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Anatomizing Civil War

Studies in Lucan's Epic Technique

Martin Dinter

Publication Year: 2013

Imperial Latin epic has seen a renaissance of scholarly interest. This book illuminates the work of the poet Lucan, a contemporary of the emperor Nero who as nephew of the imperial adviser Seneca moved in the upper echelons of Neronian society. This

Published by: University of Michigan Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

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pp. vii-viii

With great pleasure I thank the following institutions for their kind and generous support in the course of my research: DAAD, Cusanuswerk—bischöfliche Studienförderung e.V., University of Heidelberg-Cambridge Programme, AHRC, St. John’s College Benefactor Scholarships, The Cambridge European...


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pp. ix-11

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pp. 1-4

Let us mop up the blood and appreciate Lucan’s epic as a work of art, in the guise of the painting that serves as frontispiece. What would art critics have to say about this picture? Would they judge in the same way as the catalog of a recent London exhibition in which Théodore Géricault’s...

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Aide-Mémoire: The Plot of Lucan’s Bellum Civile

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pp. 5-8

To ease the reader into Lucan’s epic and offer orientation in the Bellum Civile I provide a brief summary of the epic’s plot. Book 1: Proem (1–7). Rome could have conquered the rest of the world rather than lead civil war (8–32), but this war was worth all its toil as it leads to Nero’s reign (33–66). Lucan explains the causes of the civil...

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1. Lucan’s Epic Body: Anatomizing Civil War

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pp. 9-49

Lucan’s epic of civil war has been accused of headlessness and interpreted as a truncated torso—a disorganized epic that mirrors the chaos of war on all imaginable levels. With the leitmotif “plus quam” (more than BC 1.1) announced in its very first line this epic strives to be “more than,” and as such aims to...

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2. Embodiments: Lucan and Fama

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pp. 50-88

As we have seen in the previous chapter, Lucan’s epic body is tied together by a wealth of body imagery. In addition Lucan’s writing also reveals his care for himself and his epic body in line with the “ancient concern for lasting glory.” This chapter will further explore which role in Lucan’s epic technique...

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3. Autarchic Limbs: Sententiae in Lucan

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pp. 89-118

We saw in the preceding chapters how Lucan employs both corporeal imagery and language as well as abstract concepts such as Fama as part of his epic technique to bind together the body of his text. This chapter will focus on a further facet of Lucan’s writing style, this time on the level of syntax rather than metaphor. I shall examine...

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4. The Anatomy of Repetition

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pp. 119-154

The subject matter of Lucan’s epic constitutes a turning point of Roman history, when a society that has turned static or “cold,” to use Lévi-Strauss’ terminology, is forced to change. Cold societies have a tendency to neutralize changes through repetition so as to maintain an ideal state. Hot societies, on the other hand, try to define themselves in opposition...


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pp. 155-172

Index Locorum

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pp. 173-184

General Index

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pp. 185-186

E-ISBN-13: 9780472028719
E-ISBN-10: 0472028715
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472118502
Print-ISBN-10: 0472118501

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 828496174
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Anatomizing Civil War

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • Lucan, 39-65. Pharsalia.
  • Lucan, 39-65 -- Technique.
  • Epic poetry, Latin -- History and criticism.
  • Rome -- History -- Civil War, 49-45 B.C. -- Literature and the war.
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