Lucan (Marcus Annaeus Lucanus) lo͞oˈkən [key], a.d. 39–a.d. 65, Latin poet, b. Córdoba, Spain, nephew of the philosopher Seneca. At first in Nero's favor, he was later forced to kill himself when his part in a plot against the emperor was discovered. Ten books of his epic Bellum Civile (on the civil war between Caesar and Pompey), erroneously called Pharsalia, survive. Though the poem is written in a severe style and is often digressive and extravagant, it has a kind of vigorous beauty and grandeur, which gave Lucan a high place in the esteem of later writers.

See study by F. M. Ahl (1976); translations by J. D. Duff (1977), P. F. Widdows (1988), and S. H. Brand (1992).

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