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Lucan

Lucan (Marcus Annaeus Lucanus), (39-65 A.D.), Roman poet, was the son of L. Annaeus Mella, a brother of the philosopher Seneca. He was born at Corduba, in Spain, but at an early age his parents took him to Rome, where he was educated by the foremost teachers of the day. At first he was favoured by the Emperor Nero, who made him quaestor and augur; but he incurred his enmity by defeating him in a public literary contest, and was forbidden henceforward to recite or publish his poems. Hereupon he threw himself into the conspiracy of C. Calpurnius Piso. The plot was discovered, and he sought to save his life by turning informer, accusing even his own mother, Acilia; but his efforts were fruitless, and he was forced to commit suicide by opening his veins. His fame rests entirely on his Pharsalia, an epic poem describing the war between Caesar and Pompey, which terminates abruptly in the middle of the 10th book. It is characterised by an easy flow of language, which sometimes rises into eloquence; the sentiments are generally patriotic, and almost everywhere it breathes the lofty Stoic philosophy in which its author had been trained. On the other hand, many passages are marred by an undue straining after verbal effect.