[5arg] That Quintus Ennius, in the seventh book of his Annals, wrote quadrupes eques, and not quadrupes equus, as many read it.
A NUMBER of us young men, friends of his, were at Puteoli with the rhetorician Antonius Julianus, a fine man in truth and of distinguished eloquence, and we were spending the summer holidays in amusement and gaiety, amid literary diversions and seemly and improving pleasures. And while we were there, word was brought to Julianus that a certain reader, a man not without learning, was reciting the Annals of Ennius to the people in the theatre in a very refined and musical voice. “Let us go,” said he, “to hear this ' Ennianist.' whoever he may be”; for that was the name by which the man wished to be called. [p. 313] When at last we had found him reading amid loud applause—and he was reading the seventh book of the Annals of Ennius—we first heard him wrongly recite the following lines: 1
Then with great force on rush the four-footed horse (equus）and without adding many more verses, he departed amid the praises and applause of the whole company. Then Julianus, as he came out of the theatre, said: “What think you of this reader and his fourfooted horse? For surely he read it thus:
Denique vi magna quadrupes equus atque elephantDo you think that, if he had had a master and instructor worth a penny, he would have said quadrupes equus and not quadrupes eqces? For no one who has given any attention to ancient literature doubts that Ennius left it written in that way.” When several of those who were present declared that they had read quadrupes equus, each with his own teacher, and wondered what was the meaning oft quadrupes eques, Julianus rejoined: " I could wish, my worthy young friends, that you had read Quintus Ennius as accurately as did Publius Vergilius, who, imitating this verse of his in The Georgics, used eques for equus in these lines: 2 [p. 315]
Thessalian Lapiths, high on horses' back,In this passage, unless one is foolishly and silkily captious, equiter can be taken in no other sense than that of 'horse,' for many of the early writers called the man who sat upon a horse eques and also the horse on which he sat. Hence equitare also, which is derived from the word eques, equitis, was said both of the man who rode the horse and of the horse which carried the man. Lucilius, indeed, a man conspicuous for his command of the Latin language, says equum equitare in these lines: 4
Gave us the bit and circling course, and taught
The horse 3 full armed, to gallop o'er the plain
And round his paces proud.
With what we see the courser run and trot,“But,” said Apollinaris, “I was not content with these examples, and in order that it might not appear uncertain and doubtful, but clear and evident, whether Ennius wrote equus or eques, I procured at great trouble and expense, for the sake of examining one line, a copy of heavy and venerable antiquity, which it was almost certain had been edited by the hand of Lampadio; 6 and in that copy I found eques and not equus written in that line.” [p. 317] This at the time Julianus explained to us, along with other problems, clearly and courteously. But afterwards I ran upon the very same remarks in some very well-known handbooks.
With this he runs and trots. Now, 'tis with eyes
We see him trot; hence with his eyes he trots. 5