On the Nature of Things

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Cover the 1995 JHU Press edition of Lucretius' 60BC On the Nature of Things, translated by Anthony Esolen.[1]

In famous publications, On the Nature of Things (AB:3) (TR:5) (LH:12) (TL:17), in Latin: De Rerum Natura, is a 60BC six-chapter, 7,416-line, hexameter poem stylized book by Lucretius, which outlines the standard Greek atomic theory model of nature, generally based on the views of Epicurus, i.e. a world made of "atoms" or made of what Lucretius refers to as "corpora prima" or primary bodies.


In the following sub-pages, is a work-in-progress Latin[2] to three-versions English translation, first, using Google Latin-to-English; second, using the William Leonard (1916) translation[3], based on the Latin text of Carlo Guissani (1898); third, using the Ian Johnston (2010)[4] translation, based on the Latin text of Hugh Monro (1900). Of note, the Loeb Classics edition (and online version)[5], translated by William Rouse (1929), gives the exact Latin (as shown below), one the left page, with the corresponding English (on the right page), which is helpful when viewing the table below (in respect to exact line-by-line matchup):

Chapter one

See main: On the Nature of Things (chapter one)

Chapter one (aka book one), establishes the general principles of the atomic system, refutes the views of rival physicists, and proves the infinity of the universe and of its two ultimate constituents, matter and void (Loeb, 1924).[5]

Chapter two

See main: On the Nature of Things (chapter two)

Chapter two (aka book two), explains atomic movement, the variety of atomic shapes, and argues that the atoms lack color, sensation, and other secondary qualities.[5]

Chapter three

See main: On the Nature of Things (chapter three)

Chapter three (aka book three), expounds the nature and composition of mind and spirit, proves their mortality, and argues that there is nothing to fear in death.[5]

Chapter four

See main: On the Nature of Things (chapter four)

Chapter four (aka book four), explains the nature of sensation and thought, and ends with an impressive account of sexual love.[5]

Chapter five

See main: On the Nature of Things (chapter five)

Chapter five (aka book five), describes the nature and formation of our world, astronomical phenomena, the beginnings of life on earth, and the development of civilization.[5]

Chapter six

See main: On the Nature of Things (chapter six)

Chapter six (aka book six), explains various atmospheric and terrestrial phenomena, including thunder, lightning, earthquakes, volcanoes, the magnet, and plagues.[5]

End matter

See also


  1. Lucretius. (60BC).On the Nature of Things (translator: Anthony Esolen) (Amz). JHU Press.
  2. Lucretius. (60BC). De Rerum Natura (WS). Publisher.
  3. Lucretius. (60BC). On the Nature of Things (translator: William Leonard) (tufts) (MIT). Dutton, 1916.
  4. Lucretius. (60BC). On the Nature of Things (translator: Ian Johnston) (txt). Vancouver, 2010.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Lucretius. (60BC). On the Nature of Things (translator: William Rouse) (Ѻ) (Amz). Loeb, 1924.

Further reading

  • Lucretius. (c.60BC). On the Nature of Things (translator: Cyril Bailey) (Ѻ) (txt). Oxford, 1910.

External links

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