Lucan, Pharsalia 3.364-6

“Just as a great fire dissipates when nothing stands in its way, thus the absence of an enemy harms me, and I consider my army wasted if those who can be conquered refuse to fight back.”

Utque perit magnus nullis obstantibus ignis,
sic hostes mihi deesse nocet, damnumque putamus
armorum, nisi qui vinci potuere rebellant.

This is yet another completely exaggerated speech which Lucan places into the mouth of Caesar. Throughout the poem, he portrays Caesar as a vain warlord with an unquenchable thirst for destruction and subjugation. Caesar was, indeed, a powerful military adventurer, and was known to have something of what the modern psychologist would term a “Type-A” personality, yet we can still be forgiven for feeling that Lucan’s portrait of an indomitable and irresponsibly violent Caesar stretches the limits of credulity.

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