Ennius: Annales (fragments)
Books 17-18 & unplaced fragments
This translation is by E.H.Warmington (1935), with a few changes. See key to translations for an explanation of the format; the suggested context for each fragment, shown in red, is often just a conjecture. The text of Ennius' poems can be found in PHI Latin texts - with slightly different numbering of the lines. The links to passages from other Latin authors will display the Latin text of these passages.
← Previous lines (210-426)
BOOK XVII - (?) from the end of the Istrian War to the Defeat of P.Crassus at Callinicus L
King Perseus fortifies the passes of Tempe, 171 B.C. ? :
: Specus in the feminine gender . . . Ennius -
Then a hollow cavern opened widely inwards under the mountain.
Perseus watches Crassus from Mount Ossa ? :
PRISCIANUS : Genitive even in -as . . . -
himself the leader of the way
Defeat of P. Licinius Crassus in a cavalry-battle at Callinicus, 171 B.C. :
, quoting Vergilius : 'The four-footed beat of the hoof shakes the crumbling plain' [Aen_8'596]. Ennius ... in the seventeenth book -
The horsemen charged, and the beating of their hollow hoofs shook the ground.
The clash :
, quoting Vergilius [Aen_2'416] : 'As from time to time with a great whirlwind gales set against each other meet in conflict - the west wind and the south, and the east happy in his horses of the dawn.' Ennius in the seventeenth book -
They rushed together as when the breath of the showery Wind of the South and the Wind of the North with his counterblast strive to upheave billows on the mighty main.
, quoting Vergilius [Aen_11'745] : 'Uproars to heaven a shout and the Latins, one and all,' . . . Ennius in the seventeenth book -
Uproars to heaven the shout that rose from either side.
Slackness of discipline in the Roman army ? :
SERVIUS auctus : Mussant here means murmorant ; it is a term which is also used with a sense of not speaking . . . -
No, it is not meet that good warriors should mumble ; warriors who, straining in the toil of battle-fields, have given birth to deeds.
Unplaced fragments :
NONIUS : Longiscere, to become long, or to be broken ... -
nor do their firm bodies languish at all.
The same poet -
when the sunny days shall make them lengthen long.
BOOK XVIII - Further Events of the year 171 ? L
Making a camp :
: The gruma is a certain measuring-instrument ; by means of this, when it is fixed in position, roads are built in a truly straight line. . . . Ennius in the eighteenth book, for 'to mark out with the measuring rod,' uses the phrase -
to level off the meeting-place
The indecisive battle at Phalanna ? :
: But on the other hand Ennius again in the eighteenth book of Annales writes -
a tawny mist
fulva not fulvo, not only because Homer[ Il_20'446 ] says ἠέρα βαθεῖαν but, I think, because he believed the former sound 'a' to be more musical and pleasant.
From Book VIII or IX ? [phrases copied by Vergilius in the fifth book of the Aeneid]
FESTUS : Termo is, as used by Ennius, a Graecism . . . -
... a good prompter before the boundary-post at the limits is reached. . . .
: Celoces are what the Greeks call κέλητες, that is, swift biremes or triremes fitted for the service of a fleet. Ennius has -
The cutter glided smoothly over the white of the waves on a greasy keel
, on Vergilius' 'even as when teams of four pour out from the barriers' [Georg_1'512] : 'Barriers,' doors. Ennius says -
When pouring from the barriers the chariots with a mighty clatter strive to move headlong,
CHARISIUS : As in the case of a ship we can speak of a driver, so in the same way we can speak of a steersman in the case of a chariot, for example -
and when the steersman has turned his horses with a mighty pull,
FESTUS : Restat. Ennius is stated to use this word for distat when he says -
Its rush not far off keeps steady in the course.
: Termo is, as used by Ennius, a Graecism . . . -
with giant speed it overruns the place where the boundary-post is set.
Other Fragments of the Annales not assigned to any Book L
: Yes, men call upon him not only as Jupiter but also as lord of the universe, and ruler of all things by his nod, and, as Ennius says -
father of gods and men
VARRO : Ennius . . . calling upon the same god, says -
father and monarch of gods and men
] : The begetter of gods and men, with a gentle smile for her in his look, with which he calms the sky and the weather, gently kissed his daughter.
SERVIUS, on 'subridens' : 'With a gentle smile.' He represents Jupiter as happy and such as he is wont to be when he brings calm weather. . . .
SERVIUS auctus : Ennius has -
Here Jupiter smiled, and with the almighty's smile, smiled clear and calm all weathers.
SERVIUS auctus : Arcebat, kept off. It means also 'contains.' Ennius -
who with bright thunderbolt encloses all things in a burst of sound,
: It was with reference to our system of augury that Ennius wrote -
Then on the left, in weather clear and calm, he thundered a good omen.
Affairs of State.
: Celerissimus for celerrimus . . . Ennius in the Annales -
And then after most swiftest rumour had spread through the lands,
, on Vergilius' 'making decision with the sword' [Aen_12'709] : This reading is old and the true one. For he followed Ennius ... -
Busied with great affairs they were making a decision.
, on cum vomere in Vergilius [Georg_2'474] : Cum is redundant ... Ennius -
From his own hallowed heart he poured forth speech ;
that is, proprio pectore, for cum has no force here.
CHARISIUS : In mundo for palam and in expedito and cito . . . Ennius -
Whether it is life or death is now in readiness for you
, on 'Strike strength into the winds' in Vergilius [Aen_1'69] : . . . Ennius -
By his words he struck wrath into the Romans
: You don't say so, Atticus! You, who praised the nice honour of my conduct -
Dare you thus out of your own mouth . . .
(says Ennius), ask me to give Scaptius some cavalry to collect his debts with?
VARRO : Tueri has two meanings, one derived from the idea of looking at, whence comes Ennius' use of it . . . -
What man, father or kinsman, will wish to look you all in the face?
: Vultus ... in the neuter. . . . Ennius -
You and your faces will be ever turned away
VARRO : Many animal sounds have been used figuratively of human beings; ... of quite clear cases there is, for example, Ennius' -
when his heart in his breast barks his wants
. . . and of less obvious cases there is for example . . . Ennius' usage drawn from the calf ... and the same poet's usage drawn from the cow -
and also his usage drawn from the lion -
they put a stop to their roaring.
: Just as Cicero himself declared, speaking not in Scipio's nor anyone else's words but in his own person at the beginning of his fifth book [On the Republic], having first quoted the line of Ennius where that poet had written -
On manners and on men of olden time stands firm the Roman State.
VARRO : With regard to this matter, only now could it be said, and not when Ennius wrote, that -
Seven hundred years it is, a little more or less, since renowned Rome was founded by august augury
NONIUS : Caelum ... in the masculine. . . . Ennius -
Brave are the Romans as the sky's profound
, on Horatius' words : 'It's worth your while, all you who wish no successful path for adulterers, to hear how they are burdened on all sides' [ Sat_1.2'37 ] : He wittily perverts lines of Ennius -
To hear is worth your while, all you who wish the Roman State to tread a successful path and Latium
whom, lacking not of valour,
says : This is a line of Ennius.
, over a passage of Orosius, mentioning the punishment of Minucia, a Vestal virgin : Ennius -
since nothing more horrible could any law ever demand.
NONIUS : Propages is a connected series drawn out without a break, or at great length. . . . Ennius -
Whence there might be crops and prolonging of life for us,
PRISCIANUS : Necatus is the proper term to use of a man killed by the sword, but nectus of a man killed by some other violence. Ennius -
Some a plague did kill ; others of them fell in wars.
CASSIODORIUS : Cum as a preposition must be written with a 'c'; quum as an adverb of time meaning quando with a 'q' for the sake of distinction, for example in Ennius -
When the commander sets forth with his hosts,
NONIUS : Metus ... in the feminine. . . . Ennius -
Nor any fear holds them ; trusting in their valour, they rest.
: Sultis means si vultis ; . . . Ennius -
Open your eyelids, will you all, and leave behind the sleep in your hearts.
, on 'And sleep fled away, his horn empty' in Statius [Theb_6'27] : Sleep is represented by painters so as to appear to pour out liquid sleep over slumberers from a horn. So Ennius has -
When the young warriors of Rome dry themselves from sleep.
NONIUS : Latrocinari to serve as a soldier for pay . . . Ennius -
and the hired warriors began to talk among themselves of their fortunes
NONIUS : Sagum . . . Masculine form. Ennius -
Therefore a thick cloak covers his back
FESTUS : Ennius ... -
Still could one bring one stake, still could he defend ..."
suri are stakes ; the diminutive is surculi.
, on Vergilius, 'Not when conquered can they have done with the sword' [Aen_11'307] : Ennius -
He who has conquered is not conqueror, unless the conquered one confesses it
Varro and the rest speak of the Trojans as 'unconquered' because they were overthrown by trickery; they affirm that only those who surrender themselves are conquered.
FESTUS : Superescit means supererit. Ennius -
Yes, so long as one man of Rome in his toga
is left alive,
: In a passage of Ennius -
Just then the shrill watchwords were making ready to give sound in a call,
cata means sharp ; for this is the word used by the Sabines for acuta.
PAULUS : Litnus is so called on the ground that it is a witness of lis [strife] . . . Ennius -
Thereupon the war-horn poured forth sharp sounds
, on 'With such faint spirit as that' in Terentius : Ennius -
The best youth of Rome with fine spirit
PAULUS : Cracentes, slender. Ennius -
Sword-girt and slender round the waist.
, on 'Armed in iron' in Vergilius [Aen_9'675] : Either 'well equipped with arms' or, according to the statement of Asper, 'having hearts of iron,' that is, 'thinking hard and bloody thoughts' ; this makes him follow Ennius, who says -
girt round their hearts with broadswords.
, on 'In the midst of spears' in Vergilius [Aen_5'37] : Ennius has 'in the midst of lances' -
and the light-armed followed in the midst of lances.
PAULUS : Siciles, broad points of lances. Ennius -
The skirmishers, holding broad cutting-spears, advanced in a body.
NONIUS : Falarica, a very large javelin. . . . Ennius -
. . . which come sturdily ; the fire-spear was hurled
, on Lucan's 'How standards faced enemy standards, eagles were matched one with another, and spears threatened spears' [ 1'6-7 ] : A line of Ennius -
Blunted back were spears that clashed against oncoming spears
, on 'and with a spear stout as a beam he smote him praying many a prayer' in Vergilius [Aen_12'294] : Ennius -
and with a spear stout as a beam
PAULUS : Runa means a kind of spear. Ennius -
armed with spear, gave way
runata, that is, 'having given battle.'
FESTUS : Spira is a term applied to the base of a pillar . . . But Ennius gives the name to a multitude of men when he says -
coils wove he with his hosts.
, on Statius . . . 'then his chill mouth fell silent ; the trumpet finished alone its tune' [Theb_11'56] : Ennius -
And when his head was falling, the trumpet finished alone its tune ; and even as the warrior did perish, a hoarse blare sped from the brass.
, on Vergilius' 'You, Larides, your severed right hand seeks - you - its master; and your fingers half alive lie twitching, and clench at the sword' [Aen_10'396] : The idea is Ennius', thus -
On the plains gaped his head torn out from the neck, and his eyes half alive lay twitching, and longed to see the light.
, on Horatius' 'Do you see how Soracte stands white in deep snow?' ... [Carm_1.9'1] : Stet means 'is laden,' as Ennius has it -
The plains stand thick with dust
and Vergilius [Aen_12'408] : 'And now you see the sky stand thick with dust.'
, on Vergilius' 'He turned round his spear and struck into the hollow mountain's side' [Aen_1'81] : Ennius -
for a heavy onset of Death strikes into my side.
: . . . Ennius also in a book of the Annales -
Bravo ! The Latins
The Spanish War : Thus since shouts were mingled with groans, and a clattering of swords struck upon the ear, the din confused the minds of the raw levies. As Ennius says -
Hereupon foot pressed foot and weapons weapons rubbed, and warrior warrior thronged.
The Spanish War : At this point, while our men were busied at the work, a number of our adversaries ran down from a higher level and by casting many spears wounded a number of our men who were unable to hold them back. As Ennius says -
Here now our men gave way a little while.
SERVIUS auctus , on Vergilius : Temere . . . also means 'suddenly.' Ennius -
Whither go you all so rashly ?
: In a passage of Ennius -
Order was given to stand and delve into their bodies with spears.
This word fossari in Ennius is derived from fodio, whence comes the word fossa.
ISIDORUS : Taeterrimus for very savage. . . . Ennius -
SERVIUS , on
goes a black column upon the plains
: Tutudi . . . Ennius ... in the Annales -
and their sturdy strength cruel winter crushed
Here he has scanned the penultimate long.
NONIUS : Lapides. This term can be used even in the feminine gender ; for example, Ennius -
With so great a column were stones then upraised,
This is after the manner of Homer, who used his word for 'stones' in the feminine gender.
MACROBIUS : There is in Homer a description of a horse in flight, in these words [ Il_6'506 ] : 'Even as when a stalled horse full fed at the manger breaks his tether and gallops clattering over the plain, being wont to bathe himself in a fair-flowing river, glorying therein, high holds he his head, and round his shoulders floats his mane; and he trusting in his glory - swiftly do his limbs bring him to the haunts and pastures of mares.' From this Ennius derived the following -
And then just as a horse which, full fattened from the stalls, bursts his tether in his high fettle, and away with breast uplifted bears himself over the rich grey-green meadows of the plain ; meanwhile again and again he tosses his mane on high ; and his breath born of his hot temper flings out white froth,
and Vergilius : 'As when, tether burst, has fled his stalls' [Aen_11'492] and the rest.
: When Ennius says celerissimus -
goes like the most swiftest cavalry,
it is a barbarism.
, on 'The enemy is here, Hi! With a great clamour the Teucrians betook themselves through all the gates' [Aen_9'37], in Vergilius : 'The enemy is here.' At this point we must punctuate so as to make 'hi!' a clamour of hastening soldiers. The idea belongs to Ennius, who says -
Hi, your swords!
Thus Vergilius means : - shouting 'hi' with a great clamour they rushed at the gates. Others read 'the enemy is here, hi!'
: Detondeo . . . detotondi. Ennius in the Annales -
Bare also stripped he the joyful fields, and he took the cities.
, on quianam in Vergilius [Aen_10'6] : Quianam, 'why? for what reason?' The expression is Ennian -
For why do we cut down the legions
with the sword?
GELLIUS : At a sitting where a good many were present, it happened that a book chosen from Ennius' Annales was being read. In that book occurred these lines -
at the country's cost were armed with shield and savage steel ; it was they with sentries guarded the city and its walls and forum.
GELLIUS : The particle atque . . ., should it be doubled, increases and intensifies the action with which it is connected, as we notice in the Annales of Quintus Ennius (unless, in giving this line, my memory is at fault) -
and then and then young warriors of Rome approached the walls.
: Trifax, a javelin three cubits in length ; it is shot from a catapult. Ennius -
or the party-wall pelted by long spears might crumble away
FESTUS : Metonymia [change of names] is a trope which comes about when ... a lesser thing is given its meaning from a greater one ; for example, Ennius has -
With a great crackle the breeze blew up Vulcan
The flame there, when it had been tossed about in a fierce whirl,
ISIDORUS : Agea means the footways, the spaces in a ship along which the boatswain approaches the rowers; on this Ennius has -
Many wares he put in the gangway ; and the long passage was filled full.
, on 'At whose bidding the Earth first gave birth to the neighing horse' in Vergilius [Georg_1'12] : . . . But some read 'cui prima frementem | fudit aquam', because old writers used the term fremitus for the murmuring of water. Ennius . . . -
's water roared with ships.
, on 'and the river of Lethe which floats in front of the peaceful dwellings' in Vergilius [Aen_6'705] : Praenatat, flows by. Thus it was Ennius whom he followed, who says -
and floating billows
SERVIUS auctus : Temere means without cause. Ennius -
No chance is it that you steer sad at heart.
: Clavus is that by which a rudder is guided ; on this Ennius has -
So long as I hold tiller straight and steer the ship.
ISIDORUS : Tonsilla, an iron or wooden hook to which, when it is fixed on the shore, ships' hawsers are tied; on this Ennius has -
They pierced through the beach and tied up the hooked mooring-stakes .
: Explebo numerum [Vergilius, Aen_6'545] . . . Explebo means 'I will diminish,' for Ennius says -
They unfilled themselves from the ships and filled up the land.
, on Vergilius' 'And father Portunus himself with mighty hand drove him on his way' [Aen_5'421] : Ennius -
and with mighty hand the river drove the Romans on.
: Furthermore, why does he [Julius Hyginus] not call to task Quintus Ennius also, who in the Annales uses praepes not of the wings of Daedalus, but of something quite different -
, on 'speaking two tongues like a man of Canusium' in Horatius [ Sat_1.10'38 ] : Bilinguis is the term used because the Canusians used both languages [Greek and Latin] . . . On that account therefore both Ennius and Lucilius write -
FESTUS : . . . Ennius seems to have jested . . . and elsewhere -
Thence . . . Paros
, . . were wailing.
: Poets make metaplasms when they of set purpose leave a wrong spelling uncorrected. . . . Ennius -
To him of my forefathers did I raise in my bereavement a statue at Athens;
. . . by a metaplasm he has taken away (from orbatus?) the letter r.
: For if now men who have seen the gate of the Euxine Sea and the narrows through which passed the ship which was called Argo . . . or those who saw the familiar straits of the Ocean -
think they have achieved something, whatever kind of spectacle think we it will be when we shall be allowed to gaze on the whole earth ?
, on Vergilius [Georg_2'42] : 'Not all of it do I ask to embrace in my verses ; not if I were to have a hundred tongues and a hundred mouths and a voice of iron.' 'Not if I' and the rest; the idea is taken from Homer [ Il_2'487 ]. And thus also writes Ennius -
Not if I were to have ten mouths with which my tongue could have skill to speak words without number, and my heart and breast were fast bound in iron,
AUGUSTINUS : But for my part I think that the remark of Ennius -
All mortal men long to be themselves acclaimed
should be partly approved of and partly avoided.
, on Vergilius' 'He wakened cruel slaughter that spared none, and let loose all the reins of wrath' [Aen_12'499] ; 'The reins of wrath' . . . here he used a moderate expression, for Ennius says -
Let chariots of wrathfulness loose like a flood.
MACROBIUS : Eructo ... is derived from a verb erogo. Ennius -
He scorned the springs whence spurts out a rush of water.
, on a passage in Vergilius [Aen_9'163] :
They tilted up the brazen bowls;
they drained at a draught ; it is also a half-line of Ennius.
: Varro . . . discusses and distinguishes most acutely the difference between 'a half' and 'halved' ; and he says that Quintus Ennius in the Annales was wise when he wrote -
Just as if a man were to bring a halved beaker of wine,
The missing part of that beaker should be spoken of as 'half,' not 'halved.'
FESTUS , on poison : . . . whose colour is changed by adulteration, for example Ennius when he says -
When that proverb 'by the poison with which it is imbued'...
: Solum, earth. Ennius ... -
But when she had passed swiftly over the fields of Earth,
CHARISIUS : Partum . . . Ennius -
and by then almost of four parts . . .
ISIDORUS : And the parts of the sky are the hollow, the axis, the hinges, the vaults, the poles, and the hemispheres; 'hollow' is so called because it 'holds' the sky. Whence Ennius -
hardly to fill with terrors the hollow alone of the sky.
ISIDORUS : They say that teams of four 'run' on 'wheels' because this our universe 'runs' out its course through the swiftness of its orbit, or because of the sun, since it 'wheels' in a circular revolution ; thus Ennius says -
Then the white wheel laid open the sky with its rays.
Servius, on Vergilius' 'when they have rolled the wheel through a thousand years' [Aen_6'748] : . . . and further this expression is Ennian.
PRISCIANUS : lubar also they used to inflect both as a masculine and as a neuter noun. Ennius in the Annales -
Meanwhile the white brilliance of Hyperion
sped away on its course.
, on Vergilius' 'And from uplifted nostrils they send out breaths of light' [Aen_12'115] : This is a line of Ennius with a change in the order of words. For that poet says -
And they pour out a flood of light from nostrils uplifted.
, on Vergilius' 'a place teeming with furious Southerlies' [Aen_1'51] : 'Southerlies.' This is a figure of speech, namely, the particular for the general, which is frequent in Vergilius. He had read in Ennius -
with raging winds
OSBERN : Hoc momen, gen. mominis, for momentum. Whence Ennius -
without impulse of yours, o you winds.
, on Vergilius' 'A foal of high-bred stud lifts a high pace in the fields and places a pliant leg' [Georg_3'76] : 'lifts a high pace,' advances with a kind of prancing. 'Places a pliant leg : Ennius on cranes -
and they creep through the bean-field, placing a pliant leg.
: Vergilius has aulai medio [Aen_3'354] , and Ennius in the Annales has -
of the fruit-bearing earth
GELLIUS : Ennius too wrote rectos cupressos against the accepted gender of the word, in this line -
pines with nodding heads, and straight cypresses
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