The Pharsalia Themes

Lucan
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Libertas for a Roman citizen meant a web of rights and obligations. Particularly important to the Roman sense of self was the freedom, theoretically, to have a voice in shaping Roman law and policy. They acknowledged only the law and the lawfully constituted magistrates whose power derived from their will. It is easy to dismiss libertas, particularly in the late republic, as merely aristocratic privilege. From the Pharsalia, it is clear that Lucan is aware of the shortcomings of libertas (1.158-82).

Lucan's libertas may appear limited or naive to some, but it has touched a chord with every period to which the liberty of the individual to live a considered and self-controlled life in an orderly and humane society has been recognized as a supreme good. It is unfair to speak of his concept of libertas as being restricted to one class. Lucan displays the imaginative sympathy to...

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This section contains 965 words
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The Pharsalia from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.