On the Nature of the Universe

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Penguin, 1951 - Philosophy - 275 pages
2 Reviews
Lucretius' poem On the Nature of the Universe combines a scientific and philosophical treatise with some of the greatest poetry ever written. With intense moral fervour he demonstrates to humanity that in death there is nothing to fear since the soul is mortal, and the world and everything in it is governed by the mechanical laws of nature and not by gods; and that by believing this men can live in peace of mind and happiness. He bases this on the atomic theory expounded by the Greek philosopher Epicurus, and continues with an examination of sensation, sex, cosmology, meteorology, and geology, all of these subjects made more attractive by the poetry with which he illustrates them. Latham translates this poem in a style which is both accurate and poetical, and in language accessible to the modern reader. The Introduction gives full details of the little that is known of Lucretius' life and background in 1st century BCE Rome, and also of the Epicurean philosophy that was his inspiration. It also explores why the issues Lucretius' poem raises about the scientific and poetical views of the world continue to be important. The Explanatory Notes explain all references for the non-classicist, and attempt to situate Lucretius' scientific theories within the thought of his time and subsequent scientific discoveries.

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User Review  - jorgearanda - LibraryThing

So ancient and so true... it would seem as if modern science had little to do but correct minor details in Lucretius' understanding of the Universe while forgetting the whole point about engaging in ... Read full review

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User Review  - AlanWPowers - LibraryThing

I'm taking up Lucretius after reading through much of Horace in the Loeb--surprised at how short his epodes are, which seemed long when I read them in Latin in school. Loved Horace's Epistle 8 on his ... Read full review


Matter Space
Movements and Shapes of Atoms
Life and Mind
Sensation and Sex
Cosmology and Sociology
Meteorology and Geology
The Prelude to the Poem
Smallest Parts
The Text
The Ending of the Poem

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About the author (1951)

Titus Lucretius Carus (who died c.50 BC) was an Epicurean poet writing in the middle years of the first century BC. His six-book Latin hexameter poem De rerum natura survives virtually intact, although it is disputed whether he lived to put the finishing touches to it. As well as being a pioneering figure in the history of philosophical poetry, Lucretius has come to be our primary source of information on Epicurean physics, the official topic of his poem.

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