Published: Feb. 17, 2016 By

Jackie Elliott, associate professor of classics at the University of Colorado Boulder, has won a 2016 Goodwin Award of Merit from the Society for Classical Studies, the nation’s top research recognition in classical languages and literature.

Elliott was recognized for her “groundbreaking” 2013 book, Ennius and the Architecture of the Annales.

Jackie Elliot

Jackie Elliot

Three Goodwin Awards are granted annually for an outstanding contribution to classical scholarship published by a member of the Society for Classical Studies during the three years before the current calendar year. The National Research Council classifies this award as “highly prestigious.”

Elliott’s book is about the archaic Latin poet Ennius, who wrote a lengthy epic poem called the Annales, that narrated Rome’s past from its origins to the city’s present day (early c. 2 BCE).

Although Ennius’ work survives only in fragments, it was hugely influential on the subsequent course of Roman literary history, including on its major surviving representatives, who include Vergil, Lucretius, Ovid, Livy and many more.

Our understanding of it is thus crucial to our concept of a large moment of the Roman literary past, prose and poetry.

Ennius and the Architecture of the Annales book cover

Ennius and the Architecture of the Annales book cover

Ennius’ work survives only in fragments, however, and those exist only in works by other ancient authors who quote Ennius.

Elspeth Dusinberre, professor and chair of the Department of Classics, said Elliott’s book is an “extraordinary detective work.” To do this research, Elliott combined a thoroughgoing, critical survey of the ancient sources for the epic with fresh interpretation of the poem’s surviving record.

“It’s an extraordinary book, and it lays out a whole methodology for thinking about using quotes and fragments that can be transferred across all aspects of classical and other literature,” Dusinberre said.

In a glowing award citation, the Society for Classical Studies concurred.

Terming Ennius and the Architecture of the Annales a “remarkable book that combines painstaking scholarship with brilliant intuition,” the society praised Elliott for dissecting “the intricate layers of learned opinion that have surrounded not only Ennius and Virgil but also their receptions.”

Further, the society stated: “The result is a work both meticulous in its acuity and daring in its willingness to take on the question of how little we really know, but how much we may with caution be able to infer, about the content, organization, sophistication and ideology of the Annales.”

For more on the 2016 Goodwin Award, click here. For more on the CU Department of Classics, click here.