Pharsalia

De Bello Civili (Latin pronunciation: [deː ˈbɛlloː kiːˈwiːliː]; On the Civil War), more commonly referred to as the Pharsalia, is a Roman epic poem written by the poet Lucan, detailing the civil war between Julius Caesar and the forces of the Roman Senate led by Pompey the Great. The poem's title is a reference to the Battle of Pharsalus, which occurred in 48 BC, near Pharsalus, Thessaly, in northern Greece. Caesar decisively defeated Pompey in this battle, which occupies all of the epic's seventh book. In the early twentieth century, translator J. D. Duff, while arguing that "no reasonable judgment can rank Lucan among the world's great epic poets", notes that the work is notable for Lucan's decision to eschew divine intervention and downplay supernatural occurrences in the events of the story.[1] Scholarly estimation of Lucan's poem and poetry has since changed, as explained by commentator Philip Hardie in 2013: "In recent decades, it has undergone a thorough critical re-evaluation, to re-emerge as a major expression of Neronian politics and aesthetics, a poem whose studied artifice enacts a complex relationship between poetic fantasy and historical reality."[2]

The Pharsalia was especially popular in times of civil wars and similar troubles; for example the editor of this 1592 edition, Theodor Pulmann, explains Lucan's relevance by the French Wars of Religion (1562–98).