This chapter focuses on Book 5 of Lucretius's De Rerum Natura (DRN) and the cultural milieu in which the poem was composed. It mentions the early Christian writer named Jerome, who recounts in his Chronicle a sensational story of madness and suicide that inspired Lucretius to compose the DRN. It also reviews passages of DRN that suggest that its intended audience were members of the cultivated and aristocratic élite. The chapter talks about the DRN's extended satirical attacks on the fear of death and on romantic love that include suggestive sketches of the luxurious, yet unsatisfying lifestyle enjoyed by the jeunesse dorée of the period. It explains how DRN gives a memorable vignette of the bored aristocrat.
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