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Reading Report April 24 2003 Michael Grant The World of Rome Meridian 1987 Philosophy Chapter 7 Pgs 214-233 While most of the citizens of the Greek and Roman worlds relied heavily on some form of emotional religion there were a few that sought their personal guidance through philosophy The high degree of self-control as well as self-cultivation that was needed to live the philosophical life was by foremost the reasoning behind why there were so few Even though philosophy began with such Greeks as Plato and Aristotle and given that Romans were not a very philosophical people there were some that obtained a higher sense of self guidance than had any Greek There were Romans such as Lucretius who vehemently denied any higher power but believed in Epicureanism Also Cicero had found inspiration and comfort in Stoic philosophy Marcus Aurelius who was not in the true sense a philosopher himself found guidance in his Meditations that were not for public record but for his own quest in self truth While Michael Grant wrote of other Roman philosophers this report will focus on these three Lucretius firmly believed in the doctrines of Epicurus of Athens c 342-270 BC These doctrines in part held an opposition to pagan religious beliefs regarded sense-perception as the only basis of knowledge while at the same time regarded everything except the void as consisting of atoms even humans They also held that when these atoms within the human mind swerved this was the power of free will and that fate was diverted Believing wholeheartedly in these doctrines Lucretius could not understand why anyone would fear death To him death was nothing and that to worry about death took away from the true human goal which was happiness True human happiness meant a body free of pain and a mind released from worry and fear Much to Lucretiuss dismay Romans were not influenced by Epicureanism because it went against the moral
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