Marcus Pacuvius Analysis


(Literature and the Ancient World, Critical Edition)

Marcus Pacuvius (peh-KEW-vee-uhs), the nephew of Quintus Ennius, was born in Brundisium and so was exposed to the various influences of the Latin colony permeated by Greek culture. His uncle may have influenced Pacuvius in his decision to settle in Rome and may have been his teacher there, and there is evidence that Pacuvius was also associated with the Scipionic circle. Pacuvius withdrew to Tarentum, perhaps shortly after 140 b.c.e., and he died at almost ninety years of age. Pacuvius was a painter, perhaps of stage scenery, and a writer. Evidence suggests that Pacuvius wrote miscellaneous poems like those of Quintus Ennius, but none remain. Pacuvius’s literary activity was concentrated mostly in tragedy; titles and fragments exist of only about twelve tragedies and one praetexta (a serious dramatic form based on Roman themes), the Paulus (second century b.c.e.; this and other fragments translated in Remains of Old Latin, 1935-1940), on Lucius Aemilius Paullus.