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Atomism in the Aeneid – Physics, Politics, and Cosmological Disorder - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Atomism in the Aeneid: Physics, Politics, and Cosmological Disorder

Matthew M. Gorey


This book examines the role of philosophical metaphor and allegory in the Aeneid, focusing on tendentious allusions to Lucretian atomism. It argues that Virgil, drawing upon a popular strain of anti-atomist and anti-Epicurean arguments in Greek philosophy, deploys atomic imagery as a symbol of cosmic and political disorder. The first chapter of this study investigates the development of metaphors and analogies in philosophical texts ranging from Aristotle to Cicero that equate atomism with cosmological caprice and instability. The following three chapters track how Virgil applies this interpre ... More

Keywords: Virgil, Lucretius, ancient atomism, Aeneid, Latin poetry, ancient philosophy, Epicureanism, literary criticism, intertextuality

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2021 Print ISBN-13: 9780197518748
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2021 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780197518748.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Matthew M. Gorey, author
Visiting Assistant Professor, Wabash College