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Tombs of the Ancient PoetsBetween Literary Reception and Material Culture$
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Nora Goldschmidt and Barbara Graziosi

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198826477

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198826477.001.0001

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Ennius’ imago between Tomb and Text

Ennius’ imago between Tomb and Text

(p.69) 3 Ennius’ imago between Tomb and Text
Tombs of the Ancient Poets

Francesca Martelli

Oxford University Press

Between the third and first centuries BCE, a tomb near the Via Appia not only served as a funerary monument for the Scipiones but was also believed to have once contained the statue of a man from outside the family: Quintus Ennius. This chapter considers how Ennius’ poetry and portrait contributed to the circulation of political prestige. Linking the story of his statue to a later image of the poet in Varro’s De poetis, it argues that Varro’s collection of author portraits and the practice of erecting busts of authors in libraries are best seen as a form of entombment—situating the poet’s imago alongside those of his literary forebears in a space that recognizes their identity as a group, much like the tomb of the Scipiones, or, indeed, any Roman atrium that collects the imagines of a family’s ancestors.

Keywords:   Scipio, Ennius, Varro, Ovid, epitaph, auto-epitaph, elogium, tomb, prestige, Greenblatt

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