The Pharsalia Essay

Lucan
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In the following essay, Conrad-O'Briain looks at the Pharsalia in terms of Roman ideals and education.

The Romans were deeply practical, and they were also deeply superstitious. Their sense of self was defined in part by the participation in Roman tradition which required strict attention to the details of worship and to the phenomena by which the gods communicated with men. It was also defined, at least for the literate upper classes, by a view of history and of service which was embedded in their language, literature, and which dominated their education. Romanitas [the idea and ideal of "Roman-ness"] was not a matter of genes, but of language and outlook. Romanitas could be and was taught from the Euphrates to the Irish Sea, from the edge of the Sahara to the lowlands of Scotland. The effects of that teaching remain to this day, so much a part of...

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This section contains 2,001 words
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The Pharsalia from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.