Keywords: Manzoni; Cinque Maggio; Lucan; Caesar; Thunderbolt.
This paper suggests that among the rich intertextual echoes of Manzoni's "Cinque maggio" there is an allusion to Lucan's "Bellum Civile", possibly mediated through a previously-identified reference to Dante's "Paradiso VI". Manzoni's representation of Napoleon as a thunderbolt whose first lightning is immediately followed by a violent explosion (ll. 25-30) finds, in fact, a significant antecedent in Lucan's description of Caesar (Lucan. I, 151-57). The "Bellum Civile", which is mentioned as a model of non-mythological historical epic in Manzoni's "Del romanzo storico", traces a deeply ambivalent portrait of Caesar: the paper argues that Lucan's lines may underpin the equally ambiguous depiction of Napoleon in Manzoni's ode.