The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Shorter Notes

Notes on Lucan1

Nigel Holmesa1

a1 York

‘Phoceus’is ambiguous. It could mean ‘Phocian, of Phocis’, and thus ‘Massilian’. Massilia was founded by refugees from Phocaea; but Latin writers sometimes put instead Phocis, a name which Lucan also used for Massilia. Alternatively it could be a proper name appropriate to a Massilian. It is difficult to decide between the two readings: while no other participant is mentioned simply as a Roman or a Greek, some do appear unnamed. I prefer to see ‘Phoceus’as the swimmer's name. It seems attractive to divide off the four lines describing his life in peacetime (697–700) from ‘pugna fuit unus in ilia’ in 696; and this cannot be done if we must take ‘unus’ with ‘Phoceus’. Secondly, it seems strange of Lucan to give the swimmer four lines of description and Homeric pathos, and then not give him a name.


1 Professor R. G. M. Nisbet and Dr D. P. Fowler kindly read parts of this article and made many helpful suggestions. I should also like to thank the anonymous referee for bringing to my notice a number of points needing clarification.