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Lucilius Junior (1st century), was the Roman governor of Sicily during the reign of Nero, a friend and correspondent of Seneca, and the possible author of Aetna, a poem which survives in a corrupt state.


The information we have about Lucilius comes from Seneca's writings, especially his Moral Letters which are addressed to Lucilius. Seneca also dedicated his Naturales Quaestiones and his essay De Providentia to Lucilius. Lucilius seems to have been a native of Campania, and Seneca refers repeatedly to "your beloved Pompeiimarker." At the time Seneca wrote his Letters (c. 65 AD), Lucilius was the Governor of Sicily. He was a Roman Knight, a status he had achieved through "persistant work," and he owned a country villa in Ardeamarker, south of Romemarker. Seneca devotes one of his shorter letters to praising a book Lucilius had written, and elsewhere quotes a few lines of Lucilius' poetry.


Aetna is a poem on the origin of volcanic activity, which has been variously attributed to Virgil, Cornelius Severus, and Manilius.

Its composition has been placed as far back as 44 BC, on the ground that certain works of art, known to have been removed to Romemarker about that date, are referred to as being at a distance from the city. But as the author appears to have known and made use of the Quaestiones Naturales of Seneca (written 65 AD), and no mention is made of the great eruption of Vesuviusmarker (79 AD), the time of its composition seems to lie between these two dates. In favour of the authorship of Lucilius are the facts that he was a friend of Seneca and acquainted with his writings; that he had for some time held the office of imperial procurator of Sicily, and was thus familiar with the locality; that he was the author of a poem on Sicilian subjects. It is objected that in the 79th letter of Seneca, which is the chief authority on the question, he apparently asks that Lucilius should introduce the hackneyed theme of Aetna merely as an episode in his contemplated poem, not make it the subject of separate treatment. The sources of the Aetna are Posidonius of Apamea, and perhaps the pseudo-Aristotelian De Mundo, while there are many reminiscences of Lucretius. It has come down in a very corrupt state, and its difficulties are increased by the unpoetical nature of the subject, the straining after conciseness, and the obtrusive use of metaphor.


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