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Classics Colloquium: Lauren Ginsberg (Cincinnati) "Venturi Me Teque Legent: Caesar’s Epic Successor"

  • 603 Hamilton Hall Columbia University (map)

This talk looks at the literary and historical relationship between Lucan and Caesar, a relationship which is still denied by a surprising bulk of scholarship but which has also recently been attracting increased attention - often buried in footnotes or offhanded comments - due to the intertextual turn in historiographical studies. Through an analysis of the episode of Ilerda in both Caesar and Lucan, I argue that far from wishing to ignore or even erase the memory of Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Civili, Lucan not only presupposes a reader intimately familiar with his predecessor’s account but also marks Caesar’s text as a significant site of memory for the civil wars. The paper’s case study approach Lucan’s engagement with Caesar with a two-fold goal: (1) to reframe the way we approach the question by looking at Caesar’s Commentarii not as source but as model and (2) to free such analysis of the assumption that Lucan’s reception of Caesar must aim purely at denigrating the character of Caesar.