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The subject was not unhappily chosen: the long struggle between Rome and Carthage had, in the great issues involved, as well as in its abounding dramatic incidents and thrilling fluctuations of fortune, many elements of the heroic, and almost of the superhuman; and in his interweaving of this great pageant of history with the ancient legends of both cities, and his connecting it, through the story of Aeneas, with the war of Troy itself, Naevius showed a constructive power of a very high order.

The question accordingly presents itself, whether, contemporarily with Naevius and Cato, a Hellenizing literature like the Roman may not have been in course of formation on the Arnus and Volturnus. But all information on the point is lost, and history can in such circumstances only indicate the blank. Hellenizing Literature

Naevius described the first, and Fabius the second, war with Carthage from their own knowledge; Ennius devoted at least thirteen out of the eighteen books of his Annals to the epoch from Pyrrhus down to the Istrian war; Cato narrated in the fourth and fifth books of his historical work the wars from the first Punic war down to that with Perseus, and in the two last books, which probably were planned on a different and ampler scale, he related the events of the last twenty years of his life.

NAEVIUS: see n. on 20. The Truculentus is so named from one of the characters, a slave of savage disposition who is wheedled; the Pseudolus from a cheating slave. The latter name is commonly supposed to be a transcription from a Greek word ψευδυλος, which however nowhere occurs; and as the change from Greek υ to Latin o is not found before l, Corssen assumes ψευδαλος as the original word.

The way here had been shown him by Naevius; but in the interval, chiefly owing to Ennius' own genius and industry, the literary capabilities of the language had made a very great advance. It is uncertain whether Ennius made any attempt to develop the native metres, which in his predecessor's work were still rude and harsh; if he did, he must soon have abandoned it.

Hence the rude rhythmical effusions, which contained the early Roman story, might be called Saturnian, not with reference to their metrical law, but to their antiquity; and the term Saturnius was also applied to a definite measure on the principles of Greek prosody, though rudely and loosely moulded the measure employed by Naevius, which soon became antiquated, when Ennius introduced the hexameter and which is the metrum Saturnium recognised by the grammarians."

The personal notices of Naevius are sadly confused. Seeing that he fought in the first Punic war, he cannot have been born later than 495. Cic. His Campanian origin is indicated by Gellius, and his Latin nationality, if proof of it were needed, by himself in his epitaph.

The oldest and most important of the early historians, Quintus Fabius Pictor, the contemporary of Naevius and Ennius, actually wrote in Greek, though a Latin version of his work certainly existed, whether executed by himself or some other hand is doubtful, at an almost contemporary date. Extracts are quoted from it by the grammarians as specimens of the language of the period.

His style, like that of Andronicus, was rough and unpolished, in conformity to the language of those times; but for grandeur of sentiment and energy of expression, he was admired by the greatest poets in the subsequent ages. Other writers of distinguished reputation in the dramatic department were Naevius, Pacuvius, Plautus, Afranius, Caecilius, Terence, Accius, etc.

It was not committed to writing, but lived in the memory of the people, and may still be found embedded in the beautiful legends which adorn the earlier books of Livy. Some idea of its scope may be formed from the fragments that remain of Naevius, who was the last of the old bards, and bewailed at his own death the extinction of Roman poetry.