(Titus Lucretius Carus, 99/94–55/51 BC)
Roman Epicurean . Very little is known about the life of Lucretius. His only surviving work is the philosophical poem De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things ), expounding the atomistic philosophy of Epicurus. The poem contains six books: (1) introduces the basic atomism of Democritus, and rejects the rival views of Empedocles, Heraclitus, and Anaxagoras ; (2) introduces the distinction between primary and secondary qualities of things, and introduces the doctrine of the continuous creation and destruction of worlds; (3) explains the composite and perishable nature of the soul, and the folly of fearing death; (4) gives the Epicurean theory of perception and the passions, including a famous denunciation of love; (5) deals with the progress of events in the natural world; and (6) treats of natural oddities and prodigies such as earthquakes and plagues. The poem is deservedly famous for its moral consolation as well as its cosmology, and its rugged literary power is often compared favourably to Virgil.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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