R. A. Kaster
Tiberius Claudius Donatus (2) (late 4th–early 5th cent.
A. C. Dionisotti
Peter G. M. Brown
A stock character of *Atellana, a glutton, thought by some to have been a hunchback because of a supposed derivation of his name from dorsum, ‘back’.
Alun Hudson-Williams and Frederick James Edward Raby
Blossius Aemilius Dracontius, a Christian, a lawyer and vir clarissimus (Roman of senatorial rank), well trained in rhetoric, lived in *Carthage towards the end of the 5th cent.
Stephen J. Harrison
J. V. Muir
Two incomplete Latin pastorals (see
Edward John Kenney and Stephen Hinds
Petrus Johannes Enk
Inauthentic but once fashionable name for the style of *Cornelius Fronto, Aulus *Gellius, and *Apuleius extracted from Fronto's comment on a speech by Marcus *Aurelius, nonnihil interdum elocutione novella parum signatum (151. 3–4 van den Hout2), through the misinterpretation ‘occasional passages were insufficiently stamped with the New Style’: the true sense is ‘insufficiently clear by reason of extravagant expression’, a vice the emperor was prone to (Fronto 159–60: Cass. Dio 71. 5. 3).
Quintus Elogius (the name is very uncertain), Augustan writer of memoirs cited as an authority on the Vitellian family by *Suetonius (Vit. 1).
Self-description of entertainer who gave a well-received public reading of *Ennius at Puteoli (Gell. NA 18. 5); if modelled on performances by Homeristae, it included action. The story attests Ennius' widespread popularity in the 2nd cent.
Ennius was the most prolific poet in the early period of Latin literature and is particularly known for his epic and his dramas. He composed plays for public festivals down to the year of his death, a major narrative epic, a large amount of non-dramatic verse, and at least one work in prose. While Ennius’ entire output only survives in fragments, his life and writings are better documented than those of most other early Republican writers, which is partly the result and an indication of his esteem among the Romans.
At the summit of the ancient hierarchy of genres, epic narrates in hexameter verse the deeds of gods, heroes, and men The authority of Homer, the name given to the composer of the Iliad and the Odyssey, ensures that the forms and conventions of the Homeric poems are determinative for the whole of the Greco-Roman tradition of epic. From an early date, the production and reading of epic poems was accompanied by intensive scholarly and critical activity. Over the centuries, numerous epics were written on both legendary and historical subjects, as the genre responded to changing aesthetic and ideological conditions. In Rome, Virgil’s Aeneid successfully established for itself an authority comparable to that of the Homeric poems, and all later Latin epics place themselves within a Virgilian tradition. Epic in Greek and Latin continues to flourish in late antiquity, when Christian writers appropriate its forms to propagate their own messages and praise their own heroes.
The study of Latin texts inscribed on durable objects, usually of stone or bronze. It is concerned both with the form of the inscriptions and with their content, and so impinges on many other fields, e.g. art history, palaeography, philology, history, law, religion. It excludes, but cannot ignore, texts on coins and gems; it has a strong interest in Greek inscriptions of the Roman period; it includes some texts written with paint or pen and ink (see e.g.
2. The epigraphist must first decipher all that can be read on the inscribed object, however much damaged it is and then, where possible, propose restorations of what is illegible or lost: processes for which modern techniques, such as computer-enhanced photographs and computerized indices of formulae, are currently supplementing long-standing aids, such as photographs taken in raking lights and squeezes (impressions made with absorbent paper or latex). The resulting text can then be interpreted as a historical document.
R. A. Kaster
Edward Courtney and Gail Trimble
Epyllion (diminutive of epos), term applied in modern (not ancient) times to some ‘short epics’, hexameter poems of mythological narrative in not more than one book. The texts most frequently called ‘epyllion’ are Hellenistic (especially the Hecale of *Callimachus (3), certain poems of *Theocritus, and Moschus’ Europa) and Roman (the sixty-fourth poem of *Catullus (1), lost works by other *neoterics, and the *Ciris).
Characteristics often considered typical of epyllion include: unfamiliar mythical subject-matter, often erotic; a subjective, emotional style; an uneven narrative scale, with some events elaborated and others quickly passed over; the inclusion of a second theme within the main narrative by means of a speech or *ekphrasis.
However, many of these features are shared with other Hellenistic or neoteric poetry, with earlier poems in the post-Homeric epic tradition, or with shorter poetic narratives in other metres (especially lyric), while some poems usually identified as ‘epyllia’ exhibit only one or two of them. The meaningfulness of the term has therefore been questioned, although its convenience is generally agreed.
Peter G. M. Brown
Euanthius (4th cent.