The Pharsalia of Lucan

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The characters are largely unredeemed: Caesar is a near-demonic monster, Pompey a tired and corrupt politician. Death is purposeless, and life is an unstinting sway of caprice. Knowledge is, if anything, a curse:. Why, Ruler of Olympus, did you add these cares to anxious mortals, to know future disasters through dire omens? Either the creator of things, when first flame abated and he obtained the reign over rude and formless matter, fixed the causes eternally—by which he holds all in order, obeying the law himself—then partitioned the world into ages, set limits for the fates; or nothing is settled and fortune wanders uncertain, twisting and turning events, and chance rules mortals.

May it be sudden, whatever you devise.

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Let the minds of men be blind to future fate. Leave them free to hope within their fears. The poem feels stunningly modern, because so much of the values and rhetoric it invokes are immediately undermined and questioned.

An Introduction to Lucan

It was followed by the self-explanatory Year of the Four Emperors, before the reasonably competent emperor Vespasian stepped in and set the stage for another hundred years of comparative stability for the Roman Empire, including a couple of the best emperors Rome would ever have Trajan and Hadrian, who ruled twenty years each from Being so close to Nero could not have made him anything but pessimistic and fatalistic.

Arguably, each got the epic they deserved.

Pharsalia | work by Lucan |

Virgil waited until the age of 40 before starting on his epic, dying just before making final revisions. Lucan started in his early 20s and still did not live to come close to finishing it.

Lucan and Seneca were hugely influential on Renaissance poetry and drama, the Greeks not having gained the prominence they have today. Both ostensibly subscribed to Stoic philosophy; both wrote extremely bloody literature.

Pharsalia Lucan

It captures the raw chaos of existence as well as Kleist or Celine. It is a work of inspiration in the most literal sense. Email Address. Dublin: Hodges, Figgis and Co.

The Pharsalia of Lucan: Literally Translated into English Prose with Copious Notes

Anderson - - The Classical Review 42 02 Francken's Lucan M. Annaei Lucani Pharsalia. Cum commentario critico edidit C. I continens libros I—V. Lugduni Batavorum, apud A. Heitland - - The Classical Review 11 01 Notes on Lucan IV. Anderson - - Classical Quarterly 9 03 Notes on Lucan IX.

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Anderson - - Classical Quarterly 10 03 Notes on Lucan V. Anderson - - Classical Quarterly 11 02 Two Notes on Lucan 6. Tesoriero - - Classical Quarterly 51 2 Notes on Lucan.

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