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What Did the Romans Know?

What did the Romans know about their world? Quite a lot, as Daryn Lehoux makes clear in this fascinating and much-needed contribution to the history and philosophy of ancient science. Lehoux contends that even though many of the Romans’ views about the natural world have no place in modern science—the umbrella-footed monsters and dog-headed people that roamed the earth and the stars that foretold human destinies—their claims turn out...

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Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science

Lucretius' didactic masterpiece De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) is one of the most brilliant and powerful poems in the Latin language, a passionate attempt at dispelling humanity's fear of death and its enslavement by false beliefs about the gods, and a detailed exposition of Epicurean atomist physics. For centuries, it has raised the question of whether it is primarily a poem or primarily a philosophical treatise, which al...