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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



7574
Lucretius Carus, On The Nature Of Things, 5.235-5.508
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Quod super est, umore novo mare flumina fontesAnd for the rest, that sea, and streams, and springs Forever with new waters overflow, And that perennially the fluids well, Needeth no words- the mighty flux itself Of multitudinous waters round about Declareth this. But whatso water first Streams up is ever straightway carried off, And thus it comes to pass that all in all There is no overflow; in part because The burly winds (that over-sweep amain) And skiey sun (that with his rays dissolves) Do minish the level seas; in part because The water is diffused underground Through all the lands. The brine is filtered off, And then the liquid stuff seeps back again And all regathers at the river-heads, Whence in fresh-water currents on it flows Over the lands, adown the channels which Were cleft erstwhile and erstwhile bore along The liquid-footed floods.
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Aera AĆ«ra nunc igitur dicam, qui corpore totoNow, then, of air I'll speak, which hour by hour in all its body Is changed innumerably. For whatso'er Streams up in dust or vapour off of things, The same is all and always borne along Into the mighty ocean of the air; And did not air in turn restore to things Bodies, and thus recruit them as they stream, All things by this time had resolved been And changed into air. Therefore it never Ceases to be engendered off of things And to return to things, since verily In constant flux do all things stream.
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Largus item liquidi fons luminis, aetherius solLikewise, The abounding well-spring of the liquid light, The ethereal sun, doth flood the heaven o'er With constant flux of radiance ever new, And with fresh light supplies the place of light, Upon the instant. For whatever effulgence Hath first streamed off, no matter where it falls, Is lost unto the sun. And this 'tis thine To know from these examples: soon as clouds Have first begun to under-pass the sun, And, as it were, to rend the rays of light In twain, at once the lower part of them Is lost entire, and earth is overcast Where'er the thunderheads are rolled along- So know thou mayst that things forever need A fresh replenishment of gleam and glow, And each effulgence, foremost flashed forth, Perisheth one by one. Nor otherwise Can things be seen in sunlight, lest alway The fountain-head of light supply new light. Indeed your earthly beacons of the night, The hanging lampions and the torches, bright With darting gleams and dense with livid soot, Do hurry in like manner to supply With ministering heat new light amain; Are all alive to quiver with their fires,- Are so alive, that thus the light ne'er leaves The spots it shines on, as if rent in twain: So speedily is its destruction veiled By the swift birth of flame from all the fires. Thus, then, we must suppose that sun and moon And stars dart forth their light from under-births Ever and ever new, and whatso flames First rise do perish always one by one- Lest, haply, thou shouldst think they each endure Inviolable.
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Denique non lapides quoque vinci cernis ab aevoAgain, perceivest not How stones are also conquered by Time?- Not how the lofty towers ruin down, And boulders crumble?- Not how shrines of gods And idols crack outworn?- Nor how indeed The holy Influence hath yet no power There to postpone the Terminals of Fate, Or headway make 'gainst Nature's fixed decrees? Again, behold we not the monuments Of heroes, now in ruins, asking us, In their turn likewise, if we don't believe They also age with eld? Behold we not The rended basalt ruining amain Down from the lofty mountains, powerless To dure and dree the mighty forces there Of finite time?- for they would never fall Rended asudden, if from infinite Past They had prevailed against all engin'ries Of the assaulting aeons, with no crash.
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Denique iam tuere hoc, circum supraque quod omneAgain, now look at This, which round, above, Contains the whole earth in its one embrace: If from itself it procreates all things- As some men tell- and takes them to itself When once destroyed, entirely must it be Of mortal birth and body; for whate'er From out itself giveth to other things Increase and food, the same perforce must be Minished, and then recruited when it takes Things back into itself.
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Praeterea si nulla fuit genitalis origoBesides all this, If there had been no origin-in-birth Of lands and sky, and they had ever been The everlasting, why, ere Theban war And obsequies of Troy, have other bards Not also chanted other high affairs? Whither have sunk so oft so many deeds Of heroes? Why do those deeds live no more, Ingrafted in eternal monuments Of glory? Verily, I guess, because The Sum is new, and of a recent date The nature of our universe, and had Not long ago its own exordium. Wherefore, even now some arts are being still Refined, still increased: now unto ships Is being added many a new device; And but the other day musician-folk Gave birth to melic sounds of organing; And, then, this nature, this account of things Hath been discovered latterly, and I Myself have been discovered only now, As first among the first, able to turn The same into ancestral Roman speech. Yet if, percase, thou deemest that ere this Existed all things even the same, but that Perished the cycles of the human race In fiery exhalations, or cities fell By some tremendous quaking of the world, Or rivers in fury, after constant rains, Had plunged forth across the lands of earth And whelmed the towns- then, all the more must thou Confess, defeated by the argument, That there shall be annihilation too Of lands and sky. For at a time when things Were being taxed by maladies so great, And so great perils, if some cause more fell Had then assailed them, far and wide they would Have gone to disaster and supreme collapse. And by no other reasoning are we Seen to be mortal, save that all of us Sicken in turn with those same maladies With which have sickened in the past those men Whom nature hath removed from life.
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Praeterea quae cumque manent aeterna necessustAgain, Whatever abides eternal must indeed Either repel all strokes, because 'tis made Of solid body, and permit no entrance Of aught with power to sunder from within The parts compact- as are those seeds of stuff Whose nature we've exhibited before; Or else be able to endure through time For this: because they are from blows exempt, As is the void, the which abides untouched, Unsmit by any stroke; or else because There is no room around, whereto things can, As 'twere, depart in dissolution all,- Even as the sum of sums eternal is, Without or place beyond whereto things may Asunder fly, or bodies which can smite, And thus dissolve them by the blows of might. But not of solid body, as I've shown, Exists the nature of the world, because In things is intermingled there a void; Nor is the world yet as the void, nor are, Moreover, bodies lacking which, percase, Rising from out the infinite, can fell With fury-whirlwinds all this sum of things, Or bring upon them other cataclysm Of peril strange; and yonder, too, abides The infinite space and the profound abyss- Whereinto, lo, the ramparts of the world Can yet be shivered. Or some other power Can pound upon them till they perish all. Thus is the door of doom, O nowise barred Against the sky, against the sun and earth And deep-sea waters, but wide open stands And gloats upon them, monstrous and agape. Wherefore, again, 'tis needful to confess That these same things are born in time; for things Which are of mortal body could indeed Never from infinite past until to-day Have spurned the multitudinous assaults Of the immeasurable aeons old.
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Denique tantopere inter se cum maxima mundiAgain, since battle so fiercely one with other The four most mighty members the world, Aroused in an all unholy war, Seest not that there may be for them an end Of the long strife?- Or when the skiey sun And all the heat have won dominion o'er The sucked-up waters all?- And this they try Still to accomplish, though as yet they fail,- For so aboundingly the streams supply New store of waters that 'tis rather they Who menace the world with inundations vast From forth the unplumbed chasms of the sea. But vain- since winds (that over-sweep amain) And skiey sun (that with his rays dissolves) Do minish the level seas and trust their power To dry up all, before the waters can Arrive at the end of their endeavouring. Breathing such vasty warfare, they contend In balanced strife the one with other still Concerning mighty issues,- though indeed The fire was once the more victorious, And once- as goes the tale- the water won A kingdom in the fields. For fire o'ermastered And licked up many things and burnt away, What time the impetuous horses of the Sun Snatched Phaethon headlong from his skiey road Down the whole ether and over all the lands. But the omnipotent Father in keen wrath Then with the sudden smite of thunderbolt Did hurl the mighty-minded hero off Those horses to the earth. And Sol, his sire, Meeting him as he fell, caught up in hand The ever-blazing lampion of the world, And drave together the pell-mell horses there And yoked them all a-tremble, and amain, Steering them over along their own old road, Restored the cosmos,- as forsooth we hear From songs of ancient poets of the Greeks- A tale too far away from truth, meseems. For fire can win when from the infinite Has risen a larger throng of particles Of fiery stuff; and then its powers succumb, Somehow subdued again, or else at last It shrivels in torrid atmospheres the world. And whilom water too began to win- As goes the story- when it overwhelmed The lives of men with billows; and thereafter, When all that force of water-stuff which forth From out the infinite had risen up Did now retire, as somehow turned aside, The rain-storms stopped, and streams their fury checked. FORMATION OF THE WORLD AND ASTRONOMICAL QUESTIONS But in what modes that conflux of first-stuff Did found the multitudinous universe Of earth, and sky, and the unfathomed deeps Of ocean, and courses of the sun and moon, I'll now in order tell. For of a truth Neither by counsel did the primal germs 'Stablish themselves, as by keen act of mind, Each in its proper place; nor did they make, Forsooth, a compact how each germ should move; But, lo, because primordials of things, Many in many modes, astir by blows From immemorial aeons, in motion too By their own weights, have evermore been wont To be so borne along and in all modes To meet together and to try all sorts Which, by combining one with other, they Are powerful to create: because of this It comes to pass that those primordials, Diffused far and wide through mighty aeons, The while they unions try, and motions too, Of every kind, meet at the last amain, And so become oft the commencements fit Of mighty things- earth, sea, and sky, and race Of living creatures.
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Hic neque tum solis rota cerni lumine largoIn that long-ago The wheel of the sun could nowhere be discerned Flying far up with its abounding blaze, Nor constellations of the mighty world, Nor ocean, nor heaven, nor even earth nor air. Nor aught of things like unto things of ours Could then be seen- but only some strange storm And a prodigious hurly-burly mass Compounded of all kinds of primal germs, Whose battling discords in disorder kept Interstices, and paths, coherencies, And weights, and blows, encounterings, and motions, Because, by reason of their forms unlike And varied shapes, they could not all thuswise Remain conjoined nor harmoniously Have interplay of movements. But from there Portions began to fly asunder, and like With like to join, and to block out a world, And to divide its members and dispose Its mightier parts- that is, to set secure The lofty heavens from the lands, and cause The sea to spread with waters separate, And fires of ether separate and pure Likewise to congregate apart.
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Quippe etenim primum terrai corpora quaequeFor, lo, First came together the earthy particles (As being heavy and intertangled) there In the mid-region, and all began to take The lowest abodes; and ever the more they got One with another intertangled, the more They pressed from out their mass those particles Which were to form the sea, the stars, the sun, And moon, and ramparts of the mighty world- For these consist of seeds more smooth and round And of much smaller elements than earth. And thus it was that ether, fraught with fire, First broke away from out the earthen parts, Through the innumerable pores of earth, And raised itself aloft, and with itself Bore lightly off the many starry fires; And not far otherwise we often see . . . . . . And the still lakes and the perennial streams Exhale a mist, and even as earth herself Is seen at times to smoke, when first at dawn The light of the sun, the many-rayed, begins To redden into gold, over the grass Begemmed with dew. When all of these are brought Together overhead, the clouds on high With now concreted body weave a cover Beneath the heavens. And thuswise ether too, Light and diffusive, with concreted body On all sides spread, on all sides bent itself Into a dome, and, far and wide diffused On unto every region on all sides, Thus hedged all else within its greedy clasp. Hard upon ether came the origins Of sun and moon, whose globes revolve in air Midway between the earth and mightiest ether,- For neither took them, since they weighed too little To sink and settle, but too much to glide Along the upmost shores; and yet they are In such a wise midway between the twain As ever to whirl their living bodies round, And ever to dure as parts of the wide Whole; In the same fashion as certain members may In us remain at rest, whilst others move. When, then, these substances had been withdrawn, Amain the earth, where now extend the vast Cerulean zones of all the level seas, Caved in, and down along the hollows poured The whirlpools of her brine; and day by day The more the tides of ether and rays of sun On every side constrained into one mass The earth by lashing it again, again, Upon its outer edges (so that then, Being thus beat upon, 'twas all condensed About its proper centre), ever the more The salty sweat, from out its body squeezed, Augmented ocean and the fields of foam By seeping through its frame, and all the more Those many particles of heat and air Escaping, began to fly aloft, and form, By condensation there afar from earth, The high refulgent circuits of the heavens. The plains began to sink, and windy slopes Of the high mountains to increase; for rocks Could not subside, nor all the parts of ground Settle alike to one same level there.
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Sic igitur terrae concreto corpore pondusThus, then, the massy weight of earth stood firm With now concreted body, when (as 'twere) All of the slime of the world, heavy and gross, Had run together and settled at the bottom, Like lees or bilge. Then ocean, then the air, Then ether herself, the fraught-with-fire, were all Left with their liquid bodies pure and free, And each more lighter than the next below; And ether, most light and liquid of the three, Floats on above the long aerial winds, Nor with the brawling of the winds of air Mingles its liquid body. It doth leave All there- those under-realms below her heights- There to be overset in whirlwinds wild,- Doth leave all there to brawl in wayward gusts, Whilst, gliding with a fixed impulse still, Itself it bears its fires along. For, lo, That ether can flow thus steadily on, on, With one unaltered urge, the Pontus proves- That sea which floweth forth with fixed tides, Keeping one onward tenor as it glides.
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Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

7 results
1. Xenophanes, Fragments, None (6th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

2. Xenophanes, Fragments, None (6th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

3. Xenophanes, Fragments, None (6th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

4. Lucretius Carus, On The Nature of Things, 1.44-1.49, 1.62-1.135, 1.161-1.179, 1.192-1.195, 1.208-1.214, 1.227-1.231, 1.250-1.264, 1.1102-1.1112, 2.67-2.79, 2.81, 2.168, 2.172, 2.569-2.580, 2.646-2.651, 2.1030-2.1039, 2.1041-2.1057, 2.1059-2.1062, 2.1081-2.1083, 2.1090-2.1117, 2.1122-2.1145, 2.1150-2.1174, 3.23-3.24, 3.417, 3.445-3.458, 3.670-3.783, 3.970-3.971, 4.35-4.41, 4.43, 4.733-4.734, 4.760-4.761, 5.110-5.155, 5.165-5.168, 5.181-5.186, 5.195-5.234, 5.236-5.508, 5.783-5.1457, 6.1-6.6, 6.1138-6.1286 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

5. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of The Philosophers, 10.77 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

10.77. For troubles and anxieties and feelings of anger and partiality do not accord with bliss, but always imply weakness and fear and dependence upon one's neighbours. Nor, again, must we hold that things which are no more than globular masses of fire, being at the same time endowed with bliss, assume these motions at will. Nay, in every term we use we must hold fast to all the majesty which attaches to such notions as bliss and immortality, lest the terms should generate opinions inconsistent with this majesty. Otherwise such inconsistency will of itself suffice to produce the worst disturbance in our minds. Hence, where we find phenomena invariably recurring, the invariableness of the recurrence must be ascribed to the original interception and conglomeration of atoms whereby the world was formed.
6. Epicurus, Letter To Menoeceus, 124, 123

7. Epicurus, Letter To Herodotus, 76



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
anger Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 70
apollo Star, Apocalypse and Golden Age: The End of the World in Greek and Roman Thought (2021) 60
aristotle Star, Apocalypse and Golden Age: The End of the World in Greek and Roman Thought (2021) 60
athens Gale, Virgil on the Nature of Things: The Georgics, Lucretius and the Didactic Tradition (2000) 22
carthage, in the aeneid Giusti, Disclosure and Discretion in Roman Astrology: Manilius and his Augustan Contemporaries (2018) 258
cosmology Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 70
cycle of growth and decay, in lucretius Gale, Virgil on the Nature of Things: The Georgics, Lucretius and the Didactic Tradition (2000) 22
death, in lucretius Gale, Virgil on the Nature of Things: The Georgics, Lucretius and the Didactic Tradition (2000) 22
diogenes laertius Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 70
diogenes of oenoanda Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 70
dreams Gale, Virgil on the Nature of Things: The Georgics, Lucretius and the Didactic Tradition (2000) 22
epicureanism, in lucretiuss works Star, Apocalypse and Golden Age: The End of the World in Greek and Roman Thought (2021) 60
fear Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 70
finales, in lucretius Gale, Virgil on the Nature of Things: The Georgics, Lucretius and the Didactic Tradition (2000) 22
fire narratives, in lucretiuss works Star, Apocalypse and Golden Age: The End of the World in Greek and Roman Thought (2021) 60
gods Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 70
immortality Star, Apocalypse and Golden Age: The End of the World in Greek and Roman Thought (2021) 60
lucretius, cycle of growth and decay in Gale, Virgil on the Nature of Things: The Georgics, Lucretius and the Didactic Tradition (2000) 22
lucretius, death in Gale, Virgil on the Nature of Things: The Georgics, Lucretius and the Didactic Tradition (2000) 22
lucretius Star, Apocalypse and Golden Age: The End of the World in Greek and Roman Thought (2021) 60
materialism Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 70
meteorology' Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 70
natura Star, Apocalypse and Golden Age: The End of the World in Greek and Roman Thought (2021) 60
orpheus Star, Apocalypse and Golden Age: The End of the World in Greek and Roman Thought (2021) 60
plague Gale, Virgil on the Nature of Things: The Georgics, Lucretius and the Didactic Tradition (2000) 22
plato, laws Star, Apocalypse and Golden Age: The End of the World in Greek and Roman Thought (2021) 60
plato, lucretius and Star, Apocalypse and Golden Age: The End of the World in Greek and Roman Thought (2021) 60
proems, in lucretius Gale, Virgil on the Nature of Things: The Georgics, Lucretius and the Didactic Tradition (2000) 22
prophecies, in lucretiuss works Star, Apocalypse and Golden Age: The End of the World in Greek and Roman Thought (2021) 60
pythia Star, Apocalypse and Golden Age: The End of the World in Greek and Roman Thought (2021) 60
venus Gale, Virgil on the Nature of Things: The Georgics, Lucretius and the Didactic Tradition (2000) 22
xenophanes Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 70