Shaggy Crowns is the first book-length study in almost a hundred years of the relationship between Rome's two great epic poems. Quintus Ennius was once the monumental epic poet of Republican Rome, "the father of Roman poetry." However, around one hundred and fifty years after his epic Annales first appeared, it was replaced decisively by Virgil's Aeneid, and now survives only in fragments.
Looking at the intersections between intertextuality and the appropriations of cultural memory, Goldschmidt considers the relationship between Rome's two great canonical epics. She focuses on how -- in the use of archaism, the presentation of landscape, embedded memories of the Punic Wars, and fragments of exempla -- Virgil's poem appropriates and re-writes the myths and memories which Ennius had enshrined in Roman epic. Goldschmidt argues that Virgil was not just a slicker "new poet," but constructed himself as an older "archaic poet" of the deepest memories of the Roman past, ultimately competing for the "shaggy crown" of Ennius.