The De rerum natura is, as its title confirms, a work ofphysics, written in the venerable tradition of Greek treatises Onnature. Lucretius then dedicates time to exploring the axiom that nothing can be produced from nothing, and that nothing can be reduced to nothing (Nil fieri ex nihilo, in nihilum nil posse reverti). Introduction to Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things Cyril Baley O f the three great Latin poets Lucretius seems to make the most peculiar appeal to our own age. , Drawing on these, and other passages, William Stahl considered that "The anomalous and derivative character of the scientific portions of Lucretius' poem makes it reasonable to conclude that his significance should be judged as a poet, not as a scientist. "Happy is he who has discovered the causes of things and has cast beneath his feet all fears, unavoidable fate, and the din of the devouring Underworld." tacitus affirms that many prominent men and women from influential families … Lucretius divided his argument into six Epicurus was the first to raise men above the curse of superstition and the wicked deeds it leads to, such as the sacrifice of Iphianassa (Iphigenia) at Aulis by Agammenon, and the fear that people have from priests that they will be endlessly tormented after death. " Some Christian apologists viewed De rerum natura as an atheist manifesto and a dangerous foil to be thwarted. On The Nature of Things is sweeping in scope and detail, but in the end it is essentially a presentation of the Epicurean method for answering the most common and troubling questions about the nature of life and of the universe. To the Greek philosopher Epicurus, the unhappiness and degradation of humans arose largely from the dread which they entertained of the power of the deities, from terror of their wrath. The universe described in the poem operates according to these physical principles, guided by fortuna ("chance"), and not the divine intervention of the traditional Roman deities. For instance, Diskin Clay sees Venus as a poetic substitute for sex, and Bonnie Catto sees the invocation of the name as a metonym for the "creative process of natura". , The earliest recorded critique of Lucretius's work is in a letter written by the Roman statesman Cicero to his brother Quintus, in which the former claims that Lucretius's poetry is "full of inspired brilliance, but also of great artistry" (Lucreti poemata, ut scribis, ita sunt, multis luminibus ingeni, multae tamen artis). On the Nature of Things By Lucretius. Lucretius (Titus Lucretius Carus) lived ca. ), The state of the poem as it currently exists suggests that it was released in an unfinished state.  David Butterfield also writes that "clear echoes and/or responses" to De rerum natura can be detected in the works of the Roman elegiac poets Catullus, Propertius, and Tibullus, as well as the lyric poet Horace. On the Nature of Things Lucretius expounds the Epicurian view that the world can be explained by the operation of material forces and natural laws and thus one should not fear the gods or death. Convinced thou must confess such things there are As have no parts, the minimums of nature. Buy The Nature of Things by Lucretius (ISBN: 9781613828724) from Amazon's Book Store. Lucretius covers concepts of Epicureanism. It has been suggested that Dante (1265–1321) might have read Lucretius's poem, as a few verses of his Divine Comedy exhibit a great affinity with De rerum natura, but there is no conclusive evidence that Dante ever read Lucretius. He is the author of the great didactic poem in hexameters, De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things). The entire proem is also written in the format of a hymn, recalling other early literary works, texts, and hymns and in particular the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite. The Nature of Things combines a scientific and philosophical treatise with some of the greatest poetry ever written. ", Despite his advocacy of empiricism and his many correct conjectures about atomism and the nature of the physical world, Lucretius concludes his first book stressing the absurdity of the (by then well-established) round earth theory, favor instead a flat earth cosmology. his assertion that the world was created from chaos, and his denials of Providence, divine participation, miracles, the efficacy of prayer, and an afterlife) as "proto-atheistic". Lucretius: On the Nature of Things A conversation with Margaret Graver, Professor of Classics, Dartmouth College If Livy is easy and Horace is hard, then Lucretius is much closer to Horace in difficulty. This reading is from "The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura," 1968, … When necessary, he invented words. If Lucretius's poem were to be definitely placed at the Villa of the Papyri, it would suggest that it was studied by the Neapolitan Epicurean school. In poetic diction and style he was in debt to the older Latin poets, especially to Quintus Ennius, the father of Roman poetry.  Additionally, Pliny the Elder lists Lucretius (presumably referring to his De rerum natura) as a source at the beginning of his Naturalis Historia, and Seneca the Younger quoted six passages from De rerum natura across several of his works. , Martin Ferguson Smith notes that Cicero's close friend, Titus Pomponius Atticus, was an Epicurean publisher, and it is possible his slaves made the very first copies of De rerum natura.  While he argued that Lucretius's criticism of Roman religion were "sound attacks on paganism and superstition", Lactantius claimed that they were futile against the "True Faith" of Christianity.  This proves that the work was known in select circles long before the official rediscovery by Poggio. , The sixth book contains an explanation of some of the most striking natural appearances, especially thunder, lightning, hail, rain, snow, ice, cold, heat, wind, earthquakes, volcanoes, springs and localities noxious to animal life, which leads to a discourse upon diseases. Brand new Book. , "On the Nature of Things" redirects here. " (Of note, Lucretius repeats these 25 lines, almost verbatim, in the introduction to the fourth book.  For instance, when considering the reason for stellar movements, Lucretius provides two possible explanations: that the sky itself rotates, or that the sky as a whole is stationary while constellations move. Find in this title: Find again.  The historian Ada Palmer has labelled six ideas in Lucretius's thought (viz. The earliest recorded critique of Lucretius's work is in a letter written by the Roman statesman Cicero to his brother Quintus, in which the former claims that Lucretius's poetry is "full of inspired brilliance, but also of great artistry" (Lucreti poemata, ut scribis, ita sunt, multis luminibus ingeni, multae tamen artis).  The Early Christian apologist Lactantius, in particular, heavily cites and critiques Lucretius in his The Divine Institutes and its Epitome, as well as his De ira Dei. The last three books give an atomic and materialist explanation of phenomena preoccupying human reflection, such as vision and the senses, sex and reproduction, natural forces and agriculture, the heavens, and disease. On The Nature of Things is sweeping in scope and detail, but in the end it is essentially a presentation of the Epicurean method for answering the most common and troubling questions about the nature of life and of the universe. , In 2011, the historian and literary scholar Stephen Greenblatt wrote a popular history book about the poem, entitled The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. 55 BCE, but the details of his career are unknown.  By recalling the opening to poems by Homer, Ennius, and Hesiod (all of which begin with an invocation to the Muses), the proem to De rerum natura conforms to epic convention. In his elongated ode to the goddess Venus, he champions her sovereignty and involvement… Its author’s aim was to render the bald and abstract Greek prose of Epicurus into Latin hexameters at a time when Latin had no philosophic vocabulary. ON THE NATURE OF THINGS . Book III Summary. Lucretius demonstrates to humanity that in death there is nothing to fear, as the soul is mortal and the world and everything in it is governed by the mechanical laws of nature … Book V describes the creation and working of the world and the celestial bodies and the evolution of life and human society. Lucretius wrote this epic poem to "Memmius", who may be Gaius Memmius, who in 58 BC was a praetor, a judicial official deciding controversies between citizens and the government. Book digitized by Google from the library of Harvard University and uploaded to the Internet Archive by user tpb. BOOK SIX  Namely, Lucretius explores the principles of atomism; the nature of the mind and soul; explanations of sensation and thought; the development of the world and its phenomena; and explains a variety of celestial and terrestrial phenomena. 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