Livius in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)

Andronīcus. An early writer who is regarded as the founder of Roman epic and dramatic poetry. He was by birth a Greek of Southern Italy, and was brought as a slave to Rome, after the conquest of Tarentum in B.C. 272, while still a young man. His master, a Livius (perhaps Livius Salinator), whose name he bears, gave him his liberty, and he became an instructor in the Greek and Latin languages. This employment probably gave occasion for his translation of the Odyssey into Saturnian verse, which, in spite of its imperfections, remained a school-book in Rome for centuries. The first verse runs as follows: "Virum mihi, Camena, insece versutum." In B.C. 240 he brought upon the Roman stage the first drama composed after a Greek model, and with such success that thenceforward dramatic poetry was well established in Rome. According to ancient custom he appeared as an actor in his own pieces. His dramatic compositions, tragedies, and comedies were faithful but undoubtedly imperfect translations of Greek originals. He attempted lyric poetry also, for he was commissioned by the State to write a march in honour of Iuno Regina. Scanty remains of his works are all that have come down to us; and these are collected by Ribbeck in his Scaenicae Romanorum Poesis Fragmenta (Leipzig, 1873), and Bährens, Frag. Poetarum Romanorum, pp. 37-43 (Leipzig, 1886). See, also, Wordsworth's Fragments and Specimens of Early Latin (Oxford, 1874).

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