The Pharsalia Historical Context

Lucan
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Lucan set his epic more than a century before his own time. To understand why Lucan should feel so strongly about events that not even his grandfather could have remembered, it is necessary to understand the circumstances in which the young poet found himself, circumstances which were the direct result of the defeat of the senatorial cause. While the empire at large was reasonably well-governed with peace, prosperity and even justice, the upper classes of Rome and Italy suffered the caprices of immediate absolute rule under a series of men who were not immune to either the temptations of their power or the paranoia attendant upon it. Even allowing for the possibility of a certain amount of sensationalism in our sources for events in Rome between Augustus and Nero, it is clear that Rome was a place of enormous uncertainty and real danger for anyone whose place in society involved...

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This section contains 1,121 words
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Buy The Pharsalia Study Guide
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The Pharsalia from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.