Empedocles, Epicurus, and the failure of sacrifice in Lucretius Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Rider, Zackary P.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Classics
  • In this thesis, I examine sacrificial ritual as it is portrayed in Lucretius' De Rerum Natura, focusing on its role in Lucretius' polemic against religion. In the first chapter, I engage in a detailed analysis of sacrificial scenes in the DRN, showing that sacrifice is regularly shown to have deleterious effects on social relationships. I argue that such a representation renders sacrifice incompatible with Epicurean philosophy as practiced prior to Lucretius because of Epicurus' known approval of the practice, and that such a discrepancy suggests a rift in thought between Lucretius and his school. In the second chapter, I argue that Lucretius instead uses an Empedoclean model for his portrayal of sacrifice, presenting it and religion as the social analogues to the Empedoclean force Strife, while presenting his Epicurean philosophy as analogous to the Empedoclean force Love, co-opting the earlier poet's cosmology to his own Epicurean ends.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in the Department of Classics."
  • O'Hara, James
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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