“The deep-sticking boundary stone”: Cosmology, sublimity, and knowledge in lucretius’ de rerum natura and seneca’s naturales quaestiones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This chapter argues for both a broad similarity and a crucial distinction between the ways in which Lucretius (De rerum natura) and Seneca (Naturales quaestiones) employ the category of the sublime in their natural scientific (including cosmological) writings. Both authors, as previous scholars such as Gian Biago Conte and Gareth Williams have observed, use the sublime as part and parcel of their didactic and consolatory projects. Moreover, in both authors the sublime first causes the pupil-reader to “take fright” in the face of nature and then builds him up to conquer nature with his own knowledge. Yet in Lucretius and Seneca the knowledge that allows such conquest is quite distinct: for the Epicurean, scientific knowledge is limited, while for the Stoic, it approaches omniscience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCosmos in the Ancient World
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages247-269
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781108529082
ISBN (Print)9781108423649
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 18 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Gian biagio conte
  • Infinite
  • Knowledge
  • Limit
  • Lucretius
  • Ps-longinus
  • Seneca
  • Sublime

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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