aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Lucretius, On the Nature of Things 3.832-7

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Lucretius presents the Epicurean notion that after death we experience nothing – just like before we were alive. He really ratchets up the language here: undique, omnia, trepido concussa tumultu, horrida contremuere, altis, cadendum, omnibus humanis, which serves to emphasize how even the biggest and noisiest disturbances still meant nothing to the then unborn reader.

et vel ut ante acto nihil tempore sensimus aegri,
ad confligendum venientibus undique Poenis,
omnia cum belli trepido concussa tumultu
horrida contremuere sub altis aetheris auris,
in dubioque fuere utrorum ad regna cadendum
omnibus humanis esset terraque marique […]

And just as we felt no sorrow in a time now passed, when the Carthaginians were coming from all sides to fight, when everything shook with the agitated tumult of war and quaked terribly under the sky’s high breezes, and it was doubtful into which of their two empires the whole of humanity, on land and sea, would fall […]

Written by aleatorclassicus

September 8, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Lucretius

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