Gnaeus Naevius (nī´əs nē´vəs), c.264–195 BC, Roman poet and dramatist. Born in Campania, he served in the first Punic War (264–241 BC), which he evoked in De Bello Punico. Now only available in fragments, this work is considered the first Latin epic. In his plays, Naevius satirized Roman society from the perspective of a plebeian. Forced to leave Rome, he retired to Utica in Africa.