Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-768dbb666b-k9l4c Total loading time: 0.382 Render date: 2023-02-04T15:54:20.287Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Chapter 3 - Empire without End

Vergil, Aeneid, and Lucan, De bello civili

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 October 2022

Michèle Lowrie
Affiliation:
University of Chicago
Barbara Vinken
Affiliation:
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munchen
Get access

Summary

De bello civili may be an anti-Aeneid, but the contrast depends on a deeper accord. Both poems look back: to the mythic backstory of Rome’s foundation and to the history of the Republic’s fall. Both comment on the present. The inscription of civil war tropes into Rome’s foundation asks whether internal violence is endemic, or if the Augustan refoundation can put Rome on a more secure footing. The Republic’s death at the hands of Pompey and Caesar founds the Empire on perennial discord. The civil war tropes undergirding Vergil’s integrative story become the literal plot of Lucan’s. Foundation and defoundation share tropes: fratricide and rape. In Vergil, these tell an alternative story to the golden age the poem proclaims. In Lucan, the Augustan settlement disappears. As in the Aeneid, discord subtly defines the present: The panegyric to Nero defers peace to an uncertain future as effectively as the Aeneid’s defers the Augustan peace. Alternative cities – Troy, Carthage – reveal Rome’s perverse nature in Vergil. Caesar, embroiled with Cleopatra, founds an oriental empire in Lucan. Turmoil within the soul, between lovers, within peoples, and in the cosmos belies both poems’ promise.

Type
Chapter
Information
Civil War and the Collapse of the Social Bond
The Roman Tradition at the Heart of the Modern
, pp. 82 - 143
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Empire without End
  • Michèle Lowrie, University of Chicago, Barbara Vinken, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munchen
  • Book: Civil War and the Collapse of the Social Bond
  • Online publication: 06 October 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009029995.005
Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Empire without End
  • Michèle Lowrie, University of Chicago, Barbara Vinken, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munchen
  • Book: Civil War and the Collapse of the Social Bond
  • Online publication: 06 October 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009029995.005
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Empire without End
  • Michèle Lowrie, University of Chicago, Barbara Vinken, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munchen
  • Book: Civil War and the Collapse of the Social Bond
  • Online publication: 06 October 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009029995.005
Available formats
×