Saturday, March 26, 2022

On the Nature of Things

ON THE NATURE OF THINGS (Lucretius, Roman, c. 99-55 BCE)

On the Nature of Things (De rerum natura) is the only known work of the Roman poet Lucretius (Titus Lucretius Carus, c. 99-55 BCE). It teaches the tenets and philosophy of Epicureanism to a Roman audience. Its 7400 lines are divided into six untitled books: it starts with atoms ("Nothing exists except atoms and the void") and their behavior; moves on to the nature of mind and soul; then sensation and thought; and finally the origin of the world, the motions of the planets, weather phenomena; etc. The world Lucretius describes operates according to physical principles ("laws"), guided by chance, without the intervention of the traditional Roman gods. The book was a major influence on Virgil, Horace, and other later poets. Nearly lost, it was rediscovered in a German monastery in 1417.


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