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The Commerce of WarExchange and Social Order in Latin Epic$
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Neil Coffee

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226111872

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226111902.001.0001

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Caesar, Pompey, and Cato

Caesar, Pompey, and Cato

Chapter:
(p.135) Chapter Four Caesar, Pompey, and Cato
Source:
The Commerce of War
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226111902.003.0005

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

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