Notes on Lucan I. and VIII

Classical Quarterly 10 (2):100-105 (1916)
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Abstract

This well-known passage refers to the growth of latifundia, a symptom of Rome's decadence. In v. 170 ignotis is generally taken to mean ‘unknown to the owners,’ and thus, it seems to me, the point of the passage is missed. There is a double antithesis; longa is contrasted with breuίa, parua, and ίgnotίs with notίs, ίnlustrίbus, or the like. The latter antithesis is implied in Camίllί, Curίorum; the other is left to be understood. In the good old days farms were small, but were cultivated by the most eminent citizens, men like Camillus and Curius Dentatus; now these small farms are combined to form latίfundίa, managed by nobodies, whether slaves or tenant farmers. The juxta-position of longa and sub ίgnotίs is intentional.

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