Saturnian verse

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Ennius (239—169 bc) Roman epic poet and dramatist

Livius Andronicus, Lucius

Livy (59—17 bc) Roman historian


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A form of verse employed in the 3rd and 2nd cents. bc for epitaphs and triumphal commemorations. Acc. to Ennius, the utterances of prophetic mediums had once been cast in it. A politician of the late 3rd cent. underlined a threat with its rhythm: malum dabunt Metellī Naeviō poētae, ‘the Metelli will give the poet Naevius a thrashing’. Livius Andronicus set in it a translation of Homer's Odyssey, and Naevius a narrative account of the First Punic War. The poets of the Augustan period talked of its shaggy and unclean rhythm.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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