A nekromanteia-jelenet Lucanus Pharsalia című művében

Szabó Noémi: A nekromanteia-jelenet Lucanus Pharsalia című művében.

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In the early imperial period, culture rather turned into declining, people tried to draw strength from older ideological traditions, their field of interest was gradually stretched, and the society losing interest in the imperial establishment, desperately hung on every such cult, which promised them salvation. In these circumstances wrote Marcus Annaeus Lucanus; his main work, the Pharsalia remained incomplete. At a guess, this work was written between A.D. 59 and 65, and the subject of the work was the battle of Pharsalus, with Julius Caesar defeating Pompey the Great. Lucan doesn’t commit himself at the beginning of Pharsalia, he convicts both Caesar and Pompey because of their power lust. Later he represents Caesar’s figure negatively stage by stage. The dictator’s reign and his politics is written with antipathy, Lucan doesn’t attack Caesar himself but through the dictator’s figure he evokes the emperor, Nero’s figure and frequent ferocity. Only Cato proves a true hero in the Pharsalia, Lucan associates with him. The Vergilian optimistic view is totally missing from the work. While Aeneas had any adversity in his life, the divine providence and his positive view of life always helped him out. We couldn’t find gods in this epic either, they do not take part in arranging the fate of mankind; only one superhuman power exists, the prescribed destiny, which after it’s own laws reorders the power relations between people and the states. In the sixth book the Pharsalia the necromancy’s rite is carried out by a Thessalian witch, Erictho. Thessaly was known as the centre of witchcraft in ancient times, so it was not an accident that Lucan originated the sorceress in Thessaly. It is not sure whether Erictho really existed or not but her figure may be set parallel with the Vergilian Allecto fury. In the Aeneid, Iuno „called from gloom of hell Alecto, woeful power, from cloudy throne among the Furies” and the fury has to resolve the peace between Aeneas and Rutulus (arma velit poscatque simul rapiatque inventus). Both of them are common in bloodlust and both women enjoy the destruction and the massacre of humans. Their appearance is similarly furious. „A host of shapes she wears, and many a front of frowning black brows viper-garlanded” (discolor et vario furialis cultus amictu induitur) as well as Erictho’s appearance „Bare was her visage, and upon her brow Dread vipers hissed” (coma vipereis substringitur horrida sertis). When Erictho angrily clobbers the unyielding corpse with a lot of snakes (verberat immotum vivo serpente cadaver) in this scene Vergil appears too, Allecto „upraised two coiling snakes out of her tresses, cracked the lashes of her scourge and wrathfully, with raving lips replied:”( geminos erexit crinibus anguis verberaque insonuit rabidoque haec addidit ore), and later , when Erictho goes out to the surface, her infectious presence makes serious damage: the rich harvest on the earth go smashed under her steps, and her putrid breathe contaminates the air (semina fecundae segetis calcata perussit; letiferas spirando perdidit auras). Erictho is totally different from the other sorceress known in earlier literature, her relationship with the underworld is deeper, she is the only mortal, who knows the Styx’s secrets. In Lucan’s opinion, Erictho’s function is different from that of the other witches, among the sorceress she is without precedent, she doesn’t continue the traditions but even reforms them (hoc scelerum ritus, haec dirae crimina gentis/effera damnarat nimiae pietatis Erictho/inque novos ritus pollutam duxerat artem). She isn’t shudder from her victims’ mutilation, and she kills, if the ritual needs fresh blood. Her character is parallel with the Vergilian Sibylla too, although there are also many points, in which they’re different. Sibylla only shows the way to the underworld, and she shows utmost respect to the corpse, while carrying out necromancy. When Sibylla offers a sacrifice to the infernal gods „with groaning ground beneath her feet, the wooded hill-tops shook, and, as it seemed, she-hounds of hell howled viewless through the shade to hail their Queen”( sub pedibus mugire solum, et iuga coepta moveri silvarum, visaeque canes ululare per umbram, adventante dea). Erictho’s voice is similar to that of a howling wolf, to dog’s barking and snake’s hissing, and she prays such a language, which is different from any human language (dissona et humanae multum discordia linguae). The searching motive is analogous too: Aeneas has to find the golden perch, while Erictho’s task is to search a competent human body to the rite. In both cases the plot for the ritual event is a cavern. It’s doubtless that Lucan’s writing was to a certain extent based on Vergil’s Aeneid, but in complex, the author wasn’t tried for the similarity. The necromancy scene focus around Pompey Sextus, son of Pompey the Great. His figure in the Pharsalia denotes, that he is not worthy to his father’s fame (Sextus erat, Magno proles indigna parente | cui mox Scyllaeis exul grassatus in undis | polluit aequoreos Siculus pirata triumphos) Sextus can’t bear this doubtfulness, which features his future (mens dubiis percussa pavet rursusque parata est | certos ferre metus). He looks up at the witch at midnight ignoring that such witchcraft belongs to the nefas category. The ritual needs a corpse, which has to be strong, and it’s not allowed to have any pulmonary inner visceral damage ((pulmonis rigidi stantis sine volnere fibras). Then she finds an adequate body, hangs it on a hook (inserto unco) and drags her victim through the rocks in her cave. In the cavern the darkness was impenetrable and horrible stink circulated. It was the entrance of the underworld; from where the spirits can go to the surface, once the infernal gods allowed it. The witch has the power to call the spirits from under, it was not necessary, that anyone of the infernal gods grants permission. It is dubious, that this cave is separated, being an independent cavity or this cavern belongs to the underworld (dubium est, quod traxerit illuc aspiciat Stygias an quod descenderit umbras). After that, Erictho dabs the corpse with various toxins: she uses the lynx’s inner viscera, the hyena excrescence, which is on the animal’s fur, a rabid dog’s drivel, etc. That is followed by an incantation, in which song Erictho asks for help from the infernal gods, she accosts the furies, Styx, Poena, Chaos, Hades, Proserpina, and Charon, and she begs them, so that the dead man’s soul returned to the corpse. Shortly she sees a shadow near the corpse (aspicit astantem proiecti corporis umbram) but it does not want to occupy his old prison again. Erictho is rather angry, and she threatens the gods: she blackmails Hecate, and promises, that she will uncover her true face (ad quos alio procedure vultu ficta soles, Hecate, pallenti tabida forma ostendam) and she menaces to the king of the underworld: she sets the titans on him (tibi, pessime mundi arbiter, imittam ruptis Titana cavernis, et subito feriere die). This menace turnes effective, blood grows hot in the corpse, the guts pulsate (percussae gelido trepidant sub pectore fibrae), slowly reviving the breathless corpse. His sight return, but he’s not able to talk himself, only speaks when the witch ask him (vox illi linguaque tantum responsura datur). He reports, that the surface’s discord echoes in the underworld, and this war disturbs the calm of the dead (inpiaque infernam ruperunt arma quietem) the so far happy spirits now turn bitter, the great Camillus’s ghost burst out in crying because of the reign’s decadence, Sulla complains to Fortuna, Scipio mourns on the Lybian sand died heir (deplorat Lybicis perituram Scipio terris infaustam subolem), Cato feels pain for his progeny’s fate, only Brutus (solum te, Consul depulsis prime tyrannis Brute, pias inter gaudentem vidimus umbras) and Catilina are satisfied and the other spirits, who were the enemies of the republic. He admonishes Sextus, he doesn’t have to move by the glory in his life, warns him from hurrying his own destiny not having to search his fate, saying that later it will be shown, what he has to do. Pompey the Great himself will lead his son on his way, he will secure those fields, which he has to avoid, and he will carry away those places, where Sextus presence is needed (ipse canet Siculis genitor Pompeius in arvis, ille quoque in certus quo te vocet, unde repellat, quas iubeat vitare plagas, quae sidera mundi). The prophet reports the defeat of Pompey and the assassination against Caesar. After that the ghost wants to return home, but the witch can’t dismiss yet, until the toxin’s effect passes away. By the necromancy’s rule it’s not possible, that an already dead man is killed again (nequeunt animam sibi reddere fata consumpto iam iure semel). In literary works necromancy is demonstrated that someone with a mediator’s help summons a dead man’s infernal ghost and this person speaks the secrets of the future. Lucan breaks with the tradition reviving a dead soldier and he’s Erictho’s prophet. The Pharsalia finds a miscellaneous reception. Petronius in his work the Satyricon criticized that Lucan ignores the epic paraphernalia, and he thinks, that someone, who tries to write about the civil war, will succumb under the weight, unless hi/she is complete with literary education (Ecce belli civilis ingens opus quisquis attigerit, nisi plenus litteris, sub onere labetur.). However late Christian antiquity prefers it, because he decreased the role of the pagan gods.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Other title: The necromancy scene in Lucan’s Pharsalia
Journal or Publication Title: Enargeia : a Collegium Hungaricum Societatis Europaeae Studiosorum Philologiae Classicae VII. Országos Konferenciáján elhangzott előadások
Date: 2013
ISBN: 978-963-306-199-2
Page Range: pp. 60-67
Lucanus Marcus Annaeus
Event Title: Collegium Hungaricum Societatis Europaeae Studiosorum Philologiae Classicae : Országos konferencia
Event Type: Conference
Event Location: Szeged, Magyarország
Event Dates: 2012. május 22-23.
Related URLs: http://acta.bibl.u-szeged.hu/71173/
Uncontrolled Keywords: Latin irodalom története - ókor
Additional Information: Bibliogr.: 64. p. ; összefoglalás angol nyelven
Subjects: 06. Humanities
06. Humanities > 06.02. Languages and Literature
06. Humanities > 06.02. Languages and Literature > 06.02.05. Specific literatures
Date Deposited: 2021. Jan. 07. 12:18
Last Modified: 2021. Jan. 07. 14:20
URI: http://acta.bibl.u-szeged.hu/id/eprint/71399

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