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Introduction - From Epicurus To Lucretius

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter gives an overview of concepts of subsequent chapters covered in the book The Rhetoric of Explanation in Lucretius' De rerum natura. The passage fashions Epicurus as an epic hero who engages religion in a Homeric duel on behalf of all humanity. His battle has a successful outcome the reversal of the initial situation, in which human life was lying on the ground, oppressed by religion. The praise of Epicurus as the savior of mankind is echoed in the proem to Book Five, where Lucretius compares the legacy of Epicurus to the mythological achievements of Heracles. Epicurus was a socially engaged thinker, who had in his mind a very concrete goal. Lucretius' poem reflects well the polemical spirit of Epicurus' writing. Epicurus accomplished his great achievement with his words, dictis, and it was his dicta that fed his followers.

Keywords: dictis; Epicurus; Lucretius



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