Lucius Livius Andronicus Analysis


(Literature and the Ancient World, Critical Edition)

Lucius Livius Andronicus (lew-SHEE-uhs LIHV-ee-uhs an-druh-NI-kuhs) was a Greek who was most likely brought to Rome after the capture of Tarentum in 272 b.c.e. After being freed, he took the name of his master, Livius Salinator. Livius became a schoolteacher and translated Homer’s Odyssey (c. 800 b.c.e.; English translation, 1616) into Latin as a textbook for his students. This was the first literary use of Latin. In this work, he used the Saturnian meter as opposed to the Greek dactylic hexameter. He was asked to compose and act in the first Latin comedy and the first Latin tragedy for the Ludi Romani of 240 b.c.e. His plays were translations from Greek originals. In 207 b.c.e., Livius composed a hymn to drive out the evil omens during the Second Punic War (218-201 b.c.e.). Only fragments of his works remain.


(Literature and the Ancient World, Critical Edition)

Often referred to as the “father of Latin literature,” Livius introduced Greek themes and forms to Latin literature. Because of his poetic successes, actors and playwrights were permitted to meet on the Aventine hill at the temple of Minerva. Livius’s works were used in schools at least until Horace’s time.

Additional Resources

(Literature and the Ancient World, Critical Edition)

Hadas, M. A History of Latin Literature. New York: Columbia University Press, 1952.

Hornblower, S., and A. Spawforth, eds. The Oxford Classical Dictionary. 3d ed. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Warmington, E. H. Remains of Old Latin. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993.