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The Art of Caesar's Bellum Civile
Literature, Ideology, and Community

$79.00 USD

$79.00 USD
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About the Authors
  • Traditional approaches have reduced Caesar's Bellum Civile to a tool for teaching Latin or to one-dimensional propaganda, thereby underestimating its artistic properties and ideological complexity. Reading strategies typical of scholarship on Latin poetry, like intertextuality, narratology, semantic, rhetorical and structural analysis, cast a new light on the Bellum Civile: Ciceronian language advances Caesar's claim to represent Rome; technical vocabulary reinforces the ethical division between 'us' and the 'barbarian' enemy; switches of focalization guide our perception of the narrative; invective and characterization exclude the Pompeians from the Roman community, according to the mechanisms of rhetoric; and the very structure of the work promotes Caesar's cause. As a piece of literature interacting with its cultural and socio-political world, the Bellum Civile participates in Caesar's multimedia campaign of self-fashioning. A comprehensive approach, such as has been productively applied to Augustus' program, locates the Bellum Civile at the interplay between literature, images and politics.

    • Restores the Bellum Civile to its position as a masterly piece of literature, written with sophisticated narrative devices
    • Considers the work in its historical context, showing how literature and politics interact
    • Explores the Bellum Civile in the light of Caesar's multimedia campaign of self-fashioning, which included monuments, coins, polemic pamphlets, letters and even his own hairstyle
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    Reviews & endorsements

    :The Art of Caesar’s 'Bellum Civile' is a perfect book for a college level Caesar class and an excellent book for those teaching Caesar at any level. --BMCR

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2012
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781139211314
    • contains: 1 table
    • availability: Adobe Reader ebooks available from
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction. Between ancient and modern approaches: admirers and detractors of Caesar
    1. The swift and the slow: Caesar's art of characterization
    2. The great contest: constantia, innocentia, pudor, and virtus
    3. Redefining loyalty
    4. The limits and risks of Caesar's leniency
    5. The barbarization of the enemy
    6. Two army-communities and their effect on the Roman people
    7. Shaping the future of Rome: the architecture of the Bellum Civile
    Appendix 1. Chronology of the Civil War (pre-Julian calendar) and narrative structure of the Bellum Civile
    Appendix 2. Composition, publication and genre of the Bellum Civile
    Appendix 3. The manuscript tradition of the Bellum Civile. Opening, end and book division.

  • Author

    Luca Grillo, Amherst College, Massachusetts

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