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On the Nature of Things Summary
Lucretius

Everything you need to understand or teach On the Nature of Things by Lucretius.

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On the Nature of Things Summary

Introduction

Lucretius' scientific epic De rerum natura is considered a masterpiece of Epicurean philosophy. Epicurus taught that the world could be understood by reason and that religion only arouses unnecessary fear. Lucretius denounced popular beliefs in deities and supernatural creatures. He viewed humans as ignorant creatures who fabricated the powers of the gods, only to live in fear of them. In his epic, Lucretius appeals to reason in order to enlighten his readers and persuade them to accept his belief system. Because of its atheistic ideals, De rerum natura almost faded into obscurity as Christianity gained momentum. During the Renaissance, however, Lucretius's epic was rediscovered, and it continues to be translated and studied today.

As a poem, De rerum natura is remarkable. First, it is a lyrical presentation of what would otherwise be tedious information. Second, it is the earliest known work of Latin hexameter verse. (Hexameter verse is poetry...

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