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Titus Lucretius Carus (c. 94 BC- c. 49 BC) was a Roman poet and philosopher. His only known work is the epic philosophical poem De Rerum Natura, On the Nature of Things. Stylistically, most scholars attribute the full blossoming of Latin hexameter to Virgil. De Rerum Natura however, is of indisputable importance for the part it played in naturalizing Greek philosophical ideas and discourse in the Latin language and its influence on Virgil and other later poets. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Lucretius, from http://www. ... Lucretius, from http://www. ... Centuries: 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - 1st century Decades: 140s BC 130s BC 120s BC 110s BC 100s BC - 90s BC - 80s BC 70s BC 60s BC 50s BC 40s BC Years: 99 BC 98 BC 97 BC 96 BC 95 BC - 94 BC - 93 BC 92 BC 91... Consuls: Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Crus, Gaius Claudius Marcellus Maior. ... See also Roman Republic (18th century) and Roman Republic (19th century). ... The poor poet A poet is a person who writes poetry. ... A philosopher is a person who thinks deeply regarding people, society, the world, and/or the universe. ... Not to be confused with The Nature of Things, a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television show about natural science. ... Hexameter is a literary and poetic form, consisting of six metrical feet per line as in the Iliad. ... A bust of Virgil, from the entrance to his tomb in Naples, Italy. ...

The textual survival of the poem is remarkable considering the hostility of the Church, which was the main transmission channel for Latin writings, towards Lucretius and Epicurean ideas. The surviving manuscript tradition (accounts will be found in the references given below) is often mangled, and a great debt is owed by modern readers to the ingenious work of generations of scholars to produce a faithful, coherent, and readable text.

The main purpose of the work was to free men's minds of superstition and the fear of death. It achieves this through expounding the philosophical system of Epicurus, whom Lucretius apotheosizes. Lucretius identifies superstition with the notion that the gods/supernatural powers created our world or interfere with its operations in any way. Fear of such gods is banished by showing that the operations of the world can be accounted for entirely in terms of the regular but purposeless motions of tiny atoms and agglomerations of atoms in interaction in empty space, instead of in terms of the will of the gods. The fear of death is banished by showing that death is the dissipation of a being's material mind, and so, as a simple ceasing-to-be, death can be neither good nor bad for this being. The value of life for a being is something that only matters to this being during its life. Fear of death is a projection of terrors experienced in life, of pain that only a living (intact) mind can feel. Lucretius also puts forward the 'symmetry argument' against the fear of death. In it, he says that people who fear the prospect of eternal non-existence after death should think back to the eternity of non-existence before their birth, which they probably do not fear. The number 13 is often avoided in public buildings, also floors, doors and this Santa Anita Park horse stall. ... Fear is a powerful, unpleasant feeling of risk or danger, either real or imagined. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Roman marble bust of Epicurus Epicurus (Epikouros or in Greek) (341 BC, Samos – 270 BC, Athens) was an ancient Greek philosopher, the founder of Epicureanism, one of the most popular schools of thought in Hellenistic Philosophy. ...

Lucretius compares his work as a poet to that of a doctor: just as a doctor may put honey on the rim of a cup containing bitter but healing medicine, so too Lucretius coats hard philosophical truths in sweet verse to make them go down more easily. De Rerum Natura faithfully transmits Epicurean physics and psychology. Lucretius was one of the first Epicureans to write in Latin. Physics (Greek: (phúsis), nature and (phusiké), knowledge of nature) is the science concerned with the fundamental laws of the universe. ... Psychology is an academic or applied discipline involving the scientific study of mental processes such as perception, cognition, emotion, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships. ... Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based upon the teachings of Epicurus (c340-c270 BC), founded around 307 BC. Epicurus was an atomic materialist, following in the steps of Democritus. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ...

His hexameter is very individualistic and ruggedly distinct from the smooth urbanity of Virgil or Ovid. His use of heterodynes, assonance, and vigorously syncopated Latin forms create a harsh acoustic to some ears, although this is probably merely an impression created by contrast with later poets and general unfamiliarity with Latin poetry recited by skilled readers. John Donne has a similar reputation in English poetry because of his powerful and thought-laden discourse. The sustained energy of Lucretius' poetry (even when treating highly technical particularities, such as the movement of atoms through space or the films which give rise to vision when they strike the eye) is virtually unparallelled in Latin literature, with the possible exception of parts of Tacitus's Annals, or perhaps Books II and IV of the Aeneid. The six books contain many formulaic elements such as deliberately repeated lines and regularized emotional peaks. Hexameter is a literary and poetic form, consisting of six metrical feet per line as in the Iliad. ... A bust of Virgil, from the entrance to his tomb in Naples, Italy. ... Engraved frontispiece of George Sandyss 1632 London edition of Publius Ovidius Naso (Sulmona, March 20, 43 BC – Tomis, now Constanţa AD 17), a Roman poet known to the English-speaking world as Ovid, wrote on topics of love, abandoned women and mythological transformations. ... In poetry, a heterodyne is a word in which the syllable receiving stress and/or pitch change is other than the syllable of longer quantity. ... Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in non-rhyming words as in, some ship in distress that cannot live. ... In music, syncopation is the stressing of a normally unstressed beat in a bar or the failure to sound a tone on an accented beat. ... For the Welsh courtier and diplomat, see Sir John Donne. ... Gaius Cornelius Tacitus Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus (c. ... The Annals, or, in Latin, Annales, is a history book by Tacitus covering the reign of the 4 Roman Emperors succeeding to Caesar Augustus. ... The Aeneid (IPA English pronunciation: ; in Latin Aeneis, pronounced — the title is Greek in form: genitive case Aeneidos): is a Latin epic written by Virgil in the 1st century BC (between 29 and 19 BC) that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy where he...

Among many poetic high points a few should be mentioned. The introduction to Book I (the invocation to Venus and Spring) is unsurpassed, both in its initial ecstatic address to the life-force and regeneration, and in the celebration of the courage and clear-sightedness of Epicurus and the vitriolic polemic against superstition (Latin: "religio") which provide the bridge to the main didactic body of the poem. The opening sections of the various books emphasize the novelty of the undertaking Lucretius has set himself and the gratitude mankind owes to Epicurus for delivering it from unfounded terrors and an empty, joyless and servile life. And the great conclusions to Book III (on death and why it holds no terrors) and Book VI (on disease, especially the plague) are as graphic as anything in literature, as are various accounts throughout the poem of storms, battles, fire and flood.

The structure of the poem over the six books falls into two main parts. The first three books provide a fundamental account of being and nothingness, matter and space, the atoms and their movement, the infinity of the universe both as regards time and space, the regularity of reproduction (no prodigies, everything in its proper habitat), the nature of mind (animus, directing thought)and spirit (anima, sentience) as material bodily entities, and their mortality, since they and their functions (consciousness, pain) end with the bodies that contain them and with which they are interwoven. 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.

We know very little about Lucretius' life; one source of information (generally considered unreliable) is St. Jerome, who mentions Lucretius in the Chronica Eusebia. According to Jerome, Lucretius was born in 94 BC, and died at the age of 43. He claims that Lucretius was driven mad by a love philter and that the work was written during the intervals of his insanity, before he killed himself; and that the work was later corrected by Cicero [1]. “Saint Jerome” redirects here. ... Centuries: 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - 1st century Decades: 140s BC 130s BC 120s BC 110s BC 100s BC - 90s BC - 80s BC 70s BC 60s BC 50s BC 40s BC Years: 99 BC 98 BC 97 BC 96 BC 95 BC - 94 BC - 93 BC 92 BC 91... A potion (from Latin potio, meaning beverage, potion, poison) is a drinkable medicine or poison. ...

These claims about Lucretius' life are not generally now believed, because:

  • First, the Epicurean philosophy expounded by Lucretius sets great store on reason and discourages romantic attachments.
  • Second, it would have been exceedingly difficult for Lucretius to compose a sustained poetic masterpiece if he were raving mad most of the time. As Cicero remarked to his brother Quintus in a letter, "The poems of Lucretius contain, as you say in your letter, many flashes of inspiration and also much poetic skill."
  • It is likely that Jerome, as one of the early church fathers, would have wanted to discredit Lucretius' philosophy, which includes disbelief in any kind of life after death and in any divinity concerned with man's welfare. This defamation involved ad hominen attacks imputing immorality, the use of witchcraft and insanity to the poet.
  • Finally, Virgil writes in the second book of his Georgics, clearly referencing Lucretius, "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" As M.F. Smith argues in his introduction to the Loeb edition of the poem, Virgil would have been a heartless sarcastic cynic to write such sublime lines about a man who had in fact taken his life in deranged depression. (John Goodwin)

Cicero implies in one of his letters to his brother that they had once read Lucretius' poem. This is the last mention of Lucretius until Aelius Donatus, in his Life of Virgil, while stating that Virgil assumed the toga virilis on October 15, 55 BC, adds "it happened on that very day Lucretius the poet died." If Jerome is accurate about Lucretius' age (44) when he died, then based on other evidence that confirms 55 BC as Lucretius' year of death we can then conclude he was born in 99 BC. Also, the work has several allusions to the tumultuous state of political affairs in Rome and its civil strife. This article is 58 kilobytes or more in size. ... The Church Fathers or Fathers of the Church are the early and influential theologians and writers in the Christian church, particularly those of the first five centuries of Christian history. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Cicero at about age 60, from an ancient marble bust Marcus Tullius Cicero (IPA:Classical Latin pronunciation: , usually pronounced in English; January 3, 106 BC – December 7, 43 BC) was a Roman statesman, lawyer, political theorist, philosopher, widely considered one of Romes greatest orators and prose stylists. ... Aelius Donatus (fl. ... Roman clad in toga The toga was the distinctive garb of Ancient Rome. ... October 15 is the 288th day of the year (289th in leap years). ... Centuries: 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - 1st century Decades: 100s BC 90s BC 80s BC 70s BC 60s BC - 50s BC - 40s BC 30s BC 20s BC 10s BC 0s BC Years: 60 BC 59 BC 58 BC 57 BC 56 BC 55 BC 54 BC 53 BC 52... Centuries: 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - 1st century Decades: 100s BC 90s BC 80s BC 70s BC 60s BC - 50s BC - 40s BC 30s BC 20s BC 10s BC 0s BC Years: 60 BC 59 BC 58 BC 57 BC 56 BC 55 BC 54 BC 53 BC 52... Centuries: 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - 1st century Decades: 140s BC 130s BC 120s BC 110s BC 100s BC - 90s BC - 80s BC 70s BC 60s BC 50s BC 40s BC Years: 104 BC 103 BC 102 BC 101 BC 100 BC - 99 BC - 98 BC 97 BC 96... Nickname: The Eternal City Motto: SPQR: Senatus PopulusQue Romanus Location of the city of Rome (yellow) within the Province of Rome (red) and region of Lazio (grey) Coordinates: Region Lazio Province Province of Rome Founded 21 April 753 BC  - Mayor Walter Veltroni Area    - City 1285 km²  (580 sq mi)  - Urban... There were several Roman civil wars, especially during the time of the late Republic. ...

However, the only certain fact of Lucretius' life is that he was either a friend or a client of Gaius Memmius, to whom he dedicated De Rerum Natura. This poem is also thought to be unfinished, although Jerome says that Cicero "amended" it — which may mean he edited it for its eventual publication. In Ancient Roman society, a client (Latin, cliens) was a plebeian who was attached to a patron benefactor (patronus, a predecessor to the Italian padrino, godfather). ... Gaius Memmius (incorrectly called Gemellus, The Twin), Roman orator and poet, tribune of the people (66 BC), friend of Lucretius and Catullus. ...

Cornelius Nepos, in his Life Of Atticus, mentions Lucretius as one of the greatest poets of his times. Cornelius Nepos (c. ...

In his Amores, Ovid writes: Carmina sublimis tunc sunt peritura Lucreti / exitio terras cum dabit una dies (which means the verses of the sublime Lucretius will perish only when a day will bring the end of the world).

Vitruvius (in the De Architectura), Quintilian (in his Institutiones Oratoriae) and Statius (in the Silvae) also show great admiration for the De Rerum Natura. Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (born ca. ... Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (c. ... Publius Papinius Statius, (c. ...


  1. ^ John Goodwin in the Introduction of the Penguin Classics De Rerum Natura


  • Lucretius. De Rerum Natura. (3 vols. Latin text Books I-VI. Comprehensive commentary by Cyril Bailey), Oxford University Press 1947.
  • On the Nature of Things, (1951 verse translation by R. E. Latham), introduction and notes by John Godwin, Penguin revised edition 1994, ISBN 0-14-044610-9
  • Lucretius (1971). De Rerum Natura Book III. (Latin version of Book III only– 37 pp., with extensive commentary by E. J. Kenney– 171 pp.), Cambridge University Press corrected reprint 1984. ISBN 0-521-29177-1

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  Results from FactBites:
Lucretius (4451 words)
Titus Lucretius Carus (c 99-55 BCE) is known as the author of the poem, De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things).
In it, Lucretius argues that the darkness of the mind brought about by superstitious fears should be scattered by a dispassionate view of the inner laws of nature.
Lucretius is among the few philosophers to have cast their exposition in poetic form.
Lucretius (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) (6159 words)
Lucretius' own explanation of his choice of a poetic medium is that philosophy is medicine for the soul, and that the charms of verse can function like the honey that doctors smear on the rim of a cup of bitter medicine, to persuade children to drink it for their own good.
Lucretius compares a flock of sheep on a distant hillside, which appears as a stationary white patch, even though close up the constituent sheep prove to be in motion (2.317-22).
Lucretius was both admired and imitated by writers of the early Roman empire, and in the eyes of Roman patristic thinkers like Lactantius he came to be the leading spokesman of the godless Epicurean philosophy.
  More results at FactBites »



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