Pharsalia (The Civil War)
Arthur L. Humphreys, 1919
Lucan's poem contains references to and descriptions of several bestiary animals, and was a source for medieval natural history writers such as Isidore of Seville.
"Lucan's 'Pharsalia' (or, 'Civil War', as many scholars now prefer to call it) was written approximately a century after the events it chronicles took place. Lucan's 'Pharsalia' was left (probably) unfinished upon his death, coincidentally breaking off at almost the exact same point where Julius Caesar broke off in his commentary 'On the Civil War'. Ten books are extant; no one knows how many more Lucan planned, but two to six more books (possibly taking the story as far as Caesar's assassination in B.C. 46) seem a reasonable estimate. It should be noted that, as history, Lucan's work is far from being scrupulously accurate, frequently ignoring historical fact for the benefit of drama and rhetoric. For this reason, it should not be read as a reliable account of the Roman Civil War. However, as a work of poetic literature, it has few rivals; its powerful depiction of civil war and its consequences have haunted readers for centuries, and prompted many Medieval and Renaissance poets to regard Lucan among the ranks of Homer, Virgil, and Ovid." - [Douglas B. Killings, etext edition editor]
Last update March 23, 2022