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Lucretius: De Rerum NaturaBook V$
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Monica R. Gale

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780856688843

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780856688843.001.0001

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(p.109) Commentary
Lucretius: De Rerum Natura
Monica R. Gale
Liverpool University Press

This chapter includes the commentary on Book V of Lucretius' De Rerum Natura, which opens with an eulogy of Epicurus, who is praised specifically as a 'first inventor'. The chapter describes Lucretius' 'hymn' as a polemical response to a long tradition in Greek and Roman mythology and literature of attributing the discovery or gift of useful objects and activities to the gods. It also refers to the phrase Born... and discovered, which is considered an example of the rhetorical figure hysteron proteron. The 'sprung of mortal stock' is a mere line-filler that emphasizes the unbridgeable gap between the god-like Epicurus and ordinary mortals. The chapter highlights the dark and stormy life of the non-Epicurean, which is contrasted with the light of reason or salvation and the calming influence of Epicurus' philosophy.

Keywords:   Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, Book V, Epicurus, Roman mythology, hysteron proteron, non-Epicurean

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