also alludes to his disabling by the thunderbolt (cf. Hom. Hym. Aphr.), which Casali infers (probably rightly) to be absent from Ennius, and is helped by the Ennian Venus to persuade their son, while he is here conversely persuaded by Iulus' flaming head. The loss of prophecy also accounts for Anchises's wrong interpretation of other peoples' prophecies, like the one on the Ancient Mother (Aen. 3.99-120), where he cannot 'remember rightly' (si rite audita recordor, 3.107) as remembering is not applicable to a developing invention of Virgil's (and to Ennius' therefore 'ignorant' poetic fatherhood). But killing is the ultimate resort of Virgil's 'un-Fathering': Anchises' death before landfall at Latium completely reorders the archaic epic matter, according to which ("in Naevius, surely, and in Ennius, possibly", p. 119) he did reach Latium; Ennius is thus similarly abandoned within Anchises' grave; also, the funeral games contain the most overt allusion to the Trojan descent of some Roman families (Memmii, Sergii, Cluentii), as the both mythological and poetic "non-Alban, non-Julian past of the Roman race" (p. 120) is discarded and the ludus Troiae takes place. Naevius then joins the discussion, as we are told by Macrobius that the Bellum Poenicum is being presupposed by Virgil when he makes Jupiter present prophecies for a complaining Venus at Aen. 1. Casali, on the basis of such a parallel (about which we can be quite sure, loss of fragments notwithstanding), notes that Aen. 1.223 et iam finis erat could be a metapoetic reference to what happened in Naevius' poem; that Jupiter's smiling and brightening alludes to Ennian and Naevian diction; that the promises Venus is recalling were formulated by Jupiter in Ennius and/or Naevius; and that all of this Ennian-Naevianity had to be diverted into Julian teleology. Further considerations on "a metapoetic irony in the beginning of Jupiter's words to Venus (1.257-8)" (p. 123) are to be treated cautiously, but the general impression that Virgil is 'dialoguing and correcting' is carefully given substance. The next efforts are concentrated on 'Anchises the chronographer', which should mean that Anchises, who in Casali's opinion represents (as we have already seen before) Ennius, is represented as a chronography scholar in the presentation of Aen. 6.679-83: the expressions lustrabat studio recolens and recensebat numerum are stressed as if it were Virgil's intention to represent Anchises-Ennius as literally studying genealogies and ancient (pluperfect, actually) history in order to correct the chronological mistake of the Annals, which -- according to the reconstruction Casali adopts -- saw Troy fall in 1100 BC and Aeneas directly beget Romulus' mother. Such corrections (but I still have some perplexity on the real range of Ennius' assumed error) would be addressed to Eratosthenes too, to whom Casali thinks Virgil might be referring when he says studio recolens, as studio would remind us of Ennian dicti studiosus and further recall Eratosthenes' archetypal self-definition as philologos. But scepticism may be raised against the opinion that "Anchises' new chronographical researches (to be taken literally) allow him to deliver a politically acceptable genealogical speech" (p. 127). In the conclusion, we are warned that "(maybe) the repressed Ennian version is somehow, irrationally, returning" with the mention of Silvius Aeneas, "Aeneas' own alter ego" (p. 128), as Romulus' ancestor. This paper is certainly the richest and broadest of the volume, and it will certainly provoke attentive scholars in many ways and towards many directions; some suggestions are maybe too daring but the overall result is extremely interesting.

The fourth and last section, 'Ennius and his reception, includes essays by Hardie and, as I have already said, Luke B. T. Houghton's translation of a "Petrarchan" letter (respectively at pp. 129-144 and 145-158).

Hardie's paper is entitled 'Poets, patrons, rulers: the Ennian tradition' and his aim is to show whether Ennius might have preceded Horace and Virgil in representing "his own achievement as a poet through the ultimate image of Roman power, that of the triumphator" (p. 131) and whether Petrarch was alluding to such a perception of Ennius and the self-praising contents of his lost work when he depicted him as poeta laureatus at the end of Africa, book 9. A comment is given on the Good Companion fragment, to whose possible interpretation as Ennius' self-portrait Hardie adds his remarks, showing (if I understand correctly) a circumspect preference for the self-portrait option but aware of its boldness. Anyway, we could easily state that it represents Ennius' conception of a great man's friend: such a conception is then compared to Horace's, as he models his own companions in his Satires (both analogies and differences are recorded). Sat. 2.6 is particularly different from Ennius' (self-)portrait, since Horace complains about not being treated too intimately by Maecenas. A mediation is naturally found in Lucilius, the inuentor of satire and predecessor of the kind of relationship with Roman great men which Horace hopes for (cf. Sat. 2.1.71ff.), although Ennius' Good Companion (apart from probably being alluded to by Lucilius himself) is nearer to Horace's own social status, as well as to his ideal depiction. Then considering that the proem to Virgil's third Georgic seems very Ennian in character, and that Virgil represents himself as uictor in a triumphal context, Hardie wonders "whether Ennius had already used epinician and/or triumphal imagery of his own poetic Anspruch" (p. 138). A possible occasion is found in the (at one point last) book 15 of the Annals, where the building of Nobilior's temple Herculis Musarum could have been concluded by dramatic and athletic games. Horace Odes 3.30 is further investigated, as it shows a triumphal image (princeps Aeolium carmen ad Italos | deduxisse modos) in a context which has been claimed as Ennian in many occasions (cf. the notorious case of aere perennius), and which Hardie also relates to Lucretius and his attitude towards Memmius (possibly through Lucretius' own Ennian memory). Epistles 1 closes Hardie's "Ennius-hunting" (p. 141), who perceives Ennian flavour in the last two epistles, where the relation to Ennius is contradictorily observable in both triumphal declarations of poetic independence and admission of social inferiority, as such a contradiction could already exist in Horace's most ancient precursor (in Ennius' Satires likelier, Hardie rightly surmises). This paper, whose conclusions, though largely conjectural, may be easily (if not completely) accepted, will be found interesting particularly by scholars of Augustan poetry and its relationship with archaic literature, as well as of history of genres.

What Houghton translates should be a new Petrarchan Latin letter addressed to Giovanni Boccaccio, on the composition of the Africa, which "was serendipitously unearthed in the depths of a Cambridge college library shortly before the Laurence Seminar in June 2005" (p. 145). Unfortunately no more than this is said about the original text, whose location and discovery are still shrouded in mystery, and whose Latin texture, though easily re-obtainable from Houghton's fluent English translation (its incipit "How often and with what pleasure have I recalled your last visit", surely presupposing something not too different from Quam saepe ac libenter [cf. Enn. Ann. 268] mecum aduentum tuum sum recordatus), still seems to be lacking from our knowledge of Petrarch's works. Furthermore some elements sound so suspicious -- the paper epigraph ("Knowledge may have its purposes, but guessing is always much more fun than knowing"), some odd statements (Petrarch says: "the Africa -- a work loved by many but read by few"), or the absence of details itself, or the contrary abundance of references we usually hunt for in vain, even Petrarch's very adherence to what we would say about the composition and literary qualities of the Africa from our point of view -- that one could even not help but scent a forgery. For which mordant doubt a remedy is to be distilled from contacting the translator himself, as I did to my scholarly relief.


Contributors vii
Introduction ix

I The Ennian corpus
1. The Influence of Cicero on Ennius 1
James E. G. Zetzel

2. The Cor of Ennius 17
Emily Gowers

II Ennian voices and landscapes
3. The Voices of Ennius' Annals 38
Jacqueline Elliott

4. Women in Ennius' Annals 55
Alison Keith

III Ennius and Virgil
5. Virgil vs. Ennius, or: The Undoing of the Annalist 73
Ingo Gildenhard

6. Killing the Father: Ennius, Naevius and Virgil's Julian Imperialism 103
Sergio Casali

IV Ennius and his reception
7. Poets, Patrons, Rulers: The Ennian Traditions 129
Philip Hardie

8. A Letter from Petrarch 145
L(uke) B. T. Houghton

Bibliography 159


1.  H. D. Jocelyn, The tragedies of Ennius, Cambridge, 1967; O. Skutsch, The Annals of Q. Ennius, Oxford, 1985; E. Courtney, The fragmentary Latin poets, Oxford, 1993 (20032); W. Suerbaum, Ennius in der Forschung des 20. Jahrunderts (= Bibliographien zur klassischen Philologie 1), Hildesheim, 2003.
2.  A. Russo, Quinto Ennio. Le opere minori, Vol. I. Praecepta, Protrepticus, Saturae, Scipio, Sota (= Testi e studi di cultura classica 40), Pisa, 2007.
3.  P. Laurens, Pétrarque. L'Afrique (Affrica), Tome premier (Livres I-V), Paris, 2006. Be it here noted that, on the contrary, texts already available and of some importance have been neglected (though rarely): that is the case, for example, of A. Golzio, Per la critica del testo del frammento dell'Amico di Servilio. Note su Ennio Annali 268-286 Skutsch (234-251 Vahlen), Roma, 1991 (maybe useful for discussions on that fragment and its relationship, for instance, with Petrarch's portrait of Ennius).
4.  Latin: p. 26 (centum aere claudunt uectes instead of centum aerei claudunt uectes; super arma centum instead of super arma et centum), p. 32 (si quid adiuuero instead of si quid ego adiuuero); Greek: p. 34 (πῶς ἂν ἐτ' μεγάροις instead of πῶς ἂν ἐτ' ἐν μεγάροις); English: p. 109 (Rome instead of Alba), p. 129 (Hannnibal).
5.  In reality, some papers offered during the Seminar and not here included, seem to have been concerned with at least some Tragedies: cfr. Intr. p. xi.
6.  This issue has been recently tackled by Jacqueline Elliott in her doctoral thesis "Poetry and History in Ennius' Annales" (Columbia University 2005), spec. 95ss.
7.  Further suggestions, like the "temptation" of tracing Ennian character -- and, with it, lost poetry -- in some occurrences of cor by Catullus and Virgil, are conveniently displayed within a footnote (p. 20, n. 11).
8.  The reference is to P. R. Hardie, The speech of Pythagoras in Ovid Metamorphoses 15: Empedoclean epos, CQ 45, 1995, 204-214.
9.  For example, in my opinion we have to reject the possibility that Lucr. 1.117-26, by means of punning on cor-onam and cor-pora, should be thought to conceal some Ennian cor-addiction.
10.  For instance, the identification of Paluda and Discordia, though likely, is not evident in our sources, and it cannot be laid at the bottom of more complex discussions.
11.  W. Kissel, Aules Persius Flaccus: Satiren, herausgegeben, übersetzt und kommentiert, Heidelberg, 1990.


  1. "After introducing the volume, Gowers reappears as its second contributor, again with her bubbly style which eases the staging of the Ennian body"

    So Mr. La Barbera, in discussing Emily Gowers' contribution. Dr. Gowers is well known as an authority on food in Latin poetry, but her role as an avatar of Alka-Seltzer was not previously familiar. Somehow, describing a distinguished scholar's well-digested contribution to this volume as "bubbly" seems patronizing. But perhaps it is just a matter of La Barbera's effervescent if ungrammatical English rather than plain rudeness. Editing would have made his review much more digestible.

  2. I just wanted to mention that Gowers in her paper (section 5) writes about Persius Sat. 6.10, not Juvenal's work. cf. "'Fixed and wandering hearts' are those which, in Gowers's words, paradoxically "mark out various literary genres" (p. 30), meaning that in particular Juvenal's mention of a cor Enni (Iuu. 6.10) can raise questions about the work (and its genre) in which it had been said to pulse, the possible solutions to which questions Gowers tries to give also trying new approaches."


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