Lucretius  

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When atoms move straight down through the void by their own weight, they deflect a bit in space at a quite uncertain time and in uncertain places, just enough that you could say that their motion has changed. But if they were not in the habit of swerving, they would all fall straight down through the depths of the void, like drops of rain, and no collision would occur, nor would any blow be produced among the atoms. In that case, nature would never have produced anything. --De rerum natura describing clinamen, tr. from Brad Inwood, L. P. Gerson, (1994)

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Titus Lucretius Carus (ca. 99 BC – ca. 55 BC) was a Roman poet and philosopher. His only known work is the epic philosophical poem De rerum natura about the beliefs of Epicureanism, and which is translated into English as On the Nature of Things or "On the Nature of the Universe".

Virtually nothing is known about the life of Lucretius. Jerome tells how he was driven mad by a love potion and wrote his poetry between fits of insanity, eventually committing suicide in middle age; but modern scholarship suggests this account was likely an invention. The De rerum natura was a considerable influence on the Augustan poets, particularly Virgil (in his Aeneid and Georgics, and to a lesser extent in his Eclogues) and Horace. It virtually disappeared during the Middle Ages, but was rediscovered in a monastery in Germany in 1417, by Poggio Bracciolini, and played an important role both in the development of atomism (Lucretius was an important influence on Pierre Gassendi) and the efforts of various figures of the Enlightenment era to construct a new Christian humanism.

De Rerum Natura

Main article: De Rerum Natura

His poem De Rerum Natura (usually translated as "On the Nature of Things" or "On the Nature of the Universe") transmits the ideas of Epicurean physics, which includes Atomism, and psychology. Lucretius was the first writer to introduce Roman readers to Epicurean philosophy.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Lucretius" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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