Naevius, Historical Plays in Roman Dress

LCL 314: 136-137

Go To Section
Go To Section


Fabulae Praetextae

Fragments of apparently two plays, and no more, have survived.

Clastidium dramatised the campaign (222 b.c.) whereby the Romans completed their conquest of Cisalpine Gaul through the victory of the consuls M. Claudius Marcellus and Cn. Cornelius Scipio. Marcellus came to the rescue of Clastidium when it was besieged, and defeated the Gauls, killing with his own hand their chief Viridomarus, Virdumarus or Britomatus and thus winning the spolia opima. Although great credit was due to Scipio, Marcellus only was awarded a triumph



Varro, L.L., IX, 78: In vocabulis casuum possunt item fieri <iacturae> † . . . ac reponi quod aberit, ubi patietur natura et consuetudo . . . ut in hoc apud Naevium in Clastidio—

Vita insepulta laetus in patriam redux.

Romulus sive Lupus

Donatus, ad Ter., Adelph., IV, 1, 21: Falsum est quod dicitur intervenisse lupam Naevianae fabulae alimonio Remi et Romuli, dum in theatro ageretur. Cp. Varr., L.L., VII, 54.


Unassigned Fragments

Historical Plays in Roman Dress

(Polyb., II, 34–35; Plut., Marc., 6–8, etc. Grauert, Philol., II, 119 ff.; Ribbeck, 72 ff.).

Romulus or Lupus (The Wolf). Apparently one play—W. Beare, Class. Rev., 1949, 49. (Cf. Ribbeck, 63 ff., who believes Romulus and Lupus to be separate plays; H. Reich, ‘Ueber die Quellen der ältesten Röm. Gesch.,’ Fetschr. O. Schade, 408 ff.; Mesk, Wien. St., XXXVI, 27 ff.; Holzinger, Wien. St., XXXIV, 19, 7; Fraenkel, in Paulys Real-Encycl., Suppl.-B. VI, 629). We cannot tell whether Naevius followed a different legend in this play from the legend which he followed in The Punic War (pp. 46 ff.).



Triumphant return of M. Claudius Marcellus (with Cn. Cornelius Scipio) after victory over Viridomarus in 222 b.c.:


: In words losses of cases can likewise come about . . . and what will be lacking can be replaced,a so long as nature and custom will allow, for example, in the following in a passage of Naevius’ Clastidium

Back to his native land, happy in life never dying.b

Romulus or the Wolf


: The story, that when a play of Naevius was being performed in the theatre, a she-wolf broke in at the scene of the nourishment of Remus and Romulus, is false.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.naevius-historical_plays_roman_dress.1936