Lucretius' didactic masterpiece De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) is one of the most brilliant and powerful poems in the Latin language, a passionate attempt at dispelling humanity's fear of death and its enslavement by false beliefs about the gods, and a detailed exposition of Epicurean atomist physics. For centuries, it has raised the question of whether it is primarily a poem or primarily a philosophical treatise, which also presents scientific doctrine. The current volume seeks to unite the three disciplinary aspects -- poetry, philosophy, and science -- in order to offer a holistic response to an important monument in cultural history.
With ten original essays and an analytical introduction, the volume aims not only to combine different approaches within single covers, but to offer responses to the poem by experts from all three scholarly backgrounds. Philosophers and scholars of ancient science look closely at the artistic placement of individual words, while literary critics explore ethical matters and the contribution of Lucretius' poetry to the argument of the poem. Topics covered include death and grief, evolution and the cosmos, ethics and politics, perception, and epistemology.
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