On the nature of the universe: (De rerum natura) A New verse translation, with an introd

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F. Ungar Pub. Co., 1965 - Literary Collections - 215 pages
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About the author (1965)

Almost nothing is known of Lucretius's life, but legends have attached themselves to him. Donatus said that Virgil assumed the toga of manhood the very day Lucretius died (October 15, 55 b.c.); and Jerome stated that the poet was poisoned by a love potion, wrote his "De Rerum Natura" at lucid intervals, and then committed suicide. He may have been one of the Lucretii, an aristocratic Roman family, or a native of Campania who studied Epicureanism in Naples. It is certain, however, that he was a friend or dependent of C. Memmius (who was also the patron of Catullus) to whom the poem is dedicated. "De Rerum Natura" (On the Nature of the Universe), Lucretius's only work, written in six books, expounds the philosophy of Epicurus. Because the universe and all things in it are made up of atoms swirling about in different combinations, the human soul perishes with the body. Lucretius was intent on proving this so that he might persuade his audience to give up their fear of death and of punishment in the afterlife and their belief in divine intervention. His exposition of the mechanical nature of the universe shows intensity of thought and feeling and is expressed in beautiful, vivid images. His invocation to Venus in Book I, and his denunciation of women and the passion of love in Book IV, are famous and their influence enduring.

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