The Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Volume 2, Latin LiteraturePart 1, The Early Republic

In the third century BC Rome embarked on the expansion which was ultimately to leave her mistress of the Mediterranean world. As part of that expansion a national literature arose, springing from the union of native linguistic energy with Greek literary forms. Shortly after the middle of the century the first Latin play took the stage; by 100 BC most of the important genres invented by the Greeks - epic, tragedy, comedy, historiography, oratory - were solidly established in their adoptive Roman forms, and a new genre, satire, had been born. The chapters in this volume describe and analyse the process of creative adaptation which shaped the beginnings of Latin literature and laid the foundations for its future development as one of the great literatures of the world. Essential background is provided by introductory chapters on readers and critics in the Roman world. In these are described the form of the books themselves and the conditions under which they were produced, circulated and read. The whole volume offers an indispensable introduction to the understanding of the nature and quality of Latin literature.


List of plates; 1. Books and readers in the Roman world E. J. Kenney; 2. Literary criticism Michael Winterbottom; 3. The genesis of poetry in Rome Gordon Williams; 4. Ennius’ Annales A. S. Gratwick; 5. Drama A. S. Gratwick; 6. Prose literature A. S. Gratwick; 7. The satires of Ennius and Lucilius A. S. Gratwick; Abbreviations; Index.