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Lucretius: The Nature of the Universe
 

We know almost nothing of the Roman author Lucretius, except that he gave to the world a didactic poem that is the oddest of ducks: a passionate, philosophic/scientific treatise that explains Epicurus's theory of atoms and touts reason and exacting knowledge of the way things are as antidotes to uncertainty and the fear of death. In six books that teeter between celebratory creation and total annihilation, its narrative is driven by pounding logic and determined pedagogical prodding. Studded as it is with vivid stories and meticulous observations of natural phenomena, The Nature of the Universe is an ancient work still able to grab hold of modern readers and not let go. As timely today as it was 2,000 years ago, it proves that the humanities and sciences can inspire and complete one another.

 
 

Oedipus of Lucius Annaeus Seneca
 

Rutenberg's adaptation of Seneca's Oedipus is the first translation of this Roman tragedy to interpolate excerpts from Seneca's moral philosophies into the text. This juxtaposition of Seneca's calm, rational thought with the passionate, highly theatrical language of his play creates an exciting synergy of powerful emotional and intellectual appeal. Seneca believes that human beings live at the whim of blind chance or divine will. He is interested in how we face a tragedy not of our own making, how we respond to something beyond our control. His central tenet is that we must try to accept suffering with dignity, grace, and mercy. This philosophy is as relevant today, in a world filled with repeated horrors against innocents, as it was in ancient times.

 
 

Oedipus of Lucius Annaeus Seneca
 

Rutenberg's adaptation of Seneca's Oedipus is the first translation of this Roman tragedy to interpolate excerpts from Seneca's moral philosophies into the text. This juxtaposition of Seneca's calm, rational thought with the passionate, highly theatrical language of his play creates an exciting synergy of powerful emotional and intellectual appeal. Seneca believes that human beings live at the whim of blind chance or divine will. He is interested in how we face a tragedy not of our own making, how we respond to something beyond our control. His central tenet is that we must try to accept suffering with dignity, grace, and mercy. This philosophy is as relevant today, in a world filled with repeated horrors against innocents, as it was in ancient times.

 
 

On Unbelievable Tales: Palaephatus: Peri Apiston
 

Palaephatus, a contemporary of Aristotle, sought to reinforce belief in the historicity of ancient heroes by tracing the evolution of "actual" events into marvelously embellished myths.

 
 

Once Upon the Tiber: An Offbeat History of Rome
 
This book ambles through major Roman events and personalities from the time of Aeneas to the time of Romulus Augustus, and the lives major Roman authors are included, for viewing a culture one should always consider the literati.
 
 

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