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A reading of Lucretius' De rerum natura by Lee Fratantuono

By Lee Fratantuono

Lucretius’ philosophical epic De Rerum Natura (On the character of Things) is a long didactic and narrative social gathering of the universe and, specifically, the realm of nature and construction during which humanity reveals its dwelling house. This earliest surviving complete scale epic poem from historic Rome was once of vast impression and value to the improvement of the Latin epic culture, and keeps to problem and hang-out its readers to the current day. A interpreting of Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura bargains a entire remark in this nice paintings of Roman poetry and philosophy. Lee Fratantuono unearths Lucretius to be a poet with deep and abiding curiosity within the nature of the Roman identification because the young ones of either Venus (through Aeneas) and Mars (through Romulus); the implications (both optimistic and adverse) of descent from the immortal powers of affection and warfare are explored in bright epic narrative, because the poet progresses from his invocation to the mummy of the kids of Aeneas via to the burning funeral pyres of the plague at Athens. Lucretius’ epic bargains the potential for serenity and peaceable mirrored image at the mysteries of the character of the area, while it shatters any desire of immortality via its bleak imaginative and prescient of post mortem oblivion. And within the strategy of defining what it skill either to be human and Roman, Lucretius bargains a scary imaginative and prescient of the perils of over the top devotion either to the gods and our fellow males, a observation at the nature of pietas that might function a caution for Virgil in his later depiction of the Trojan Aeneas.

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Extra resources for A reading of Lucretius' De rerum natura

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We are, of course, in possession of precious little of Ennius’ Annales; we know that his work began with the fall of Troy and continued to his own day. Lucretius’ poem—in the absence of Ennius, the first surviving Latin epic on a grand scale—has in some ways even loftier goals than his narrative predecessor. Lucretius’ theme is the nature of the universe, and thus everything; Lucretius’ poem is simultaneously both removed from the constraints of time, and deeply immersed in the sentiments and contemporary realities of republican Rome.

76 It is possible that in the Lucretian vates referenced here we are to imagine at least in part the very authors of scenes like the one just described, poets who comment on how immortals demand appeasement by blood. 104–106). 78 The dreams with which the vates terrify mortals are ultimately the terrors of the possibility of an afterlife in which there will be torment and despair without end. Mother of the Children of Aeneas . . 25 METEMPSYCHOSIS—AND CROWNS FROM HELICON For the mention of the somnia prepares the way for the next great revelation of the poet’s program, namely the dream vision of Ennius, in which he imagined that Homer visited him and revealed that his soul had passed into the Italian bard.

Homer’s song of Demodocus may have inspired the poet’s description of the love of Venus and Mars; here there is clear enough resonance of the world of the war at Troy, a war launched by Greeks after the throat of a young girl was cut so that ships might sail. 92–93 nec miserae prodesse in tali tempore quibat / quod patrio nomine princeps donarat nomine regem). 98 nubendi tempore in ipso) when she was sacrificed so that a war could commence— rather an interesting blend of the effects of Venus and Mars.

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