CAESAR CRISS-CROSSING THE RUBICON: A PALINDROMIC ACROSTIC IN LUCAN (1.218–22)


Type
Article
Change log
Authors
Giusti, E 
Abstract

jats:pLucan's account of Caesar crossing the Rubicon (1.213–22) is dense with metapoetic allusion. Although the river has been specified as a small stream at Caesar's arrival (jats:italicut uentum est jats:boldparui</jats:bold> Rubiconis ad undas</jats:italic>, 1.185), it becomes swollen, jats:italictumidus</jats:italic>, as soon as Caesar ‘breaks the delay of war’ and ‘carries his standards in haste over the [now] swollen river’ (jats:italicinde moras soluit belli jats:boldtumidum</jats:bold>que per amnem | signa tulit propere</jats:italic>, 1.204-5). This has been pinpointed both as a metapoetic signpost of Lucan's engagement with the anti-Callimachean swollen river of grandiose epic (Callim. jats:italicHymn</jats:italic> 2.108-9) at the outbreak of (his) Civil War, and as a programmatic statement that the whole jats:italicBellum Ciuile</jats:italic> will set up a series of contrasts between Caesar's urgency in crossing boundaries and Lucan's narrative obstructions to or compliances with Caesar's progress. In fact, as Jamie Masters notes, ‘in spite of the “undoing of delay,” the perfect “tulit” and the adverb “propere,” Caesar has not crossed the river yet; or if he has, he must do it again’, precisely at 1.213–22. Within this densely self-reflexive passage, Lucan inserts a palindromic acrostic which signals both the doubling of Caesar's action (or at least the poet's double mention of the action) and Lucan's poetic representation of Caesar taming the forces of nature.</jats:p>

Description

This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Cambridge University Press via http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0009838815000051

Keywords
43 History, Heritage and Archaeology, 47 Language, Communication and Culture, 4303 Historical Studies, 4705 Literary Studies, 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Journal Title
The Classical Quarterly
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
0009-8388
1471-6844
Volume Title
65
Publisher
Cambridge University Press (CUP)