oa Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Lucretius, his copyists and the horrors of the underworld

Volume 29, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141



Epicurus denied that the underworld depicted by poets and painters existed and gave an allegorical interpretation of the particular punishments said to be suffered there. What men feared in the afterlife took place according to him in this life. The idea came to Epicurus from the writings of Democritus. It turned up in various forms in the teachings of other philosophical schools. Lucretius no doubt would have taken the general substance of his criticism of conventional beliefs about the afterlife from Epicurus. Some details, however, reflect the life of Republican Rome rather than that of fourth century Athens.

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