<p>Gnaeus Naevius (ca. 270 BC – 201 BC) was a Roman epic poet and dramatist of the Old Latin period. He had a notable literary career at Rome until his satiric comments delivered in comedy angered the Metelli family, one of whom was consul. After a sojourn in prison he recanted and was set free by the tribunes (who had the tribunician power, in essence the power of habeas corpus). After a second offense he was exiled to Tunisia, where he wrote his own epitaph and committed suicide. His comedies were in the genre of Palliata Comoedia, an adaptation of Greek New Comedy. A soldier in the Punic Wars, he was highly patriotic, inventing a new genre called Praetextae Fabulae, an extension of tragedy to Roman national figures or incidents, named after the Toga praetexta worn by high officials. Only fragments of several poems survive.
There is great uncertainty in regard to his life. From the expression of Gellius, characterizing his epitaph as written in a vein of Campanian arrogance, it has been inferred that he was born in one of the Latin communities settled in Campania. But the phrase 'Campanian arrogance' seems to have been used proverbially for boastfulness; and, as there was a plebeian</p>