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The Nature of Things by Lucretius

The Nature of Things

by Lucretius

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Further Reading
A Note on the Text and Translation

The Nature of Things

--Book I: Matter and Void
--Book II: The Dance of Atoms
--Book III: Mortality and the Soul
--Book IV: The Senses
--Book V: Cosmos and Civilization
--Book VI: Weather and the Earth

Glossary of Proper Names
  E.P.G | May 30, 2016 |
I read the Frank Copley translation, and found his notes and introduction quite useful. The poem itself is exceedingly strange and seems surprisingly modern in certain places (though decidedly less so in others). Glad to have finally read it, though; I can see why it's stood the test of time. ( )
1 vote JBD1 | Apr 15, 2016 |
Bks. I-III. ( )
  middlemarchhare | Nov 25, 2015 |
Philosophy is Supposed to be Fun!

Cicero, because of his personal aversion to the Epicurean philosophy, didn't quite do it justice in his book [b:The Nature of the Gods|84603|The Nature of the Gods|Marcus Tullius Cicero|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1171056392s/84603.jpg|81664], which introduced the Greek philosophical schools to the Romans (He all but made the Epicurean the laughing-stock of all the other philosophers). However, he also prepared and edited the transcript of this book by Lucretius, arguably the best exposition of Epicureanism, as a counterpoint.

Lucretius made a strong case for Epicureanism with epic poetry and systematic reasoning. His thoughts and presentation with creative use of analogies are eminently clear and logical to a modern reader, in spite of his relative lack of scientific knowledge. In this book, he sought to dispel the notion of gods governing the universe, and demonstrate the natural causes of all things based on a few premises, from thunderbolts to earthquakes, from the nature of disease to the nature of the mind, from the beginning of the earth to the development of society.

Highly recommended for its epic scope, clarity of thought, beauty of narrative, richness of humor and compassion.
( )
  booksontrial | Oct 13, 2015 |
I don't have the background for deep analysis of classical writing, but from a novice's perspective:

Lucretius says that his purpose is to explain the work of Epicurus in an entertaining manner, and I was mostly entertained. Some of the highlights (SPOILERS?):

1) Earth is not made up of teeny tiny little Earths put together to form one big earth. Instead, it is made of particles that are in themselves different from what they can produce when combined.

2) Understanding the world using the senses is more accurate than relying on the stories of the gods

3) Maggots and worms grow from dead flesh on the ground, as can clearly be observed with the senses.

4) Latin does not contain some of the needed words to directly express concepts translated from the Greek of Epicurus, which is a challenge for Lucretius.

This was an enjoyable reading experience and did provide some small insight into the time period for me. ( )
1 vote karmiel | Aug 10, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (126 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lucretiusprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Büchner, KarlTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fowler, DonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Higginson, Thomas WentworthTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Humprhries, RolfeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Latham, Ronald E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Melville, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Munro, Hugh Andrew JohnstoneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schrijvers, PietTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stallings, AliciaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
W.E., LeonardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Mother of Rome, delight of Gods and men, Dear Venus that beneath the gliding stars Makest to teem the many-voyaged main And fruitful lands- for all of living things Through thee alone are evermore conceived, Through thee are risen to visit the great sun- Before thee, Goddess, and thy coming on, Flee stormy wind and massy cloud away, For thee the daedal Earth bears scented flowers, For thee waters of the unvexed deep Smile, and the hollows of the serene sky Glow with diffused radiance for thee!
Mother of Aeneas and his race, delight of men and gods, life-giving Venus, it is your doing that under the wheeling constellations of the sky all nature teems with life, both the sex that buoys up our ships and the earth that yields our food.  [translated by R.E. Latham]
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140446109, Paperback)

This is regarded as a seminal text of Epicurean science and philosophy. With a new introduction and commentary and a revised translation, this edition acknowledges advances in textual research and also provides more background information for the reader. Epicurians discarded both the idea of immortality and the superstitious worship of wilful gods for a life of serene contentment in the available pleasures of nature. Lucretius (c100-c55BC), in elucidating this belief, steers the reader through an extraordinary breadth of subject matter, ranging from the indestructibility of atoms and the discovery of fire to the folly of romantic love and the phenomena of clouds and rainstorms.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:35 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

"This great poem stands with Virgil's Aeneid as one of the vital and enduring achievements of Latin literature.... Based on the tenets of Epicurean philosophy, On the Nature of Things asserts that matter is composed of an infinite number of small particles; that even the soul, like the body, is made up of these atoms and dissolves painlessly after death; that there is no afterlife and therefore no cause for fear; and that the universe operates without the aid or attention of gods."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Indiana University Press

An edition of this book was published by Indiana University Press.

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W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

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