LUCRETIUS. On the Nature of Things. Sumptibus & Typis Jacobi Tonson, 1712.
4to. Full tan calf with intricate foral gilt borders and abstract gilt tooling to spine, black spine label titled in gilt; pp. [iv], 370 with 1 frontispice and 6 plates; a little cracking to the upper and lower front hinge, some dents and marks to the covers, internally a very good copy with occasional foxing and toning as usual.
De Rerum Natura, or "On the Nature of Things" is a 1st century didactic poem which attempts to explain a variety of celestial and terrestrial phenomena through Epicurian physics - in essence, everything in nature can be explained by natural laws rather than by the intervention of divine beings. Some Christian scholars accused Lucretius of atheism, which made sense at the time but not by our current understanding of the term, as Lucretius denied neither the existence of the Roman gods, nor the soul - simply that the gods did not intervene in mortal affairs, and that the soul (like everything else) decomposed after death. Lucretius explores the idea of atoms - tiny building blocks of the universe that are at the heart of all matter, an idea that resonates with our understanding of the world today.
Details of Lucretius' life remain vague, although the Latin scholar Jerom asserted in a footnote that Lucretius went insane from consuming a botched love potion and died as a result, a reputation that Lucretius found hard to shake until relatively recently. While expressing many insightful ideas, Lucretius does expend much energy contesting the (already well-established) spherical earth theory.