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Götter und menschliche Willensfreiheit

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Thomas Baier

II. Lucan

Ethical Judgment and Narratorial Apostrophe in Lucan’s Bellum Civile

Shadi Bartsch

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  • 1 The gods’ lack of agency is in sharp contradistinction to their role in the epic tradition, e.g. t (...)

1Scholars of the Bellum Civile have often remarked that the Olympian gods are absent from the epic’s action. In contrast to Lucan’s antecedent, the Aeneid, and to the epic tradition itself, the workings of the divine apparatus here remain invisible to the readers, the characters, and our intrusive narrator alike; at no point in the poem does the will of any Olympian shape the outcome of the narrative; at no point does an Olympian god alight on earth to influence the action.1 It has been less often remarked that this absence is of fundamental concern to the narrator, who obsessively addresses the question of what their status might be; unlike the epic’s protagonists, whose views are traditional, those of the narrator are both confused and variegated.

  • 2 Apostrophe inherently animates and as such brings into presence what is absent. As Culler remarks, (...)
  • 3 As Bramble notes, “The deorum ministeria of previous epic are replaced by the sympathetic reaction (...)

2Accordingly, while the deorum ministeria may not shape the narrative, they are very much present in another sense through the narrator’s focalizations. Are they absent? Present, but uncaring? Unhelpful, but still listening to human prayer? We are not given to know. Sometimes the narrator opines that “mortal affairs are of no concern to any god” (“mortalia nulli / sunt curata deo”, 7, 454–5) – and then follow up such claims with complaints that they care nothing for mortal affairs; at another time he will ask Jupiter why he grants foreknowledge to human beings via omens (“cur hanc tibi, rector Olympi, / sollicitis uisum mortalibus addere curam, / noscant uenturas ut dira per omina clades?”, 2, 4–6), which suggests that the god might at least be listening to human complaints; at yet another time he will put the gods squarely on the wrong side, as with his famous contrast of Cato’s moral judgment and the divine one: “uictrix causa deis placuit sed uicta Catoni” (1, 128; cf. 4, 254–55). Some of his apostrophes assume the gods’ existence (e.g. “o faciles dare summa deos eademque tueri difficiles!”, 1, 510–11),2 others suggest they may yet intervene to prevent the outcome of the civil war (e.g. 4, 110ff., in which he asks Jupiter and Neptune to flood the fields of Ilerda) or that they yet have the power to inspire the priestess at Delphi (“magno exaestuat igne / iratum te, Phoebe, ferens”, 5, 173–4). Finally, the narrator can suggest that the gods, while existent, are weaker than other unworldly forces, such as Erictho (6, 429ff.)3 or that they only have the power to punish the weak, whom Fortune has already picked on (“Fortune guards many of the guilty, and the gods can only be angry at the weak / unlucky” (3, 447–9). In other words, the narrator variously evinces (a) the view that the gods should prevent terrible things but haven’t, possibly because they are helpless to do so; (b) the Stoic view that they do not care at all; (c) the view that they impiously side with Julius Caesar; and (d) the view that they do not exist in the first place.

3As we might expect in such an epic, even the narrator’s inspiration does not rely on a divine source: it is Nero who gives him the strength to tell his Roman epic: “tu satis ad uires Romana in carmina dandas.” Nero is in fact the only “god” who the narrator invokes without undercutting the facticity of his existence at some other point (cf. “sed mihi iam numen”, 1, 63); inasmuch as the emperor is sufficient to give strength for poetic inspiration, there is no need for an Apollo or a Bacchus. This lack of divine agency in inspiration is driven home to us again shortly after in the epic via an Ovidian interext: the intertext for the beginning of the BC’s narrative proper at 1, 67ff., “My mind drives me to lay out the causes of such great developments” (“fert animus causas tantarum expromere rerum”) is evidently the first line of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, “My mind drives me to tell of forms changed into new bodies” (“in nova fert animus mutates dicere formas / corpora”). Who is responsible for Rome’s metamorphosis, Lucan’s implicit question asks as it looks back to Ovid, and the answer must of course be unOvidian: it is not the gods. The cause of Rome’s transformation from master of the world to an abject and desolate post-Pharsalian desert is for the narrator Rome herself, Rome who could no longer support her own greatness; and her people, their leaders, and the ill-will of a jealous fate. What drove a frenzied populace into war? It was (1, 70–72; 84–86)

The malign chain of the fates, and the impossibility
Of stability for great states, and heavy collapse
Under too great a weight, and Rome
Unable to bear herself ...

You were the cause of disaster,
Rome, the common property of three masters; and
The fatal alliance of a power never before shared
Among so many.

inuida fatorum series summisque negatum
stare diu nimioque graues sub pondere lapsus
nec se Roma ferens...

tu causa malorum
facta tribus dominis communis, Roma, nec umquam
in turbam missi feralia foedera regni

4Not only the agency, but even the driving furor in this poem belongs not to an outraged goddess but to that frenzied populace. Well might the narrator ask: “quis furor, o cives, quae tanta licentia ferri?” (1, 8).

  • 4 See e.g. Fantham 1995 and Fantham 2003; Bartsch 1997, 50–61; in the service of a different argumen (...)
  • 5 On Scaeva, see Behr 2007, 45ff; Fantham 1995; Gorman 2001, 263–290; Leigh 1997, chapter 5.
  • 6 Cf. Sallust Cat. 52, 11–12.

5If the narrator himself cannot believe in the deorum ministeria, if the gods are silent, or weaker than the spells of an Ericto, or on the wrong side, or don’t exist, their absence inevitably problematizes the usual justification for epic teleology, that is, the sense that it depends on the will of Jupiter and the gods. In fact the shocking events of the poem are what lead the narrator to his state of confusion about the gods in the first place: if they did exist, how could they let these things take place? And the much-noted play with ethical and moral terminology in which the poem itself engages is perhaps the most significant outcome of such a morally ambiguous world; who is to say what is fas, or iustum, if victrix causa deis placuit?4 As many scholars have noted, the terminology of virtus, clementia, ius, and other such charged vocabulary is accordingly inverted or undermined, as we might expect after the description of civil war as ius datum sceleri. Virtus in a civil war can be no virtus, given that it is displayed to the detriment of Roman citizens and kinsmen; so, to cite the most famous example, the narrator remarks of Scaeva at the conclusion of his aristeia in book 6, “Unhappy man! With such enormous valor (virtus) you bought a master!” (“infelix, quanta dominum uirtute parasti!” 6, 262; earlier, of course, we are told that Scaeva “did not know how great a crime is valor (virtus) in a civil war”, 6, 147–48). The narrator here corrects the praise of Scaeva by his peers, leading to two different views of virtus around a single act.5 Similarly, any clementia granted by Caesar reflects a world in which those who should plea for mercy are those who grant it. Thus of Domitius’ pardon in book 2 the narrator remarks that the citizen’s worst punishment is to be – forgiven (“poenarum extremum ciui, quod castra secutus / sit patriae Magnumque ducem totumque senatum, ignosci”, 519–21). The basic trope here is of course not new, but has a pedigree reaching back to Thucydides’ account of language during the civil war in Corcyra (Thuc. 3, 82, 4).6

  • 7 Nickau 2003, 488–499 in contrast, would have the narrator’s voice represent that of the Roman citi (...)
  • 8 As Behr 2007, 5 notes, “Each character’s voice expresses his or her own views, while the narrator’ (...)

6If the narrator believes the gods are absent, where then (for him, and for us) is to be found the source of any stable set of ethical values in the Bellum Civile? Certainly not in the citizens of Rome, those partisans of furor, who are depicted as either mad or terrified.7 Nor yet in the beliefs and standards of the senatorial class, not depicted here as brave or ethical in any general sense, despite the occasional exception. The voices of lament represented by the soothsayers, the Roman matrons, the occasional citizen, focus largely on suffering and appear only to be subsumed back into the epic’s onward rush to disaster. In fact our only obvious source of ethical judgment in this epic is the one voice that breaks in so often to offer commentary and judgment, and that is the self-same narrator, whose apostrophes are almost always charged with the articulation of what is morally depraved about the person or situation he is addressing.8

  • 9 The rhetorical tradition defined apostrophe in juridical terms as speech not directed to the judge (...)
  • 10 On this contrast, see Behr 2007, 1–15.
  • 11 The terminology is that of Lyne 1992.
  • 12 A contemporary criticism as well, if Eumolpus’ comments at Petronius Sat. 118 are to be taken as d (...)

7Offering explicit moral judgment is not a traditional function of epic apostrophe.9 The most obvious contrast is provided by the narratorial voice of the Aeneid, whose interventions are few and far between; when they occur, their force is not so much ethical as empathetical or memorializing.10 So, for example, the well-known “fortunati ambo” apostrophe to the slaughtered Nisus and Euryalus in book 9, 446), as with the narrator’s address to the dead Icarus in book 6, introduces a “further voice” through its elegiac tone and by singling out young men who have perished in the prime of life.11 At the same time, the narrator’s emphasis on the future fame of Nisus and Euryalus maintains the focus on memorialization that is one of the self-declared goals of traditional epic, while the apostrophe in book 6 might set up a tempting parallel between the narrator and Vergil himself, whose epic (like Daedalus’ engravings) would remain unfinished. But in both these cases, ethical judgment is not explicitly offered, nor is such judgment the apparent point of the intrusion. It was after all the ancient historians, not the poets, who were the traditional agents of open moral judgment; not for nothing, then, did Servius opine that Lucan did not deserve to be numbered among the poets, since he appeared to have written a history, not a poem (ad Aen. 1, 382; a sentiment echoed by Isidore of Seville in Orig. 8, 7, 10). Historians, and (with less of a claim to lack of bias) orators as well – perhaps a further reason (besides the subject matter) why Quintilian found the poem a better model for orators than for poets.12

  • 13 On this topic, see Feeney 1991, chapter 4.

8By apostrophizing his characters in order to offer moral judgment on their actions, the Lucanian narrator seems to set up a moral framework for the action of the epic that derives from his own point of view rather than from the will of the gods or even, as in the days of the Roman republic, from the community of senators and elites. The narrator cannot rely on such public values, for that community is hopelessly morally bankrupt, and he cannot cite divine endorsement or a divine plan in a poem whose outcome is treated as a disaster for the human race (with Vergil, again, as the obvious contrast).13 If we seek a source of ethical value in this epic, the natural place to look is to these narratorial apostrophes, spoken to the characters or to us directly in a way that distances the possibility of focalization through the characters: the narrator is always too much in his own character for that, venting indignation and outrage, or an equally articulated and passionate form or support. The subtleties of “empathy” – seeing the situation through the eyes, and values, of a given addressee – are not a trait of the Lucanian, as opposed to Vergilian, narrator. And at first the values of the former seem clear: the narrator’s stance is to reverse the traditional moral terminology of the Roman upperclass by conflating antonyms; to excoriate the gods; and to lament the crime that is civil war.

  • 14 Here I must take issue with one point in Francesca d’Alessandro Behr’s important treatment of Luca (...)
  • 15 In my view of Lucan’s internal inconsistency I am obviously at odds with the stance recently taken (...)

9But we might suspect that this would be too simple a solution to the problem of ethics in a complicated poem – and we would be right. The problem is that the narrator, our presumably solid source of moral value, does not exercise his moral stance consistently.14 That is to say, his interventions sometimes clearly indicate that his judgment, which stands at odds with those of the gods and (often) the epic protagonists, offers us an ethical perspective to guide our own judgments: valor in battle is no valor at all; the outcome of the civil war was Rome’s destruction; the present time is synonymous with slavery. But at other times, his interventions offer a counter to this “correct” (if despairing) view, so that even the narrator cannot provide us with an Archimedean point from which to judge the world.15 We may wish to be outraged denouncers of civil war ourselves, but if so, we cannot follow him to the end.

  • 16 Roller 1996, 336 on Lucan himself: “The ethical stances he takes, and the value judgments he passe (...)

10I have already suggested one case in which the narrator’s stance is inconsistent: his attitude towards the gods. We might fairly say that wavering on the question of whether the gods exist or not, and similarly on the issue of whether they can still be expected to intervene, or instead side with the wicked, constitutes an ethical issue because it opens the narrator up to charges of impiety. And just as with the gods, so too with the topic of civil war. The narrator often adopts the expected view towards civil war in his apostrophes – that is, that civil war is to be abhorred because Roman citizens are killing each other instead of the enemy. Already in the first apostrophe of the poem, when he laments over the madness of Rome’s citizens (“quis furor, o cives, quae tanta licentia ferri?”, 1, 8), his grief is over the fact that Rome as a community is harming herself; moreover, on this occasion he apostrophizes both sides of the war as citizens, emphasizing the common bond they share and the impiety of its violation.16 To have Romans fighting Romans is tragic, terrible, gives rise to untenable paradoxes. Similarly, when at Ilerda in book 4, 180–188 the narrator steps in to beg the Pompeians and the Caesarians not to fight with each other, he is not only treating them as if they could respond to his plea, he again takes the view that Romans should not kill Romans (4, 186–191):

Let him give the signal for war: ignore that savage song;
If he hoists the standards, halt; any minute now
Civil war will subside and Caesar, as private citizen, will love his son in law.
Now be present, O Concord, savior of world in disarray,
Embracing everything with your eternal bond,
And sacred love-object of the world

classica det bello, saeuos tu neclege cantus;
signa ferat, cessa: iam iam ciuilis Erinys
concidet et Caesar generum priuatus amabit.
nunc ades, aeterno conplectens omnia nexu,
o rerum mixtique salus Concordia mundi
et sacer orbis amor

  • 17 Asso 2008, 167.
  • 18 In so doing he adopts a form usually employed by an epic’s characters (not its narrator), who will (...)

11As Paolo Asso has noted, “By consenting to summon the abstraction of a Roman virtue, the Neronian audience is made to notice what a crucial moment this was in the war in Spain, when Caesarians and Pompeians are shown as one political body.”17 The narrator’s hatred of civil war is likewise exemplified in his apostrophe to Crastinus in book 7 at the start of battle: Crastinus is the first man to throw his weapon, which spurs the narrator to hope for his eternal suffering even after his life is over: his apostrophe to Crastinus is essentially (“di tibi non mortem…, / sed sensum post fata tuae dent, Crastine, morti”, 7, 470–471). The battle at Pharsalus is grim enough that the narrator turns to apostrophize himself, urging that this part of the war be left in darkness (“hanc fuge, mens, partem bellitenebrisque relinque”, 7, 552).18 Similarly, civil war and the slaughter of one’s peers is felt to be such a crime that his consolation to Pompey upon the latter’s defeat is that it would have been worse to win than to lose (“vincere peius erat”, 7, 706).

12All of this seems consistent enough. At other times, however, the narrator adopts a very different point of view, rejecting his own, more conventional perspective that all civil war is bad. Instead, he seems to take up the cause of the Pompeians, urging them not to avoid the slaughter of their fellow-Romans but rather to accomplish it with greater efficiency. Thus in book 6 he condemns the Pompeians for pavor and timor in not pushing their advantage against the Caesarians (6, 303–305):

It pains me, alas, and it will always pain me
That the greatest of your crimes is of help to you, Caesar:
The fact that you fought with a pious son in law

dolet, heu, semperque dolebit
quod scelerum, Caesar, prodest tibi summa tuorum,
cum genero pugnasse pio.

  • 19 Cf. Fantham 1995: “Thus the third instance of virtus in the poem presents it as the name now given (...)

13If Pompey’s side had only persevered at this point, the Pompeians would have put an end to civil war by their victory. Here there is no sense of grief for the slaughter of Romans on the Caesarian side; in his eagerness for the civil war to be over, the narrator treats one side of the war as if it were made up of a genuinely external enemy. We may contrast the fact that at Ilerda, when Caesar’s men are the victims, Lucan chides the Pompeian Petreius for killing them after peace has been brokered – and tells Caesar that this fact alone will make him the leader of the better cause (“dux causae melioris”, 4, 350). Not content to wish that others had fought one, the narrator will even lament, in mid-battle, the fact that he had no chance to take up arms instead (7, 643–646):19

Did we carry our weapons like cowards,
Or shield our throats? The punishment for someone else’s fear
Sits on our neck. If, fortune, you intended to give a master to those born
After the battle, you should have also given us wars to fight.

pauide num gessimus arma
teximus aut iugulos? alieni poena timoris
in nostra ceruice sedet. post proelia natis
si dominum, Fortuna, dabas, et bella dedisses.

14The narrator here seems to wish for his own chance to kill fellow “cives”. And in general, this point of view goes hand-in-hand with his adoption of an explicitly pro-Pompeian view in this book. In his most famous apostrophe to Pompey, he tells him that future readers – us – will read of his fate as if it were yet to come, and we will still favor him even in our times (7, 212–213):

In wonder all will read of your fate as if it were about to happen,
Not in the past, and they will still favor you, Magnus.

attonitique omnes ueluti uenientia fata,
non transmissa, legent et adhuc tibi, Magne, fauebunt.

  • 20 It is a nefas that Caesar himself is perfectly happy to indulge in: cf. 7, 259–260.

15His position is all the more dramatic if we recall that early in book one he explicitly condemned as an abomination (“nefas”) any attempt to make moral judgments about which of the two protagonists went to war more justly (“quis iustius induit arma / scire nefas”, 1, 126–127).20 By his own admission, this judgment is itself a violation of what one may say about participants in a civil war.

16We can extend this ethical inconsistency further by returning to the language of virtus. As we saw, the view the narrator expresses during Scaeva’s aristeia is that there can be no such thing as virtus in civil war: the context renders it a crimen instead. But once again, the narrator is not consistent in this treatment, and elsewhere he is happy to praise Cato’s virtus as a positive feature even in civil war (9, 593–597):

si ueris magna paratur
fama bonis et si successu nuda remote
inspicitur uirtus, quidquid laudamus in ullo
maiorum, fortuna fuit. quis Marte secundo,
quis tantum meruit populorum sanguine nomen?

17One might object that here the fact that virtus is conceptualized in Stoic terms and disengaged from military victory suffices, for the narrator, to remove it from the stained virtus of civil conflict. But it is jarring, then, to see the narrator apostrophize Vulteius’ men in terms that celebrates their authentic virtus even though they are Caesarians and have killed themselves to win glory in his eyes (4, 580–581):

Death, would that you were reluctant to take the cowardly,
And that valor alone would make a gift of you!

mors, utinam pauidos uitae subducere nolles,
sed uirtus te sola daret.

18Let us stand back for a minute to see where this discussion has led us. I have suggested that in the absence of overt divine agency the moral framework of Lucan’s epic must be looked for in the narrator. For the sake of clarity I have looked only at this narrator’s explicit apostrophes and the judgments contained therein. But within these apostrophes we cannot find a single ethical framework to be operative. On the one hand, the narrator often takes a traditional view of key moral topics, such as the role of the gods, the evil that is civil war, and the impossibility of virtus in the slaughter of citizens (note, of course, that while the view is traditional, it employs paradoxes of fact and vocabulary to make its point). On the other hand, he will also take a view that denies the gods any agency, or sees them as weak or evil; he occasionally treats the civil war as an external war (and can thus apply traditional ethical terminology to it); and now and then can he find virtus even in the very context he has denied it exists, civil war. This narrator even wishes he could join in the bygone struggle himself.

  • 21 As Roller 1996 shows, the narrator himself seems to adopt a more and more alienated point of view, (...)

19Matthew Roller in his 1996 article on the fractured community in Lucan has made a closely related point that deserves reiteration here. Roller argues that the narrator oscillates between what he calls a “communitarian” point of view that sees the opposite side as fellow-Romans, and an “alienated” point of view that sees them simply as the enemy, and therefore worthy of defeat.21 In other words, he treats civil war as both a terrible evil, and a cause worth fighting for; and if anything, as the epic proceeds, he takes the latter view more and more often, thus coming to resemble Caesar rather than Pompey. I hope to have shown that this sort of ethical inconsistency is a feature of the narrator’s ethical stance still more broadly.

20What are we to make of this internally conflicted narrator? For one, the phrase “war more than civil” (“bella ... plus quam civilia”, 1, 1) may suggest that neither traditional values nor their inverse can do justice to writing about a war that actually exceeds civil war in involving not only fellow citizens, but actual family members. Indeed, as one of the few surviving Romans after the devastation of the civil wars, the narrator himself lives in a world without meaning, a postlapsarian universe in which consistent moral judgments are impossible. Second, the narrator’s emotional agitation and his alternation between traditional and inverted values are part of the performance of a unique and unprecedented narratorial self, and that this is itself part of the meaning of the epic. Tragic or epic characters will sometimes oscillate between two sets of values, and of course part of their predicament is that no matter which choice they make, they will suffer. Their attempt to come to a decision often takes the form of an internal dialogue. But (unlike his contemporary, Seneca) the narrator never engages in dialogue with himself about the inconsistency of the two stances that he has adopted, but remains torn and unhappy to the end. A third possibility might be to point, as others have done, at the figure of Cato, whom the narrator seems to endorse whole-heartedly and without irony or inversion despite his enmeshedness in the mire of civil war. Cato’s Stoic virtus is wholly detached from circumstance, and as such it cannot be made guilty no matter what conflict swirls around him (pace, 2, 288); moreover his God is a purely internal one and as such cannot fall prey to the vagaries of divine intervention or lack thereof (cf. 9, 564ff.). As such the narrator’s support for him escapes some of the problems that come with backing a Pompey or a Caesar. Better yet, in refusing to whole-heartedly endorse either combatant, Cato (unlike the narrator) does not commit the nefas of trying to determine “quis iustius induit arma”.

  • 22 On the terminology of fas and nefas to describe the “speak-ability” of civil war, see Higgins 1988 (...)

21For this, after all, is the problem: the narrator’s judging voice is itself a violation of the principle that to try create an ethical hierarchy between Pompey and Caesar is itself a sign of wickedness. Calling Pompey pious, or judging that Caesar has become “dux melioris causae”, are interventions that simply confirm the narrator’s status as stained by his own project of giving meaning to civil war. The narrator’s sphragis at the end of book 9 merely adds to the problem: if in book 7 we were told that as future readers (“venturi”) we would favor Pompey, we now read that it is in fact Caesar who has gained immortality for us (“venture”) through Lucan’s efforts, a situation implicitly labeled as fas22 (9, 982–986):

Do not be touched by envy of sacred fame, Caesar;
For, if it is right for the Latin muses to promise anything,
As long as the fame of the Smyrnaean bard will last,
Future generations will read me and you; our Pharsalia
Will live, and no age will condemn us to obscurity

Inuidia sacrae, Caesar, ne tangere famae;
nam, siquid Latiis fas est promittere Musis,
quantum Zmyrnaei durabunt uatis honores,
uenturi me teque legent; Pharsalia nostra
uiuet, et a nullo tenebris damnabimur aeuo.

22The narrator’s longevity will equal that of the deified Julio-Claudians, but at a price: torn between intervention and abstention, ethical judgments and claims that such judgments are no longer possible, the fame of a vates and the unspeakability of his project, he comes down to us as a figure both confused and compromised by the paradoxes of his project, a poet whose final claim is that his description of Caesar will catapult him to the same immortality as the only figure whose godhead he never retracts in the course of the epic: Nero.

Notes

1 The gods’ lack of agency is in sharp contradistinction to their role in the epic tradition, e.g. the battle of wills between Jupiter and Juno that provides the structural underpinning to the Aeneid, or the active intervention of the Olympian gods in the Iliadic battle for Troy. On the absence of the traditional epic gods from the Bellum Civile, see Feeney 1991, 250–301; Hutchinson 1993, 250–55.

2 Apostrophe inherently animates and as such brings into presence what is absent. As Culler remarks, “to apostrophize is to will a state of affairs, to attempt to call it into being by asking inanimate objects to bend themselves to your desire. In these terms the function of the apostrophe would be to make the objects of the universe potentially responsive forces: forces which can be asked to act or refrain from acting” (J. D. Culler 2001, 139).

3 As Bramble notes, “The deorum ministeria of previous epic are replaced by the sympathetic reactions of an outraged cosmos, additional colour being supplied by frequent recourse to witchcraft, omens and magic” (Bramble 1982, 539).

4 See e.g. Fantham 1995 and Fantham 2003; Bartsch 1997, 50–61; in the service of a different argument Sklenár 2003, 101–51 and passim.

5 On Scaeva, see Behr 2007, 45ff; Fantham 1995; Gorman 2001, 263–290; Leigh 1997, chapter 5.

6 Cf. Sallust Cat. 52, 11–12.

7 Nickau 2003, 488–499 in contrast, would have the narrator’s voice represent that of the Roman citizenry of his own time.

8 As Behr 2007, 5 notes, “Each character’s voice expresses his or her own views, while the narrator’s, like a counter-voice, frames the character’s experience in a different light, present an alternative code of references for evaluation.”

9 The rhetorical tradition defined apostrophe in juridical terms as speech not directed to the judges but to another real or imaginary person (Quint. Inst. 4, 1, 63.).

10 On this contrast, see Behr 2007, 1–15.

11 The terminology is that of Lyne 1992.

12 A contemporary criticism as well, if Eumolpus’ comments at Petronius Sat. 118 are to be taken as directed at Lucan.

13 On this topic, see Feeney 1991, chapter 4.

14 Here I must take issue with one point in Francesca d’Alessandro Behr’s important treatment of Lucan’s use of apostrophe. Behr suggests that the narrator’s apostrophes show Lucan’s commitment to interpreting his narrative for his audience, and that he accordingly “enacts a kind of Stoic poetics in which ethical judgment is to the fore, and in which the reader’s detached spectatorship and sympathy is sought rather than total immersion in the narrative” (2007, 104). Her point is that Lucanian apostrophe is the specific means by which his readers might understand that the manipulation of the vocabulary of virtus, pietas, and clementia by Caesar and his supporters was to be discredited. And yet I run into two difficulties here. First, I find it odd that the passionate outbursts of the narrator should be the source of detached spectatorship on our part, and second, I hope to have shown that sometimes these passionate outbursts are not so clear-cut in their guidance to the readers.

15 In my view of Lucan’s internal inconsistency I am obviously at odds with the stance recently taken by Sklenar 2003.

16 Roller 1996, 336 on Lucan himself: “The ethical stances he takes, and the value judgments he passes, may seem no more (or less) credible and authoritative than those of the other characters.”

17 Asso 2008, 167.

18 In so doing he adopts a form usually employed by an epic’s characters (not its narrator), who will engage in discourse with their own organs of feeling or thought. We might recall Odysseus’ self-address to his heart at Odyssey 20, 9–30, when he bids his heart to endure these evils as it has others before.

19 Cf. Fantham 1995: “Thus the third instance of virtus in the poem presents it as the name now given to nefandum scelus in the madness (furor) of civil war (1, 667–669). In the Scaeva episode of book 6, the only truly Homeric Aristeia of the whole epic, the warrior facing cohorts of Pompeians single handed is credited with virtus (6, 132, 169, 229, 262) but reproached for not realizing how great an offense such courage is – not so much because it is exercised in the service of Caesar, as because it has no place in civil conflict: in armis / quam magnum virtus crimen civilibus esset (6, 147–8). When Scaeva is finally floored his comrades revere him as vivam magnae speciem virtutis: the manifestation of mighty courage – or its mere appearance?”

20 It is a nefas that Caesar himself is perfectly happy to indulge in: cf. 7, 259–260.

21 As Roller 1996 shows, the narrator himself seems to adopt a more and more alienated point of view, in contrast to Pompey, who usually sees the opposing side as consisting of fellow Romans and is accordingly reluctant to go to battle against them. Pompey constantly worries and delays; in book 2, 550 he says that he dislikes the fact that he has to fight Caesar, and his delay before joining battle at Pharsalia spurs an impatient Cicero to rebuke him into action. Caesar, on the other hand, tells his soldiers in book 7 that they are not fighting Romans but foreigners. He also enjoins upon his men to mangle the faces of the enemy, even if or especially if the enemy consists of their brothers and fathers. Accordingly, Roller argues, because the narrator treats Caesar as the enemy and wants to take up arms against him, because he is so keen for the Pompeians to win at all costs, he paradoxically resembles not the hesitant and ineffective Pompey but Caesar himself, who hungers to defeat the enemy. One might even say that he himself is becoming dangerously close to a narrator for whom the war is no longer civil, but foreign.

22 On the terminology of fas and nefas to describe the “speak-ability” of civil war, see Higgins 1988, 208–226.

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© C.H.Beck, 2012

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