Nævius, Cneius

, of Campania, an ancient Latin poet, was bred a soldier, but quitted the profession of arms, in order to apply himself with more leisure to poetry. Accordingly, he prosecuted that art with great diligence, and gave the first specimen of a heroic poem in Latin, in a description of the first Punic war, and the Iliad of Cyprus, mentioned by Cicero. He wrote also some tragedies, a few fragments of which are extant with Livius Andronicus, and somje comedies, the first of which appeared in the year 235 B.C., but this, it is said, when played at Rome, so highly incensed Metellus by the satirical strokes in it, that this nobleman, who wus then very powerful, procured him to be banished from the city. In this condition, he retired to Utica in Africa, where he died in the year 203 B. C. We have only some fragments of his works; unless his epitaph, which is said to have been composed by himself, may be ranked among them. Of these fragments there is an edition by Henry Stephens, Paris, 1569, 8vo. 1


Voss. de Poet. Lat.—Fabric. Bibl. Lat.—Clark’s Bibl. Dict.