Night sky above abandoned wagon (photo)
Latin 116 :  Lucretius' De rerum natura
Course Catalog No: 31014
Dylan Sailor
12:30 - 2:00

In this class we will study Lucretius’ bizarre, fascinating, wonderful didactic poem De rerum natura (“On the Nature of the Universe”). It is an impassioned, energetic, urgent, meticulous, and occasionally almost hallucinatory attempt to demonstrate to you that Epicurean doctrine is the one true account of the physical nature of the universe, and Lucretius has written it so that you can live a happy life. How is it supposed to give you a happy life? Well, you’ll just have to read the poem to find out. Which, conveniently, you can do in this class! We will read significant excerpts in Latin and the entirety of the poem in English translation, as well as select modern interpretations of it. In addition to coming to grips with the doctrine of Epicurus the poem expounds, we will pay careful attention to the DRN as a powerful, sophisticated, and thought-provoking poetic achievement and to the ways in which it is situated within Roman culture of the mid-first century BCE. Participants should have at least two years of college-level Latin (so, at least Latin 100 plus Latin 101 or 102) or the equivalent.  Fulfills L&S Breadth in Arts & Literature or Philosophy & Values.