I was expecting to like this more, even once I started I thought it would be a good book but the more it turned to the outcomes of finding On the Nature of Things instead of the hunt for it, the less interested I was.
It does seem to express a definitive opinion on what was right and what was wrong and infers quite a few things to this manuscript by the most tenuous of means. I found it skimpy with the history and verbose on arguable outcomes, being neither engaged by one or convinced by the other I was left bored.
The focus is the first century BC work of Lucretius Carus titled "The Nature of Things". Lucretius -- seemingly prescient of what would be discovered by 20th century modern science -- describes an earth and universe composed of atoms moving about at random. And besides the atoms, empty space. He refers to it as "the void". The implication is that whatever happens is due to the random nature of the atoms, rather than divine intervention. As might be expected, the powerful in medieval Europe preferred this subject remain un-discussed. Which -- until 1417 -- wasn't a problem, as the work was thought to be lost forever to the vagaries of time. How the last remaining manuscript was re-discovered and rescued from certain oblivion by the classics book-hunter Poggio Bracciolini is the main theme of this book. Well researched by the author, and well narrated; it's definitely worth a listen, especially for those interested in ancient philosophies.
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