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March 28 , 2011

Of the Nature of Things


Titus Lucretius Carus (circa 99 BC – 55 BC) was a Roman poet and philosopher. His only known work is the epic philosophical poem "De rerum natura" about the beliefs of Epicureanism, and which is translated into English as On the Nature of Things or "On the Nature of the Universe".

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Virtually nothing is known about the life of Lucretius. Jerome tells how he was driven mad by a love potion and wrote his poetry between fits of insanity, eventually committing suicide in middle age; but modern scholarship suggests this account was likely an invention. The De rerum natura was a considerable influence on the Augustan poets, particularly Virgil and Horace. It virtually disappeared during the Middle Ages, but was rediscovered in a monastery in Germany in 1417,by Poggio Bracciolini, and played an important role both in the development of atomism (Lucretius was an important influence on Pierre Gassendi).

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