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By David N. Sedley

This publication stories the constitution and origins of De Rerum Natura (On the character of things), the nice first-century BC poem through Lucretius. through exhibiting how he labored from the literary version set by means of the Greek poet Empedocles yet below the philosophical notion of the Greek thinker Epicurus, the e-book seeks to signify Lucretius' exact poetic achivement. it really is addressed to these either in Latin poetry and in historic Greek and Roman philosophy.

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The Empedoclean opening quorum Acragantinus cum primis Empedocles est insula quem triquetris terrarum gessit in oris, quam fluitans circum magnis anfractibus aequor Ionium glaucis aspargit virus ab undis, angustoque fretu rapidum mare dividit undis Aeoliae terrarum oras a finibus eius. hic est vasta Charybdis et hic Aetnaea minantur murmura flammarum rursum se colligere iras, faucibus eruptos iterum vis ut vomat ignis ad caelumque ferat flammai fulgura rursum. quae cum magna modis multis miranda videtur gentibus humanis regio visendaque fertur, rebus opima bonis, multa munita virum vi, nil tamen hoc habuisse viro praeclarius in se nec sanctum magis et mirum carumque videtur.

72 Plut. Col. .  . The Empedoclean opening ‘ox-children man-faced’. 74 Indeed, since Lucretius certainly knew Empedocles’ physical poem at first hand and did not have to rely exclusively on Aristotelian-influenced doxography,75 it certainly should not be assumed that he read Empedocles as a pioneering opponent of teleology. If Aristotle chooses Empedocles rather than the far more suitable Democritus for that role, it is surely because Empedocles, perhaps alone among the Presocratics, has actually supplied him with an illustration of what a non-teleological explanation of an organism would look like.

That  came from Empedocles’ physical poem, and not from the Katharmoi, was until recently a highly unorthodox proposal. Now, however, we have the new papyrus fragments from the opening book of the physical poem, and they include , where the speaker expresses his regret that he did not perish before his wicked complicity in the slaughter and consumption of animals. So close is the thematic link between  and  that they have regularly been assumed to derive from a single original context.

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