Posted by: Mark | July 14, 2017

De Rerum Natura : Chapter Five

After feeling let down by the last two sections, Book Five: Geology and Cosmology holds up much better.

Lucretius was forced to admit that he didn’t have the definitive answer to the origin of the universe, the motion of the sun, light from the moon, and eclipses so he offered several possible theories.

He argued that immortal gods would not desire human prayers and that the world is too imperfect to have been created by a perfect being.

He claimed that while the building blocks of the universe are “birthless and deathless,” “this world is newly made.”

“Many species must have died out altogether” but believed all existing species have been around since the dawn of the world.

Argued against centaurs because horses and humans mature at different ages.

It’s humorous to read now but he was convinced that the modern generation (the ancient Romans) were soft compared to their ancestors.

He also claimed that “the male sex as a whole is by far the more skillful and gifted in the arts.”

One more chapter to go.


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