[Character of the Atoms] (99 BC - 55 BC)

Biography of Lucretius

Lucretius poet

Lucretius lived from 99-55 BC. His birth date is not certain, and little is known of his parentage or birthplace. Though often referred to as Lucretius, his official name is Titus Lucretius Carus. Highly educated, he belonged to the aristocratic sector of the Tricipitini, which often emerged in positions of official status.

He craved to free humanity from its unhappiness, which mainly resulted from fear of the afterlife and the gods. He was a moralist and a reformer as well as a scientist, and yet always a poet. His major work, 'De Rerum Natura', sought to do this, borrowing from the work of Democritus, who discovered primitive atomic theories, and Epicurus, who believed that pleasure was the main goal of life. The philosophy of Epicureanism sprung from his beliefs.

In order to achieve this goal of ultimate happiness, the gnawing fears of humanity had to be erased. Lucretius denounced religion as the greatest source of human corruption and anguish. The gods, rather than being a driving force in everyday life, were a model to strive towards. It is rumored that he died from ingesting a love potion, given to him by his wife.

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Book V - Part 01 - Proem

O who can build with puissant breast a song
Worthy the majesty of these great finds?
Or who in words so strong that he can frame
The fit laudations for deserts of him
Who left us heritors of such vast prizes,
By his own breast discovered and sought out?-
There shall be none, methinks, of mortal stock.
For if must needs be named for him the name
Demanded by the now known majesty

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