The Info List - Lucan

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MARCUS ANNAEUS LUCANUS (November 3, 39 AD – April 30, 65 AD), better known in English as LUCAN (/ˈluːkən/ ), was a Roman poet , born in Corduba (modern-day Córdoba ), in Hispania Baetica . Despite his short life, he is regarded as one of the outstanding figures of the Imperial Latin period. His youth and speed of composition set him apart from other poets.


* 1 Life * 2 Works * 3 Selected modern studies * 4 Notes * 5 References * 6 External links


Three brief ancient accounts allow for the reconstruction of a modest biography – the earliest attributed to Suetonius , another to an otherwise unknown Vacca , and the third anonymous and undated – along with references in Martial , Cassius Dio , Tacitus 's _Annals,_ and one of Statius 's _Silvae_. Lucan was the son of Marcus Annaeus Mela and grandson of Seneca the Elder ; he grew up under the tutelage of his uncle Seneca the Younger . Born into a wealthy family, he studied rhetoric at Athens and was probably provided with a philosophical and Stoic education by his uncle. _ Engraved title page of a French edition of Lucan's Pharsalia_, 1657

He found success under Nero , became one of the emperor's close friends and was rewarded with a quaestorship in advance of the legal age. In 60 AD, he won a prize for extemporizing _Orpheus_ and _Laudes Neronis_ at the quinquennial Neronia , and was again rewarded when the emperor appointed him to the augurate. During this time he circulated the first three books of his epic poem, _ Pharsalia _ (labelled _De Bello civili_ in the manuscripts), which told the story of the civil war between Julius Caesar and Pompey .

At some point, a feud began between Nero and Lucan. Two very different accounts of the events have survived that both trivialize the feud. According to Tacitus, Nero became jealous of Lucan and forbade him to publish his poems. According to Suetonius, Nero lost interest in Lucan and Lucan responded by writing insulting poems about Nero that Nero continued to ignore.

Other works, though, point to a more serious basis to the feud. Works by the grammarian Vacca and the poet Statius may support the claim that Lucan wrote insulting poems about Nero. Vacca mentions that one of Lucan's works was entitled _De Incendio Urbis_ (On the Burning of the City). Statius's ode to Lucan mentions that Lucan described how the "unspeakable flames of the criminal tyrant roamed the heights of Remus." Additionally, the later books of _Pharsalia_ are anti-Imperial and pro-Republic. This criticism of Nero and office of the Emperor may have been the true cause of the ban.

Lucan later joined the 65 AD conspiracy of Gaius Calpurnius Piso against Nero. His treason discovered, he was obliged, at the age of 25, to commit suicide by opening a vein, but not before incriminating his mother, among others, in the hopes of a pardon . According to Tacitus, as Lucan bled to death, "(he) recalled some poetry he had composed in which he had told the story of a wounded soldier dying a similar kind of death and he recited the very lines. These were his last words."

His father was involved in the proscription but his mother escaped. Statius's poem about Lucan was addressed to his widow, Polla Argentaria, upon the occasion of his birthday during the reign of Domitian (_Silvae_, ii.7, the _Genethliacon Lucani_).


According to Vacca and Statius, Lucan's works included:

Surviving work:

* _ Pharsalia _ or _De Bello Civili_ (On the Civil War), on the wars between Julius Caesar and Pompey

Often attributed to him (but to others as well):

* _ Laus Pisonis _ (Praise of Piso), a panegyric of a member of the Piso family

Lost works:

* _Catachthonion_ * _Iliacon_ from the Trojan cycle * _Epigrammata_ * _ Adlocutio ad Pollam_ * _Silvae_ * _Saturnalia_ * _Medea_ * _Salticae Fabulae_ * _Laudes Neronis_, a praise of Nero * _Orpheus_ * _Prosa oratio in Octavium Sagittam_ * _Epistulae ex Campania_ * _De Incendio Urbis_, on the Roman fire of 64, perhaps accusing Nero of arson


* Ahl, Frederick M. _Lucan: An Introduction_. Cornell Studies in Classical Philology 39. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Pr., 1976. * Bartsch, Shadi. _Ideology in Cold Blood: A Reading of Lucan's Civil War_. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Pr., 1997. * Dewar, Michael. "Laying It On with a Trowel: The Proem to Lucan and Related Texts." _Classical Quarterly_ 44 (1994), 199–211. * Fantham, Elaine. "Caesar and the Mutiny: Lucan's Reshaping of the Historical Tradition in _De Bello Civili_ 5.237–373." _Classical Philology_ 80 (1985), 119–31. * ———. "Lucan's Medusa Excursus: Its Design and Purpose." _Materiali e discussioni_ 29 (1992), 95–119. * Fratantuono, Lee. "Madness Triumphant: A Reading of Lucan's Pharsalia." Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2012. * Henderson, John G. W. "Lucan: The Word at War." _Ramus_ 16 (1987), 122–64. * Johnson, Walter R. _Momentary Monsters: Lucan and His Heroes_. Cornell Studies in Classical Philology 47. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Pr., 1987. * Lapidge, M. "Lucan's Imagery of Cosmic Dissolution." _Hermes_ 107 (1979), 344–70. * Leigh, Matthew. _Lucan: Spectacle and Engagement_. New York: Oxford Univ. Pr., 1997. * Marti, Berthe. "The Meaning of the Pharsalia." _American Journal of Philology_ 66 (1945), 352–76. * Martindale, Charles A. "The Politician Lucan." _Greece and Rome_ 31 (1984), 64–79. * Masters, Jamie. _Poetry and Civil War in Lucan's 'Bellum Civile'_. Cambridge Classical Studies. New York: Cambridge Univ. Pr., 1992. * ———. "Deceiving the Reader: The Political Mission of Lucan's Bellum Civile." _Reflections of Nero: Culture, History, and Representation_, ed. Jás Elsner and Jamie Masters. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Pr., 1994. 151–77. * Morford, M. P. O. _The Poet Lucan_. New York: Oxford Univ. Pr., 1967. * O'Gorman, Ellen. "Shifting Ground: Lucan, Tacitus, and the Landscape of Civil War." _Hermathena_ 159 (1995), 117–31. * Rossi, Andreola. "Remapping the Past: Caesar's Tale of Troy (Lucan _BC_ 9.964–999)." _Phoenix_ 55 (2001), 313–26. * Sklenar, Robert John. _The Taste for Nothingness: A Study of "Virtus" and Related Themes in Lucan's_ Bellum Civile. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Mich. Pr., 2003. * Thomas, Richard F. "The Stoic Landscape of Lucan 9." _Lands and Peoples in Roman Poetry: The Ethnographic Tradition_. New York: Cambridge Univ. Pr., 1982. 108–23.


* ^ Suetonius, "Life of Lucan" * ^ Tacitus, _Annals_ XV.49 * ^ Suetonius, "Life of Lucan" * ^ Vacca, _Life of Lucan_ * ^ Statius, _ Silvae _ II.vii * ^ Tacitus, _Annals_ XV.70.1. Scholars have vainly tried to locate Lucan's last words in his work but no passage in Lucan's extant poem exactly matches Tacitus's description at "Annals" 15.70.1. See, e.g., P. Asso, "A Commentary on Lucan 'De Bello Civili IV.'" Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010, p. 9n38.


* _ This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Lucan". Encyclopædia Britannica _. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 91–92.


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