Fragmentary Texts and the Limits of Literary Reference: Ennius' Hannibal and Cicero's Pro Balbo in Lucan's Bellum Civile

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Abstract

This article explores some of the complex verbal links between Lucan’s Bellum civile and Ennius’ Annales. Contrary to more expected practices of poetic reference, Lucan’s allusive gestures at Ennian verse (Ann. 234–35 Skutsch) are
shown to be aimed simultaneously at Cicero’s Pro Balbo, the speech that reserves the fragmentary lines. They are examples of a curious variant of “window reference” or “two-tier allusion.” Despite Lucan almost certainly having read
the lines set within their original context in Ennius’ epic, his poem also activates them as a quotation ensconced within Cicero’s speech. Through allusion to Ennius’ Hannibal, Lucan’s epic uses the Annales to recall its (now largely
unknown) depiction of the Carthaginian general. At the same time, it refers to Cicero’s speech as the transmitting source and as a meaningful interpretation of the fragment that provides both a “corrected” characterization and additional content of marked importance to Lucan’s poem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-92
JournalClassical Philology
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2024

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