Apocolocyntosis divi Claudii PDF Ë Apocolocyntosis

The Gourdification of Claudius the God has instant and lasting appeal It is a uniquely surviving specimen of prose and verse satire from the Roman world and satire a Roman speciality is one of the few types of ancient literature to survive and thrive in modern society Its author Seneca was not only gifted with intellectual virtuosity but at the time of writing was the precarious power behind the throne of the dangerously developing Nero Claudius the target of his malicious wit remains the most controversial of the first twelve imperial Caesars The English version facing the text makes the work available to the general reader who may not have any Latin The text which is based on a critical examination of all the manuscripts will be indispensable to scholars The commentary which is the first on this scale to have been written in English is primarily addressed to university and other students


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    In 41 AD Seneca was banished to Corsica by Emperor Claudius He spent eight years in exile before being recalled to Rome He never forgave Claudius and after the emperor's death in 54 Seneca wrote a satire titled Apocolocyntosis divi Claudii The Pumpkinification of the Divine Claudius In the Apocolocyntosis the recently deceased Claudius appears in heaven and requests that he be deified He is found wanting and sent down to hell instead There he is sentenced and eventually forced to spend eternity as a minor bureaucrat I have a lot of respect for Seneca as a tragedian and his philosophical writings are also worth reading This is not his best work Satire is a bit out of Seneca's comfort zone and the Apocolocyntosis is only intermittently funny Claudius suffered from some physical ailments including a notable limp and Seneca spends a lot of time lampooning the former emperor for his disabilities Mostly the Apocolocyntosis just comes across as bitter In hindsight Seneca didn't realize how well he had it under Claudius When Seneca displeased the next emperor Nero the price was not exile but death This is a very quick read and people interested in the history and literature of the Julio Claudian dynasty may find it interesting But I agree with the poet Dana Gioia's assessment this grotesque burlesque has not added luster to Seneca's reputation 2 stars