Lucan (39–65), translated by Kline, A. S. (contact-email)

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Pharsalia, also known as De Bello Civili, is an epic Latin poem by Lucan, chronicling the conflict between Julius Caesar and the Roman Senate under Pompey the Great, climaxing with Caesar’s victory at the 48 BC Battle of Pharsalus. Initially disparaged, the work is now acclaimed for its political and aesthetic significance, especially for Lucan’s deliberate rejection of the supernatural. Lucan began the composition of the poem circa AD 61, and it was published in parts prior to his acrimonious dispute with Emperor Nero. He persevered with the writing notwithstanding Nero’s decree prohibiting his works’ publication. The epic remained incomplete due to Lucan being driven to suicide amid the Pisonian conspiracy in AD 65. The surviving text occupies ten volumes, concluding with Caesar’s activities in Egypt.

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Kline, A. S.

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