This famous work by Lucretius is a masterpiece of didactic poetry, and it still stands today as the finest exposition of Epicurean philosophy ever written. The poem was produced in the middle of first century B.C., a period that was to witness a flowering of Latin literature unequaled for beauty and intellectual power in subsequent ages. The Latin title, De Rerum Natura, translates literally to On the Nature of Things and is meant to impress the reader with the breadth and depth of Epicurean philosophy.
Lucretius was born in 99 BC, and On the Nature of Things is his only surviving work. His aim was to free the Roman world from its two great terrors - the gods and death. Lucretius argues that the gods are not actively involved in life, so need not be appeased; and that death is the end of everything human - body and soul - and therefore should not be feared. But On the Nature of Things is also a poem of striking imagery, intimate natural observation and touching pathos.