Thursday, May 3, 2007

[History] Humanism in Ancient Rome

Although much of what we regard as the ancient forerunners of humanism tend to be found in Greece, the original humanists of the European Renaissance first looked to the forerunners who were also their own ancestors: the Romans.


Like Epicurus, Lucretius sought to free humanity from the fear of death and of the gods, which he considered the primary cause of human unhappiness.


Lucretius insisted that the soul is not a distinct, immaterial entity but instead just a chance combination of atoms that does not survive the body. He also postulated purely natural causes for earthly phenomena in order to prove that the world is not directed by divine agency and that fear of the supernatural is consequently without reasonable foundation. Lucretius did not deny the existence of gods, but like Epicurus he conceived of them as having no concern with the affairs or destiny of mortals., May 3, 2007

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