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Götter und menschliche Willensfreiheit

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Thomas Baier

II. Lucan

Tears in Lucan

Paolo Asso

Texte intégral

  • 1 D’Alessandro Behr’s useful study often addresses the dynamics of the emotions on Lucan’s narrative (...)
  • 2 Graver 2007, 1–2; on the difficulty of finding exact linguistic equivalents in denoting emotions i (...)

1Lucan’s Stoicism is generally regarded as a fact and all that needs to be explained is how Lucan adapts and modifies his fundamentally Stoic view of the world in designing the characters that he deploys in civil war. Even when as successful as in the recent monograph by Francesca D’Alessandro Behr, the Stoicism approach to Lucan has limited hermeneutic value when it comes to the emotions,1 and while Behr’s reassessment remains a welcome addition to Lucan’s scholarship, the Stoic approach to the emotions is itself in need of study and cannot be reduced to the platitude current in the English idiom that equates the term Stoic with absence of emotions. Margaret Graver reminds us not only that the early Stoics acknowledged and addressed the existence of the emotions but also that it is very problematic to define what an emotion is across language barriers, and the individuation of specific emotions in cultures as distant from us as the Greeks and the Romans reinforces our awareness of the linguistic pitfalls that we inevitably incur when discussing ancient emotions.2 In light of the limits of the Stoicism approach to Lucan, I want to lay aside the philosophy of uncle Seneca and look at the way characters in Lucan respond to fate with tears.

2Tears in Lucan are sometimes present even when absent, for the poet comments on the fact that there were no tears when there should have been. Other times, in the moments when we feel that any noble Roman should have wept, tears are absent, and their absence is not even noted by Lucan. I argue that, regardless of whether tears are shed or not, lachrymose emotions are presented in Lucan as the appropriate moral reaction to fate, when fate is as dire as civil war.

  • 3 Fögen 2009 relies on a type of approach we term ‘intellectual history’, and seems not interested i (...)

3I begin with a quick look at a late source that laments moral decline, and use that source’s insight into Roman emotions as my cue to reconsider how Lucan, while elaborating on Virgil’s characters’ tears in the Aeneid, portrays his characters’ emotional responses to the all-too-avoidable shame of the civil war. The mistakes of the Roman magistrates, as Lucan and many other élite Romans who had been in the magistrate’s shoes would admit, determine the decline, moral and otherwise, of Empire. My contribution to this discussion begins with a solid debt to Thorsten Fögen’s recently edited volumes on dacryology.3

  • 4 For John Lydus I am completely indebted to Pazdernik 2009, 397 and 415.

4As late as the 5th century CE, Justinian’s loyal subject John Lydus, author of a peculiar but not entirely unreadable institutional history in Greek titled De magistratibus populi Romani, vents his frustration and dissatisfaction with the fate of the Roman Empire by blaming impersonal forces. The forces to blame are human fallibility and the capriciousness of fortune. While his generalizations may easily be applied with mediocre rhetorical skill to virtually any frustrating situation, John claims to aspire to a tragic nobility of character – that a sort of fundamentally optimistic ‘faith of the heart’ into the human capability to ameliorate humanity. Lydus’ aspiration to the nobility of character finds literary expression in the figure of a lachrymose imperial bureaucrat, whose tears, grievances, and despair for the sorry state of Empire betray, in the words of one scholar, ‘an abiding investment in the expectation of redress and therefore in the existence of a comprehensible moral order.’4 In the end, John Lydus is angry at the Roman élites, for he Lydus is more keen on blaming people than capricious fortune, and in so doing he remains true to the inveterate tradition in Roman literature. Also Virgil’s Aeneas feels anger toward Turnus, and so memorably drives the fatal blow that marks the end of the Augustan age and begins the immensely influential fortune of the Aeneid; and even Aeneas is exposed to the potential blame of failing to restrain his political need to avenge Evander’s son. Aeneas, unique perhaps, among literary heroes, has the empathy to feel the misery of his opponent, and yet, heroically, as a Roman should, he kills the opponent nonetheless, and leaves us the legacy of his own dilemma: Is it good and morally just to found an Empire when the price of such effulgent glory is that the founder stains himself with the hideous crime of slaying an enemy suppliant?

  • 5 Horsfall 2003, 67 ad 11, 29.
  • 6 Aeneas is altogether absent (besides silent) in book 9, when the fighting begins; on Aeneas’ absen (...)
  • 7 Horsfall 2003, 67 and 11, 29.
  • 8 On Pallas’ fate, see Jupiter’s reply to Hercules at 10, 467–472, with Harrison 1991 ad loc.

5Lucan inherited that question. Like us, Lucan witnesses Aeneas’ tears in the Aeneid. In the words of a recent commentator, Aeneas, ‘strong and silent though he is’,5 weeps profusely in book 11 at the burial of Evander’s son Pallas, and his tears could be perceived as a mitigation of his earlier silence,6 for he weeps ‘like any epic hero or noble Roman would.’7 And how does a noble Roman weep? He weeps profusely in the face of adversity and fate. In the Aeneid, the death of Pallas instigates Aeneas’ wrathful thirst for revenge in the duel with Turnus in book 12. Instigation to avenge Pallas is a potent narrative engine in the Aeneid because Aeneas’ vengefulness squares within his fated mission. Aeneas, as noble proto-Roman ante litteram has a duty to act in accordance with fate, and it is Aeneas’ fated vengefulness that functions as the determinative engine in the Aeneid narrative. The potent emotion that spurs Aeneas’ thirst for revenge is itself a function of fate. Pallas was, in fact, fated to die just as Aeneas was fated to avenge his death; but was Aeneas’ dire emotion also fated to be felt?8

  • 9 On this an other dreams, see Walde 2001.

6Epic has a way of making feelings feel unavoidable, i.e., fated. And in turning now to Lucan, we should engage now more closely with dacryology. Tears in Lucan are half as frequent as in the Aeneid. While Aeneas weeps as any noble Roman would, Lucan’s noble Romans have horrible events as reasons to weep and weep comparably less as a resuit. One instance in which tears might have been shed, but were not, is Julia’s apparition in Pompey’s dream at the start of book 3.9

  • 10 Julia’s death is listed among the causes of the civil war at BC 1, 111–120. For an excellent treat (...)
  • 11 On Julia ‘engenderer’ of war, see Keith 2000, 65–100. Useful parallels between Amata and Jocasta i (...)
  • 12 Hector’s ghost (Aen. 2, 270–297) weeps copiously (270–271: maestissimus Hector / uisus adesse mihi (...)
  • 13 Obviously, Aeneas portrays himself as a Homeric hero; yet scholars (see especially Ussani 1952, x (...)
  • 14 Homeric warlike frenzy: Aen. 2, 316: nec sat rationis erat; 2, 314: furor iraque; 2, 410–411: teli (...)
  • 15 Dufallo 2007, 100–102. I am grateful to Frederick Ahl for insisting uiua uoce that I explicitly at (...)

7The death of Julia was especially fateful for Rome, because when she died, it was felt that fate had just taken away the last restraint, and now the enmity between father-in-law and son-in-law finally turns from political polarizing to civil war.10 Qua ghost of a dead wife, Julia’s most logical precedent would be Aeneas’ narrative of Creusa’s apparition at the end of Aeneid book 2 as he was fleeing Troy. The literary precedent to Lucan’s narrative of Pompey’s Julia dream is Aeneas himself, rather than Virgil, because Aeneas in books 2 and 3 is the narrator, whose concern in his report on Creusa’s apparition is to convey to Dido the benevolence of his Trojan wife as he completes the first half of his story to answer the question about his background that Dido posed at the end of book 1. Regardless of whether Aeneas is truthful or not in representing Creusa as a benevolent wife, Lucan’s Julia is certainly not a benevolent wife, and Lucan’s few commentators are unanimous in recalling Virgil’s fury Allecto infecting Amata in book 7 as the most important precedent.11 The comparison with Creusa, however, is fruitful in pointing out Pompey’s conspicuously missing tears in the Julia dream. Creusa’s apparition naturally provokes Aeneas’ tears in the Aeneid, for the hero is interested in portraying himself as appropriately lachrymose in such a moment, whereas Lucan’s Pompey is struck with terror, but no tears are shed. Along with Creusa’s ghost, we must entertain the precedent of Hector’s ghost as relevant to Lucan’s narrative of civil war.12 Hector’s apparition to Aeneas (Aen. 2, 270–297) is very close to Lucan’s context in form, in so far as both Aeneas and Pompey are having a dream. Lucan is again imitating Aeneas here rather than Virgil, for it is Aeneas himself that recounts his dream of Hector’s ghost. As Aeneas tells it, the ghost warns him that it is time to flee Troy and rescue the Penates, but Aeneas does not listen, for when he wakes up he goes into a killing frenzy, as a Homeric hero should (so the traditional interpretation).13 As one scholar has recently noted, however, in the Hector dream Virgil has Aeneas use civil war language, which, I would argue, undoubtedly influenced Lucan’s reception of Aeneas’ Hector dream. As this new reading of Aeneas’ dream of Hector argues, the fury and anger (Aen. 2, 316) Aeneas feels upon waking up is aimed at the Greeks but Virgil insists on Aeneas’ frenzied fighting in language reminiscent of civil war madness (Aen. 2, 314).14 The association of Troy’s fall with civil war acquires vividness in Aeneas’ own narrative later in book 2 when Aeneas and his men, disguised in Greek armor, and thereby mistaken for enemies, are attacked by their own countrymen (2, 410–412). Lucan here amplifies Virgil’s Aeneas’ civil war discourse, as Aeneas’ words resonate with Rome’s ancestral curse.15

  • 16 Lucan describes Julia’s ghost as a diri ... plena horroris imago (3, 9), and a caput maestum (3, 1 (...)
  • 17 Hunink points out that Julia’s fury-like hellishness consists in instigating war (as Allecto and A (...)

8With Allecto, Creusa, and Hector in the background, the language Lucan uses to describe Julia’s apparition underscores the potent emotion Pompey feels at being visited in dream by his former wife and former ally’s dead daughter. His former ally, Caesar, is now his deadly opponent in the civil war, and Julia is to take sides in this war, for she appears to Pompey as both a war-mongering fury and a wife in mourning.16 In rendering the appearance as that of an infernal fury, translators seem to delight in Julia’s words to inform her former husband that she has been chased out of the Elysian fields, and dragged down to the Stygian gloom at the outbreak of the war. Why? Because in this way she can play as competently as possible her role of war-mongering Erinys and haunt Pompey’s nights just like Caesar haunts his days (or so she says). Is Julia a Caesarian? Julia’s apparition surely scares Pompey, but she is not a Caesarian tout court. She is the ‘infuriated’ ghost of a very disappointed Roman matron, a very concerned daughter and wife, and now also an enraged former wife, because her husband has remarried and is fighting against her father. Unlike Creusa’s ghost in the Aeneid, Julia’s terrifying ghost does not cause her former husband to weep, but her death is fateful to Pompey himself, as suggested by her caput maestum, and she undoubtedly functions also as an avenging fury, as proleptically announced in the vengeance connotations of the adjective dirus;17 but how does Julia avenge?

9Julia’s revenge is to rush Pompey into defeat, as Cornelia herself clearly sees after Pharsalus. In addressing her defeated and discouraged husband in book 8, Cornelia in tears wishes that she had been able to offer her life in exchange for Pompey’s victory. Cornelia weeps because with her marriage to Pompey she has caused the gods to abandon the better cause (BC 8, 90–94):

... an Erinys was my bridesmaid
... I caused all the gods
to abandon the better cause.
... me pronuba ducit Erinys
... cunctosque fugaui
a causa meliore deos.

  • 18 Torch-carrier is probably the only certain function of a pronuba, see Hersch 2010, 190–199.
  • 19 Virgil has Juno declare that Lavinia’s pronuba will be Bellona at Aen. 7, 319; Lucan might here ec (...)

10The role of the pronuba in a Roman wedding is not completely clear, but it is not exactly the same as a modem American bridesmaid. An attendant to the bride, the pronuba allegedly led the bride into her bedroom and certainly carried a torch.18 Cornelia’s tears are reasonable because her pronuba is a Fury.19 But a few lines down Cornelia’s lachrymose address to her defeated husband ends with an apostrophe to Julia that carries all the power of a desperate invocation to an infernal power which may bring some form of reconciliation (8, 102–105):

Wherever you lie, cruel Julia, now that from the civil war
you have your revenge for my marriage, come now,
and exact your punishment. Appeased by the concubine’s death
finally spare your Pompey!
ubicumque iaces ciuilibus armis
nostros ulta toros, odes hue atque exige poenas,
Iulia crudelis, placataque paelice caesa
Magno parce tuo.

  • 20 On Cornelia’s self-deprecating language, see Walde 2001, 395–396 and n. 21. Hunink 1992, 43 ad 3, (...)
  • 21 Narducci 2002, 296 and 358 n. 68, reminds us that love and affection, and, we may add, the emotion (...)
  • 22 Keith 2000, 88.
  • 23 On libertas and what it means for Lucan, see Quint 1993, 151, 389 n. 34 (citing Wirszubski 1950, 1 (...)

11With one of Lucan’s typical inversions, Cornelia describes herself with the same term that Julia insultingly used for her (paelex, 3, 23), and portrays herself as a concubine of Pompey rather than his legitimate wife (uniuira),20 in a moment in which the poet celebrates the profound affection that ties this couple in civil war.21 With this act of self-deprecation, Cornelia understands that Julia’s revenge is to have rushed Pompey more forcefully into arms, and as Alison Keith reminds us, Julia in Lucan engenders war and makes it female, just as Juno had done via Allecto and Amata in the Aeneid.22 Pompey may well have shed no tears, but the consequences for Rome are lachrymose indeed. The tyranny of the Caesars has taken away libertas, i.e., the autonomy of the senate, the loss of which is worth crying for, but at the time Lucan is writing it is far too late for tears.23

  • 24 On the Roman poet’s originality in creating new effects out of established mythical plots, see esp (...)
  • 25 Hershkowitz 1998 devotes comparably little attention to lachrymose madness in civil war. Her treat (...)

12Just like in Virgil’s Aeneid, also in Lucan fate and tears occur often together, and in both epics fate is an illusion reinforced by the poet’s perspective on the past as if it were the future, for the events being narrated are securely locked into a past that may no longer change, but which the poets constantly re-imagine as unfolding in the present.24 For the Neronian poet of the civil war that made Nero’s empire historically possible, the intended illusion in the audience is that the madness can still be stopped,25 except when it no longer can, at which point in his authorial apostrophe in book 7, Lucan addresses the defeated Pompey gazing upon his routed army at Pharsalus, and exhorts him not to weep (7, 706–707):

... no use for lament;
prevent your nations from weeping, shy away from tears and grief.

13... prohibe lamenta sonare,
flere ueta populos, lacrimas luctusque remitte.

  • 26 One scholar perceptively interprets Cato’s tears as a mark of a new kind of Stoicism that, instead (...)
  • 27 I am grateful to Christiane Reitz for helping me in articulating the force of this indicative.

14Scholars have been too quick in explaining away unshed tears in Lucan as a resuit of Stoicizing characterization.26 While we should admit that Stoic morality to repress emotions is active in this poem, we must also admit that there is plenty of exaggeration as far as display of emotions goes. In Lucan tears occur several times, but their occurrence is not as frequent as in the Aeneid, and is sometimes characterized, as in the words just quoted, as an absence. Lucan’s exhortation to Pompey to prevent ‘his nations’ from weeping builds up to the subsequent mention of an eastern city like Larisa (7, 712), upon which Roman influence had been formerly Consolidated during Pompey’s eastern campaigns. The city of Larisa, virtually an enemy of Roman hegemony, paradoxically welcomes the defeated Pompey by weeping, and thus is presented by Lucan as rendering homage to its former conqueror. As a reminder perhaps of the right wars that it is appropriate for Rome to fight, the mention of the foreign nations rendering homage to Pompey unveils the emotions that must have seized Pompey in defeat, who unmoved to rise again against fate, is to accept defeat and seal his demise by exhorting the nations to bow to the conqueror, not the vanquished. In the poet’s apostrophe to the defeated Pompey the indicative ‘you can’ (potes) in rursus in arma potes rursusque in fata redire (7, 719) almost has the force of a jussive, as if the poet were saying to Pompey: ‘You are able to [i.e., You must] take up arms once more and dare against fate’; but given the way things have turned out at Pharsalus, the indicative is closer to a contrary-to-fact: ‘You would have been able to take up arms once more and dare against fate.’27 The defeated Pompey is overcome with the sense of loss that follows him in the guise of nations in tears, and the admiration of his subjects is a meager consolation for the price that he and Rome are paying. We might have liked to see Pompey in tears at this point, but the poet Stoically imposes a stiff moral code on Pompey, and prevents him from shedding tears. Unlike John Lydus’ lachrymose magistrate, Lucan’s Pompey carries no burden of faith in a comprehensible moral order and no opportunity of redress is available to him. After all, he did fight in a civil war and we might have liked to witness Pompey’s acknowledgment of his own folly, since Julia had warned him in book 3, but fate may not be escaped, and we cannot help but wonder whether Pompey’s response to defeat is not after all wholly inadequate, even incommensurate – why does he not kill himself? He should have stopped the madness when he could; or he should have taken up arms once more against the fates.

  • 28 On the importance of shame, see Kaster 1997, 143–189, and Kaster 2005, 11–12, and 13–65.

15Lucan’s Pompey is not as inconsequential as he might seem when leaving Pharsalus on horseback (7, 677–679). At the end of book 8, Lucan’s imposed Stoic mode will grant the tearless Pompey a dignified death by not succumbing to shame, an emotion most demeaning for the Romans (8, 627–628):28

... do not give in to shame
and be not aggrieved for him who is the instrument of fate.

... ne cede pudori
aucto rem que dole fa ti.

  • 29 On Pompey’s death in Lucan, see Esposito 1996, 75–123.

16In the extreme moment of death, Pompey succeeds in Stoically dominating his emotions – and his destiny of death.29 His glory is therefore left unscathed, but Lucan has had Pompey himself warn his troops in book 7 that the Romans’ destiny after Pompey’s defeat is, after all, shame (7, 379–382):

If you shall not win, I, the Great, an exile,
the plaything of my father-in-law, and a shame for you, I entreat you
to keep away from me my ultimate fate, the humiliation of my last years,
to prevent that I should in old age learn to be a subject.

Magnus, nisi uincitis, exsul
ludibrium soceri, uester pudor, ultima fata
deprecor ac turpes extremi cardinis annos,
ne discam seruire senex.

17To escape this destiny of subservience to a tyrant, there is only death, which is the destiny Cato will unwaveringly embrace. Pompey, instead, falls into enemy hands. The shame is to float unburied and headless – at least until a proper funeral is arranged.

  • 30 Massilia had a treaty of alliance with Rome (on which, see DeWitt 1940, 605–615), but Lucan’s emph (...)

18Pompey has embraced his destiny with no tears and no head, but the best example of a character that embraces destiny and vies for glory in this poem does not come from the Roman side. Just as in Pompey’s defeat it is the non-Roman ‘nations’ of the east who show their fides to Pompey by being so aggrieved as to weep at their leader’s defeat at Pharsalus, so the non-Roman nations of the west in book 3 show their fides to their neutrality with Rome by challenging Caesar’s quasi-divine power (3, 301–303):30

The Massilians dared in uncertainty to keep
... to their fides and their sealed agreements
and to follow causae rather than fata.

Phocais in dubiis ausa est seruare iuuentus
... fidem, signataque iura
et causas, non fata, sequi.

  • 31 Asso 2010, 167 ad 4, 258–259.
  • 32 So seems to take it Hunink 1992, 146 ad 3, 302.
  • 33 Lucan 1, 12: bella geri placuit nullos habitura triumphos.

19The daring (ausa est) is the center of the line, and the quasi-hyperbolic nuance achieved by hyperbaton, as often in Lucan, builds up to an important moral statement, which in this particular case could be termed, with a Lucanian paradox that borders on a quasi-oxymoron, the ‘righteousness in wrongdoing’ motif, whereby the Massilians are portrayed as choosing to do the wrong thing for the right reason. The right reason, causas, is cast as opposite to fatum and fortuna, which belong to Caesar’s side, for as Lucan reminds us, Caesar in book 4 (4, 259) is the dux causae melioris only when he refrains from the use of violence, as he does by not killing those of Pompey’s soldiers who have crossed into his Ilerda camp to fraternize with their friends and relatives among the Caesarians (4, 259)31 – unless we merely want to take melior as the uictrix causa tout court.32 That Caesar’s cause is not the morally better cause is made clear by Cornelia’s address to her defeated husband in the beginning of book 8 that I have discussed earlier (8, 93–94), where Cornelia states that her replacing Julia in marriage to Pompey caused the gods to abandon the morally better cause and side with Caesar. In shifting the morally better cause from the winning cause to the losing one, Lucan is not merely playing with Latin idioms. The language is yet one more victim of civil war, in which friend and foe are blurred categories, and therefore there is no better cause because civil war grants no triumph.33

20Most memorably, Lucan in book 1 opposes the two factions at war as starkly as he can by casting Cato’s cause against the gods: uictrix causa deis placuit sed uicta Catoni (1, 128), where the gods are obviously equated with fatum and fortuna. Caesar has fortuna, fate, and the gods, on his side. All that is left for his opponents is the causa uicta, but with the reversal at work in civil war, the losing cause is the morally just (and therefore better) cause.

  • 34 I side with those who feel that Domitius’ absence is intentional and aimed at not diminishing the (...)

21The pitiless simplicity with which Lucan casts the opposing factions (causae) in book 1 is too neat to be realistic, and the poet himself must feel so, because the poem requires the audience’s complicity in working against fate. Fate is what the gods have wanted, which is Caesar’s victory, as poet and audience already know. In fact, in reporting the siege of Massilia, Lucan’s aim must have been to portray the Massilians as appropriately responding to fate, but Lucan has one conspicuous omission. In order to cast the Massilians in their Titanic fall, Lucan had to simplify history by leaving out Nero’s ancestor Lucius Domitius Aheno-barbus.34 Domitius was a key actor in orchestrating the opposition of Massilia to Caesar, but his presence in Lucan would have diminished the Massilians’ heroism.

  • 35 In Hunink’s (1992) précise rendering, ‘sealed’ recalls the custom of sealing contacts in individua (...)

22In the speech Lucan composes for them, the Massilians implore Caesar to respect their neutrality in the name of Roman fides, here constituted by the ‘sealed agreements.’35 Lucan’s insistence on protocol language here (signata... iura; 3, 302) is appropriate because, we might observe, the imperial function of the senate under Nero might have felt very much like a question of protocol. The legality of the Massilians’ request, therefore, has fundamental resonance in Lucan’s target audience – the imperial senate and the prominent citizens of Rome. Lucan’s sly emphasis on protocol, therefore, exaggerates the brutality of Caesar’s blunt rejection of the Massilians’ request. Domitius’ absence from Lucan makes Caesar’s rejection look completely gratuitous, because if Domitius had been present and active in Lucan’s Massilia narrative, Caesar’s rejection of the Massilians’ request would have made sense strategically for Caesar, because the Massilians were in fact working with the Pompeians and their request would have sounded single-minded at best and hypocritical at worst. Domitius is left out precisely because the Massilians’ tears, shed in the face of their fate, feel much more effectively lachrymose. As we witness Massilia’s fall in Lucan, we might be moved our serves with Lucan’s audience (3, 312–314):

If in discord you Romans are preparing impious armies
and dire battles, tears and abhorrence of civil war
are our contribution.

at, si funestas acies, si dira paratis
proelia discordes, lacrimas ciuilibus armis
secretumque damus.

23As Lucan prepares to recount the bloody defeat and capitulation of the Massilians after a brutal siege, the tragic colors he announces, with the foreknowledge of the gruesome deaths, promise no lack of tears. Yet tears are mentioned, not shed. The Massilians have mentioned a lachrymose abstention from taking sides as their contribution to civil war. They have preceded this lachrymose statement with the reminder of their loyalty (fides) to Rome in wars fought against foreign enemies, but now the Massilians’ ability to provide support is limited to an offer of a neutral zone. The Massilians are of Greek stock, as Lucan reminds us via metonymy denoting them as Phocaeans, but these Greeks dare boldly describe the Romans as discordes. Yet the ancient (and modem) cliché is that Greeks, not Romans, are customarily discordes. Let us clarify that the Massilians’ characterization of the Romans as discordes is literal, and therefore not ironic. Irony, however, might be seen in that the remark about Romans in discord comes from proverbially divisive Greeks, but the discord is cause for tragedy and tears. Tears are mentioned as part of the only appropriate behavior that the Massilians might embrace in the face of fate, i.e., Roman discord. The Massilians’ tears are obviously a synecdoche pars pro toto for their future sufferings, but they also remind the Roman imperial audience of Rome’s own suffering. In the face of dire fate, one weeps. The non-Roman Massilians are shown as being able to access the comprehensible moral order hopelessly compromised in civil war. The Massilians’ valiant opposition to Caesar’s advancement, righteous and loyal though it is, yields an effect not unlike tragic hubris, for the Massilians dare against fate, that is, against the will of the gods and Caesar. Their city will be besieged and humiliated with relatively minimal damage to Caesar, who is free to depart and proceed toward Ilerda after leaving a lieutenant in charge of the siege.

24Even in the moments in which tears are mentioned, we note that they are not shed, and the lachrymose emotion remains true to Lucan’s avowed inversions. Lucan reverses and thwarts the celebratory scope of the epic genre, for civil war is the ultimate fate that Lucan’s poem relentlessly delays.

  • 36 Franchet d’Espèrey 1983, 104.

25In Nero’s time civil war was still a possibility and not only as a result of dynastic struggle. The accession of Claudius had shown just how elusive the project of reestablishing the republic might have felt to the Romans of the 1st century CE. As far as fate is concerned, Sylvie Franchet d’Espèrey has called our attention to the impossibility of harmony in Lucan’s universe.36 In the face of fate and civil war, only tears are appropriate, provided they are allowed. Seen through tears, Lucan’s epic of defeat plays with the presence and absence of tears in the face of fate, and seems to suggest that the fate of civil war should only lead to tears.

Notes

1 D’Alessandro Behr’s useful study often addresses the dynamics of the emotions on Lucan’s narrative, but her study’s aim to reassess Lucan’s Stoicism, and its contributions to Lucan’s poetics, is not interested in addressing lexical difficulties that inevitably arise when the vocabulary of the emotions, and the term ‘emotion’ itself, are applied to individuals across cultural boundaries; Behr 2007, 136 is rather satisfactory on Pompey’s ira, but the term ‘emotion’ is often used in general and without indication of its problematic application, e.g., p. 30: ‘especially when emotion is being expressed’; cf. also 115 (with n. 13 and 14) on Cato’s rejection of emotion.

2 Graver 2007, 1–2; on the difficulty of finding exact linguistic equivalents in denoting emotions in translating languages and cultures, see also Kaster 2005, 7–8, who explains why he opts for approaching Roman emotions in terms of psychophysical scripts rather than terminology, given the difficulty of mapping the emotions via lexical meanings.

3 Fögen 2009 relies on a type of approach we term ‘intellectual history’, and seems not interested in tears in Roman epic. See also Fögen 2006. On tears in Lucan, the point of departure remains Fraenkel’s study on pathos, originally published as Fraenkel 1924, 229–257, reprinted twice in German as Fraenkel 1964, 233–264, and in Fraenkel 1970, 15–49, and now beautifully translated into English by L. Holford-Strevens as Fraenkel 2010, 15–45. On Ovid’s Metamorphoses: Hollenburger-Rusch 2001; snippets on tears in Roman epic: Heinze 1915, 474; Rieks 1981, 743 n. 74; Rüpke 2001, 83 and 104. In historiography: Rossi 2000, 56–66 on Marcellus’ tears. On tears as part of the performance of the self: Bartsch, 1994 73–74 (with 239 n. 27: Cic. Pro Sest. 120), 91 (satirist’s tears), 275 n. 16 (Plinian panegyric); Bartsch 2006, 89–91 (Ovid’s Narcissus), 124, 209 (Seneca); and Schulte 2001, 196 (Seneca). On tears semiotics and performance, see Flaig 2003, 110–115 (Plutarch’s Lucullus weeps before a mutiny).

4 For John Lydus I am completely indebted to Pazdernik 2009, 397 and 415.

5 Horsfall 2003, 67 ad 11, 29.

6 Aeneas is altogether absent (besides silent) in book 9, when the fighting begins; on Aeneas’ absence, see Hardie 1994, 15.

7 Horsfall 2003, 67 and 11, 29.

8 On Pallas’ fate, see Jupiter’s reply to Hercules at 10, 467–472, with Harrison 1991 ad loc.

9 On this an other dreams, see Walde 2001.

10 Julia’s death is listed among the causes of the civil war at BC 1, 111–120. For an excellent treatment of the war’s causes in Lucan (BC 1, 67–182), see now Roche 2009, 146–203; 171–174 on Julia. On Julia in Lucan, see Batinski 1993, 264–278 and Mills 2005, 53–64.

11 On Julia ‘engenderer’ of war, see Keith 2000, 65–100. Useful parallels between Amata and Jocasta in Statius’ Thebaid, in Bernstein 2008, 93–94.

12 Hector’s ghost (Aen. 2, 270–297) weeps copiously (270–271: maestissimus Hector / uisus adesse mihi largosque effundere fletus); Aeneas responds in tears (279: ultro flens ipse).

13 Obviously, Aeneas portrays himself as a Homeric hero; yet scholars (see especially Ussani 1952, x xviii) have pointed out that, since he survived the fall of Troy and escaped alive, Aeneas exposes himself to the accusation of being a traitor (see the bibliography cited in Horsfall 2008, 248). The traditional interpretation of Aeneas as Iliadic warrior is endorsed by Hector (Austin 1964, 142 ad 314: ‘Aeneas is shown as brave but reckless’); see Glei 1991, 136–137 and Hardie 1986, 290 (both cited by Horsfall 2008, 249 ad 289–295).

14 Homeric warlike frenzy: Aen. 2, 316: nec sat rationis erat; 2, 314: furor iraque; 2, 410–411: telis / nostrorum obruimur oriturque miserrima caedes. Horsfall 2008, 238–327 ad Aen. 2, 270–410, points out that the entire passage of Hector’s dream and Aeneas’ warlike awakening, is implicit about civil war allusions (e.g., Horsfall 2008, 242 ad 277 cites Cicero’s dream of Marius in triumphal dress at Div. 1, 59). On the fall of Troy as civil war, see Rossi 2004, 17–53. On war-cry and nocturnal brutality, Servius ad 2, 313 claims that Virgil alludes to Ennius on the sack of Alba (see Horsfall 2008, 267 ad 313).

15 Dufallo 2007, 100–102. I am grateful to Frederick Ahl for insisting uiua uoce that I explicitly attribute to Aeneas narrator the latter’s reports on Creusa’s and Hector’s apparitions.

16 Lucan describes Julia’s ghost as a diri ... plena horroris imago (3, 9), and a caput maestum (3, 10).

17 Hunink points out that Julia’s fury-like hellishness consists in instigating war (as Allecto and Amata do in the Aeneid), but he perhaps overstates his case when he claims that the Eumenides mentioned in 3, 15 “do not fonction... as Furies who may be appeased, but simply as instigators of war” (Hunink 1992, 40 ad 3,15). On Julia as a Fury, see Hardie 1993, 91. As I hope to show, Cornelia’s apostrophe to Julia in book 8 looks bent on appeasing Julia at 8, 102–104.

18 Torch-carrier is probably the only certain function of a pronuba, see Hersch 2010, 190–199.

19 Virgil has Juno declare that Lavinia’s pronuba will be Bellona at Aen. 7, 319; Lucan might here echo the baleful Furies as pronubae for Hypsipyle, Phyllis, and Procne in Ov. Ep. 2, 115–120; 6, 43–46; Met. 6, 428–432; 9, 759–763; see Hersch 2010, 197.

20 On Cornelia’s self-deprecating language, see Walde 2001, 395–396 and n. 21. Hunink 1992, 43 ad 3, 23 helpfully glosses Julia’s odd use of paelex in reference to Cornelia as an abusive term often used by women rivaling each other in love for the same man.

21 Narducci 2002, 296 and 358 n. 68, reminds us that love and affection, and, we may add, the emotions in general (with the partial exception of anger treated in Fantham 2003, 229–249) are still relatively unexplored in Lucan.

22 Keith 2000, 88.

23 On libertas and what it means for Lucan, see Quint 1993, 151, 389 n. 34 (citing Wirszubski 1950, 124–171; and Ahl 1976, 57).

24 On the Roman poet’s originality in creating new effects out of established mythical plots, see especially Bettini 1989, 15–35.

25 Hershkowitz 1998 devotes comparably little attention to lachrymose madness in civil war. Her treatment of madness in Lucan remains, however, extremely useful to place Lucan’s portraiture of madness within the tradition it belongs.

26 One scholar perceptively interprets Cato’s tears as a mark of a new kind of Stoicism that, instead of providing the philosophical justification to remain passive ‘feeds rebellion’ and refuses to acquiesce to the reality of the empire (Behr 2007, 259).

27 I am grateful to Christiane Reitz for helping me in articulating the force of this indicative.

28 On the importance of shame, see Kaster 1997, 143–189, and Kaster 2005, 11–12, and 13–65.

29 On Pompey’s death in Lucan, see Esposito 1996, 75–123.

30 Massilia had a treaty of alliance with Rome (on which, see DeWitt 1940, 605–615), but Lucan’s emphasis here is on the Massilians’ offer of a neutral zone. This alleged offer of a neutral zone is not in Caesar’s text, which says that the Massilians felt obliged toward both parties and therefore wanted to keep their neutrality (Caes. BC 1, 35). I thank Bruce Frier and David Potter for reminding me that no such thing as a ‘neutrality’ treaty is documented, but at least for an exile like Milo, Massilia was appealing as a neutral zone not too far from Rome.

31 Asso 2010, 167 ad 4, 258–259.

32 So seems to take it Hunink 1992, 146 ad 3, 302.

33 Lucan 1, 12: bella geri placuit nullos habitura triumphos.

34 I side with those who feel that Domitius’ absence is intentional and aimed at not diminishing the heroism of the Massilians (Hunink 1992, 142). Domitius’ action at Massilia is mentioned in Caes. BC 1, 34; 36; 56; 57.

35 In Hunink’s (1992) précise rendering, ‘sealed’ recalls the custom of sealing contacts in individual transactions. At 3, 302 (signataque iura), Hunink cites Prop. 3, 20, 15, along with other relevant loci.

36 Franchet d’Espèrey 1983, 104.

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