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Lucretius on the Origin of the World: The Argumentative Structure of De Rerum Natura 5.91-508

By Abigail Buglass

The fifth book of Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura is concerned with arguments for the natural, not supernatural, development of the world; it contributes in large part to the argument against the impact of divine power on Earth, which is found more broadly throughout the DRN. Lines 91-508 of Book 5 posit that the world is part of a natural process, which began with a natural birth (rather than divine creation), and which will eventually lead to death.

The Epicurean Calculus of Pleasure and Pain in Horace Satires 2.6

By Benjamin Vines Hicks

This paper argues that recent additions to our understanding of Roman Epicureanism enhance our appreciation for how Horace presents the tensions between public duties in the city and private pursuit of ataraxia in Satires 2.6. The most significant treatments of Satires 2.6 accurately describe the poetic effects, rhetorical devices, the carefully balanced structure of the poem, and identify some of the Epicurean intertexts such as Lucretius 3.1060-67 and Philodemus’ dinner invitation to his patron Piso, AP 11.44 (Bond, Brink, Gigante, Muecke, West).

Ridentem dicere verum: Philodemean Ethics in Horace's Sermones 1.1

By Sergio Yona

One of the most powerful attributes of Horatian satire is its ability to provide seemingly frivolous entertainment while communicating moral truth. The Roman satirist Perseus effectively captured the force of this paradox: omne uafer uitium ridenti Flaccus amico | tangit et admissus circum praecordia ludit (1.116-117). This approach to satire is traditionally associated with the Cynic spoudaiogeloion motif, which combines attacks on vicious behavior with language that is colorful, outrageous and even obscene.

Reconciling Epicurean Friendship and Roman amicitia in the Works of Philodemus

By Sonya Wurster

This paper contends that, although Philodemus of Gadara’s doctrines on friendship retain the essential elements of Epicurus’ teachings, he reshapes and adds to these teachings to reflect the social and cultural reality of his contemporary late-republican, Roman context. Where Epicurus had stressed the utilitarian nature of friendship among a community of Epicureans, Philodemus highlights both the utilitarian and affectionate nature of friendship.

Anima Animae: Lucretius and the Life of the Body-Mind

By Alex Dressler

Lucretius’ account of the emergence of consciousness in Book 3 of the De Rerum Naturae (DRN 3.136-9, 258-81, 323-32) has long resisted interpretation by scholars using the usual tools of analytical philosophy. In this paper, I argue that a literary analysis, sensitive to the figural aspects of language and borrowing from the poststructuralist toolbox (i.e. Derrida 1974, Butler 1993; cf. Kennedy 2002), solves some central philosophical problems in these passages.

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