Caesar, Pompey, and Cato

in The Commerce of War

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780226111872
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226111902 | DOI:
Caesar, Pompey, and Cato

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This chapter discusses the three central characters in Civil War: Caesar, Pompey, and Cato. Lucan strips Caesar of much of his real-life complexity. He has a tyrant's lust for power but without the constraint of fear, and also shows no incontinentia in his economic affairs. Lucan highlights Caesar's bad reciprocal faith in a scene of diplomatic gift exchange. The greatest manifestation of pietas toward Pompey comes from the people of Lesbos, who receive him when he comes to meet Cornelia there after his defeat at Pharsalia. Caesar and Pompey dominate the action of Civil War, but Cato, the only major figure in the poem to use the word utilis, evidently an important concept in his value system, plays an equally important role. With his death beyond the bounds of the extant poem, the ideal of what is utilis will be eliminated.

Keywords: Civil War; Caesar; Pompey; Cato; Lucan

Chapter.  20400 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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