Marcus Annaeus Lucan

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lucan, Marcus Annaeus


Born A.D. 39 in Cordoba, Spain; died A.D. 65, in Rome. Roman poet. Nephew of the philosopher Seneca.

Lucan took part in a plot against Nero, for which he committed suicide on Nero’s orders. Lucan’s only surviving work is an unfinished historical narrative poem in ten chapters, Pharsalia, or The Civil War, which describes the war between Caesar and Pompey (49-47 B.C.); the poem’s climactic moment is the battle at Pharsala. The work is imbued with the attitudes of the senatorial opposition, which felt that Caesar’s victory signified the end of Roman liberty. The philosophical basis of the poem is stoicism. Tragic pathos, rhetoric, and the piling-on of horrors define the expressiveness and tension of the style.


De hello civili. Edited by P. Wuilleumier and H. Le Bonniec. Paris, 1962.
In Russian translation:
Farsaliia, Hi Poema o grazhdanskoi voine. Moscow-Leningrad, 1951.


Morford, M. P. O. The Poet Lucan: Studies in Rhetorical Epic. Oxford, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.