Looking at two descriptions of landscape in Lucan’s Bellum Civile (the sacred grove near Massilia and the Libyan desert), we will try to show that the poet uses bucolic elements to depict some places. However, he does not use these pastoral elements to describe a locus amoenus but a locus horridus. Lucan’s landscape can be defined as an inversion and a subversion of the bucolic one.
Drawing on established connections between Roman identity and an agricultural landscape, this paper examines how the imagery of disrupted pastoral and agrarian landscapes and characters represent the effects of civil war on the Roman people in Vergil’s Aeneid and Lucan’s Bellum Civile. While disturbance and turmoil are already a part of the natural landscape in Vergil’s Eclogues and Georgics, in epic, a genre that concerns itself with how empire and imperial power mediate Roman identity, the displacement of shepherds and agriculture partially redefines Roman identity in militaristic terms. Vergil’s pastoral characters, written into military roles as civic landscapes displace agrarian ones in the Aeneid, survive but fail to find a place in Lucan’s ruined and desolate Pharsalian landscape in the Bellum Civile. There, the broken natural landscape, unfit for agriculture, pastoralism, or trade, mirrors the redefinition of what is “Roman” and the occlusion of Rome’s link to an idealized bucolic past.
The present article examines the concept of a malicious fatum as evolved by the narrator of Lucan's Bellum civile and especially the subjective attitudes adopted by the protagonists Caesar, Pompey and Cato towards this destructive force. Since Lucan's fatum is not benevolent but malicious and hence contrary to the Stoic doctrine, the ethical value of the protagonists is not measured by their readiness to follow fate (as Stoics would have done), but by the degree of their intellectual resistance to fate: Caesar follows fate unhesitatingly; Pompey sometimes seems to believe, mistakenly, in its benevolence, but in crucial and decisive situations he recognizes its malignity; Cato is the only one who, from the very beginning, internalizes the intrinsic moral corruption of fate. The last section in this article deals with a totally different concept of fate, which is recognizeable in some passages of the tenth book of Bellum civile.
In 1640 Thomas May publishes his Supplementum Lucani in hexameters. His Continuation of Lucan's Historicall Poem till the Death of Iulius Caesar in blank verse has already appeared in 1630 and - in a second version - in 1633. As republican the author is fond of M. Porcius Cato Uticensis, depicting Caesar's opponent as a stoic and wise man and a timeless symbol of liberty. May's Supplementum was read as integral part of Lucan's Bellum Civile up to the 18th century, when Joseph Addison and Johann Christoph Gottsched wrote their Cato-plays.
The messenger speeches in some of Seneca's tragedies (the most extensive ones can be read in Agamemnon and Hercules Furens) constitute special epic details of the works. Their narrative technique, intertextual references and representation of time link them not with the dramatic literary form, but with the epic one, and Vergil's Aeneid is, beyond any doubt, their most important 'hypertextus'. The setting of the messenger reports has not been subordinated to the dramatic efficacy of the main conflict, they produce rather a generic multiplicity. The reform of closed literary forms and the generic heterogeneity are not unique phenomena in the literary life of this period; the meaning and importance of the innovation made by Seneca cannot be judged separately from the most important literary achievements of the period: Luc an's Bellum Civile and Petronius' Satyricon