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Bristol Classical, Oct 1, 2004 - Philosophy - 141 pages
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The Roman poet Lucretius, who lived in the first century BC, composed an epic poem, De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things), whose avowed purpose was to change the way people lived their lives, enabling them to abandon fear of the gods and of death, to recognise real happiness, and to learn how to obtain it.
Lucretius' poem explains the atomic nature of the world and our own place in it, examining the microscopic world of atoms and the telescopic world of the universe, as well as human life in all its facets - politics, pleasure, the nature of perception, dreams and sexual behaviour.
In this short book John Godwin explains Lucretius' great work in its Roman context, assessing the literary and philosophical value of the poem and arguing the merits of the poet's claim to change our lives. Lucretius is in many ways the most modern of ancient poets, and here he is seen as a writer for our time, offering us a text of enormous beauty and artistry which will help us find happiness and serenity in a turbulent world.

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The Poem
The Greatest Show on Earth

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About the author (2004)

John Godwin is Head of Classics at Shrewsbury School.

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