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Citizens of DiscordRome and Its Civil Wars$
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Brian Breed, Cynthia Damon, and Andreola Rossi

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195389579

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195389579.001.0001

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Discordia Fratrum: Aspects of Lucan's Conception of Civil War

Discordia Fratrum: Aspects of Lucan's Conception of Civil War

(p.207) 12 Discordia Fratrum: Aspects of Lucan's Conception of Civil War
Citizens of Discord

Elaine Fantham

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at Lucan's historical epic, a representation of the civil wars of the Late Republic from a time decades into the imperial period, arguing that the perpetual conflict of Rome's civil wars becomes a kind of elemental force in Lucan's poem. The appropriate image is not a repeating series but rather a contagious disease: discordia spreads to infect everything from the soldiers on the field of battle to soil of Thessaly to the weather and the cosmos itself. To add this dimension to the narrative Lucan blended the Lucretian inheritance of scientific poetry and his own training in Stoic philosophy into the traditional substrate of historical narrative and epic style.

Keywords:   Lucan, civil war, historical epic, Lucretius, Stoic philosophy, discordia

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