Literature

Discuss this theme as it appears in Georgics 4, Lucretius Book 4, and Vergil’s Aeneid Book IV. Touch on the following ideas: the destructiveness of sexuality; how specifically is it communicated in
the poems? What are its effects? What is Lucretius’ solution for the problems of destructive sexuality? Next discuss any similarities or differences to our views today. Do we see the
destructiveness of sexuality as an idea in our popular culture? Which poet do our solutions for sexual disorder resemble the most?

2.Lucretius is the earliest example of the “scientific materialism” that dominates our culture today. Discuss the elements of Lucretius’s materialism in his depiction of the natural world, and in
his analysis of the psychology of sexual desire. What does he say about the gods, religion, ghosts, dreams, and hallucinations? Why does he think knowledge is so important? And how do these ideas
compare or contrast to our scientific world-view today?

3.In the Georgics and Aeneid, Vergil talks about the Roman political-social order, and its relationship to virtue and character, and to human nature. He also talks about that order and its
relationship to global empire. How does he define that order? How does it relate to human nature? What virtues does he think are critical for creating stability and civilized peace? What threatens
that order? Does he think a global civilization of peace and justice is possible? Why or why not? Finally, do you see any connections to the United States today and its global dominance? Does that
dominance threaten our own political order? Have we experienced a decline in virtue and character that threatens our political order?

4. Discuss the use of the Golden Age/Iron Age myth in Lucretius and Vergil. Given the reality of the Iron Age, how do Lucretius, Vergil, and Horace suggest we respond? What’s the focus of their
solutions: society, politics, or the self? What kind of life does each recommend in order to minimize the miseries of the Iron Age? What similarities do you see today in our culture’s solutions for
improving our lives


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