Lucan Writing Styles in The Pharsalia

Lucan
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Epic Features

Lucan composed his epic in Virgil's shadow. But he absorbed and transformed Virgil and the whole epic tradition back to Homer. He was forced to jettison the traditional gods, not so much by the use of his Stoic education, but because the Virgilian epic and Julio-Claudian propaganda had so closely associated the traditional pantheon with Caesar. His choice and development of the witch Erictho and of the image of Anateus are good examples of his subversion of the Virgilian epic.

Setting

The action of Pharsalia sweeps back and forth across the Roman world. The choice of setting was dictated largely by history, but the specific treatment of places is atmospheric, pulled between the traditional associations of wild places and city. City equals family and society. Wilderness is danger and horror, the result of the breakdown of society and family.

Digressions

Lucan often inserts apparently extraneous descriptive or...

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This section contains 962 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Pharsalia Study Guide
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Epics for Students
The Pharsalia from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.