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Sun Sep 15, 2013, 11:17 PM

Lucretius

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucretius

Titus Lucretius Carus (c. 99 BC – c. 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;[1] but modern scholarship suggests this account was probably an invention.[2] 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,[3] 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.


Here is a very good book about the discovery of Lucretius book.

The Swerve

One of the world's most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it.

Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius—a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions.

The copying and translation of this ancient book-the greatest discovery of the greatest book-hunter of his age-fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson. 16 pages of color illustrations

http://www.amazon.com/The-Swerve-World-Became-Modern/dp/0393343405/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379304882&sr=8-1&keywords=the+swerve

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