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2019-11-08 22:12:16
Venice: Nicolaus Battibovis, 13 May 1486. This is an excellent incunabular edition of the greatest Latin epic apart from the "Aeneid," chronicling the civil war between Caesar and Pompey; the defeat of the latter's forces at the Battle of Pharsalus marked the beginning of the end of the Roman republic. The Spanish-born Lucan (39-65 A.D.) was the nephew of Stoic philosopher Seneca, and was educated in Rome and Athens. A precocious literary talent, he attracted the favor of Nero at the age of 21, but the volatile emperor soon turned against him, and banned his poems from public performance. The oppression he faced under Nero colored the tone of "Pharsalia." Britannica notes, "As the poem proceeds, the poet?s republicanism becomes more marked, no doubt because as Nero?s tyranny grew, along with Lucan?s hatred of him, he looked back with longing to the old Roman Republic. It has been said that Cato is the real hero of the epic, and certainly the best of Lucan?s own Stoicism appears in the noble courage of his Cato in continuing the hopeless struggle after Pompey had failed." Where the "Aeneid" brims with optimism for the future glories of Rome, "Pharsalia" is far bleaker and filled with foreboding. Lucan was so provoked by the outrages of Nero that he felt compelled to take action beyond literature, and he joined Piso's conspiracy to assassinate the emperor. The plot was discovered, and Lucan was compelled to commit suicide. This is the only known imprint of Nicolaus Battibovis, printed on the same press as three classical works (Ovid, Tibullus, and Perius Flaccus) issued by h … [Click Below for Full Description]
Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Rare Books (ABAA) [McMinnville, OR, U.S.A.]

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