Classics 210: Greek & Roman Classics in English 11/07
Lucretius; On the Nature of Things
When you are dead, there is nothing afterwards – no afterlife
Book three “and against this same life, when a few particles of heat have
dispersed and air has been ejected out through the mouth, it at once deserts the
veins and leaves the bones”
By removing this fear, people are able to live within their confines more happily.
2. Role of the Gods
Book one invocation to Venus to not have war.
“Mother of the descendants of Aeneas, pleasure of humans and gods, life-giving
Venus, it is you who beneath the gliding signs of heaven make the ship-bearing
sea and the fruitful earth teem with life…”
Is Lucretius contradicting himself by praying to a god in a poem that argues that
gods do not care?
People believed gods did not punish or reward.
3. Importance of Pleasure
Book two “don’t you see that nature cries out for nothing except that somehow
pain be separated and absent from the body, and that she enjoy in the mind”
Highest good is pleasure.
Ataraxia: lack of emotional pain
Aponia: lack of physical