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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 February 2010
Lucan was the nephew of Seneca the Younger (one-time tutor to Nero and forced by him to commit suicide) and so he has a very personal response to hereditary monarchy which comes over very clearly in this text. Re-telling the story of the civil war waged between Julius Caesar and Pompey, he also explores the re-establishment of monarchy vs. the supposed independence of the republic.

This is a very literary text and relies on the reader's knowledge of other Roman epics especially Virgil's Aeneid, but also Ovid's Metamorphoses which itself challenged what the epic genre could and should encompass. But it's not strictly essential to have a knowledge of either Roman literature or even history to enjoy this book though it undoubtedly helps in terms of exploring the nuances.

Braund's translation (OUP Oxford World Classics 1992) of the Latin poetry is in free verse, and is flowing and powerful. Her notes and especially introduction are excellent contextualising the poem in many directions.

I have to admit that this isn't one of my favourite Latin texts but Lucan's sensational episodes are very gothic and almost worth reading in themselves, replete as they are with bloody portents, witches, and all manner of gore. Caesar's affair with Cleopatra is also extremely lurid but it's a shame that the text breaks off at that point as Lucan never finished the poem. So worth a read but not a good introduction to Latin literature.
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on 24 July 2013
This is a wonderful translation, but why are there no links from the text to the notes in the kindle edition? - it's impossible to find the note you want.
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on 19 September 2014
Lucan is not easy to read but there is an excellent Introduction by the famous Roman scholar Susanne Braund which helps to clarify some parts of the poem.
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on 21 March 2016
An excellent translation of an old favourite
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on 27 February 2015
New as it is as was decribed from the description of the item!
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