The Pharsalia

by Lucan
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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 250

Compare the rise and personalities of American Populist politicians in the first half of the twentieth century to the Populares of the late Roman Republic.

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Lucan's circumstances have been repeated more than once in the twentieth century. Compare his experiences with those of writers working under twentieth-century dictatorships.

In Book X, Lucan has one of his characters discuss the source of the Nile. Research the search for the source of the Nile up to its discovery in the nineteenth century.

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Latest answer posted May 6, 2015, 10:21 am (UTC)

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Lucan has both his narrator and Julius Caesar himself mention his reform of the calendar. Research the development of the modern calendar. Look in particular for its importance for the development of mathematics and astronomy.

In Book III, Caesar sends troops to invade Sicily and Sardinia to control the supply of grain. Grain from these two islands and later from Egypt would have a profound effect on Roman history. Research the effects of the introduction of this cheap wheat on Italy or the effects on Europe of a similar introduction of cheap wheat from North America in the later nineteenth century.

Robert Graves called Lucan the "father of the costume film." Compare Lucan's use of atmospheric landscape, the supernatural, or the representation of brutality to their use in films.

Lucan's portrait of Erichtho and her magic is one of the foundation texts in the development of the western ideas of the witchcraft. Look at historical witch hunts and trials and compare the beliefs and accusations to material in Lucan's text.

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