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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 September 2021

Tetsufumi Takeshita*
Kyoto University


This article aims at proposing a solution to one of the well-known textual cruces in Lucretius’ De rerum natura. After a brief survey of the suggested emendations, the author will shed some fresh light on Manning's gratus, which recent editors have curiously neglected. The idea that the old man should retire from life with thanks is not uncommon among classical writers. In addition, parallel expressions are also found in Epicurus’ own words. This article concludes that gratus is what we would expect in the last line of Nature's admonition in De rerum natura and, therefore, the most probable emendation.

Shorter Notes
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Classical Association

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I would like to express my thanks to Martin Ciesko and to an anonymous reader for CQ for their helpful comments and suggestions.


1 Papanghelis, Th.D., ‘Lucretius III. 961–2 once more’, Δημοσιεύματα τῆς Ἑταιρείας Μακεδονικῶν Σπουδῶν 31 (1979), 342–9Google Scholar.

2 Bailey, C. (ed.), Lucretius: De rerum natura, 3 vols. (Oxford, 1947), 2.1155Google Scholar.

3 Inge, W.R., ‘Lucretius iii. 962’, CR 62 (1948), 62Google Scholar.

4 See OLD s.v. humanus 2a, b.

5 Brandt, S., ‘Ad Lucretium’, Neue Jahrbücher für Philologie und Paedagogik 121 (1880), 773Google Scholar.

6 Deufert, M., Kritische Kommentar zu Lukrezens ‘De rerum natura’ (Berlin and Boston, 2018), 189–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Deufert proposed iuueni and printed it in his text, but the abruptly introduced singular form seems rather clumsy despite the Greek parallels cited by him.

7 Papanghelis (n. 1), 347.

8 E.g. Lucr. 3.12 dignissima uita, 3.322 dignamuitam, 3.420 dignacarmina. See also Papanghelis (n. 1), 347–8. He cites the following lines: Lucr. 3.884 hinc indignatur se mortalem esse creatum, 3.870–1 proinde ubi se uideas hominem indignarier ipsum, | post mortem fore ut aut putescat corpore posto …, 3.1045 tu uero dubitabis et indignabere obire? The difference between indignitas and indignatio does not matter, because Lucretius often uses near-synonyms or (pseudo-)etymologically connected words. I limit myself to two examples: amarus/amor (4.1134) and mel/melos (musaeo … melle [1.947]; musaea mele [2.412]). Snyder, J.M., Puns and Poetry in Lucretius’ De rerum natura (Amsterdam, 1980)Google Scholar provides a general description of Lucretius’ wordplay.

9 Manning, C.E., ‘Lucretius III 962, again’, Mnemosyne 40 (1987), 152–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Neither the second edition of Kenney's commentary (E.J. Kenney [ed.], Lucretius: De rerum natura Book III [Cambridge, 20142]) nor the latest Teubner edition (M. Deufert [ed.], Titus Lucretius Carus: De rerum natura [Berlin and Boston, 2019]) records this emendation.

10 Manning (n. 9), 153.

11 gratus and ingratus also appear as important ethical terms in the previous book: 2.23, 2.615, 2.622. In addition, the facts that a long life was very unusual in antiquity and that only a few Romans lived to old age must be considered.

12 Cf. Cic. Sen. 42 magnam habendam esse senectuti gratiam, quae efficeret ut id non liberet quod non oporteret, 46 habeo senectuti magnam gratiam, 69 quod cuique temporis ad uiuendum datur, eo debet esse contentus; Sen. Ep. 12.4 plena [sc. senectus] <est> uoluptatis, si illa scias uti. gratissima sunt poma cum fugiunt, 26.1–2 inter decrepitos me numera et extrema tangentis. gratias tamen mihi apud te ago, 67.2 ago gratias senectuti quod me lectulo adfixit, 83.3 minimum exercitationi corporis datum, et hoc nomine ago gratias senectuti; M. Aur. Med. 2.3 … ἵνα μὴ γογγύζων ἀποθάνῃς, ἀλλὰ ἵλεως ἀληθῶς καὶ ἀπὸ καρδίας εὐχάριστος τοῖς θεοῖς, 4.3 ἀποπέμψαι σε μὴ δυσχεραίνοντα ἐκείνοις ἐφ᾽ ἃ ἐπανέρχῃ, 4.48 τὸ ἀκαριαῖον οὖν τοῦτο τοῦ χρόνου κατὰ φύσιν διελθεῖν καὶ ἵλεων καταλῦσαι, ὡς ἂν εἰ ἐλαία πέπειρος γενομένη ἔπιπτεν, εὐφημοῦσα τὴν ἐνεγκοῦσαν καὶ χάριν εἰδυῖα τῷ φύσαντι δένδρῳ. For a more detailed discussion of old age in the ancient philosophical writings, see Powell, J.G.E. (ed.), Cicero: Cato maior de senectute (Cambridge, 1988), 2430Google Scholar.

13 Diog. Laert. 10.22 ἀντιπαρετάττετο δὲ πᾶσι τούτοις τὸ κατὰ ψυχὴν χαῖρον ἐπὶ τῇ τῶν γεγονότων ἡμῖν διαλογισμῶν μνήμῃ. It is also noteworthy that Seneca testifies to Epicurus’ thankfulness (Ep. 66.48): non potest dici hoc non esse par maximis bonum quod beatae uitae clausulam inposuit, cui Epicurus extrema uoce gratias egit.

14 Diog. Laert. 10.118 κἂν στρεβλωθῇ δ᾽ ὁ σοφός, εἶναι αὐτὸν εὐδαίμονα. μόνον τε χάριν ἕξειν τὸν σοφόν, καὶ ἐπὶ φίλοις καὶ παροῦσι καὶ ἀποῦσιν ὁμοίως διά τε λόγου <καὶ διὰ πράξεως>.

15 Manning (n. 9), 154.

16 On the confusion of n and r, see Bailey (n. 2), 1.38. It should also be noted that the reverse error of r for n is found in Lucr. 4.143, 4.159: genantur (Lambinus's emendation for gerantur in MSS OQ).

17 at and m can be interchanged: for instance, MS D of Plautus has ate for me in Poen. 884. See Havet, L., Manuel de critique verbale appliquée aux textes latins (Paris, 1911), 164Google Scholar.

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