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Quotes of Lucretius

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


Lucretius (Titus Lucretius Carus) lived around 99-55 BCE. He was a Roman poet and philosopher.

  • “Study the man when he is most beset
    with perils, and when fortune frowns on him.
    Then you will learn what he is; then the heart
    will deeply feel, and utter words of truth.
    The mask is torn away, the man’s revealed”

    • latin: [Quo magis in dubiis hominem spectare periclis
      convenit adversisque in rebus noscere qui sit;
      nam verae voces tum demum pectore ab imo
      eliciuntur [et] eripitur persona manet res]
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, III.55
  • “Life isn’t given to anyone, but just given on loan to everyone”
    • latin: [Vitaque mancipio nulli datur, omnibus usu]
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, III, 971
  • “For just as children tremble and fear all
    In the viewless dark, so even we at times
    Dread in the light so many things that be
    No whit more fearsome than what children feign,
    Shuddering, will be upon them in the dark.”

    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, III
  • “Nothing arises from nothing”
    • latin: [Ex nihilo nihil fit]
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, I
  • “Some nations rise, others diminish […] and like runners carry on the torch of life”
    • latin: [Augescunt aliae gentes aliae minuuntur […] et quasi cursores vitai lampada tradunt]
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, II, 77/79
  • “From the bottom of the chest”
    • latin: [Ab imo pectore]
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, 1.148–156
  • “Nothing comes from nothing”
    • latin: [De nihilo nihil]
    • description: the maxim attributed to the Greek philosopher Parmenides. A reference to cosmology that existence is eternal, has no beginning and no end, and is the only one.
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, 3.57
  • “Golden sayings”
    • latin: [Aurea dicta]
    • description: this is how the poet describes his teacher’s words.
    • source: Lucretius, De rerum natura, III, 12

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