Last modified on 9 June 2014, at 09:05


Quintus Ennius (239 B.C. – 169 B.C.) was a writer during the period of the Roman Republic, and is often considered the father of Roman poetry. Although only fragments of his works survive, his influence in Latin literature was significant.


  • Moribus antiquis res stat Romana virisque.
    • The Roman state survives by its ancient customs and its manhood.
    • Annals, Book I
  • Fortibus est fortuna viris data
    • Fortune favours the bold.
    • Annals, Book VII
  • No sooner said than done — so acts your man of worth.
    • Annals, Book IX
  • Moribus antiquis res stat Romana virisque.
    • On the traditions and heros of ancient times stands firm the Roman state.
    • Annals, Book XVIII
  • By delaying he preserved the state.
    • Quoted in Cicero's De Senectute, Book IV
  • Let no one pay me honor with tears, nor celebrate my funeral rites with weeping.
    • Quoted in Cicero's De Senectute, Book XX
  • The ape, vilest of beasts, how like to us.
    • Quoted in Cicero's De Natura Deorum, Book I, Ch. 35
  • Quod est ante pedes nemo spectat, caeli scrutantur plagas.
    • No one regards what is before his feet; we all gaze at the stars.
    • Iphigenia, from Cicero's De Divinatione, Book II, Ch. 13
    • Variant: No one regards the things before his feet, but views with care the regions of the sky.
    (Translated by W. A. Falconer)
  • The idle mind knows not what it is it wants.
    • Iphigenia, from Cicero's De Divinatione, Book II, Ch. 13
  • How like us is that ugly brute, the ape!
    • Quoted in Cicero's De Divinatione, Book L (translated by H. Rackham)

Quotes about EnniusEdit

  • Ennius was the father of Roman poetry, because he first introduced into Latin the Greek manner and in particular the hexameter metre.
    • Cyril Bailey, Titi Lucreti Cari De Rerum Natura Libri Sex: Commentary (1947), Books I-III, p. 619
  • To later Romans Ennius was the personification of the spirit of early Rome; by them he was called "The Father of Roman Poetry." We must remember how truly Greek he was in his point of view. He set the example for later Latin poetry by writing the first epic of Rome in Greek hexameter verses instead of in the old Saturnian verse. He made popular the doctrines of Euhemerus, and he was in general a champion of free thought and rationalism.
    • Ruth Martin Brown, in A study of the Scipionic circle (1934), p. 26
  • Ennius qui primus ameno
    Detulit ex Helicone perenni fronde coronam.

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