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On this page: Enipeus – Ennia – Ennius

ENNIUS.

sent him to sleep, that she might be able to kiss him without being observed by him. (Cic. Tuscul. i. 38.) The stories of the fair sleeper, Endymion, the darling of Selene, are unquestionably poetical fictions, in which sleep is personified. His name and all his attributes confirm this opinion : Endy­ mion signifies a being that gently comes over one ; he is called a king, because he has power over all living creatures ; a shepherd, because he slumbered in the cool caves of mount Latmus, that is, " the mount of oblivion." Nothing can be more beau- tifulj lastly, than the notion, that he is kissed by the soft rays of the moon. (Comp. Plat. Phaed. p. 72. b ; Ov. Am. i. 13. 43.) There is a beautiful statue of a sleeping Endymion in the British Museum. [L. S.]

ENIPEUS cewttcvs), a river-god in Thessaly, who was beloved by Tyro, the daughter of Salmo- neus. Poseidon, who was- in love with her, assumed the appearance of Enipeus, and thus visited her, and she became by him the mother of twins, Pelias and Neleus. (Apollod. i. 9. § 8.) Ovid (Met. vi. 116) relates that Poseidon, having assumed the form of Enipeus, begot by Iphimedeia two sons, Otus and Ephialtes. Another river-god of the same name occurs in Elis, who is likewise connected with the legend about Tyro. (Strab. viii. p. 356.) [L.S.] '

ENNIA, called ennja thrasylla by Dion Cassius, and ennia naevia by Suetonius, was the wife of Macro and the mistress of Caligula. Her husband murdered Tiberius in order to accelerate the accession of Caligula ; but this emperor, like a true tyrant, disliking to see those to whom he was under obligation, put to death Ennia and her hus­band. (Dion. Cass. Iviii. 28, lix. 10 ; Tac. Ann. vi. 45 ; Suet. Gal. 12,26.)

ENNIUS, whom the Romans ever regarded with a sort of filial reverence as the parent of their literature—nosier Ennius^ our own Ennius, as he is styled with fond familiarity—was born in the consulship of C. Mamilius Turrinus and C. Vale­rius Falto, b.c. 239, the year immediately follow­ing that in which the first regular drama had been exhibited on the Roman stage by Livius Androni-cus. The place of his nativity was Rudiae, a Calabrian village among the hills near Brundu-sium. He claimed descent from the ancient lords of Messapia ; and after he had become a convert to the Pythagorean doctrines, was wont to boast that the spirit which had once animated the body of the immortal Homer, after passing through many tenements, after residing among others in a peacock, and in the sage of Crotona, had even­tually passed into his own frame. Of his early history we know nothing, except, if we can trust the loose poetical testimony of Silius and Clau-dian, that he served with credit as a soldier, and rose to the rank of a centurion. When M. Por-cius Cato, who had filled the office of quaestor under Scipio in the African war, was returning home, he found Ennius in Sardinia, became ac­quainted with his high powers, and brought him in his train to Rome, our poet being at that time about the age of thirty-eight. But his military ardour was not yet quenched; for twelve years afterwards he accompanied M. Fulvius Nobilior during the Aetolian campaign, and shared his triumph. It is recorded that the victorious gene­ral, at the instigation probably of his literary Friend, consecrated the spoils captured from the

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ENNIUS.

enemy to the Muses, and subsequently, when Censor, dedicated a joint temple to Hercules and the Nine. Through the son of Nobilior, Ennius^ when far advanced in life, obtained the rights of a citizen, a privilege which at that epoch was guarded with watchful jealousy, and very rarely granted to an alien. From the period, however, when he quitted Sardinia, he seems to have made Rome his chief abode ; for there his great poetical talents, and an amount of learning which must have been considered marvellous in those days, since he was master of three languages,—Oscan, Latin, and Greek,—gained for him the respect and favour of all who valued such attainments ; and, in particular, he lived upon terms of the closest intimacy with the conqueror of Hannibal and other members of that distinguished family. Dwelling in a humble mansion on the Aventine, attended by a single female slave, he maintained himself in honourable poverty by acting as a pre­ceptor to patrician youths; and having lived on happily to a good age, was carried off by a disease of the joints, probably gout, when seventy years old, soon after the completion of his great under­taking, which he closes by comparing himself to a race-horse, in these prophetic lines :-r—

Like some brave steed, who in his latest race Hath won the Olympic wreath; the contest o'er, Sinks to repose, worn out by age and toil. At the desire of Africanus, his remains were deposited in the sepulchre of the Scipios, and his bust allowed a place among the effigies of that noble house. His epitaph, penned by himself in the undoubting anticipation of immortal fame, has been preserved, and may be literally rendered thus:—

Romans, behold old Ennius! whose lays Built up on high your mighty fathers' praise I Pour not the wail of mourning o'er my bier, Nor pay to me the tribute of a tear: Still, still I live ! from mouth to mouth I fly ! Never forgotten, never shall I die ! The works of Ennius are believed to have exist­ed entire so late as the thirteenth century (A. G. Gramer, Hauschronick, p. 223), but they have long since disappeared as an independent whole, and nothing now remains but fragments collected from other ancient writers. These amount in all to many hundred lines; but a large proportion being quotations cited by grammarians for the purpose of illustrating some rare form, or deter­mining the signification of some obsolete word, are mere scraps, possessing little interest for any one but a philologist. Some extracts of a longer and more satisfactory character are to be found in Cicero, who gives us from the annals,—the dream of Ilia (18 lines) ; the conflicting auspices observed; by Romulus and Remus (20 lines) ; and the speech of Pyrrhus with regard to ransoming the prisoners (8 lines): besides these, a passage from the An­dromache (18 lines); a curious invective against itinerant fortune-tellers, probably from the Satires ; and a few others of less importance. Aulus Gel-lius has saved eighteen consecutive verses* in which the duties and bearing of a humble friend towards his superior are bodied forth in very spi­rited phraseology, forming a picture which it was believed that the poet intended for a portrait of himself, while Macrobius presents us with a battle-piece (8 lines), where a tribune is described as gal­lantly resisting the attack of a crowd of foes.

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