The Ancient Library

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On this page: Lucilius – Lucina – Lucretius Carus



theoretical teaching and the practice of life. This was true even of the Stoics, and still more of the Cynics, whose meanness and love of pleasure, which they concealed under a pretended absence of personal wants, he is never weary of deriding.

Especially instructive for his attitude towards philosophy and his general view of life are the Auction of Philosophers, the Fisherman (with his defence of the latter), and Charon, or the Spectator of the World, All these are works of marked ability. The last named is a brilliant exposition, from his negative point of view, of the vanity of all human existence. He even exposes his own class, the Sophists, for attempting to conceal their miserable poverty of intellect by their bold readiness of tongue, and by their patchwork of fragmentary quotations borrowed from the writers of antiquity. In fact, there is scarcely a side of the literary and social life of the time that he does not attack in its weak points, confin­ing himself, however, for the most part to demonstrating what ought not to be, with­out showing how the existing evils were to be cured. To sit in judgment on the false culture and want of taste in his contem­poraries, he was certainly fitted above all others ; for, apart from a wide range of knowledge, he possessed keen observation, and an unusual measure of wit and humour. He had moreover an extraordinary gift of invention, remarkable aptitude for vivid delineation of character, and a singular grace and elegance. In spite of his Syrian origin, his zealous study of the best models gave him a purity of language which for his time is remarkable.

Lucllms. (1) Gaius LuKilius, founder of Roman satire, was probably born 180 b.c. at Suessa Aurunca in Campania, of a dis­tinguished and wealthy Latin equestrian family. He afterwards settled in R.ome, where his Latin origin excluded him from a political career. Owing partly however to his excellent education, partly to his family connexions (being Pompey's grand-uncle on the mother's side), he was on friendly terms with the most distinguished men. In particular, he lived with the younger Scipio and his friend Lielius in the closest intimacy. He accompanied the for­mer during the Numantine War, and died in Naples, 103 B.C.—His satires, in thirty books, were much esteemed in the time of the Republic and later. We possess numerous but inconsiderable fragments, from which, however, can be gathered their original

1 position in the general scheme of his work. Each book certainly contained a number of separate poems which, at least in books xxvi—xxx (the first written and published), were composed, like the satires of Ennius, in various metres. In most of the books, however, only a single metre was used, by far the most common being the dactylic hexameter (bks. i-xx and xxx), which from Horace's time became the ordinary metre for satire. The contents of the satires were exceedingly varied: all occurrences of political, social, and learned life were brought by him within the range of his discussion. He even touched upon his own experiences and his studies on literary, anti­quarian, grammatical, and orthographical questions. His severest censure and most pitiless mockery were directed, not only against the vices and absurdities of the time in general, but also against particular • individuals without any respect of persons On the other hand, true merit received his warmest praise. His satires must have given, on the whole, a true and lively pic­ture of the time. On metrical form and on style he does not seem to have set much store; it is apparently only in its metrical setting that his language differs from the daily tone of educated circles. To the latter we may also probably ascribe the incorpora­tion of so many fragments of Greek. His writings early became an object of study to the learned of Rome, and they also remained models to subsequent satirists, especially Horace.

(2) Lucilius lunior, friend of the philo­sopher Seneca, is supposed by a common but not improbable assumption to be the author of jEtna, a didactic poem in 645 hexameters. Suetonius, in his life of Vergil, says of that poet, Scripsit etiam de qua amlAgltur jBt,nam. It treats of Etna and its wonders, and was composed before the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 a.d.

Luclna. The Roman title of Juno (q.v.) as the goddess of light and of child-birth; later also of Diana in similar acceptation.

Lucretius Cams (Titus). A Roman poet, born at Rome about 98 b.c. and died by his own hand, in 55. He composed for his friend Memmius, the orator and poet, a didactic poem in hexameter verse concern­ing the nature of things (De BSrum Natura) in six books. The teaching of Epicurus forms the main subject, the example of Empedocles prescribed the poetic form, and the mode of treatment was modelled on Enuius. The ostensible object of the work

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