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By Lucretius

Titus Lucretius Carus (ca. 99-55 B. C.) is understood essentially because the Roman writer of the lengthy didactic poem «De Rerum Natura» (On the character of Things). In it, he got down to explicate the universe, embracing and refuting rules of the good Greek philosophers. This annotated scholarly version of the Latin textual content of «De Rerum Natura» has lengthy been hailed as one of many best variants of this huge paintings. It positive aspects an creation to Lucretiuss lifestyles and paintings through William Ellery Leonard, an creation to and observation at the poem via Stanley Barney Smith, the total Latin textual content with certain annotations, and an index of historic resources.

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None but highly cultivated readers could have followed the argument or been roused by the grandeur of his poem. " Cicero speaks con­ temptuously in the T u s c u l a n a e D i s p u t a t i o n e s (IV. 3. 6) of a certain Latin author, Amafinius, of perhaps a hundred years before, who had popularized Epicurus among unthinking Ital­ ians. 25, de r e r u m n a t u r a , with which he announces his program and which he himself doubtless chose for his title. The little evidence we have does not point to nota­ ble ignorance or horror of this system among the class of readers for whom Lucretius wrote.

8): P l a t o n e m r e l i q u o s q u c S o c r a t i c o s et d e i n c e p s eos, q u i a b his profecti s u n t , l e g u n t o m n e s , e t i a m q u i ilia a u t n o n a p p r o b a n t a u t n o n s t u d i o s i s s i m e c o n s e c t a n t u r , E p i c u r u m a u t e m et M e t r o d o r u m n o n f e r e p r a e t e r s u o s q u i s q u a m i n m a n u s s u m i t . T h i s testimony cannot be discounted as a mere jibe at the Epicureans, for he goes on, as a true Academic, to protest against the situation.

Lucretius' account of the transition from savagery to civilization has several moments particularly close to modern anthropological science: the effect of children and family life upon humanizing man's spirit and stabilizing man's living; the King as first maker and master of states (compare Elliott Smith's H u m a n H i s t o r y , 1929); the surrender of narrow individual self-interest for the larger self-interest implicit in the common advantage of community laws. This last, under the name of the Social Contract Theory, has been discredited, especially in the form given it by Hobbes and Rous- 6o f) It is in the development of man from the speechless subhuman prowler into the Roman citizen that we find the evolutionary idea most strikingly modern of all.

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