Lucan’s Bellum civile (often quoted under the alternative title Pharsalia) on the civil war between Caesar and Pompey proved to be one of the most influential Latin epics, in spite or probably just because of its challenging style and provocative subject-matter. The biographical tradition that depicts its author as a young genius meeting a premature tragic fate, as the emperor Nero forced him to commit suicide at the age of twenty-six, helped to turn the poet and his epic legacy into legendary figures.

Modern scholarship has struggled to come to terms with several issues raised by the work, resulting in widely divergent opinions about its alleged political or philosophical message (for the older …

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Ambühl, Annemarie. "Bellum civile". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 August 2014
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]