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Livius Andronicus, 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 Tarentuin in 272 B.C., while still of tender age. His master, a Livius, whose name he bears, gave him his liberty, and he imparted instruction in the Greek and Latin languages. This employment probably gave occasion for histranslation of the Homeric Odyssey into Saturnian metre; in spite of its imperfections, this remained a school-book in Rome for centuries. In 240 B.C. he brought on 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.
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