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Title: Through a stoic looking glass (darkly) : reflections of Caesar in Lucan's Civil war
Author: Thomas, Samantha Jayne
ISNI:       0000 0001 2417 0221
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2010
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In this thesis I shall reconsider the Stoic figuring in the character of Caesar in Lucan's Civil War, and in particular its relevance within this Neronian epic. Here, the interaction between Lucan and Seneca will be significant. In Seneca's essay De Clementia, he addressed the young emperor Nero directly, in order to hold up a mirror to Nero so that he may view himself as 'Caesar', and to understand what it means to hold such a position. In this thesis I shall explore the extent to which Lucan's poem may also be configured as a 'mirror' that is both Stoic and Caesarian. However the reflections that will follow are multiple: in my reading, Caesar is no straightforward 'exemplar of evil'. He remains, at times, shockingly arrogant and sacrilegious, and the crimes enacted in his name are difficult to countenance. But he is also a revolutionary figure, overturning a corrupt republic, driven by his men and the will of the people. At times he appears courageous and resourceful, a Caesar who is both informed and facilitated by Stoicism. Caesar is an exemplum in the sense of both 'warning' and 'precedent': a reflection, perhaps, held up to Nero in order that he might glimpse what it might mean to be Caesar: a reflection that is far more complex and arguably far less flattering than the one provided by Seneca. Lucan's Caesar is indefatigable, but he also appears vulnerable and isolated. He is an outrageous criminal, but he will suffer as he is recast as Rome's new figurehead, the target for all Rome's blame. Lucan's Caesar is criminal (nefas), on his way to becoming divine (divus), and it is within this tension, I will suggest, that we may finally glimpse a Caesar who is more human, sympathetic, but always - necessarily - deeply problematicized.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available