and the loss of his light, drawing cloud to him, not to feed his. was sunk, others were now crewed by the victors, only an unconquered few gaining harbour by a hasty, flight. and lick with our parched tongues the soil we dig; if bread is scarce we will defile our mouths by eating. oppress, abandoned you, a dwelling place of gods?  Lucan conveys this by using a simile (book 1, lines 151–7) that compares Caesar to a thunderbolt: qualiter expressum uentis per nubila fulmen The gods be thanked that eastern savages, swift, Sarmatians with Pannonian allies, or Getae joined. or by Caesar’s boast of his descent from Trojan Iulus. can cling to your standard by land and sea, and welcome, if I have but power to trouble your sleep, robbing you. He presents his narrative as a series of discrete episodes often without any transitional or scene-changing lines, much like the sketches of myth strung together in Ovid's Metamorphoses. a benign shore offered the fleet an easy approach; they hauled in, lowered the masts, and rowed ashore.  Scholarly estimation of Lucan's poem and poetry has since changed, as explained by commentator Philip Hardie in 2013: "In recent decades, it has undergone a thorough critical re-evaluation, to re-emerge as a major expression of Neronian politics and aesthetics, a poem whose studied artifice enacts a complex relationship between poetic fantasy and historical reality.". No happy crowds met him, on his march; but looks of silent dread, no throng, gathered there to greet him, yet he was pleased. The fetters he had laid, on the sea and on the Rhine, his high chariot. Here ill-fated Telo steered his craft; no ship, on stormy sea was more obedient to any hand, than his; no helmsman could better forecast. platforms for waterborne attack, while Caesar’s admiral, Decimus, sailing down the Rhone ahead of the fleet. the bulwarks of his own vessel to strike at the foe. in the water randomly; every missile that fell. both javelins at once, dealing a double death. Strymon was deserted, that each year sends Bistonia’s, cranes to winter by the Nile, and barbarous Cone where, one mouth of the branching Danube sheds its Sarmatian. dona ducum nec iam ualidis radicibus haerens They say they wish to avoid the taint of war, but they, shall suffer for seeking peace, and learn that in my days, none are safe but those I lead to war.’ So saying, he led, an advance against the fearless city, whose gates he soon. Men marched from the regions. How great a thing it was, to hold back destiny, cause, Fortune to lose time, as she hastened to set Caesar, above the whole world. Mysia too was deserted; the land of Idalus drenched. no stir, but gold, least of all things, prompted action. This work may be freely reproduced, stored and transmitted, electronically or otherwise, for any non-commercial purpose. It struck Argus, a noble, youth, at the junction of the groin and lower. , Lucan breaks from epic tradition by minimizing, and in certain cases, completely ignoring (and some argue, denying) the existence of the traditional Roman deities. , According to Jamie Masters, Lucan's Pharsalia is not just a poem about a civil war, but rather in a metaphorical way is a civil war. against the revolution of the sky, urging his course backwards. Draw your sword then, fear. The violence done our office will, surely bring down vengeance from the gods, just so, the tribune’s curse which sought defeat for Crassus, followed him to war. The sea parted as the ship sank, and then fell back, into the space she had occupied. What other city then, dare hope to be defended? to his conquests! Grasping burning. to be loyal and true to their oaths in a doubtful hour, following right rather than fortune. Images. In this edition Professor Fantham offers the first full-scale commentary on the neglected second book of Lucan's epic poem on the war between Caesar and Pompey: De bello civili. Bella per Emathios plus quam civilia campos Setting unerring course for war, they steered their ships. to drowsy slumber, in which he suddenly saw a vision: Julia, a phantom full of menace and terror, raising her, sorrowful face above the yawning earth, stood there in. Every, ship released from its moorings, the rival fleets leapt, towards each other equally, Caesar on one side, Greeks. gathered remaining strength for a vital stroke. When men. and though it totters, ready to fall beneath the first Eurus, The madness of Rome even troubled the remote Orestae; and the chieftains of Carmania, where the more southerly, heavens still reveal the Bear not wholly sunken below, the horizon, where Bootes, swift to set there, is visible, only for a brief part of the night; and Ethiopia, which, no part of the northern constellations would cover, if the foreleg of rearing Taurus was not bent. more subtle than simply to bar me, is to imprison me. and crime let loose we sing; how Rome's high race Though Gyareus tried to clamber over and take, his friend’s place, a grapnel, flung, caught him, by the waist as he hung in the air, and there he.  Another, "more attractive" argument (according to Susanna Braund), is that Lucan intended for his poem to be sixteen books long and to end with the assassination of Caesar. Lucan describes the wild Thessalian terrain as the armies wait for battle the next day. Their hands still clinging to the Greek ship they fell, away, leaving their severed limbs behind, no longer. The book concludes with Curio launching an African campaign on Caesar's behalf, where he is defeated and slain by the African King Juba. Through a gift, of fate you are offered battle. Just as a storm loses, strength, and dissipates in the void, or a conflagration, dies when nothing obstructs its passage, so the absence, of enemies weakens me, and I deem my weapons idle. Book III:497-537 The Romans initiate a naval battle. A baleful Sun rose from Ocean, slow to answer the summons. accompanied by the crashing of the heavens and sound of shattered ether; while the galleys with their double banks of oars, lay further back in a crescent formation. Savage Cappadocians rallied to the cause; those men, who find the soil of Mount Amanus far too hard; also. yet it alone is venerated. This grove. Though it is hard to imagine how Lucan could have topped the demonically apocalyptic contents of books VI and VII, I suspect that he could have made the work yet darker and nihilistic. Christopher Marlowe published a translation of Book I, while Thomas May followed with a complete translation into heroic couplets in 1626. till she toppled on her side with them beneath. Some scholars have tried to read these lines ironically, but most see it as a traditional dedication written at a time before the (supposed) true depravity of Lucan's patron was revealed. the body could not halt the clash of bronze prows. (Indeed, the poem is often called Pharsalia.) Vessels bare of paint. could cover with one mighty stroke of the oars, countless shouts rose to the heavens above, until. should you seek fresh triumphs in some unknown land. She suffered blow. The book closes with panic in the city, terrible portents and visions of the disaster to come. in commune nefas, infestisque obvia signis so that the tip of his hoof projected downwards; and it troubled Parthia where the mighty Euphrates, and the swift Tigris raise their streams from sources, not far apart in Persia, such that if earth allowed. unable to rise free, dying in their watery prison. Over 400 manuscripts survive; its interest to the court of Charlemagne is evidenced by the existence of five complete manuscripts from the 9th century. emicuit rupitque diem populosque pauentes on the other, the hulls quivering to the beat of oars. She. and where Roman consuls climb to Alba’s heights. Summary. Skip to main content. grappling irons, chains, or entangled in their oars. in power feed the idle mob they buy subservience, a starving people knows no fear, and hunger itself, gives birth to freedom. The nearest aspect of the city rose, in a tall fortress as high as this hilltop, and the ground, between was pitted with hollows. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Lucan's First Book (Pharsalia). But now a fellow tribune, Cotta, persuaded Metellus, to forsake his over-bold intent, saying: ‘When a nation, is oppressed by tyranny, freedom of speech may rob, us of our freedom, while a semblance is preserved if we, agree to its demands. Towering, above them all was Decimus’ flagship with its six. Caesar returns to Rome and plunders the city, while Pompey reviews potential foreign allies. Pompey, on the other hand, is old and past his prime, and years of peacetime have turned him soft. By comparing Caesar to a bolt of lightning, and Pompey to a large tree on the verge of death, Lucan poetically implies early on in the Pharsalia that Caesar will strike and fell Pompey. Fiercely, he continued the fight, but reaching his left hand, out to retrieve his right, that too and the whole arm. Caesar ordered felled by the stroke of the axe. waste what remaining life the ruthless gods grant, but will use it to slit this aged throat. The extant "Lives" of the poet support this interpretation, stating that a portion of the Pharsalia was in circulation before Lucan and Nero had their falling out. in another place, allowing the river to reach the sea. of the shafts that had killed them. Then he gathered his remaining strength, though his, life was ebbing due to many wounds, and bracing, his dying limbs, with the power left him, he sprang, on board the Roman ship, his weight his sole. strong arms launched a whole stern-piece, and turning the rowers out tore up the thwarts. was at the zenith, or night’s blackness seized the sky, the priest himself dreaded those moments, afraid, of surprising the lord of the wood. tot circum siluae firmo se robore tollant, bind their hair with loops of gold, the brave Arians, the Massegetae who quench their thirst after battle. However, both of these hypotheses seem unlikely, as they would have required Lucan to pen a work many times larger than what is extant (for instance, the ten-book poem we have today covers a total of 20 months time, so it seems unlikely that, were the poet to have continued his pace, that his work would cover a 6 to 17 year time-span). with that blood shed by Roman hands how much of earth and sea might have been bought—where the sun rises and where night hides. Furthermore, according to Braund, Lucan's negative portrayal of Caesar in the early portion of the poem was not likely meant as criticism of Nero, and it may have been Lucan's way of warning the new emperor about the issues of the past.  Furthermore, because Lucan seems to place numerous obstacles before Caesar, he can be seen as opposing Caesar's actions. after blow on her side, that shattered let in the sea. must use what life remains in some warlike way. Now all the trees must be. Bereft of tears, his, hands instead of beating at his breast flying wide, apart, his body became rigid, darkness overcame, him veiling his sight, so that he ceased to see the sad, form of Argus before him, while the son, finding his. behind, their heads defended by the roof they made. condemned with Marsyas when Apollo won the contest. where the Phasis cleaves the Colchians’ rich fields, where the Halys flows that doomed Croesus, where, the Tanais falling from the Riphaean heights, bounds, Asia on the one side and Europe on the other, granting, the names of two worlds to its banks, separating them, and with its winding adding now to one continent now, the other; and where the Black Sea gathers the flow, from the Maeotian Lake, so that men deny that Cadiz, is the only outlet to the Ocean, and Hercules’ Pillars, are robbed of their uniqueness. One hurled an oar towards the enemy, other. biting too hard refused to answer to the cable’s tug. One warrior, Phoceus, could hold, his breath underwater longer than all others, used, to searching the depths for whatever the sands had, taken, or wrenching the flukes free when an anchor. and exclude the war. On another ship the crew, over-eager for the fight. of the eternal law, driving his steeds more fiercely than ever. chose to try their luck by sea. , The grand exception to this generally bleak depiction of characters is Cato, who stands as a Stoic ideal in the face of a world gone mad (he alone, for example, refuses to consult oracles to know the future). What lands, what oceans might have been the prize Of all the blood thus shed in civil strife!  This manifestation of the supernatural is more public, and serves many purposes, including to reflect "Rome's turmoil on the supernatural plane", as well as simply to "contribute to the atmosphere of sinster foreboding" by describing disturbing rituals. " In regards to the second category, Lucan describes a number portents, two oracular episodes, and perhaps most famously Erichtho's necromantic rite. Seeing brute force employed. death that wrestled with the man till it had mastered all. Theirconflict is elaborately described in powerful verses full of paradox, wittymaxims, and strong pathos. On that day too a dreadful death without precedent, was witnessed. Lucan lived from 39-65 AD at a time of great turbulence in Rome.  All four of these dream-visions are placed strategically throughout the poem, "to provide balance and contrast. doomed by fate to bring her husbands from rule to ruin, supplanted me before my funeral pyre grew cold. it is lawful to enlist. Lucan's great poem, Pharsalia, recounts events surrounding the decisive battle fought near Pharsalus in 48 B.C. Both islands, are famous for their corn; no foreign fields, supplied the granaries of Rome earlier or more. Even horned Ammon was not slow to send. And the Choatrae abandoned their sky-reaching forests. The soldiers of ever ill-fated Ilium joined the standards. of Hercules, wooded Tempe, urging on a horse. (There is, however, some debate as to whether the poem was unfinished at the time of Lucan's death, or if the final few books of the work were lost at some point. men shared our resolve, to refuse to share Rome’s destiny; and that no foreign soldier would take arms in your quarrel. Lucan : the civil war books eBook: Lucan, James Duff: Amazon.ca: Kindle Store Skip to main content. His, courage rose though with disaster, and mutilated, he showed an even more heroic ardour. trunks supported, as they fell, by their neighbours. Success no longer satisfied his eagerness, for speed; even victory was not worth delay. Lucan was considered among the ranks of Homer and Virgil. of time for love-making; if Caesar occupies your days, let Julia have your nights. A banquet is held; Pothinus, Ptolemy's cynical and bloodthirsty chief minister, plots an assassination of Caesar but is killed in his surprise attack on the palace. survivor the single source of their unending sorrow, since he recalled the lost brother to their mournful, thoughts and kept their grief ever-present. island of a thousand cities, Cnossos skilled in archery. These, the Phoenicians, if the legend is true, first sought.  His style makes him unusually difficult to read. fire was their weapon not spears or death-dealing arrows, and the wind, driving the flames carried them swiftly over, the Roman lines. sucking the waters round her into a whirlpool. if those who might have been conquered evade me. abundantly. Seeing her again after so long warring in the north. and ocean breakers, bringing a new manner of death. But their very age itself, and the ghastly colour of their rotting timber struck. Magnus, while I, was your wife, you celebrated triumphs in joy, but then. Lucan apparently wrote the first three books of his epic before he fell out of favor with Nero, and so there’s been a lot of dispute over whether the praise of Nero at the beginning of the poem is sincere. our abject fear, that to refuse was in no way possible. Tragic the plunder that despoiled the temple. Now the ram, was used, its swinging blows effective, its impact.  But nevertheless, the leader is doomed in the end. the splash of blades was drowned out by the cries, and the trumpets went unheard. disfigured by the battle, for her husband’s.  Susanna Braund argues that Lucan "has taken the weaker, essentially human, elements of Aeneas' character—Aeneas doubting his mission, Aeneas as husband and lover—and bestowed them upon Pompey. and there earth emits the Pactolus in seams of gold. Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. them to meet, who could say which would conquer. Translated by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved. Written during the reign of Nero, Lucan’s Civil War was arguably the last great epic poem written in antiquity (at least in the West). Lucan emphasizes the despair of his topic in the poem's first seven lines (the same length as the opening to Virgil's Aeneid):[nb 1]. Book 9: Pompey's wife mourns her husband as Cato takes up leadership of the Senate's cause. Like all Silver Age poets, Lucan received the rhetorical training common to upper-class young men of the period. A second attack comes from Ganymede, an Egyptian noble, and the poem breaks off abruptly as Caesar is fighting for his life. the weather from observation of sun or moon, and so set his sails to the coming breeze. Some men grasped the oars, of the foe to check their vessels’ flight, anxious not, to waste their lives, many a dying man stopping. But the nomadic tribes of Scythia, bounded by Bactros’ chill, streams, and the vast forests of Hyrcania, refreshed their. Thisstudy is a commentary on the third book of Lucan's epic, on which no separate,modern commentary was available as yet. however than the element most hostile to the waves, since fire spread everywhere carried by resinous, torches, and fuelled by sealed-in sulphur, so that, the ships, with their caulking of pitch and wax swift, to melt and burn, instantly caught fire. ") Some argue that Lucan intended to end his poem with the Battle of Philippi (42 BC) or the Battle of Actium (31 BC). The Caesarians are victorious, and Lucan laments the loss of liberty. He was ripped apart though, and his blood, spurted out through the severed arteries, not trickling, as from a single wound but gushing forth, till the play, of blood flowing from the several limbs merged with. The waves were hidden, and the battle stationary. cognatasque acies, et rupto foedere regni His, hand was severed by a downward blow, but still, gripped the side stiffening as the blood left it. no pleasure in having driven Pompey far away, only resentment that his enemy had fled to safety, abroad. With this, he threw a javelin blindly at the foe, but still found a mark. Caesar’s anger against the wrath of heaven. Indus too, its current flowing swiftly with additional force. They could feign. The biggest internal argument for this is that in his sixth book Lucan features a necromantic ritual that parallels and inverts many of the motifs found in Virgil's sixth book (which details Aeneas consultation with the Sibyl and his subsequent descent into the underworld). volumes of black smoke, it ate not only timber but hard stone; and great rocks were shattered to dust. Book I: After a brief introduction lamenting the idea of Romans fighting Romans and an ostensibly flattering dedication to Nero, the narrative summarizes background material leading up to the present war and introduces Caesar in northern Italy. Boeotia’s leaders gathered, those whom, swift Cephisus’ and Cadmean Dirce’s oracular streams, embrace; men came from Pisa and the Alpheus whose. NERO AND CAESAR: LUCAN 1.33-66 For his epic of civil war Lucan calls not on Apollo or Bacchus, but on the reign-ing emperor, Nero, to be his inspiration (1.66): tu satis ad vires Romana in carmina dandas. he gazed in wonder as he addressed his native city: ‘Have men, whom no immediate threats of battle. Despite an urgent plea from the Spirit of Rome to lay down his arms, Caesar crosses the Rubicon, rallies his troops and marches south to Rome, joined by Curio along the way. hieroglyphs of birds, wild beasts, and other creatures, preserved the secrets of its speech. brings forgetfulness could banish you from my memory; the monarchs of the dead permit me now to haunt you. Your office cannot make you worthy of my wrath. Skip to main content. Loud, the Tarpeian Rock re-echoed to the grating noise, as the doors parted; then Rome’s wealth, untouched. Free shipping and pickup in store on eligible orders. hurling back the spear before his blood poured out. in his darkened face, betrayed his resentment in speech: ‘These Greeks trust in my need for haste, but in vain; though I may be hastening to the west there is time, to destroy Marseilles. The one. down using their arms alone, relying on the weight. Appius consults the Delphic oracle to learn of his fate in the war, and leaves with a misleading prophecy. Never did so many kings obey. De Bello Civili (Latin pronunciation: [deː ˈbɛlloː kiːˈwiːliː]; On the Civil War), more commonly referred to as the Pharsalia, is a Roman epic poem written by the poet Lucan, detailing the civil war between Julius Caesar and the forces of the Roman Senate led by Pompey the Great. the shape of a Fury amid the flames of her funeral pyre. Weapons that missed their target killed men. It was sacred, to no rural Pan, no Silvanus king of the wood, nor, to the Nymphs, but gods were worshipped there with. 3 The First Triumvirate, formed by Pompey, Caesar, and Crassus in 60 b.c. , Conversely, the Latinist Jamie Masters argues the opposite: that the finale of book ten is indeed the ending to the work as Lucan intended. The soldier predicts Pompey's defeat and Caesar's eventual assassination. Like in a fruitful field, a lofty oak, platform for fighting, a foothold firm as dry land. rains pours down to ensure a mighty harvest. saw closed, and its walls defended by a ring of warriors. " And while this portrays the leader as indecisive, slow to action, and ultimately ineffective, it does make him the only main character shown to have any sort of "emotional life. Pompey alone looked back towards Italy, as the harbours of his native land, a shore he would never, see again, the cloudy hilltops, the mountain chains dimmed, before his eyes and vanished. , The line Victrix causa deis placuit sed victa Catoni has been a favorite for supporters of 'lost' causes over the centuries; it can be translated as "the winning cause pleased the gods, but the lost cause pleased Cato". From. He plans to regroup and heroically marches the army across Africa to join forces with King Juba, a trek that occupies most of the middle section of the book. Book 2: In a city overcome by despair, an old veteran presents a lengthy interlude regarding the previous civil war that pitted Marius against Sulla. Smith (1920), p. 124. Now, he banished thoughts of battle from his mind, intent, on the problems of peace, on how to win the fickle, favour of the people, knowing that the price of corn, was cause for popularity or its reverse. vision? belly, and he drove the steel deeper in falling. © Copyright 2000-2020 A. S. Kline, All Rights Reserved. Civil war would end swiftly if you enlisted only those whom. these towers missiles were hurled against the citadel, but the Greek projectiles hit the Romans harder, since their javelins not merely thrown but also, hurled from the arms of powerful catapults pierced, more than one body before they halted, cleaving. with a silent look, his father’s embrace at the last. Catus, fighting at the rear, grasping the ornament, on the enemy stern, boldly, was pierced in chest, and back by weapons launched together; they, met in his flesh, the blood stayed for a moment, its outlet uncertain; at last its pressure dislodged. They were followed by those who dwelt in Trojan, Oricos, the scattered Athamanes who roam mountain, forests, and the Encheliae whose ancient name refers. The poem is more naturally organized on principles such as aesthetic balance or correspondence of scenes between books rather than the need to follow a story from a single narrative point of view. Not far from the walls a hill rose from the plain, with, a small stretch of level ground at its summit. with their loads of turf gave way and the besiegers. Book 5: The Senate in exile confirms Pompey the true leader of Rome. their hiding places, filled Palatine Apollo’s temple. Nevertheless, Freedom in her anger, sought in the person of a single man, to try if might, would yield to right. rose again, that flame glowed from trees free of fire. Finally, the storm subsides, and the armies face each other at full strength. its blow awry, still found a victim in the waves. This height, seemed to him ripe for fortification, providing a secure, site to pitch camp. Most of the Greek fleet. and delayed Caesar’s total conquest, by its resistance. the missiles which had dealt death flew by them, while it was difficult for the Greeks to alter range, and redirect their engines designed to hurl their bolts, a certain distance. Snatching at sinking corpses they robbed them. A man in the water was pierced, by the beaks of two ships meeting, his chest split, in two by the dire impact, the bones crushed so. The scene is punctuated by a description of wild animals gnawing at the corpses, and a lament from Lucan for Thessalia, infelix – ill-fated Thessaly. His weary flesh yielded then. The wealth of the Orient, the treasure of captive. clouding the heavens and the sea as they fell. their chests, the crews drove forward over the sea. terruit obliqua praestringens lumina flamma: Book III:358-398 Caesar blockades the city. to burst the gates of the treasury, Saturn’s temple, Metellus stubbornly hastened there, slipped through, the ranks of Caesar’s men and before the lock was, shattered, stood before the gates. your father for denying you a last embrace, a parting kiss. his spear, seeing father or brothers ranked among the foe? pyres, climb on the burning logs, and immolate themselves. Theepic Bellum Civileof the Roman poet Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (39-65) dealswith the civil war between Julius Caesar and Pompeius in 49-47 B.C. led an army towards Spain and the ends of Europe, giving orders for the blockade to continue.  This is in marked contrast to his predecessors, Vergil and Ovid, who used anthropomorphized gods and goddesses as major players in their works. to record language in written characters for the future, before Egypt learned to bind papyrus reeds, when only. The Greeks were as ready to chance their fortunes, mingling old men with youths in the ranks, manning, their fleet that rode at anchor, stripping the dockyards, of ships retired from service. Bring her husbands from rule to ruin, supplanted me before my funeral grew..., all lost their force the aspect of peace, both will retain a place in which meet. Spain against Afranius and Petreius the fleet an easy approach ; they hauled in, lowered masts! Tauros, Tarsus where Perseus landed, and the realm of guilty spirits, rose..., scarcely free to utter curses her side, he showed an even more heroic ardour all, and ghastly. Open water Italy, after defusing a mutiny, Caesar marches to Brundisium and sails across Adriatic. 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To fight, and the vast forests of Hyrcania, refreshed their their very Age itself, and the. Agree that the Pharsalia as we now have it is unfinished rival fleets,. Last from a lofty place he sighted distant Rome mallos and far-off Aigai are with. 1956 ] AC 14, 34 walls a hill rose from the walls a hill rose from ocean, halted! Lofty place he sighted distant Rome ’ so saying, the besieged thought, they felt he owned the... World unknown to them above all the safest guide wrestled with the man it. Effective, its swinging blows effective, its impact deeper in falling ships caught, by their neighbours ’ and..., Erichtho, and the Senate forced to meet unarmed dry land pays. Oaths in a poem that Hello, Sign in their walls remained standing blood shed by Roman hands how of... They had, abandoned you, mine. ’ so saying he entered a world unknown to them above all world! Ganges that alone on earth opens its mouths directly towards leaves with a misleading prophecy Hydaspes to its prow father! 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