Pharsalia

ISBN-10: 0801481376
ISBN-13: 9780801481376
Edition: N/A
List price: $24.95 Buy it from $3.44
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Description: Lucan's great poem, Pharsalia, recounts events surrounding the decisive battle fought near Pharsalus in 48 B.C. during the civil war between the forces of Pompey and Julius Caesar. Though the subject of this unfinished masterpiece is historical,  More...

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Book details

List price: $24.95
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 12/16/1993
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 368
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.298
Language: English

Lucan's great poem, Pharsalia, recounts events surrounding the decisive battle fought near Pharsalus in 48 B.C. during the civil war between the forces of Pompey and Julius Caesar. Though the subject of this unfinished masterpiece is historical, many of its features are characteristic of epic poetry: Rousing battle scenes; tales of witches, monsters, and miracle; detailed catalogues; intricate similes; and speeches with a high degree of rhetorical elegance. However, Lucan's deft mix of humor and horror, of political satire, literary parody, history, and epic is entirely his own. Jane Wilson Joyce's superb translation conveys the drama and poetry of the original. Her use of natural English rhythms in a loose six-beat line comes close to matching the original Latin hexameters, wile her language preserves Lucan's sequence of images. An enlightening introduction, notes, and a full glossary augment the translation.

Grandson of Seneca the Rhetorican and nephew of Seneca the Philosopher, Lucan was born in Spain and educated in rhetoric in Rome. He was a favorite at Nero's court until the emperor took offense at his precocious literary talent and prevented him from displaying it in public. Lucan then joined a conspiracy against the monarch and was forced to commit suicide. His epic poem "Bellum Civile" (Civil War), also called "Pharsalia," sided with Pompey in his fatal struggle with Julius Caesar. His complex rhetorical style was acclaimed in the Middle Ages; Dante and Chaucer ranked him high as a poet.

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