Is the "Three Hearted Poet" History's Greatest Loss?
Classical Wisdom Litterae Issue: Epic Poetry
Dear Classical Wisdom Readers,
I’m going to come out and say it: I think it’s a huge claim.
We have sadly lost, whether from fire, earthquakes, or arthritic, far-sighted monks who couldn’t copy well or fast enough, approximately 80% of the texts from the Classical Era.
It’s truly heartbreaking!
And of this once huge amass of ancient literature (indeed the Library of Alexandria could have contained between 532,800 and 700,000 volumes in scroll form alone) that didn’t survive the cruel passage of time, Ben Potter says this was one of the most important.
I mean… I dunno. He makes a very good case below… but I think it might be a hard position to defend.
I’ll let you read on to learn of the renowned “Three Hearted Poet”, a true cornerstone of Latin Epic Poetry, and let you decide for yourself. Of course, you’re welcome to comment below and offer other suggestions for the greatest work lost to history:
(We’ll also bring up the conversation in the Notes section. If you haven’t joined the discussion there, make sure to check it out Here).
MEMBERS: Please note this article comes from our Classical Wisdom Litterae edition dedicated to Epic Poetry. You can find the entire Magazine below, with articles on the Homeric Epics, the Passion of Dido, and an Epic face-off: Virgil or Ovid?
Now… onto some EPIC Poetry from none other than… Ennius?
All the best,
Founder and Director
Classical Wisdom and Classical Wisdom Kids
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The Epic Ennius
By Ben Potter
Today we shall get to grips with a character of epic proportions, one of the originators of Latin literature… the one and only, Ennius.
Of course Ennius can make no boast to being the father, or even a close relation, of epic poetry. Homer and Hesiod’s hands and harps were blotched and notched some 500 years before Ennius was a twinkle in the eye of a wealthy Calabrian.
Indeed, he was not even the first epic poet to write in Latin.
In the third century BC, Livius Andronicus and Naevius both composed weighty blockbusters in verse, the former translating Homer’s Odyssey and the latter giving his own account of the First Punic War.
Thus it was not the what, but the how, that gave Ennius his reputation as a noteworthy figure of literary history… upon whose gigantic shoulders men like Virgil would one day stand.
But alas, dear reader, we are, in terms of both chronology and narrative, getting ahead of ourselves…
Just who was this Ennius fellow?
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