The Pharsalia

by Lucan
Start Free Trial

In Lucan's Bellum Civile, what does Lucan point to as causes of the war?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Lucan points out that the first triumvirate between Crassus, Caesar and Pompey was the beginning of the problems that would eventually befall Rome. This is because the three came together for the purpose of mischief and to institute tyranny by taking over leadership. Lucan made this point by stating “so long will loyalty be impossible between sharers in tyranny”.

After they took over the leadership, Crassus was the only deterrence to the looming conflict between Caesar and Pompey, and because of this he was given leadership of the middle territory separating the two. Crassus died and the peaceful coexistence was in jeopardy since the peace in Rome was now only held by Caesar’s daughter and Pompey’s wife, Julia. Unfortunately she also died and this made the situation worse because there was no other person who could stop the growing rivalry between Caesar and Pompey.

Pompey feared Caesar’s growth due to his military exploits which cast a shadow over his own achievements while Caesar was driven by ambition to become the supreme ruler of Rome. This situation eventually led to the civil war.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team