Caesar or Cleopatra? Lucan’s Tragic Queen

Join us for a lecture featuring Andrew Feldherr, Chair of the Department of Classics at Princeton.

The Neronian poet Lucan’s presentation of Cleopatra in his poem Bellum Civile (The Civil War) forms an important moment in the reception history of this infamously compelling figure.  In this talk Feldherr analyzes the account of her encounter with Julius Caesar as a development of her representation in Augustan poetry.  At the same time he discusses how, in the context of Neronian Rome, Cleopatra’s associations with luxury, and in a particularly Neronian twist, theater, help make her an ideal representation of the imperial present haunting the pre-history of the dynasty of Augustus.