The employment of mythological language and imagery by an Epicurean poet - a professed adherent of a system which was not only materialist, but overtly hostile to myth and poetry - is highly paradoxical. This apparent contradiction has often been ascribed to a conflict in the poet's personality, between reason and intellect, or to a desire to enliven his philosophical material with attractive mythological digressions. This book attempts to provide a more positive assessment of Lucretius' aims and methodology, by considering the poet's attitude to myth, and the role which it plays in the De Rerum Natura, against the background of earlier and contemporary views. Dr Gale suggests that Lucretius was not only aware of the tension between his two roles as philosopher and poet, but attempted to resolve it by developing his own, Epicurean poetic, together with a bold and innovative theory of the origins and meaning of myth. This book will be of interest to all classical scholars but especially to those concerned with Lucretius and with ancient philosophy.