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Aratus and the Astronomical Tradition$
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Emma Gee

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199781683

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199781683.001.0001

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Wandering Stars

Wandering Stars

(p.57) 3 Wandering Stars
Aratus and the Astronomical Tradition

Emma Gee

Oxford University Press

This chapter and the following one place Aratus in the Roman tradition specifically through systematic study of the influence of Cicero’s Aratea, his Aratus translation, on the De rerum natura of Lucretius. I argue in chapter 3 that the influence of Cicero’s translation on Lucretius is much greater than has been thought, in fact, thoroughgoing. I argue the case for this view, both from the external evidence provided by Roman first century BC literary culture, and from internal evidence of allusion in the De rerum natura itself. In this chapter I draw out Ciceronian allusions in Lucretius, in the first instance in the astronomical section of the De rerum natura. These are interpreted against the background of Lucretius’ attitudes to religion and intelligent design. What emerges is the use of the Aratea, and the world view it contains, as a polemical tool in Lucretius.

Keywords:   Aratus, Roman literature, ancient philosophy, Stoicism, Epicureanism, Cicero, Lucretius, De rerum natura (On the Nature of the Universe)

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