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Lucretius auctus? The Question of Interpolation in De rerum natura

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the active interpolation in Lucretius' poem De rerum natura (DRN). The notion of spurious verses in Lucretius' great Epicurean poem has been known to its critics since the Renaissance but did not merit anything approaching a systematic theory until the turn of the nineteenth century, when Heinrich Eichstädt suggested that the whole of Lucretius' work had been improved and polished by a later author. The last leaf/leaves of a codex were lost in transmission, thereby depriving the work of its last lines. The accidental transposition of verses has caused the wrong lines to stand at the poem's end. Despite the probable existence of a Probian recension and one or more scholarly commentaries on the poem, such an active engagement on readers' behalf does not seem to have been carried out with any editorial purpose or active desire to change or supplement the text in circulation.

Keywords: accidental transposition; active interpolation; De rerum natura (DRN); Epicurean poem; Heinrich Eichstädt; Lucretius' poem; Probian recension; Renaissance; spurious verses



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