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Arma nefasque cano : a commentary on Lucan's Bellum Civile 8.560-711 Glukhovskyy, Anton


The purpose of this study is to investigate and observe the complexity of Lucan’s Bellum Civile 8.560-711, the scene of Pompey’s death, which is treated as a centerpiece of the epic. The author includes the Latin text with detailed notes and appendices that encompass literary and linguistic material, situate the passage in the epic as a whole and show its importance in our understanding of texture and rhythm of the Bellum Civile. Lucan gives Pompey’s death a dimension of a ‘true Pharsalus’ as he zooms in on the individual, most important death of the war. It marks the highest point in the changing rhythm of the epic and serves as its climax following the anticlimactic battle of Pharsalus. As Lucan winds up the narrative toward the end of Book 6, the battle of Pharsalus compromises the expectations and dramatic charge until it renews again in Book 8 to culminate in Pompey’s death. The commentary closely examines linguistic issues such as Lucan’s style and expression as well as literary parallels that concentrate on the passage’s rich texture and its place in the Roman epic. Close attention is also given to examination of thematic trends in the passage and their relation to the rest of the epic. A set of appendices at the end comprises a series of essays that deal with larger issues that transcend the commentary format and provide a holistic treatment of topics such as placement of the passage in Book 8 and the entire epic, Pompey’s character and structure of the passage. The present study engages with the most recent commentary on Book 8 in English by R. Mayer and brings still more recent scholarship to illustrate the richness and complexity of Lucan’s thematic design and language all of which lead to a clearer understanding of the Bellum Civile.

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