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Daniel Orrells, Gurminder K. Bhambra, and Tessa Roynon

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199595006

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199595006.001.0001

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The Idea of Africa in Lucan

The Idea of Africa in Lucan

(p.225) 13 The Idea of Africa in Lucan
African Athena

Paolo Asso

Oxford University Press

Africa in Lucan embraces not only the familiar geographical concept but also the complex historical and literary‐historical associations with the memories of the wars against Hannibal and Jugurtha. Far from being a mere repertoire of historical memory that recalls the glories of past conquest, along with the aggrandizing victories of such prominent players as Scipio Africanus and Marius, Africa in Lucan is praised also for her own qualities, for her wealth of crops and precious timber, and for her strong inhabitants, rough men able to endure tough weather and the most strenuous combat. In exposing Africa's complexity and embedded contradictions as a continent, a Roman province, and a hypostasis of Mother Earth, Lucan not only unveils the Roman ethnic biases, but on geographic and geo‐political bases also questions the concept itself of Roman identity through his poetics of civil war.

Keywords:   Lucan, civil war, Africa, catalogues, cultural identity, Roman history

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