Sound effects in Lucretius
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When the Greek philosophers first began to write down the results of their investigations they chose verse as the medium through which to present their ideas to the world. This was very natural for poetry was the medium then most in use. But as philosophical thought became more abstract and involved, they could no longer be hampered by the restrictions placed upon the poet and so used prose. Poetry might serve Xenophanes and Empedocles to set forth their theories of first beginnings but when Plato and Aristotle wished to present their broad teachings, they did not try to express their thought in poetic form but used the more simple and direct prose. Why then should Lucretius so many years later choose to clothe his thought in the more difficult verse? His master, Epicurus, had been content with prose, and Epicurus was in most things Lucretius' divine model. This paper seeks to give a partial answer to this question by showing that Lucretius was interested not only in presenting his thought clearly but in giving it a poetic dress.