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Publisher: Clarendon Press
ISBN10: 0198150679 ISBN13: 9780198150671 DDC: 873/.01 LCC: PA6480


The Pharsalia, Lucan's epic on the civil wars between Caesar and Pompey, is a document of fundamental importance for students of the history and literature of Rome in the early imperial period. For historians concerned with the defence of Republican traditions under the emperors as much as for literary critics mapping the transformation of epic in the wake of Vergil, it is impossible to ignore this poem. Matthew Leigh takes as his guiding theme the unusual prominence of spectacle and of spectators in the Pharsalia. Why does Lucan so often indict the complicity or apathy of characters who would sooner watch the action than engage? What is behind the determination of Caesar's men to turn the civil war into a theatrical display for the benefit of their general? In answering these questions, Dr Leigh reveals the richness and breadth of imagination of a poet who does not just compose a coruscating anti-Aeneid, but is also profoundly aware of his relationship with the historical, rhetorical, and philosophical traditions of Rome. By Studying the tension between the narrator's impassioned interventions against history and his characters' often manic zeal to transform civil war into performance, this work discovers a Lucan who is as funny as he is serious, as reflective as he is committed.


Includes bibliographical references (p. [330]-345) and index. 1. Gaius Cornelius and the Caesarian Vates -- 2. Passionate Viewing in the Spanish Campaign -- 3. Pharsalus - Wishing and Watching -- 4. Pompey - The View from the Hill -- 5. Scaeva - Lucan's Exemplary Hero -- 6. The Crazy Gang - Watching Caesar's Centurions -- 7. A View to a Kill - Lucan's Amphitheatrical Audience -- Epilogue - Ecstatic Vision and the Tyrant's Spectacle -- App. 1. Apostrophe -- App. 2. Theories of Tensing in Narrative, the Latin Present Historic, and Lucan's Vivid Present -- App. 3. The Future Tense in Latin Epic Narrative.


  • LCC: PA6480
  • Dewey Decimal: 873/.01

Book Details

  • Language: eng
  • Physical Description: ix, 366 p. ; 23 cm.


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