A Commentary on Lucan, ''De bello civili'' IV by Paolo Asso

By Paolo Asso

Booklet four of Lucan??s epic contrasts Europe with Africa. on the conflict of Lerida (Spain), a violent hurricane factors the neighborhood rivers to flood the obvious among the 2 hills the place the opposing armies are camped. Asso??s observation lines Lucan??s recollections of early Greek stories of production, whilst Chaos held the weather in vague confusion. This primordial broth units the tone for the full ebook. After the conflict, the scene switches to the Adriatic shore of Illyricum (Albania), and at last to Africa, the place the proto-mythical water of the start of the ebook cedes to the dryness of the desolate tract. The narrative unfolds opposed to the historical past of the conflict of the weather. The Spanish deluge is changed via the desiccated desolation of Africa. The remark contrasts the representations of Rome with Africa and explores the importance of Africa as an area infected via evil, yet which continues to be an essential component of Rome. besides Lucan??s different geographic and natural-scientific discussions, Africa??s place as part of the Roman international is painstakingly supported through astronomic and geographic erudition in Lucan??s mixing of medical and mythological discourse. The poet is a visionary who helps his fact claims via medical discourse.

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In these boats, the soldiers crossed and hastened to bend the cut wood on both banks. Fearing the growing river, Caesar set the timber not on the edge of the nearest banks, but stretched the bridge into the middle of the fields. Furthermore, lest it dare another flood, the Sicoris was scattered in furrows and, split into streamlets, it paid the price for its over-swelling waters. After he sees that everything goes according to Caesar’s will, Petreius abandons high Ilerda and lacking confidence in the power of the known world, goes to the end of the earth, in search of unconquerable peoples who in their lust for death always bear arms.

At times, the focus on a part rather than the whole intensifies dramatic effects, as when the soldiers, denied their chance to epic action, appear compressed onto each other and they are mere 782 stipata… membra. There are times when L. seems to think in terms of association by synecdoche, as when Curio’s death functions as Juba’s offer of last rites to the ghost of Hannibal (see below ad 789-90). Affecting in various guises the normal line of thought, hypallage (‘interchange, exchange’)86 obtains highly dramatic effects especially when its use animates the inanimate by posing it as the syntactical subject, or the vocative in an apostrophe with an outcome that resembles personification: 96 pallida tabes (cf.

90 The ichneumon is the North-African local variety of a snake-eating animal similar to the mongoose. 91 Heitland 1887, lxxxvi, considers the soldiers likened to gladiators as a simile rather than a metaphor or part of an extended allegory (but see above); his list of similes for the portion of Book IX treated here includes 460-2 (column of dust = column of smoke) and 494 (stars to travelers in the desert = stars to sailors in the sea). Introduction 29 that L. is intentionally relying on a gladiatorial allegory throughout the poem (see ad 613-14, 620, 622, 708-10, 725, 784-7; cf.

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