A Controversial Life

In: Brill's Companion to Lucan


We know very little about Lucan’s personal life but his artistic dispute with Nero has been a matter of controversy in ancient and modern scholarship. Forbidden to perform his poetry, Lucan discovered the need for a coup and joined a conspiracy remarkable for its foolish intention (to replace one admittedly demented ruler with another more conventional one), its poor leadership, and its leaky indiscretion.The present chapter retraces the scholarly interpretation of Lucan’s dispute with Nero by emphasizing the artistic rather than the political aspects.


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