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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



7574
Lucretius Carus, On The Nature Of Things, 5.772-5.999
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Quare etiam atque etiam maternum nomen adeptaWherefore, again, again, how merited Is that adopted name of Earth- The Mother!- Since she herself begat the human race, And at one well-nigh fixed time brought forth Each breast that ranges raving round about Upon the mighty mountains and all birds Aerial with many a varied shape. But, lo, because her bearing years must end, She ceased, like to a woman worn by eld. For lapsing aeons change the nature of The whole wide world, and all things needs must take One status after other, nor aught persists Forever like itself. All things depart; Nature she changeth all, compelleth all To transformation. Lo, this moulders down, A-slack with weary eld, and that, again, Prospers in glory, issuing from contempt. In suchwise, then, the lapsing aeons change The nature of the whole wide world, and earth Taketh one status after other. And what She bore of old, she now can bear no longer, And what she never bore, she can to-day. In those days also the telluric world Strove to beget the monsters that upsprung With their astounding visages and limbs- The Man-woman- a thing betwixt the twain, Yet neither, and from either sex remote- Some gruesome Boggles orphaned of the feet, Some widowed of the hands, dumb Horrors too Without a mouth, or blind Ones of no eye, Or Bulks all shackled by their legs and arms Cleaving unto the body fore and aft, Thuswise, that never could they do or go, Nor shun disaster, nor take the good they would. And other prodigies and monsters earth Was then begetting of this sort- in vain, Since Nature banned with horror their increase, And powerless were they to reach unto The coveted flower of fair maturity, Or to find aliment, or to intertwine In works of Venus. For we see there must Concur in life conditions manifold, If life is ever by begetting life To forge the generations one by one: First, foods must be; and, next, a path whereby The seeds of impregnation in the frame May ooze, released from the members all; Last, the possession of those instruments Whereby the male with female can unite, The one with other in mutual ravishments.
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nec manet ulla sui similis res: omnia migrantORIGINS AND SAVAGE PERIOD OF MANKIND But mortal man Was then far hardier in the old champaign, As well he should be, since a hardier earth Had him begotten; builded too was he Of bigger and more solid bones within, And knit with stalwart sinews through the flesh, Nor easily seized by either heat or cold, Or alien food or any ail or irk. And whilst so many lustrums of the sun Rolled on across the sky, men led a life After the roving habit of wild beasts. Not then were sturdy guiders of curved ploughs, And none knew then to work the fields with iron, Or plant young shoots in holes of delved loam, Or lop with hooked knives from off high trees The boughs of yester-year. What sun and rains To them had given, what earth of own accord Created then, was boon enough to glad Their simple hearts. Mid acorn-laden oaks Would they refresh their bodies for the nonce; And the wild berries of the arbute-tree, Which now thou seest to ripen purple-red In winter time, the old telluric soil Would bear then more abundant and more big. And many coarse foods, too, in long ago The blooming freshness of the rank young world Produced, enough for those poor wretches there. And rivers and springs would summon them of old To slake the thirst, as now from the great hills The water's down-rush calls aloud and far The thirsty generations of the wild. So, too, they sought the grottos of the Nymphs- The woodland haunts discovered as they ranged- From forth of which they knew that gliding rills With gush and splash abounding laved the rocks, The dripping rocks, and trickled from above Over the verdant moss; and here and there Welled up and burst across the open flats. As yet they knew not to enkindle fire Against the cold, nor hairy pelts to use And clothe their bodies with the spoils of beasts; But huddled in groves, and mountain-caves, and woods, And 'mongst the thickets hid their squalid backs, When driven to flee the lashings of the winds And the big rains. Nor could they then regard The general good, nor did they know to use In common any customs, any laws: Whatever of booty fortune unto each Had proffered, each alone would bear away, By instinct trained for self to thrive and live. And Venus in the forests then would link The lovers' bodies; for the woman yielded Either from mutual flame, or from the man's Impetuous fury and insatiate lust, Or from a bribe- as acorn-nuts, choice pears, Or the wild berries of the arbute-tree. And trusting wondrous strength of hands and legs, They'd chase the forest-wanderers, the beasts; And many they'd conquer, but some few they fled, A-skulk into their hiding-places... . . . . . . With the flung stones and with the ponderous heft Of gnarled branch. And by the time of night O'ertaken, they would throw, like bristly boars, Their wildman's limbs naked upon the earth, Rolling themselves in leaves and fronded boughs. Nor would they call with lamentations loud Around the fields for daylight and the sun, Quaking and wand'ring in shadows of the night; But, silent and buried in a sleep, they'd wait Until the sun with rosy flambeau brought The glory to the sky. From childhood wont Ever to see the dark and day begot In times alternate, never might they be Wildered by wild misgiving, lest a night Eternal should possess the lands, with light Of sun withdrawn forever. But their care Was rather that the clans of savage beasts Would often make their sleep-time horrible For those poor wretches; and, from home y-driven, They'd flee their rocky shelters at approach Of boar, the spumy-lipped, or lion strong, And in the midnight yield with terror up To those fierce guests their beds of out-spread leaves.
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Multaque tum interiisse animantum saecla necessestAnd in the ages after monsters died, Perforce there perished many a stock, unable By propagation to forge a progeny. For whatsoever creatures thou beholdest Breathing the breath of life, the same have been Even from their earliest age preserved alive By cunning, or by valour, or at least By speed of foot or wing. And many a stock Remaineth yet, because of use to man, And so committed to man's guardianship. Valour hath saved alive fierce lion-breeds And many another terrorizing race, Cunning the foxes, flight the antlered stags. Light-sleeping dogs with faithful heart in breast, However, and every kind begot from seed Of beasts of draft, as, too, the woolly flocks And horned cattle, all, my Memmius, Have been committed to guardianship of men. For anxiously they fled the savage beasts, And peace they sought and their abundant foods, Obtained with never labours of their own, Which we secure to them as fit rewards For their good service. But those beasts to whom Nature has granted naught of these same things- Beasts quite unfit by own free will to thrive And vain for any service unto us In thanks for which we should permit their kind To feed and be in our protection safe- Those, of a truth, were wont to be exposed, Enshackled in the gruesome bonds of doom, As prey and booty for the rest, until Nature reduced that stock to utter death.
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Sed neque Centauri fuerunt nec tempore in ulloBut Centaurs ne'er have been, nor can there be Creatures of twofold stock and double frame, Compact of members alien in kind, Yet formed with equal function, equal force In every bodily part- a fact thou mayst, However dull thy wits, well learn from this: The horse, when his three years have rolled away, Flowers in his prime of vigour; but the boy Not so, for oft even then he gropes in sleep After the milky nipples of the breasts, An infant still. And later, when at last The lusty powers of horses and stout limbs, Now weak through lapsing life, do fail with age, Lo, only then doth youth with flowering years Begin for boys, and clothe their ruddy cheeks With the soft down. So never deem, percase, That from a man and from the seed of horse, The beast of draft, can Centaurs be composed Or e'er exist alive, nor Scyllas be- The half-fish bodies girdled with mad dogs- Nor others of this sort, in whom we mark Members discordant each with each; for ne'er At one same time they reach their flower of age Or gain and lose full vigour of their frame, And never burn with one same lust of love, And never in their habits they agree, Nor find the same foods equally delightsome- Sooth, as one oft may see the bearded goatsBatten upon the hemlock which to man Is violent poison. Once again, since flame Is wont to scorch and burn the tawny bulks Of the great lions as much as other kinds Of flesh and blood existing in the lands, How could it be that she, Chimaera lone, With triple body - fore, a lion she; And aft, a dragon; and betwixt, a goat- Might at the mouth from out the body belch Infuriate flame? Wherefore, the man who feigns Such beings could have been engendered When earth was new and the young sky was fresh (Basing his empty argument on new) May babble with like reason many whims Into our ears: he'll say, perhaps, that then Rivers of gold through every landscape flowed, That trees were wont with precious stones to flower, Or that in those far aeons man was born With such gigantic length and lift of limbs As to be able, based upon his feet, Deep oceans to bestride or with his hands To whirl the firmament around his head. For though in earth were many seeds of things In the old time when this telluric world First poured the breeds of animals abroad, Still that is nothing of a sign that then Such hybrid creatures could have been begot And limbs of all beasts heterogeneous Have been together knit; because, indeed, The divers kinds of grasses and the grains And the delightsome trees- which even now Spring up abounding from within the earth- Can still ne'er be begotten with their stems Begrafted into one; but each sole thing Proceeds according to its proper wont And all conserve their own distinctions based In nature's fixed decree.
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Nec nimio tum plus quam nunc mortalia saeclaAnd yet in those days not much more than now Would generations of mortality Leave the sweet light of fading life behind. Indeed, in those days here and there a man, More oftener snatched upon, and gulped by fangs, Afforded the beasts a food that roared alive, Echoing through groves and hills and forest-trees, Even as he viewed his living flesh entombed Within a living grave; whilst those whom flight Had saved, with bone and body bitten, shrieked, Pressing their quivering palms to loathsome sores, With horrible voices for eternal death- Until, forlorn of help, and witless what Might medicine their wounds, the writhing pangs Took them from life. But not in those far times Would one lone day give over unto doom A soldiery in thousands marching on Beneath the battle-banners, nor would then The ramping breakers of the main seas dash Whole argosies and crews upon the rocks. But ocean uprisen would often rave in vain, Without all end or outcome, and give up Its empty menacings as lightly too; Nor soft seductions of a serene sea Could lure by laughing billows any man Out to disaster: for the science bold Of ship-sailing lay dark in those far times. Again, 'twas then that lack of food gave o'er Men's fainting limbs to dissolution: now 'Tis plenty overwhelms. Unwary, they Oft for themselves themselves would then outpour The poison; now, with nicer art, themselves They give the drafts to others. BEGINNINGS OF CIVILIZATION Afterwards, When huts they had procured and pelts and fire, And when the woman, joined unto the man, Withdrew with him into one dwelling place, . . . . . . Were known; and when they saw an offspring born From out themselves, then first the human race Began to soften. For 'twas now that fire Rendered their shivering frames less staunch to bear, Under the canopy of the sky, the cold; And Love reduced their shaggy hardiness; And children, with the prattle and the kiss, Soon broke the parents' haughty temper down. Then, too, did neighbours 'gin to league as friends, Eager to wrong no more or suffer wrong, And urged for children and the womankind Mercy, of fathers, whilst with cries and gestures They stammered hints how meet it was that all Should have compassion on the weak. And still, Though concord not in every wise could then Begotten be, a good, a goodly part Kept faith inviolate- or else mankind Long since had been unutterably cut off, And propagation never could have brought The species down the ages.
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Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

2 results
1. Lucretius Carus, On The Nature of Things, 1.265-1.634, 1.988-1.1082, 2.168, 2.172, 2.184-2.307, 2.312-2.313, 2.317-2.380, 2.398-2.568, 5.165-5.173, 5.195-5.234, 5.416-5.508, 5.773-5.1457, 6.1-6.7, 6.26-6.27, 6.33-6.34, 6.36-6.38, 6.42-6.422 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2. Vitruvius Pollio, On Architecture, 1.1.3, 1.1.8, 2.1.5 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
analogy Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 88
atoms Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
auctoritas Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
body, metaphor for speech and text, greek Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
body, metaphor for speech and text Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
body Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
causation Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
clash of atoms Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
corpus architecturae Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
creation Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
de architectura, and greek knowledge Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
de architectura, universalizing Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
definition Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
demonic possession Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
design/purpose Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 88
diodorus siculus Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
epicureanism, epicureans Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
evolution Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
gods, divine control (lack of) Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 88
gods, providence Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 88
gravitation Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
herodotus Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
intelligent design Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
livy Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
madness, insanity, mental disorder Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
maiestas Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
mechanical movements Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
meteorology, thunder' Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 88
meteorology Lehoux et al., Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (2013) 88
natural phenomena Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
oikonomia Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
philosophers Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
plague Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
polemics Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
religio Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
science Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
size Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
strabo Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
time Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
universe Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
utilitasutility Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
vacuum, void Rohmann, Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity (2016) 155
vitruvius, and history Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
vitruvius, auctoritas Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
vitruvius, doubts about reliability Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103
volumina Oksanish, Vitruvian Man: Rome Under Construction (2019) 103