Editor: Paolo Asso
Although it was labeled an anti-epic for trumping the celebratory scope of the Roman national epos, Lucan’s Bellum Civile is a hymn to lost republican liberty composed under Nero’s tyrannical empire. Lucan lost his life in a foiled conspiracy to replace the emperor, but his poem survived the wreckage of antiquity and enjoyed uninterrupted readership. The present collection samples the most current approaches to Lucan’s poem, its themes, its dialogue with other texts, its reception in medieval and early modern literature, and its relevance to audiences of all times.
In: Brill's Companion to Lucan
In: Brill's Companion to Lucan
In: Brill's Companion to Lucan
In: Brill's Companion to Lucan
In: Brill's Companion to Silius Italicus
Author: Paolo Asso

Abstract

In book 9 Lucan rationalizes on the myth of the godsend shield fallen from the sky into King Numa’s hands. Lucan’s debunking of an ancestral Roman myth highlights the tension between the celebratory function of the nationalepic genre and its implicit critique of present and past values. In the peculiarly interstitial nature of the Syrtes, left by nature halfway between earth and water, wind- and sandstorms intervene to collapse the discursive boundaries between myth and science.The chapter shows how, by deploying the stormas a traditional epic device, Lucan manipulates his literary genre to intensify the expectations of his audience and to suggest that the mythical knowledge contained in the memory of Rome’s sacred past might have originally surfaced merely as the misinterpretation of a weather phenomenon.

In: Brill's Companion to Lucan
In: Brill's Companion to Lucan