Conference: "Ennius, Poetry, and History"

Conference: "Ennius, Poetry, and History"

Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts
Van Pelt Library, 6th floor
University of Pennsylvania
November 11–12, 2016

Recent years have seen a wealth of new scholarship, much of it explicitly revisionist, on Quintus Ennius, and in particular on his masterpiece, the historical epic poem Annales. At the same time, a fruitful dialogue has emerged among students of Greek and Roman poetry and historiography, in which critical approaches and techniques have begun to flow freely between the two fields. This conference brings together specialists in both fields to assess the current situation all the relevant fields and to explore the most fruitful avenues for further research.

All are welcome to attend the conference free of charge. A detailed program appears below. For further information, please see the conference website ( or contact the organizers, Joseph Farrell ( and Cynthia Damon (


Friday, Nov. 11

First session, 1:00–3:15

Joseph Farrell and Cynthia Damon (Penn), Welcome and introduction, 1:00–1:15
Sander Goldberg (UCLA), “Ennius and the Fata librorum” 1:15–1:45
Virginia Fabrizi (Munich), "Philosophy, History, and Ennius' Annales" 1:45–2:15
Damien Nelis (Geneva), “Ennius, Callimachus and Hellenistic Epic” 2:15–2:45
Discussion 2:45–3:15

Break, 3:15–3:45

Second session, 3:45–5:45

Thomas Biggs (Georgia), “Generic Innovation and the Mediation of History in Naevius’ Bellum Punicum and Ennius’ Annales” 3:45–4:15
Ayelet Haimson-Lushkov (Texas), “Tria Corda: Ennius and the Place of Epic in Roman Historiography” 4:15-4:45
Jackie Elliott (Boulder), “Ennius and the Early Historians of Rome” 4:45–5:15
Discussion 5:15–5:45

Saturday, Nov. 12

First session, 10:30–12:30

Brian Breed (Amherst), ​"Ennius and Lucilius" 10:30–11:00
Jason Nethercut (USF Tampa), “How ‘Ennian’ Was Latin Epic Between Accius and Lucretius?” 11:00–11:30
Patrick Glauthier (Penn), "Ennius and the Birth of the Roman Monster" 11:30-12:00
Discussion 12:00-12:30

Lunch break, 12:30–1:30

Second session, 1:30–3:00

Lydia Spielberg (Nijmegen), "Illa quae versibus persecutus est Ennius: the Annales as source and model for historical speech​" 1:30–2:00
A. J. Woodman (Virginia), “Ennius’ Annales and Tacitus’ Annals” 2:00–2:30
Discussion 2:30–3:00
Break, 3:00–3:15

Third session, 3:15–4:45

Jessica Clark (FSU),“The Annales as Historical Evidence in Ancient and Modern Commentaries” 3:15–3:45
Christina Kraus (Yale), “Commenting on the Annales: Steuart, Skutsch, and Ennius” 3:45–4:15
Discussion 4:15–4:45

Break, 4:45-5:00

Wrap-up 5:00-6:30

First reflections 5:00-5:15

Roundtable discussion 5:15-6:15

Concluding remarks 6:15–6:30


(Photo: "Empty Boardroom" by Reynermedia, licensed under CC BY 2.0)


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In his history of the long and costly war between Athens and Sparta, the historian Thucydides explained that he had written his narrative to be “a possession for all time” and to be of assistance to those of future generations “who want to see things clearly as they were and, given human nature, as they will one day be again, more or less."1 Thucydides was a shrewd observer and analyst of human behavior, and his work has frequently been cited in times of crisis by those who see patterns in history.  At the famous ceremony dedicating the battlefield cemetery at Gettysburg in 1863 at which Lincoln also spoke, former Secretary of State Edward Everett delivered a eulogy

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Read the statement and full list of signatories at this link

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1. The digital Classical Loeb Library recently announced that it is making its subscription free to all schools and universities affected by COVID-19 until June 30, 2020. Librarians should email for more details. In addition, SCS members can access the library for free until June 30, 2020 via the For Members Only page of our website. Log on to and access the For Members only page via our Membership menu. 

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