Lucan’s epic Bellum civile was widely read and studied in antiquity, as is attested by several bodies of scholia on the text. The most important ones among them are known as the Adnotationes super Lucanum, the Commenta Bernensia and the Supplementum adnotationum super Lucanum. While it cannot be said that these scholia are of primary importance for every student of Latin literature, they provide some interesting material on forms of learning in late antiquity.
Paolo Esposito has now edited a volume of studies specifically devoted to the scholia on Lucan. Esposito himself contributes an introductory survey of the field, an essay on Virgil and Servius in the scholia on Lucan, and an essay on quotations from Lucan in Servius’ commentary on the first book of Virgil’s Aeneid. In addition, Nicola Lanzarone analyses quotations from other poets in the Supplementum adnotationum super Lucanum, while Rosina Iannone deals with Servius and the Commenta Bernensia. Finally, Enrico M. Ariemma analyses references to Lucan in Lactantius Placidus’ commentary on Statius’ Thebaid.
Most of these contributions make for rather technical reading, with detailed accounts of places in the various bodies of scholia, illustrated by additional tables and lists of parallels. For example, there are exhaustive lists (p.78-107) of all Virgilian quotations in the Adnotationes and the Commenta Bernensia, arranged both in the order of appearance in the scholia and in the order of Virgil’s works.
Hardly surprisingly, Virgil is ubiquitous in these scholia, the Aeneid having always been considered the number one poem in Latin and, more specifically, Lucan’s most important model in writing his epic. In addition, Servius’ commentary on the Aeneid also proves to have deeply influenced later bodies of scholia, such as the ones on Lucan. Elaborating such forms of dependence, this volume of studies is of limited interest to the general reader. Specialists, however, may find some useful tools for further research here.