The Pharsalia Criticism

Lucan
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Lucan wrote with his already claustrophobic world closing in on him. He wrote as if he could not possibly believe that the conspiracy against Nero would succeed; he was no longer rallying his time, but all time to the cause of libertas. Criticism of Pharsalia has regularly spilled over into criticism of the man who implicated his own mother in the plot against Nero. Political circumstances have set the critical agenda for the Pharsalia even more than changes in literary taste. But can this really be wrong when the Pharsalia is above all, political literature?

Even while Lucan was at work on his epic, there was critical unease about the suitability of his treatment. It was not that he chose to handle a historical narrative but that he did not make the gods the prime movers in events. Virgil's Aeneid had coopted the Roman gods literally into the...

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This section contains 785 words
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The Pharsalia from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.