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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: April 2020

Chapter 4 - Allegory and Authority in Latin Verse-Historiography

from II - Authority


This paper outlines some of the historiographical tools and perspectives the Annals may have received from Livius Andronicus’ Odyssey and Naevius’ Punic War. The topics of allegory and authority structure the discussion. Section 1 explores the Annals’ construction of the past in relation to that of its Latin epic predecessors, particularly their use of allegory in the representation of history. Section 2 argues that Ennius’ unique blend of auctoritas is an expansion of Naevius’ simultaneous evocation of Hellenic historiographical authority of first-hand experience (theōria, empeiria, autoptēs) and divine inspiration from the Muses. The analysis here brings Cato’s Origins into dialogue with the authorizing techniques that are central to the historiographical personae of Rome’s first epicists. I conclude by suggesting that the genealogies outlined in Sections 1 and 2 explain the generic hybridity of Ennius’ res atque poemata.