Episode Sixty-Five - Introducing A New Panelist (Don) and Recapping the Opening of Book Five

  • Welcome to Episode Sixty-Five of Lucretius Today.


    I am your host Cassius, and together with my panelists from the EpicureanFriends.com forum, we'll walk you through the six books of Lucretius' poem, and discuss how Epicurean philosophy can apply to you today. We encourage you to study Epicurus for yourself, and we suggest the best place to start is the book, "Epicurus and His Philosophy" by Canadian professor Norman DeWitt.


    For anyone who is not familiar with our podcast, please check back to Episode One for a discussion of our goals and our ground rules. If you have any question about that, please be sure to contact us at EpicureanFriends.com for more information.


    In this Episode 65 we introduce a new panel member, Don, one of our regulars here at EpicureanFriends. We take this episode to introduce Don and recap where we've been, where we're going, and we get Don's take on the opening section of Book Five. Next week we will return to our normal format.

  • Episode 65 of the Lucretius Today Podcast is now available. In today's episode, we introduce Don as a new panelist, and recap the beginning of Book Five.


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  • Cassius

    Changed the title of the thread from “Episode Sixty-Five (Pre-Production)” to “Episode Sixty-Five - Introducing A New Panelist (Don) and Recapping the Opening of Book Five”.
  • I find myself using the word "materialistic" several times in the podcast. I want to be clear that I mean "material" in the sense of not supernatural. I don't mean anything like "materialistic" in the sense of acquiring possessions, etc. Just wanted to be sure everyone knows I'm using this sense:

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/materialism and https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/materialistic (def. 2)

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    For those who want to hear the original Latin, here is Luke Ranieri (Scorpio Martianus) reading from Book 3.

  • The reading is near technically perfect. The meter is clear and consistently treated, all elisions are passed over with ease. Perhaps too much focus is given to the perfect rendition of the poetry and taken away from a focus on the actual meaning of the words. Lucretius was passionate in this section about the soul's mortality, and from this perspective we all can tell that the reading is indefensibly robotic!


    Mελετᾶν οὖν χρὴ τὰ ποιοῦντα τὴν εὐδαιμονίαν.

    It is necessary to study what produces wellbeing.

  • Bryan , I suspected Ranieri's recitation was technically almost perfect. He's very enthusiastic on his channel about vowel length and elision being so important to the meter of of poetry. I think one of the reasons this is somewhat "robotic" is because it was meant to demonstrate the consistent meter of the poem for the https://www.paideiainstitute.org/ as a teaching tool. He has several pop songs, Disney tunes, and others translated into Latin on his channel that are a hoot

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  • So Michele modern Italian poetry is now like English in being based to some extent on rhyme rather than so much on "meter"? Probably my question is naive but I don't perceive the structure of the Latin verse to be at all similar to modern poetry - at least English.

    Greek and Latin poetry was ALL about the meter/rhythm: da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM. That's one of the reasons you get phrases like "the wine dark sea" and "divine Achilles" and "the sons of Atreus" ( all in Greek, of course!) It gave the poet or rhapsode a huge stock of standard phrases he could plug into his lines when he needed a specific meter maintained. If you needed five feet when Achilles came up and not three (A-chil-les)* you stuck in divine. Same with Odysseus, he could be crafty, devious, many-faceted, depending on the meter you needed.

    Rhyme didn't play a roll. In Anglo-Saxon poetry we get great alliteration plus meter but I don't think the Greeks or Romans used alliteration but I could be mistaken in that.


    *Just to be clear, I realize we're talking Αχιλλεύς/Αχιληος here. I was going the easy route and just using his English name ;)

  • Some Latin poets do not make use of alliteration, others try to avoid it, but is very frequent in Lucretius and sometimes quite heavy. It seems Ennius commonly used alliteration, but after him it came to be less popular (thought to be too obvious or simple for "golden age" Latin). It is therefore one of the Lucretian anachronisms. An early example from DRN is used at 1.86 "Ductôrēs dánaum (dēléctī prîma virôrum), The leaders of the Greeks, selected as first among men." Most editors point out the alliteration in this case is used to mock the idea Lucretius is expressing.

    We have a good example at 1.200 "nōn pótuit pédibus quī póntum per váda póssent... [so why has Nature] not been able [to make men so large] who on foot would be able to go across the sea through the shallows..."


    Mελετᾶν οὖν χρὴ τὰ ποιοῦντα τὴν εὐδαιμονίαν.

    It is necessary to study what produces wellbeing.