About this topic

Titus Lucretius Carus (c. 99 – 55 BC) was a Roman poet and philosopher. He is author of the Latin epic poem De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things), comprised of six books in hexameter verse that address topics in Epicurean philosophy, including the atomic theory, the nature of the gods, freewill and determinism, the nature of mind and soul, sensation and thought, cosmogony, how the physical world is ordered and regulated, and the development of human civilization. The poem is a key source for our knowledge of Epicureanism and it had a major impact on Western thought in the Enlightenment and early modern period.

Key works

The most accessible English translation of Lucretius’ De rerum natura, with facing Latin text, is the Loeb edition of W. H. D. Rouse (revised M . F. Smith) Rouse & Smith 1975. There is also a verse translation by R. Melville in the Oxford World’s Classics Series with a good introduction by D. P. Fowler Melville & Fowler 1999. The collected papers in Algra et al 1997, Gale 2007, and Gillespie & Hardie 2007 highlight a range of literary and philosophical approaches to Lucretius.

Introductions David Sedley offers the best introductory article on Lucretius Sedley 2013.  
Related categories

1103 found
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  1. added 2019-01-14
    Provisional Argumentation and Lucretius’ Honeyed Cup.Jason S. Nethercut - forthcoming - Classical Quarterly:1-11.
  2. added 2019-01-14
    The Atomistic View of Heat in Lucretius.Jesús M. Montserrat & Luis Navarro - 2000 - Centaurus 42 (1):1-20.
  3. added 2019-01-14
    The Water Cycle in Lucretius By.JesÚs M. Montserrat & Luis Navarro - 1991 - Centaurus 34 (4):289-308.
  4. added 2018-12-03
    What Matters in the Mirror of Time: Why Lucretius’ Symmetry Argument Fails.Lukas J. Meier - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-10.
    By appealing to the similarity between pre-vital and post-mortem nonexistence, Lucretius famously tried to show that our anxiety about death was irrational. His so-called Symmetry Argument has been attacked in various ways, but all of these strategies are themselves problematic. In this paper, I propose a new approach to undermining the argument: when Parfit’s distinction between identity and what matters is applied, not diachronically (as he uses it) but across possible worlds, the alleged symmetry can be broken. Although the pre-vital (...)
  5. added 2018-11-26
    Epicurus and Lucretius on the Creation of the Cosmos.Panos Eliopoulos - 2015 - Philosophy and Cosmology 14 (1).
  6. added 2018-11-12
    Lucretius on the Nature of Parental Love.Sean McConnell - 2018 - Antichthon 52:72-89.
  7. added 2018-10-25
    Rezension Von: Lukrez, Über Die Natur der Dinge, Übersetzt V. Klaus Binder.Theodor Ebert - 2018 - Aufklärung Und Kritik 25 (4):254–257.
    This is a review of the new translation-cum-commentary of Lucretius, De rerum Natura by Klaus Binder, published by dtv, Munich 2017. The review stresses the importance of Lucretius work for the Enlightenment. The translation is o. k. on the whole, however the translator should have avoided rendering the Latin >religio< by >Aberglauben< (superstition). >superstition< was the word chosen by the English translator in the Loeb-Library, W. H. D. Rouse. Rouse was a Headmaster of the Perse School in Cambridge and he (...)
  8. added 2018-10-22
    A Melancholy Science? On Bergson's Appreciation of Lucretius.Keith Ansell-Pearson - 2015 - Pli: The Warwick Journal of Philosophy 27:83.
    Some significant receptions of Epicurean philosophy take place in nineteenth century European thought. For Marx, writing in the 1840s, and in defiance of Hegel’s negative assessment, Epicurus is the ‘greatest representative of the Greek enlightenment’,1 whilst for Jean-Marie Guyau, writing in the 1870s, Epicurus is the original free spirit, ‘Still today it is the spirit of old Epicurus who, combined with new doctrines, works away at and undermines Christianity.’ 2 For Nietzsche, Epicurus is one of the greatest human beings to (...)
  9. added 2018-10-16
    Objections to Jeremy Simon’s Response to Lucretius’s Symmetry Argument.Abe Witonsky & Sarah Whitman - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Research 43:171-176.
    The first century B.C. poet Lucretius put forth an argument for why death is not bad for the person who has died. This argument is commonly referred to as Lucretius’s “symmetry argument” because of its assumption that the period before we were born is symmetrical to the period after we die. Jeremy Simon objects to the symmetry argument, claiming that the two periods are not relevantly symmetrical: being born earlier than we actually are born would not guarantee us more life, (...)
  10. added 2018-09-16
    Linguistics and Lucretius - Shearin the Language of Atoms. Performativity and Politics in Lucretius’ de Rerum Natura. Pp. XVI + 210. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. Cased, £51, Us$74. Isbn: 978-0-19-020242-2. [REVIEW]Stephen McCarthy - 2017 - The Classical Review 67 (2):398-400.
  11. added 2018-09-12
    Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2006.08.35.Dorothea Frede, Brad Inwood & Jon Miller - unknown
    Language and Learning is the latest volume to emerge from the Symposium Hellenisticum conference series. Like its predecessors, this book's alliterative title is a guide to its contents, which in this case examine a range of issues involving the philosophical treatment of language by Hellenistic philosophers (or, in a couple of cases, those preceding or following them), a topic that has been strangely neglected by specialists. And as with other volumes in the series, Language and Learning features a healthy blend (...)
  12. added 2018-09-12
    Language and Learning, Proceedings of the 9th Symposium Hellenisticum.D. Frede & B. Inwood (eds.) - 2006 - Cambridge University Press.
    Introduction Dorothea Frede and Brad Inwood 1. The Stoics on the origin of language and the foundations of etymology James Allen 2. Stoic linguistics, Plato's Cratylus, and Augustine's De dialectica A. A. Long 3. Epicurus and his predecessors on the origin of language Alexander Verlinsky 4. Lucretius on what language is not Catherine Atherton 5. Communicating cynicism: Diogenes' gangsta rap Ineke Sluiter 6. Common sense: concepts, definition and meaning in and out of the Stoa Charles Brittain 7. Varro's anti-analogist David (...)
  13. added 2018-09-09
    Objections to Jeremy Simon’s Response to Lucretius’s Symmetry Argument in Advance.Abe Witonsky & Sarah Whitman - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Research.
  14. added 2018-09-03
    Three: Lucretius.Raymond Geuss - 2017 - In Changing the Subject: Philosophy From Socrates to Adorno. Harvard University Press. pp. 72-92.
  15. added 2018-08-26
    Partikel und Erinnerungsspuren: Der Mensch Epikurs.Jula Wildberger - 2010 - In Ludger Jansen & Christoph Jedan (eds.), Philosophische Anthropologie in der Antike. Frankfurt am Main: Ontos. pp. 205-244.
  16. added 2018-08-11
    Epicureans on Marriage as Sexual Therapy.Kelly Arenson - 2016 - Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought 2 (33):291-311.
    This paper argues that although Epicureans will never marry for love, they may find it therapeutic to marry for sex: Epicureans may marry in order to limit anxiety about securing a sexual partner if they are prone to such anxiety and if they believe their prospective partner will satisfy them sexually. The paper shows that Epicureans believe that the process of obtaining sex can be a major source of anxiety, that it is acceptable for the sage to marry under certain (...)
  17. added 2018-08-05
    Approaches to Lucretius: Traditions and Innovations in Reading De Rerum Natura.Donncha O'Rourke (ed.) - forthcoming - Cambridge University Press.
  18. added 2018-08-03
    Lucretius and the Philosophical Use of Literary Persuasion.Tim O'Keefe - forthcoming - In Donncha O'Rourke (ed.), Approaches to Lucretius: traditions and innovations in reading De Rerum Natura. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    The first part of this paper looks into the question of Lucretius’ philosophical sources and whether he draws almost exclusively from Epicurus himself or also from later Epicurean texts. I argue that such debates are inconclusive and likely will remain so, even if additional Epicurean texts are discovered, and that even if we were able to ascertain Lucretius’ philosophical sources, doing so would add little to our understanding of the De Rerum Natura. The second part of the paper turns to (...)
  19. added 2018-07-23
    An Evaluation of Epicurus and Lukretius' Perceptions of Death and Non-Existence.Mustafa Çakmak - 2018 - Beytulhikme An International Journal of Philosophy 8 (1):357-376.
  20. added 2018-07-19
    Epicureism or a Philosophy of Pleasure.George Colang - 2011 - Annals of Philosophy, Social and Human Disciplines 2 (1).
    In this article I intent to go through the Epicurean thought and the role it plays in the concrete life of man. In this endeavour, I shall use some of Epicurus’ maxims, and also The Poem of Nature, written by Lucretius, and thought up in the spirit of Epicureism. The idea from which the entire argument grows is sustained by the pragmatic role that Epicurus cultivates in respect to life. In fact, this is the same way that his very philosophy (...)
  21. added 2018-07-09
    Категория Страха В Эпикурейской Философии.Svetlana Demina - 2018 - Schole 12 (2):444-452.
    The article investigates Epicureans’ thoughts about fear based on the analysis of Lucretius’ poem «On the Nature of Things». He uses the terms timor, metus, terror, formido, pavor. The category of fear is important for Lucretius, because it allows him to elucidate the fundamentals of the Epicurean philosophy. With its help he displays the differences of characters, the similarity of the human race and animals on the emotional level, explains the aim of life in Epicurus’ conception, describes people’s attitude towards (...)
  22. added 2018-07-09
    Лукреций Кар: И Рационалистический Детерминизм, И Иррационалистический Индетерминизм.Vasily Goran - 2014 - Schole 8 (2):328-338.
    Rational determinism and irrational indeterminism meet in Lucretius’ materialism for the first time in the history of western philosophy. Having postulated the concept of clinamen, an unpredictable swerve of atoms in indeterminate space, he in fact explains matter’s ability to move by itself, which, in turn, creates fundamental ontological prerequisites for the concept of free will.
  23. added 2018-06-27
    Collisions, Design & The Swerve.Jamie Brassett & John O'Reilly - 2018 - In .
    If only everything were formed of neat laminar flows, with easy to understand conditions, and determinable outcomes: there would be no risk to manage out, messy inconsistencies and uncertainties to disrupt well-laid out plans. Things are not so clear-cut however. Indeed, as scientists, poets and philosophers of science have pointed out it is under conditions of nondeterminism and complexity that everything comes into being. There is an issue, then, when creative disciplines in particular find such complexity problematic enough to design (...)
  24. added 2018-06-23
    Disastrous Earthquakes in Lucretius and the Sibylline Oracles.Boris Kayachev - forthcoming - Classical Quarterly:1-4.
  25. added 2018-05-21
    Atome Et Nécessité. Démocrite, Épicure, Lucrèce Pierre-Marie Morel Collection «Philosophies» Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 2000, 136 P. [REVIEW]Richard Dufour - 2002 - Dialogue 41 (3):591.
  26. added 2018-05-15
    CHAPTER 7. “By Words, Not Arms”: Lucretius on Anger and Aggression.Martha C. Nussbaum - 2009 - In The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics. Princeton University Press. pp. 239-279.
  27. added 2018-05-15
    CHAPTER 6. Mortal Immortals: Lucretius on Death and the Voice of Nature.Martha C. Nussbaum - 2009 - In The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics. Princeton University Press. pp. 192-238.
  28. added 2018-05-15
    CHAPTER 5. Beyond Obsession and Disgust: Lucretius on the Therapy of Love.Martha C. Nussbaum - 2009 - In The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics. Princeton University Press. pp. 140-191.
  29. added 2018-05-15
    The Hellenistic Philosophers Volume 1: Translations of the Principal Sources with Philosophical Commentary Volume 2: Greek and Latin Texts with Notes and Bibliography A. A. Long Et D. N. Sedley Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1987, Vol. 1, Xvi, 512 P.; Vol. 2, X, 512 P. [REVIEW]Georges Leroux - 1992 - Dialogue 31 (1):121-.
  30. added 2018-05-14
    Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science.Daniel Lehoux, A. D. Morrison & A. Sharrock (eds.) - 2013 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  31. added 2018-03-29
    E.J. Kenney Lucretius: De Rerum Natura Book III. Second Edition. Pp. Xiv + 256. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014 . Paper, £19.99, US$34.99 . ISBN: 978-0-521-17389-6. [REVIEW]Damien P. Nelis - 2016 - The Classical Review 66 (1):292.
  32. added 2018-03-29
    LUCRETIUS’ RECEPTION. S. Gatzemeier Ut ait Lucretius. Die Lukrezrezeption in der lateinischen Prosa bis Laktanz. Pp. 341. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013. Cased, €89.99. ISBN: 978-3-525-25298-7. [REVIEW]David Butterfield - 2016 - The Classical Review 66 (1):111-113.
  33. added 2018-03-23
    M. Paladini Lucrezio E l'Epicureismo Tra Riforma E Controriforma. Pp. Xiv + 264, Ill. Naples: Liguori Editore, 2011. Paper, €24.50 ISBN: 978-88-207-5362-7. [REVIEW]Catherine Castner - 2013 - The Classical Review 63 (2):592-594.
  34. added 2018-03-23
    C. Salemme Infinito lucreziano. De rerum natura 1, 951–1117. Pp. 121. Naples: Loffredo Editore, 2011. Paper, €14.70. ISBN: 978-88-7564-511-3.C. Salemme Lucrezio e la formazione del mondo. De rerum natura 5, 416–508. Pp. 113. Naples: Loffredo Editore, 2010. Paper, €14.50. ISBN: 978-88-7564-466-6. [REVIEW]David Butterfield - 2013 - The Classical Review 63 (2):419-421.
  35. added 2018-02-22
    Lucretius on Creation and Evolution: A Commentary on de Rerum Natura Book 5 Lines 772-1104.Gordon Campbell - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
    Lucretius' account of the origin of life, the origin of species, and human prehistory is the longest and most detailed account extant from the ancient world. It is a mechanistic theory that does away with the need for any divine design, and has been seen as a forerunner of Darwin's theory of evolution. This commentary seeks to locate Lucretius in both the ancient and modern contexts. The recent revival of creationism makes this study particularly relevant to contemporary debate, and indeed, (...)
  36. added 2018-02-19
    The Impacts of Epicureanism. [REVIEW]A. F. Wells - 1963 - The Classical Review 13 (2):193-194.
  37. added 2018-02-18
    Lucretius On Time and Its Perception.Pamela Zinn - 2016 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):125-151.
    This paper analyzes the ontology and epistemology of time in Lucretius’ De rerum natura. It uses the physiology of perception as well as epistemology to shed new light on the metaphysics. It presents an exegesis-based interpretation of the nature of time and of its perception, both arguing for and refining this interpretation by showing its explanatory power. The paper shows that Lucretius represents the perception of time or sensus temporis as a distinct sensory faculty, reconstructs how it emerges and operates, (...)
  38. added 2018-02-18
    Lucretius on Creation and Evolution: A Commentary on De Rerum Natura, 5.772-1104.Myrto Garani - 2006 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 99 (2):205-207.
  39. added 2018-01-08
    5. Love as Sexual Desire: Lucretius and Ovid.Simon May - 2017 - In Love: A History. Yale University Press. pp. 69-80.
  40. added 2018-01-08
    Response to 'Fear of Death and the Symmetry Argument'.Deng Natalja - 2016 - Manuscrito 39 (4):297-304.
    ABSTRACT This article is a response to 'Fear of death and the symmetry argument', in this issue. In that article, the author discusses the above Lucretian symmetry argument, and proposes a view that justifies the existing asymmetry in our attitudes towards birth and death. I begin by distinguishing this symmetry argument from a different one, also loosely inspired by Lucretius, which also plays a role in the article. I then describe what I take to be the author's solution to the (...)
  41. added 2018-01-08
    The Phenomenon of “Simulacrum” in the Works of Titus Lucretius Carus.Mariia A. Oleshchenko - 2013 - Antropologìčnì Vimìri Fìlosofsʹkih Doslìdžen' 3:102-108.
    Purpose. We are going to analyze the understanding of simulacra in the works of the ancient philosopher Titus Lucretius Carus, to determine the features of the phenomenon of "simulacrum" in his paper "On the Nature of Things". Results and discussion. The results of the study were that the simulacrum of Lucretius was complexity and diversity. It was illustrated by the author of article, that the poetic work "On the Nature of Things", not just a poetry, but also deep philosophy and (...)
  42. added 2017-12-29
    Epicurus and Lucretius on the Creation of the Cosmos.Eliopoulos Panos - 2015 - Filosofiâ I Kosmologiâ 14 (1):248-254.
    : Although in the extants of Epicurus there is not a direct mention to the atomic swerve, other sources, among them Lucretius, confirm that the Athenian philosopher foresaw in the presence of this unpredictable atomic movement the solution for the cosmological problem. In the epicurean system, as presented through the writings of Epicurus and Lucretius, the creation of the cosmos is owed to the presence of atoms, which form compound bodies, and the void, which allows unimpeded movement.
  43. added 2017-12-06
    Einführung.H. G. Lukrez - 2013 - In Von der Natur / de Rerum Natura: Lateinisch - Deutsch. De Gruyter. pp. 631-670.
  44. added 2017-12-06
    Erläuterungen.H. G. Lukrez - 2013 - In Von der Natur / de Rerum Natura: Lateinisch - Deutsch. De Gruyter. pp. 673-703.
  45. added 2017-12-06
    „Mein Freund Lukrez.“ Friedrichs „XVIII. Epistel an den Marschall von Keith: Über die leeren Schreckens des Todes und die Angst vor einem anderen Leben“.Reinhart Meyer-Kalkus - 2012 - In Günther Lottes & Brunhilde Wehinger (eds.), Friedrich der Große Als Leser. Akademie Verlag. pp. 121-142.
  46. added 2017-12-06
    Der Daedalus der Dichter: Zur poetologischen Selbstdarstellung des didaktischen Ich bei Lukrez.Beate Beer - 2010 - Philologus: Zeitschrift für Antike Literatur Und Ihre Rezeption 154 (2).
  47. added 2017-12-06
    Von Gorgias Bis Lukrez Antike Ästhetik Und Poetik Als Vergleichende Zeichentheorie.Michael Franz - 1999
  48. added 2017-12-06
    Lukrez, der Kepos Und Die Stoiker: Untersuchungen Zur Schule Epikurs Und Zu den Quellen von De Rerum Natura. [REVIEW]William O. Stephens - 1994 - Ancient Philosophy 14 (2):461-463.
  49. added 2017-12-06
    Die Traumtheorie Des Lukrez.P. H. Schrijvers - 1980 - Mnemosyne 33 (1-2):128-151.
  50. added 2017-12-06
    Studien über Stellung und Gebrauch des lateinischen Relativsatzes, unter besonderer Berücksichtigung von Lukrez. [REVIEW]P. H. Schrijvers - 1979 - Mnemosyne 32 (1-2):191-192.
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