Lucan: De bello civili Book II

In this edition Professor Fantham offers the first full-scale commentary on the neglected second book of Lucan’s epic poem on the war between Caesar and Pompey: De bello civili. Book II presents all three leading figures - Cato, Caesar and Pompey - in speech and action. It expresses the moral and political dilemma of civil war and portrays Pompey’s loss of authority during his withdrawal from Italy in language designed to evoke and cancel Virgil’s heroic presentation of the foundation myth of Aeneas. In her introduction, Professor Fantham gives a general account of Lucan’s life and work and continues with a discussion of his narrative and interpretation of Caesar’s military ‘invasion’ of Italy covering Books I and II, a survey of language, style and metre, and a brief history of the text. The commentary, besides supplying all necessary grammatical explanation and some assistance with translation, aims to provide the political, historical and geographical background to Lucan’s epic narrative.

• Only student-level edition of this book of Lucan’s De bello civili available • Lucan’s star is rising - see our forthcoming monograph by Jamie Masters: Poetry and Civil War in Lucan’s Bellum Civile • There is only one other student-level commentary on any book of Lucan - Roland Mayer’s edition of Lucan Book VIII from Aris and Philips - so an alternative text to use should be popular with teachers


Introduction; 1. De bello civili: the poet and the poem; 2. Lucan’s work in the epic tradition; 3. The Civil War: history and poetic interpretation; 4. Language, style and versification; 5. The text M. Annaei Lvcani De bello civili liber secvndvs; Commentary; Chronological table of events from 88–49 BC; Parallel summaries of Lucan, De bello civili I-II, Livy, Periocha and Caesar, Bellum civile 1; Appendices: 1. A Neronian critic of Lucan?; 2. The capture of Corfinium; 3. Cato’s decision and Seneca’s appraisal; Bibliography; Index.