The poem, written in some 7, dactylic hexameters , is divided into six untitled books, and explores Epicurean physics through poetic language and metaphors. The universe described in the poem operates according to these physical principles, guided by fortuna "chance" ,  and not the divine intervention of the traditional Roman deities. To the Greek philosopher Epicurus , the unhappiness and degradation of humans arose largely from the dread which they entertained of the power of the deities , from terror of their wrath. This wrath was supposed to be displayed by the misfortunes inflicted in this life and by the everlasting tortures that were the lot of the guilty in a future state or, where these feelings were not strongly developed, from a vague dread of gloom and misery after death. Epicurus thus made it his mission to remove these fears, and thus to establish tranquility in the minds of his readers. To do this, Epicurus invoked the atomism of Democritus to demonstrate that the material universe was formed not by a Supreme Being , but by the mixing of elemental particles that had existed from all eternity governed by certain simple laws.
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