Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Christina Franzen

Second Advisor

Caroline Perkins

Third Advisor

E. Del Chrol


Lucan’s Bellum Ciuile has provided much difficulty for scholars in the identification of a hero, as none of the main characters of the epic, Caesar, Pompey, and Cato, fully become a hero. I argue that a minor character, Erichtho, the necromancer in book 6, is not only the hero, but also the supreme uates and reflection of the poet. Through her comparison with Scaeva in book 6 as well as Aeneas of Vergil’s Aeneid and her interactions with Sextus Pompey, her heroism becomes fully developed. She creates a corpse uates through her vatic powers and gains access into the Underworld deeper than conventional oracles. Her vatic connection to the poet gives insight into the poet’s own magical abilities. Once her various important roles in the BC are understood, her infernal powers can be seen to permeate the whole of the epic as she becomes the poem’s central figure.


Lucan, 39-65. Pharsalia - Criticism and interpretation.

Pharsalus, Battle of, Farsala, Greece, 48 B.C. - Poetry.