The Info List - Lucan

Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (November 3, 39 AD – April 30, 65 AD), better known in English as Lucan
(/ˈluːkən/), was a Roman poet, born in Corduba (modern-day Córdoba), in Hispania Baetica. Despite his short life, he is regarded as one of the outstanding figures of the Imperial Latin
period. His youth and speed of composition set him apart from other poets.


1 Life 2 Works 3 Selected modern studies 4 Notes 5 References 6 External links

Life[edit] Three brief ancient accounts allow for the reconstruction of a modest biography – the earliest attributed to Suetonius, another to an otherwise unknown Vacca, and the third anonymous and undated – along with references in Martial, Cassius Dio, Tacitus's Annals, and one of Statius's Silvae. Lucan
was the son of Marcus Annaeus Mela and grandson of Seneca the Elder; he grew up under the tutelage of his uncle Seneca the Younger. Born into a wealthy family, he studied rhetoric at Athens and was probably provided with a philosophical and Stoic education by his uncle.[1]

Engraved title page of a French edition of Lucan's Pharsalia, 1657

His wife was Polla Argentaria, who is said to have assisted him with his Pharsalia.[2] He found success under Nero, became one of the emperor's close friends and was rewarded with a quaestorship in advance of the legal age. In 60 AD, he won a prize for extemporizing Orpheus and Laudes Neronis at the quinquennial Neronia, and was again rewarded when the emperor appointed him to the augurate. During this time he circulated the first three books of his epic poem, Pharsalia
(labelled De Bello civili in the manuscripts), which told the story of the civil war between Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
and Pompey. At some point, a feud began between Nero
and Lucan. Two very different accounts of the events have survived that both trivialize the feud. According to Tacitus, Nero
became jealous of Lucan
and forbade him to publish his poems.[3] According to Suetonius, Nero
lost interest in Lucan
and Lucan
responded by writing insulting poems about Nero
that Nero
continued to ignore.[4] Other works, though, point to a more serious basis to the feud. Works by the grammarian Vacca and the poet Statius
may support the claim that Lucan
wrote insulting poems about Nero. Vacca mentions that one of Lucan's works was entitled De Incendio Urbis (On the Burning of the City).[5] Statius's ode to Lucan
mentions that Lucan
described how the "unspeakable flames of the criminal tyrant roamed the heights of Remus."[6] Additionally, the later books of Pharsalia
are anti-Imperial and pro-Republic. This criticism of Nero
and office of the Emperor may have been the true cause of the ban. Lucan
later joined the 65 AD conspiracy of Gaius Calpurnius Piso against Nero. His treason discovered, he was obliged, at the age of 25, to commit suicide by opening a vein, but not before incriminating his mother, among others, in the hopes of a pardon. According to Tacitus, as Lucan
bled to death, "(he) recalled some poetry he had composed in which he had told the story of a wounded soldier dying a similar kind of death and he recited the very lines. These were his last words."[7] His father was involved in the proscription but his mother escaped. Statius's poem about Lucan
was addressed to his widow, Polla Argentaria, upon the occasion of his birthday during the reign of Domitian
(Silvae, ii.7, the Genethliacon Lucani).


Pharsalia, 1740

According to Vacca and Statius, Lucan's works included: Surviving work:

or De Bello Civili (On the Civil War), on the wars between Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
and Pompey

Often attributed to him (but to others as well):

Laus Pisonis (Praise of Piso), a panegyric of a member of the Piso family

Lost works:

Catachthonion Iliacon from the Trojan cycle Epigrammata Adlocutio
ad Pollam Silvae Saturnalia Medea Salticae Fabulae Laudes Neronis, a praise of Nero Orpheus Prosa oratio in Octavium Sagittam Epistulae ex Campania De Incendio Urbis, on the Roman fire of 64, perhaps accusing Nero
of arson

Library resources about Lucan

Online books Resources in your library Resources in other libraries

By Lucan

Online books Resources in your library Resources in other libraries

Selected modern studies[edit]

Ahl, Frederick M. Lucan: An Introduction. Cornell Studies in Classical Philology 39. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Pr., 1976. Bartsch, Shadi. Ideology in Cold Blood: A Reading of Lucan's Civil War. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Pr., 1997. Braund, Susanna M. (2008) Lucan: Civil War. Oxford World’s Classics. Oxford University Press. Braund, Susanna M. (2009) A Lucan
Reader: Selections from Civil War. BC Latin
Readers. Bolchazy-Carducci. Dewar, Michael. "Laying It On with a Trowel: The Proem to Lucan
and Related Texts." Classical Quarterly 44 (1994), 199–211. Fantham, Elaine. "Caesar and the Mutiny: Lucan's Reshaping of the Historical Tradition in De Bello Civili 5.237–373." Classical Philology 80 (1985), 119–31. Fantham, Elaine (1992) De bello civili. Book II. Cambridge Greek and Latin
Classics. Cambridge University Press. ———. "Lucan's Medusa Excursus: Its Design and Purpose." Materiali e discussioni 29 (1992), 95–119. Fratantuono, Lee. "Madness Triumphant: A Reading of Lucan's Pharsalia." Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2012. Henderson, John G. W. "Lucan: The Word at War." Ramus 16 (1987), 122–64. Johnson, Walter R. Momentary Monsters: Lucan
and His Heroes. Cornell Studies in Classical Philology 47. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Pr., 1987. Lapidge, M. "Lucan's Imagery of Cosmic Dissolution." Hermes 107 (1979), 344–70. Leigh, Matthew. Lucan: Spectacle and Engagement. New York: Oxford Univ. Pr., 1997. Marti, Berthe. "The Meaning of the Pharsalia." American Journal of Philology 66 (1945), 352–76. Martindale, Charles A. "The Politician Lucan." Greece and Rome
31 (1984), 64–79. Masters, Jamie. Poetry and Civil War in Lucan's 'Bellum Civile'. Cambridge Classical Studies. New York: Cambridge Univ. Pr., 1992. ———. "Deceiving the Reader: The Political Mission of Lucan's Bellum Civile." Reflections of Nero: Culture, History, and Representation, ed. Jás Elsner and Jamie Masters. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Pr., 1994. 151–77. Matthews, Monica (2008) Caesar and the Storm: A Commentary on Lucan, De Bello Civili, Book 5, lines 476-721. Peter Lang. Morford, M. P. O. The Poet
Lucan. New York: Oxford Univ. Pr., 1967. O'Gorman, Ellen. "Shifting Ground: Lucan, Tacitus, and the Landscape of Civil War." Hermathena 159 (1995), 117–31. Rossi, Andreola. "Remapping the Past: Caesar's Tale of Troy ( Lucan
BC 9.964–999)." Phoenix 55 (2001), 313–26. Sklenar, Robert John. The Taste for Nothingness: A Study of "Virtus" and Related Themes in Lucan's Bellum Civile. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Mich. Pr., 2003. Thomas, Richard F. "The Stoic Landscape of Lucan
9." Lands and Peoples in Roman Poetry: The Ethnographic Tradition. New York: Cambridge Univ. Pr., 1982. 108–23. Wick, Claudia (2004) Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Bellum Civile, liber IX. I: Einleitung, Text und Übersetzung; II: Kommentar. K.G. Saur. Wilson Joyce, Jane (1994) Lucan: Pharsalia. Cornell University Press.


^ Suetonius, "Life of Lucan" ^ Hays, Mary (1807). "Polla Argentaria". Female Biography, vol 3. Philadelphia: Printed for Byrch and Small. p. 95. Retrieved 14 October 2017.  ^ Tacitus, Annals XV.49 ^ Suetonius, "Life of Lucan" ^ Vacca, Life of Lucan ^ Statius, Silvae
II.vii ^ Tacitus, Annals XV.70.1. Scholars have vainly tried to locate Lucan's last words in his work but no passage in Lucan's extant poem exactly matches Tacitus's description at "Annals" 15.70.1. See, e.g., P. Asso, "A Commentary on Lucan
'De Bello Civili IV.'" Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010, p. 9n38.


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Lucan". Encyclopædia Britannica. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 91–92. 

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Marcus Annaeus Lucanus

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lucan.

Works by Lucan
at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Lucan
at Internet Archive Marcus Annaeus Lucanus: text, concordances and frequency list Text of Lucan
at the Latin

v t e

Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome

Outline Timeline


Foundation Kingdom




Pax Romana Principate Dominate Western Empire

fall historiography of the fall

Byzantine Empire

decline fall


History Kingdom Republic Empire Late Empire Senate Legislative assemblies

Curiate Centuriate Tribal Plebeian

Executive magistrates SPQR


Curia Forum Cursus honorum Collegiality Emperor Legatus Dux Officium Prefect Vicarius Vigintisexviri Lictor Magister militum Imperator Princeps senatus Pontifex Maximus Augustus Caesar Tetrarch Optimates Populares Province



Consul Censor Praetor Tribune Tribune
of the Plebs Military tribune Quaestor Aedile Promagistrate Governor


Rex Interrex Dictator Magister Equitum Decemviri Consular Tribune Triumvir


Twelve Tables Mos maiorum Citizenship Auctoritas Imperium Status Litigation


Borders Establishment Structure Campaigns Political control Strategy Engineering Frontiers and fortifications


Technology Army

Legion Infantry tactics Personal equipment Siege engines

Navy Auxiliaries Decorations and punishments Hippika gymnasia


Agriculture Deforestation Commerce Finance Currency Republican currency Imperial currency


Abacus Numerals Civil engineering Military engineering Military technology Aqueducts Bridges Circus Concrete Domes Forum Metallurgy Roads Sanitation Thermae


Architecture Art Bathing Calendar Clothing Cosmetics Cuisine Hairstyles Education Literature Music Mythology Religion Romanization Sexuality Theatre Wine


Patricians Plebs Conflict of the Orders Secessio plebis Equites Gens Tribes Naming conventions Demography Women Marriage Adoption Slavery Bagaudae


History Alphabet Versions

Old Classical Vulgar Late Medieval Renaissance New Contemporary Ecclesiastical

Romance languages



Ammianus Marcellinus Appian Appuleius Asconius Pedianus Augustine Aurelius Victor Ausonius Boëthius Caesar Catullus Cassiodorus Censorinus Cicero Claudian Columella Ennius Eutropius Fabius Pictor Festus Florus Frontinus Fulgentius Gellius Horace Jerome Juvenal Livy Lucan Lucretius Macrobius Marcus Aurelius Martial Orosius Ovid Petronius Phaedrus Plautus Pliny the Elder Pliny the Younger Priscian Propertius Quintilian Quintus Curtius Rufus Sallust Seneca the Elder Seneca the Younger Servius Sidonius Apollinaris Statius Suetonius Symmachus Tacitus Terence Tertullian Tibullus Valerius Antias Valerius Maximus Varro Velleius Paterculus Verrius Flaccus Virgil Vitruvius


Arrian Cassius Dio Diodorus Siculus Dionysius of Halicarnassus Dioscorides Eusebius of Caesaria Galen Herodian Josephus Pausanias Philostratus Phlegon of Tralles Photius Plutarch Polybius Porphyrius Procopius Strabo Zonaras Zosimus

Major cities

Alexandria Antioch Aquileia Berytus Bononia Carthage Constantinopolis Eboracum Leptis Magna Londinium Lutetia Mediolanum Pompeii Ravenna Roma Smyrna Vindobona Volubilis

Lists and other topics

Cities and towns Climate Consuls Distinguished women Emperors Generals Gentes Geographers Institutions Laws Legacy Legions Nomina Tribunes Wars and battles

Fiction Films

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 100902938 LCCN: n79089234 ISNI: 0000 0001 2145 5029 GND: 118574701 SELIBR: 207007 SUDOC: 026997029 BNF: cb11913555f (data) NLA: 35315091 NDL: 001125252 NKC: jn19990005207 BNE: XX878484 SN