Lucretius (Titus Lucretius Carus) was a Roman poet, presumibly born in 98 B.C., and dead at the age of 55 (but according to other sources he commeteed suicide at the age of 44).
He's contemporary of Cicero, who was younger than him, and who had to be, after Lucretius' death, the curator of his masterpiece (for which is anyway known): the philosophical epic De Rerum Natura (About the Nature of the Things), a comprehensive exposition of the Epicurean world-view.
Very little is known of the poet’s life, either if he was of noble or humble origins. However, his personality emerges vividly from his poem.
His epic work is made of six books and shows a complete explanation of the physical origin of the universe.
Included in this presentation are theories of the atomic structure of matter and the emergence and evolution of life forms – ideas that would eventually form a crucial foundation and background for the development of western science.
Besides his scientific influence, Lucretius has been a source of inspiration for a wide range of modern philosophers and western Writers.
The critics, unanimously, believe that Lucretius is a sort of usher in sprouding Epicurean theories in Rome.
But recently, a very fond italian classical scholar, Angelo Ruggeri, has expressed mare than a doubt on these slavish theories.
As matter of fact it's difficult to imagine such a writer promoting in Rome a faithless, careless, nihilist (ante litteram) doctrine, like it was the Epicurianesim.
In the opinion of Angelo Ruggeri, "the “De Rerum Naturae” of Lucretius is very important in the history of western culture also because it provides the key required to understand many other poets of successive eras, from Dante to Leopardi, the more Lucretian of all. I am convinced that we must not believe the appearances in interpretating poems , because the poets often do not report theirs own ideas, but those of their times, relying then on the intelligence of the readers for the understanding and Dante warns many times the readers of his poem to well use their intelligence!"
Following I present a very bright translation of Venus' Iymn from the Proem of the epic Lucretius' work. I hope the Readers of my blog may enjoy it.
Venus of Lucrezio Caro - VV 1-25
Translated by Angelo Ruggeri
Mother of Eneades, Holy Venus , love of men and gods,
who, under the rotating stars of the sky,
adorn the sea ploughed by ships and make land fruitful,
through you every species of animals is conceived
and breed to smile at the light of the sun.
As soon as you come, o goddess,
winds and clouds flee from the sky
and the architect earth raises nice flowers on your path.
The sea waves smile at you and the sky shines with diffuse light,
and as soon as the spring bears beautiful and serene days
and the fruitful zephyr blows with new force,
first the birds of the air, touched by your strength in the heart,
announce your arrival, and then the flocks celebrate you
jumping happily in the meadows and swimming in the fast rivers .
So, taken by your pleasure, all follow you ,
wherever you want get them,
and then in the sea, on the mountains, in the rivers ,
in the houses of birds, and in the green fields ,
putting in all the hearts the sweet love
you do that life spread joyfully.
And since you alone governs the nature of things
and without you nothing may come in the light of day
and nothing is pleasant and nice,
I wish you companion to write the verses
that I am composing about the nature of things.
... to be continued...