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#1 - Book I, Part 1: Proem

On the Nature of Things (Leonard translation)

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Download Book I, Part 1: Proem audio
Download Book I, Part 2: Substance is Eternal audio
Download Book I, Part 3: The Void audio
Download Book I, Part 4: Nothing Exists per se Except Atoms and the Void audio
Download Book I, Part 5: Character of the Atoms audio
Download Book I, Part 6: Confutation of Other Philosophers audio
Download Book I, Part 7: The Infinity of the Universe audio
Download Book II, Part 1: Proem audio
Download Book II, Part 2: Atomic Motions audio
Download Book II, Part 3: Atomic Forms and Their Combinations audio
Download Book II, Part 4: Absence of Secondary Qualities audio
Download Book II, Part 5: Infinite Worlds audio
Download Book III, Part 1: Proem audio
Download Book III, Part 2: Nature and Composition of the Mind audio
Download Book III, Part 3: The Soul is Mortal audio
Download Book III, Part 4: Folly of the Fear of Death audio
Download Book IV, Part 1: Proem audio
Download Book IV, Part 2: Existence and Character of the Images audio
Download Book IV, Part 3: The Senses and Mental Pictures audio
Download Book IV, Part 4: Some Vital Functions audio
Download Book IV, Part 5: The Passion of Love audio
Download Book V, Part 1: Proem audio
Download Book V, Part 2: Argument of the Book and New Proem Against a Teleological Concept audio
Download Book V, Part 3: The World is Not Eternal audio
Download Book V, Part 4: Formation of the World and Astronomical Questions audio
Download Book V, Part 5: Origins of Vegetable and Animal Life audio
Download Book V, Part 6: Origins and Savage Period of Mankind audio
Download Book V, Part 7: Beginnings of Civilization audio
Download Book VI, Part 1: Proem audio
Download Book VI, Part 2: Great Meteorological Phenomena, Etc. audio
Download Book VI, Part 3: Extraordinary and Paradoxical Telluric Phenomena audio
Download Book VI, Part 4: The Plague Athens audio
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Summary

On the Nature of Things, written in the first century BCE by Titus Lucretius Carus, is one of the principle expositions on Epicurean philosophy and science to have survived from antiquity. Far from being a dry treatise on the many topics it covers, the original Latin version (entitled De Rerum Natura) was written in the form of an extended poem in hexameter, with a beauty of style that was admired and emulated by his successors, including Ovid and Cicero. The version read here is an English verse translation written by William Ellery Leonard. Although Leonard penned his version in the early twentieth century, he chose to adhere to both the vocabulary and meter (alternating between pentameter and hexameter) of Elizabethan-era poetry.

While the six untitled books that comprise On the Nature of Things delve into a broad range of subjects, including the physical nature of the universe, the workings of the human mind and body, and the natural history of the Earth, Lucretius repeatedly asserts throughout the work that his chief purpose is to provide the reader with a means to escape the "darkness of the mind" imposed by superstition and ignorance. To this end he offers us his enlightening verses, that through them might be revealed to us "nature's aspect, and her laws". (Summary by Daniel Vimont)

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