The earliest Roman poet that we know about was Quintus Ennius. There were poets before Ennius, but their work has not survived. This early work seems to have been dominated by short poems composed to honour a famous man or an event.
Ennius began by writing similar poems to those of earlier writers. Then, about 200bc, he adopted Greek styles of rhythm and rhyme to the Latin language. Later poets followed his lead, so he became known as “the father of Roman poetry”.
In 180bc Ennius began composing a poetic history of Rome that ran for 20,000 lines and took him over 15 years to complete. Only 550 lines have survived.
Titus Lucretius Carus, known as Lucretrius, was a Roman nobleman who began writing poetry about the year 75bc. He wove allusions to the gods and myths in to works about nature and famous events.
The most famous work by Lucretius is De rerum natura, a poem running to six books in length. It shows a passionate concern for nature and all living things and includes vivid descriptions of forest fires, earthquakes and other natural events.
from 1000 Facts About Ancient Rome by Rupert Matthews
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