back

Epicurus: Fragments


    ( 1 :   fragments from known works, U.1 - 218 )

This important resource for the study of Epicurus, which is no longer available in its original location, has been copied here, with some reformatting, to ensure its preservation.


Selections from the classic compilation "Epicurea" of Hermann Usener (1834-1905)

Originally compiled and published in 1887.  This arrangement produced by Erik Anderson, 2005, 2006, in consultation with translations from a wide variety of sources.

This is a draft edition.  Items in orange type subject to revision.

Contents:

Testimonials

Fragments from known works   (U.1 - 218)

Fragments from uncertain sources   (U.219 - 395)

Fragments from uncertain sources   (U.396 - 607)

      → Go to fragment number (in range 1 - 607):  
 


Testimonials

Concerning Epicurus’ Books

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.26: Epicurus was quite a prolific author, surpassing all in the quantity of books produced.  He authored, in fact, some three hundred books, and he never cited any other authors – all the words contained in them were Epicurus’ own.  Chrysippus tried to match his vast literary output, but Carneades denounced him as a literary parasite: "Indeed, if Epicurus had written something, Chrysippus would vie to write just as much.  To accomplish this, he wrote down whatever popped into his head and often repeated himself.  In his haste, he neglected to do any editing, and he used many lengthy citations to the point of filling his entire books with them, not unlike Zeno and Aristotle."  Among the writings of Epicurus, the following are his best:

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, I.16 (Prologue): Many books were written by Zeno, even more by Xenophanes, even more by Democritus, even more by Aristotle, even more by Epicurus, and even more by Chrysippus.

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, VII.181 (Chrysippus): Apollodorus of Athens, in his "Collection of Philosophical Doctrines," wanting to show that the works of Epicurus (written by his own efforts rather than propped up with citations) were infinitely more numerous than those of Chrysippus, said in the precise terms, "Indeed if one were to remove from Chrysippus’ books all the citations taken from elsewhere, nothing but a blank page would remain."

Suda, "Epicurus" {epsilon-2404}: His writings, in sum, are numerous.

Arrian, Diatribes of Epictetus, I.20.19: Why, Epicurus, do you even light a lamp and labor for our sake, and write so many books?  Ibid, II.20.9: Dear fellow, why do you bother yourself about us?  Why do you keep up a vigil on our account, for which you light a lamp?  Why do you get up?  Why do you write so many big books?  Is it to keep one or another of us from being tricked into believing that the gods care for men, or is it to keep one or another of us from supposing that the nature of good is other than pleasure?  If this is indeed so, then back to your bed and go to sleep!

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 46.1: I received your book that you had promised me... how well I find it written, you can know this much: it strikes me as light and elegant, though bulkier than we are accustomed to, so that at first glance it seems to resemble Livy or Epicurus.  However, it caught and charmed me so much that I read it from beginning to end in one sitting.

Plutarch, Is "Live Unknown" a Wise Precept? 3, p. 1129A: {Rhetorically addressing Epicurus} Don’t send books everywhere to advertise your wisdom to every man and woman ...  What sense is there in so many tens of thousands of lines honoring Metrodorus, Aristobulus, and Chaeredemus, and published with so much industry that they cannot remain unknown even after they’re dead?  Who are you to call for the obliteration of virtue, the uselessness of skills, silence to philosophy, and forgetfulness of good deeds?

Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, II.3.8: Everyone, even those who do not accept their teaching or are not enthusiastic disciples, reads Plato and the rest of the Socratic school and after them their followers, while scarcely anyone beyond their own adherents takes up the works of Epicurus and Metrodorus.

On the Language and Style of Epicurus

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.13: He uses plain language in his works throughout, which is unusual, and Aristophanes, the grammarian, reproaches him for it. He was so intent on clarity that even in his treatise On Rhetoric, he didn’t bother demanding anything else but clarity.

Cicero, On End-Goals, Good and Bad, I.5.14, (Torquatus to Cicero): "I think that you, like our friend Triarius, are displeased with Epicurus because he neglected the rhetorical embellishments of Plato, Aristotle, and Theophrastus. I find it hard indeed to figure out why you think his opinions untrue." (Cicero to Torquatus): "You will see, Torquatus," said I, "how mistaken you are. I am not annoyed by this philosopher’s style. He is straightforward, expressing simple and plain concepts in a way that is easy to understand; though I do not despise eloquence in a philosopher either – but if he doesn’t have it, I do not insist on it.  It’s in the contents where he does not satisfy me, and in many places."

Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights, II.9.4:  In the same book {Book II of the Essays On Homer}, Plutarch finds fault again with Epicurus for using an inappropriate word and giving it an incorrect meaning. Now Epicurus wrote as follows: "The pinnacle of pleasure is the removal of everything that pains." Plutarch declares that he ought not have said "of everything that pains," but "of everything that is painful;" for it is the removal of pain, he explains, that should be indicated, not of that which causes pain. In bringing this charge against Epicurus, Plutarch is "word-chasing" with excessive nit-picking and almost with frigidity; for rather than hunting up such verbal meticulousness and such refinements of diction, Epicurus hunts them down {implying that Epicurus deliberately eliminates them}.

Cicero, On End-Goals, Good and Bad, II.4.12: You Epicureans frequently tell us we do not correctly understand what pleasure might be which Epicurus refers to...  Ibid. II.5.15  Nevertheless, supposing that I don’t understand Epicurus’ intended meaning... then he himself might possibly be at fault, for speaking in such a way that defies understanding.  Obscurity may be excused for two reasons: it might be intentional, like with Heraclitus... or it may reflect the difficulty of the material, rather than the rhetoric, as, for example, in Plato’s Timaeus.  But Epicurus, as far as I can tell, neither refuses to speak in a simple and explicit manner whenever he can, nor does he speak here about an obscure subject, such as physics, or an artificial and technical subject, like mathematics.  Pleasure is an easy topic that everyone can relate to.

Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, I.31.85 (Cotta speaking): Regarding the formulation of this maxim {Epicurus’ first Principal Doctrine}, there are those who think that this simple man was deliberately vague, when in fact the ambiguity arose from his inability to express himself plainly.

Cicero, On End-Goals, Good and Bad, II.6.18: Epicurus, by despising the dialectic, which encompasses the whole science of discovering the nature of things, judging their qualities, and how to do it with methodic rationality, stumbles, I say.  He fails to even half-way distinguish what he desires to convey. Ibid, II.9.27: Epicurus despises expressive eloquence; he speaks in confused manner.

Cicero, On Divination, II.50.18: Epicurus, whom the Stoics usually describe as stupid and crude...

Aelius Theon, Preliminary Exercises, Rh. W. 1 p. 169, Sp. II p. 71.7 {II.154 Butts}:  One must also pay attention to the arrangement of words, by providing instruction about all the ways in which they will avoid faulty arrangement, but especially metrical and rhythmical style, like many of the phrases of the orator Hegesias and the orators call Asianist, as well as some of the phrases of Epicurus, such as... {continued at U131 & U105}

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, V p. 187C: What need is there even to speak of the lack of proportion which pervades his style?

Cleomedes, Lectures on Astronomy, II.1 [p. 112 Bak.] {p. 489 Bowen and Todd}: Epicurus claims that he alone has found the truth through his vast wisdom and knowledge, and so thinks it right that he should also take first prize.  That is why I would believe it to be quite wrong for someone to say to him: "Babbling Thersites, clear orator though you are, hold off!" {Homer, Iliad 2.246-247}.  For I would not also call this Thersites "clear," as Odysseus does the Homeric one, when on top of everything else his mode of expression is also elaborately corrupt.  He speaks of "tranquil conditions of flesh" and "the confident expectations regarding it" and describes a tear as a "glistening of the eyes," and speaks of  "sacred ululations" and "titillations of the body" and "debaucheries" and other such dreadful horrors.  Some of these expressions might be said to have brothels as their source, others to resemble the language of women celebrating the rites of Demeter at the Thesmorphoria, still others to come from the synagogue and its suppliants debased Jew talk, far lower than the reptiles!

Sextus Empiricus, Against the Professors, I.1: In his ignorance, Epicurus is subject to blame in many respects; even in ordinary conversation his speech was not correct.

Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, II.17.46 (Balbus speaking): Epicurus may make a joke of this if he likes, although humor was never his strong point an Athenian without the "Attic salt!"

Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, I.44.123 (Cotta speaking): Epicurus himself wrote a book on the sanctity of the gods.  In this book the reader is fooled by a man who wrote not so much with irony as with wild abandon!

Dionysius of Halicarnassus, On the Composition of Words, 24, p. 188: I ask for the indulgence of the Epicurean company, who have no regard for these things.  The dictum that "writing presents no difficulties to those who do not aim at a constantly changing standard," which Epicurus himself propounded, was intended as a talisman to ward off the charge of extreme sloth and stupidity.

Cicero, Brutus, I.44.123: Titus Albucius grew up in Athens and left there a perfect Epicurean, typically lacking the capacity for eloquence.



Fragments from Known Works

1. Peri Airesewn kai Fugwn
On Choices and Avoidances
U1 - U2
2. AnaximenhV
Anaximenes
 
3. AnafwnhseiV
Declarations
U3
4. AntidwroV A B
Antidorus, in 2 Books
U4
~ Peri Aretwn
On the Virtues
5.AristobouloV
Aristobulus
6. Peri Atomwn kai Kenou
On the Atoms and the Void
 
7. Peri ths en thi Atomwi GwniaV
On the Angle of the Atom
 
8. Peri AfhV
On the Sensation of Touch
 
9. Peri BasileiaV
On Kingship
U5 - U6
10. Peri Biwn D
On Lifecourses, in 4 Books
U7 - U15
11. ProV Dhmokriton
Against Democritus
U16 - U17
12. Diaporiai
Problems
U18 - U21
13. Peri DikaiopragiaV
On Fair Dealing
14. Peri DikaiosunhV kai twn Allwn Aretwn
On Justice and the Other Virtues
 
15. Peri Dwrwn kai CaritoV
On Gifts and Gratitude
U22
16. Peri Eidwlwn
On Images
 
17. Peri EimarmenhV
On Destiny
U23
18. Meganh Epitomh
The Big Summary
U24 - U26
19. Mikra Epitomh
The Small Summary
U27
20. Peri ErwtoV
On Love
 
21. EurulocoV proV Mhtrodwron
Eurylochus, Dedicated to Metrodorus
22. Peri EusebeiaV
On Piety
 
23. Hghsianax
Hegesianax
 
24. Peri HdonhV
On Pleasure
 
25. Qemista
Themista
U28 ]
26. ProV Qeofraston
Against Theophrastus (at least 2 books)
U29 - U30
27. Peri Qeon
On the Gods
U31 - U34
28. KallistolaV
Callistolas
 
29. Peri Kriteriou h Kanwn
On the Criterion, or The Canon
U35 - U36
30. ProV touV MegarikouV
Against the Megarians
 
31. MhtrodwroV, E
Metrodorus, in 5 Books
U37
32. Peri MousikhV
On Music
 
33. NeoklhV proV Qemistan
Neocles, Dedicated to Themista
 
34. Peri Notwn Doxai proV Miqrhn
Theories about Diseases [and Death], Dedicated to Mithres
 
35. Peri tou Oran
On Vision
 
36. Peri OsiothtoV
On Holiness
U38 - U40
37. Peri PaqwV Doxai proV Timokrathn
Theories on the Passions, against Timocrates
U41
38. Peri Ploutou
On Wealth
U42 - U45
39. PolimedeV
Polymedes
 
40. Prognwstikon
Prognostication
 
41. ProtreptikoV
Exhortation to Study Philosophy
 
42. Peri RhtorikhV
On Rhetoric
U46 - U55
43. EtoiceiwseiV DwDeka
Doctrine of the Elements (12 Books)
U56
44. Sumposion
Symposium
U57 - U65
45. Peri TeloV
On the End-Goal
U66 - U71
46. TimokrathV G
Timocrates, in 3 Books
U72 - U73
47. Peri FantasiaV
On Sensory Presentation
 
48. Peri FusewV LZ
On Nature, in 37 Books
U74 - U94
49. Epitomh ton proV touV FusikouV
Summary of Objections to the Physicists
 
50. CaipedhmoV
Chaeredemus
 
51. Epistolai
Letters, which include...

1. Letters to Important Persons

2. Spurious Letters

3. To Friends Living in Egypt

4. To Friends Living in Asia

5. To Friends Living in Lampsacus

6. Letter to the Philosophers of Mytilene

7. To Athenaeus

8. Against Anaxarchus

9. To Apelles

10. To Apollonides

11. To Aristobulus

12. To Dositheus

13. To Hermarchus

14. (To a Heteras)

15. To Eurylochus

16. To Herodotus

17. To Themista

18. To Idomeneus

19. To Craterus

20. To Colotes

21. To Leontium

22. To Metrodorus

23. To Mithres

24. To Mys

25. To Polyaenus

26. To Pythocles

27. To Timocrates

28. To Phyrson

29. To Carmides

30. Letter on Vocations

31. Letter on Stilpo

32. Letter to a young boy or girl

33. Letter from his last days


FRAGMENTS FROM UNCERTAIN LETTERS

Epicurus’ remarks on private problems

Regarding Epicurus’ Disciples

Regarding the Stoics

Sayings

U95 - U216
52. Diaqhkh
Will
U217 - U218





1. On Choices and Avoidances

[ U1 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.27: (noted above)

[ U2 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.136: Regarding pleasure, he differs from the Cyrenaics, who do not recognize katastematic pleasures, but only pleasures in motion.  But he recognizes both: that of the mind, and that of the body, as he states in his work On Choices and Avoidances, in his treatment On the End-Goal, in the first book On Lifecourses and in his Letter to the Philosophers of Mytilene.

And Epicurus in his book On Choices... remarks, "Indeed, freedom from anxiety and the absence of pain are katastematic pleasures, while joy and delight are regarded as pleasures in motion and in action."

2. Anaximenes

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

3. Declarations

[ U3 ]

Philodemus, On Anger, Vol. Herc. (2) I.68 [p. 149 Gomperz]

4. Antidorus, in 2 Books

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

cf. Plutarch, Against Colotes, 32, p. 1126A: If, he (Colotes) had directed a book against Antidorus or the sophist Bion, regarding laws and government and ordinances, no one would have retorted, "Oh poor wretch, lie still in your blankets {Euripides, Orestes, 258}, and cover your miserable flesh; accuse me of these things only after having real-life experience managing a household and political service."  But such are exactly whom Colotes has insulted.

[ U4 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.8: And he called Antidorus "Sannidorus" {a fawning gift-bearer}.

~. On the Virtues

cf. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: On justice and the other virtues (XIV).

5. Aristobulus

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 22, p. 1103A: Metrodorus, Polyaenus, and Aristobulus were sources of "confidence" and "joy" to Epicurus; indeed he continually cared for them when they were ill and mourned them when they died.

6. On the Atoms and the Void

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.27: (noted above)

7. On the Angle of the Atom

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

8. On the Sensation of Touch

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

9. On Kingship

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

[ U5 ]

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 13, p. 1095C: Epicurus ...  allows no place, even over wine, for questions about music and the inquires of critics and scholars and actually advises a cultivated monarch to put up with recitals of stratagems and with vulgar buffooneries at his drinking parties sooner than with the discussion of problems in music and poetry.  Such is what he is presumed to have written in his book On Kingship.

[ U6 ]

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 33, p. 1127A: For when these men write to each other, they write ... [in] On Kingship to avoid the company of kings.

10. On Lifecourses, in 4 Books

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.27: (noted above)

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.30: His ethical doctrine deals with choice and avoidance, which may be found in the books On Lifecourses, in the letters, and in the book On the End-Goal.

Book I

[ U7 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.136: (noted above)

[ U8 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.119: The Sage will not get involved in politics, as he relates in his first book On Lifecourses, nor will he make himself a tyrant.

Cicero, Letters to Atticus, XIV.20.5: You mention Epicurus and dare to say "stay out of politics."

Cicero, Letters to Friends, VII.12: {February, 53 B.C.} My dear friend Pansa {Caius Vibius Pansa} has informed me that you {Caius Trebatius Testa} have become an Epicurean ... what shall ever become of your people of Ulubrae if you lay it down that it is improper to "to occupy oneself in politics?"

Cicero, On the Laws, I.13.39: Those {Epicurean} philosophers ...  test the desirability or undesirability of everything on the basis of pleasure and pain.  Let us, even if they are right (for there is no need to quarrel with them here), bid them to carry on their discussions in their own little gardens, and even request them to abstain for a while from taking any part in matters affecting the State, which they do not acknowledge, never have they ever wanted to.

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 34, p. 1127D: As they banished laws and governments, they banished human life.  This is what Epicurus and Metrodorus do when the dissuade their disciples from politics, and dispute those engaged in it. 

Ibid.,  33, p. 1127A: ... but these men, if they write about such matters at all, write on government to deter us from taking part in it, on oratory to deter us from public speaking, and about kingship to make us shun the company of kings.

Ibid., 31, p. 1125C: Who are these men that nullify these things, overthrowing the state and utterly abolishing the laws?  Is it not those who withdraw themselves and their disciples from participation in the state?

Plutarch, Advice about Keeping Well 22, p. 135C: Xenocrates did not keep in better health than Phocion, nor Theophrastus than Demetrius, and the running away from every activity that smacked of ambition did not help Epicurus and his followers at all to attain their much-talked-of condition of "perfect bodily health." 

Ibid., 22, p. 135B: {It does not befit a man to be} ... far removed from the duties of citizenship.

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 90.35: The philosophy I speak of is not the one {Epicureanism} which takes the citizen out of public life and the gods out of the world we live in, and hands morality over to pleasure...

Commentary on Lucan, Pharsalia (The Civil War), II.380, p. 75.13: Epicurus, saying that everything is done for the sake of pleasure, dissuades the Sage from duty and political activity, and asserts that he need only live for himself.

[ U9 ]

Seneca, On Leisure (to Serenus), 3.2: The two sects, the Epicureans and the Stoics, are at variance, as in most things, in this matter also; they both direct us to leisure, but by different roads.  Epicurus says "The Sage will not engage in public affairs except in an emergency."  Zeno says "He will engage in public affairs unless something prevents him."  The one seeks leisure by fixed purpose, the other for a special cause.

[ U10 ]

Philodemus, On Rhetoric, Vol. Herc. 2, IV.77 [Oxon. II.85]:  ........  Epicurus wrote exactly this in his first book On Lifecourses and in his work On Wealth, and Metrodorus in his work Against Those Who Claim that Natural Philosophers are Talented Rhetoricians.

[ U11 ]

Philodemus, On Rhetoric, Vol. Herc. 2, IV.107 [Oxon. II.115] & Vol. Herc. 2, V.44

Book II

[ U12 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.108 [p. 126.26 Gomperz] {Obbink I.31.896}: And concerning obeisance in his {"second book," Usener renders} On Lifecourses, {saying of Epicurus presumed to follow}

[ U13 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.110 [p. 128.5 Gomperz] {Obbink I.26.730}: Furthermore, it will appear that Epicurus loyally observed all the forms of worship and enjoined his friends to observe them, not only because of the laws but for physical causes as well.  For in On Lifecourses he says that to pray is natural for us, not because the gods would be hostile if we did not pray, but in order that, according to the understanding of beings surpassing in power and excellence, we may realize our fulfillments and social conformity with the laws.

[ U14 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.119: As Epicurus says in the second book On Lifecourses, the Sage doesn’t behave like a Cynic, nor becomes a beggar.

[ U15 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.119: But even if he loses his eyesight, the Sage must esteem himself worthy of life, as Epicurus says in the same book.

11. Against Democritus

Cf., Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 18, p. 1100A:  Indeed, was he not himself so impatient for renown that he not only disowned his teachers, clashed with Democritus (whose doctrines he filched word for word) about syllables and serifs, but also said that except for himself and his pupils, no one had ever been a Sage?

[ U16 ]

Philodemus, On Frank Criticism, Vol. Herc. 1, V.2, fragment. 20: ... treating with moderate words, because of their eagerness and their benefit to us, if they were able, and further because of the pardon meted out for the things in which they slipped up, as Epicurus consistently maintains both in his book Against Democritus and against Heraclides in ...

[ U17 ]

Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, I.34.82: Suppose that the soul perishes like the body: is there then any definite sense of pain or sensation at all in the body after death?  There is no one who says so, though Epicurus accuses Democritus of this, but the followers of Democritus deny it.  And so there is no sensation in the soul either, for the soul is nowhere.

12. Problems

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.27: (noted above)

[ U18 ]

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 34, p. 1127D:  That their war, moreover, was not with lawgivers but with laws we may learn from Epicurus, who asks himself in his Problems whether the Sage who knows that he will not be found out will do certain things that the laws forbid.  He answers, "an unqualified prediction is not free of difficulty" – which means, "I shall do it but I do not wish to admit it."

Cicero, On End-Goals, Good and Bad, II.9.28: Epicurus often seems unduly eager to approve of pleasure in the common definition of term, and this occasionally lands him in a very awkward position.  It conveys the impression that that no action is so base that he wouldn’t do it for the sake of pleasure, as long as a guarantee of secrecy was provided.

[ U19 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.119: Nor, again, will the Sage marry and rear a family – so Epicurus says in his Problems and in the work On Nature.  Though occasionally he may marry in accordance with special circumstances in his life.

Arrian, Diatribes of Epictetus, I.33.3: Why, oh Epicurus, do you dissuade the Sage from raising children?  What do you fear, that doing so would bury you in pains?  (6): Yet, he dares to say "we must not raise children."

Seneca, (On Marriage Fragment 45 [Haase]) by way of St. Jerome, Against Jovinianus, I.48 [p. 317 Vall.]: Epicurus, champion of pleasure, though his disciple Metrodorus had Leontium as his wife, maintained that the Sage need only marry in rare cases, seeing that marriage entails many nuisances.  And as riches, honors, bodily health, and other things which we call indifferent, are neither good nor bad, but stand "midway," so to speak, and become good and bad according to the use and issue, so wives stand on the border line of good and ill. It is, moreover, a serious matter for a Sage to ponder whether he is going to marry a good or a bad woman.  {cf. Clement of Alexandria, Proof of the Gospels II.23 p. 181, 27 [Sylb.]; Theodoretus, Remedies for the Errors of the Greeks, [p. 479 Gaisf.]}

[ U20 ]

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 13, p. 1095C:  The absurdity of what Epicurus says!  On the one hand, he declares in his Problems that the Sage is a lover of spectacles and yields to none in the enjoyment of theatrical recitals and shows; but on the other, he allows no place, even over wine, for questions about music and the inquires of critics and scholars and actually advises a cultivated monarch to put up with recitals of stratagems and with vulgar buffooneries at his drinking parties sooner than with the discussion of problems in music and poetry. [cf. U5]

[ U21 ]

Ibid., 12, p. 1094E: Now it has not escaped Epicurus that bodily pleasures, like the Etesian winds, after reaching their full force, slacken and fail; thus he raises the Problem whether the Sage when old and impotent still delights in touching and fingering the fair.  In this he is not of the same mind as Sophocles, who was as glad to have got beyond reach of this pleasure as of a savage and furious master.

13. On Fair Dealing

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.27: (noted above)

14. On Justice and the Other Virtues

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

Cf. U4 On Virtues (above)

15. On Gifts and Gratitude

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

[ U22 ]

Sextus Empiricus, Against the Professors, I.49: ... Epicurus, although he seems to be bitterly hostile to the Professors of Arts and Sciences, tries to prove in his book On Gifts and Gratitude that it is necessary for the wise to learn literacy.

16. On Images

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

17. On Destiny

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

[ U23 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.106 [p. 124.18 Gomperz] {I.37.1061 Obbink}: And in his book On Destiny there is an exposition concerning the assistance provided by them {the gods}.

18. The Big Summary

[ U24 ]

Scholion on Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus, by way of Laertius, Lives, X.39: "Everything is comprised of bodies and space."  This he says also in The Big Summary near the beginning and in his first book On Nature.

[ U25 ]

Scholion on Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus, by way of Laertius, Lives, X.40: "Again, some bodies are composites, while others are elements from which composite bodies are made."  He repeats this in the first book On Nature, and in books 14 and 15, and in The Big Summary.

[ U26 ]

Scholion on Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus, by way of Laertius, Lives, X.73: "We ascribe the attribute of time to days and nights and their parts, and likewise to feelings of pleasure and pain and to neutral states, to states of movement and states of rest, conceiving a peculiar accident of these to be this very characteristic which we express by the word time."  He says this both in the second book On Nature and in The Big Summary.

19. The Small Summary

[ U27 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.135: In other places, he refutes every type of prognostication, as in The Small Summary, saying that "Prognostication doesn’t exist, and if even if it did, we must regard whatever it predicts as nothing to us."

20. On Love

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.27: (noted above)

21. Eurylochus, Dedicated to Metrodorus

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

22. On Piety

Cicero, On the Nature of the Gods, I.14.115 (Cotta speaking): It is true that Epicurus wrote books about the sanctity of the gods and the need for reverence towards them.  But what does he actually say?  He writes in such a style that one would imagine that one was listening to some high priest such as Coruncianus or Scaevola and not to the man who destroyed the whole foundation of religious faith and overturned the altars and the temples of the gods – not by brute force, as Xerxes did, but by force of argument.  How can you say that mankind should revere the gods, if the gods themselves not only have no care for man, but care for nothing whatsoever and have no influence on anything?

Ibid., I.14.123: But, you will say, Epicurus himself wrote a book on the sanctity of the gods.  In this book the reader is fooled by a man who wrote not so much with irony as with wild abandon!  For what have we to do with holiness, if the gods have no concern with us?

23. Hegesianax

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.27: (noted above)

24. On Pleasure

Cicero, On Divination, II.27.59: But are we simple and thoughtless enough to think it a portent for mice to gnaw something, when gnawing is their one business in life? ...  Hence, if one follows this type of reasoning, the fact that, at my house, mice recently gnawed my Plato’s Republic should fill me with alarm for the Roman republic; or if they had gnawed my Epicurus On Pleasure I should have expected a rise in the market price of food.

25. Themista

Cicero, On End-Goals, Good and Bad, I.21.67: In your discourses, history is dumb.  In the school of Epicurus, I never heard one mention of Lycurgus, Solon, Miltiades, Themistocles, Epaminondas, who are always on the lips of the other philosophers.  (68) Would it not be better to talk of these than to devote those bulky volumes to Themista?

[ U28 ]

Cicero, Against Lucius Calpurnius Piso, 26.62:  A short while ago you waxed sarcastic upon Marcus Piso’s desire for a triumph... and you despise the things which those "ignoramuses," as you are pleased to call them, deemed glorious. ... You, who have conquered nations so mighty, and done deeds so doughty, ought to have been the last to despise the fruit of your labors, the rewards of your risks, and the decoration due to your heroism.  Nor indeed did you despise them, wiser than Themista though you be; but your shrank from exposing your face of steel to the lash of the senate’s reproach.

Ibid., 25.60: Your disposition will then take another theme, and you will take triumphs as your subject. "What," you will ask, "is the use of yon chariot, of the generals that walk in chains before it, of the models of towns, of the gold and the silver, of the lieutenants and the tribunes on horseback, of the shouting of the troops, and of all the pageantry of the show?  Vanity, mere vanity I tell you  – scarce more than a child’s diversion – to hunt applause, to drive through the city, to wish to be a gazing-stock.  In none of them is there anything substantial, anything that you can grasp, anything that you can associate with bodily pleasure."

Ibid., 27.65: Trust yourself to the people; make your venture at these games.  Are you afraid of hisses?  Where are your disquisitions?  Do you fear to be hooted?  That again is no matter to worry a philosopher.  Do you fear physical violence?  Aye, there’s the rub; pain is an evil, according to your view.

26. Against Theophrastus (at least 2 books)

Cicero, On the Nature of the Gods, I.33.93 (Cotta speaking): Was it on the basis of dreams like this that Epicurus and Metrodorus and Hermarchus attacked Pythagoras, Plato and Empedocles, and that little harlot Leontium dared to write criticisms of Theophrastus?  Perhaps she did write good Greek: but all the same...! Such was the degree of license tolerated in the Garden of Epicurus!

Pliny, Inquiry on Nature, Preface 29: I am informed that both the Stoics and the Academy, and also the Epicureans – as for the philologists, I always expected it from them – are in travail with a reply to my publications on Philology, and for the last ten years have been having a series of miscarriages – for not even elephants take so long to bring their offspring to birth!

Cf. Philodemus, Vol. Herc. 2, I.149: Boasting that Leontium and another {Themista} are mentioned in the treatise... {cf. Pliny, Inquiry on Nature, XXXV.114}

Book II

[ U29 ]

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 7, p. 1110C {citing Epicurus} "But, apart from this, I don’t know how one might affirm that these objects placed in the dark have color." {cf. U30}

Aetius, Doxography, I.15.9 [p. 314.11 Diels]: Epicurus and Aristarchus maintain that objects placed in the dark have no color.

[ U30 ]

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 7, p. 1110C: It is not hard to see that this reasoning may be applied to every object called or commonly held to be biter, sweet, cathartic, soporific, or luminous: that none has a self-contained quality or potency or is more active than passive on entering the body, but acquires different properties as it blends with different bodies.  Accordingly, Epicurus himself in the second book Against Theophrastus, when he says that colors are not intrinsic to bodies but a result of certain arrangements and positions relative to the eye, is asserting by this reasoning that body is no more colorless than colored.  Earlier in the word, he writes word for word as follows: "{= U29}, True, it often happens that when objects are enveloped in air of the same degree of darkness, some people perceive a distinction of color while others whose eyesight is weak do not; again, on first entering a dark room we see no color, but do after waiting a short time."  Therefore no body will any more be said to have color than not.  If color is relative, white and blue will be relative; and if these, then also sweet and bitter, so that of every quality we can truly say, "It is no more this than it is not this;" for to those affected in a certain way the thing will be this, but not to these not so affected.

27. On the Gods

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.27: (noted above)

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 21, p. 1102B: Out of fear of public opinion, Epicurus goes through a mummery of prayers and obeisance that he has no use for and pronounces words that run counter to his philosophy; when he sacrifices, the priest at his side who immolates the victim is to him a butcher; and when it is over he goes away with Menander’s words on his lips: "I sacrificed to gods who heed me not."  For this is the comedy that Epicurus thinks we should play, and not spoil the pleasure of the multitude or make ourselves unpopular with them by showing dislike ourselves for what others delight in doing.  ... Here, the Epicureans are themselves no better than they, since they do the same form fear and do not even get the measure of happy anticipation that the others have, but are merely scared and worried that this deception and fooling of the public might be found out, with an eye to whom their books On the Gods and On Piety have been composed, "in twisted spirals, slanted and askew" {Euripides, Andromeda, 448}, as in fear they cover up and conceal their real beliefs.

[ U31 ]

Philodemus, On the Life of the Gods, Vol. Herc. 1, VI fr. 5: Epicurus also gave definitions for these in the book On the Gods.  Thus, whereas he also affirms that body and flesh are susceptible to decay, the assumption...

[ U32 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.122 [p. 137, 17 Gomperz] {Obbink I.7.190}: And according to Epicurus in On the Gods, that which does not have in its nature the sensitive constitution is consistent with its divinity; and divine nature appears to be that which is not of the nature that partakes of pains (so that it necessarily creates many weaknesses).

[ U33 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.104 [p. 122, 13 Gomperz] {Obbink I.44.1258}: ... and to dispel what is foreign to its nature, and to marshal all its overpowering strength, nor in On the Gods does he say anything conflicting with one’s doing these things.

[ U34 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.117 [p. 133, 17 Gomperz] {Obbink I.14.381}: ... in his book On the Gods indisputably ...... not to consider among whole entities or .....

28. Callistolas

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

29. On the Criterion, or The Canon

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

Damoxenes (comic poet), The Cook, by way of Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, III p. 102B:

In case you meet an uneducated cook
That might not know all of Democritus by heart
Spurn him as an empty fool
And if he knows not Epicurus’ Canon,
Dismiss him with contempt
As being beyond the pale of philosophy.

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.30: Thus, the philosophy of Epicurus is subdivided into three parts: Canonics, Physics, and Ethics.  Canonics forms the introduction to the system and is contained in a single work entitled The Canon.

Ibid., X.14: Ariston {of Alexandria} says in his Life of Epicurus that he derived his work entitled The Canon from the Tripod of Nausiphanes, adding that Epicurus had been a pupil of this man as well as of the Platonist Pamphilus in Samos.

Cicero, On End-Goals, Good and Bad, I.19.63 (Torquatus to Cicero): Besides, it is only by firmly grasping a well-established scientific system, observing the standard or Canon that has fallen as it were from heaven, so that all men may know it – only by making that Canon the test of all our judgments, that we can hope always to stand fast in our belief, unshaken by the eloquence of any man.

Cicero, On the Nature of the Gods, I.16.43 (Velleius speaking): What race of men or nation is there which does not have some untaught apprehension of the gods?  Such an innate idea Epicurus calls prolepsis, that is to say, a certain form of knowledge which is inborn in the mind and without which there can be no other knowledge, not rational thought or argument.  The force and value of this doctrine we can see from his own inspired work on The Canon.

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 9, p. 1118A: Reading the heaven-sent Canons did not make bread appear as bread to Colotes and grass appear as grass, whereas Socrates charlatanism gave bread to him the appearance of grass and grass the appearance of bread.

Ibid., 28, p. 1123F: For if men not laden with drink or stupefied by strong medicine and out of their right minds, but sober and in perfect health, writing books on truth and norms and standards of judgment...

Alciphron, Letters (Letters of Courtesans), 17.II.2 (Leontium depicted writing to Lamia):  How long can one suffer this philosopher? Let him keep his books On Nature, the Principal Doctrines, The Canon, and, my lady, let me be mistress to myself, as Nature intended, without anger and abuse.

Arrian, Diatribes of Epictetus, II.23.21: Even if the flesh itself called itself most excellent, one would not have tolerated such a statement.  So what is it, Epicurus, that makes such a declaration? that composed the treatise On the End-Goal, or On Nature, or On the Criterion? that caused you to let your beard grown long?

[ U35 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.31: In The Canon Epicurus states that the sensations, the prolepses, and the passions are the criteria of truth.

[ U36 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.31: They reject the dialectic as superfluous; holding that in their inquiries the physicists should be content to employ the ordinary terms for things. Now in The Canon Epicurus states that the sensations, the prolepses, and the passions are the criteria of truth [= U35]; the Epicureans generally make perceptions of mental presentations to be also standards.  ...  Every sensation, he says, is devoid of reason and incapable of memory; for neither is it self-caused nor regarded as having an external cause, can it add anything thereto or take anything therefrom.  Nor is there anything which can refute sensations or convict them of error: one sensation cannot convict another and kindred sensation, for they are equally valid; nor can one sensation refute another which is not kindred but heterogeneous, for the objects which the two senses judge are not the same; nor again can reason refute them, for reason is wholly dependent on sensation; nor can one sense refute another, since we pay equal heed to all.  And the reality of separate perceptions guarantees the truth of our senses.  But seeing  and hearing are just as real as feeling pain.  Hence it is from plain facts that we must start when we draw inferences about the unknown.   For all our notions are derived from perceptions, either by actual contact or by analogy, or resemblance, or composition, with some slight aid from reasoning.  And the objects presented to madmen and to people in dreams are true, for they produce effects – i.e., movements in the mind – which that which is unreal never does.



30. Against the Megarians

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.27: (noted above)



31. Metrodorus, in 5 Books

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

Cf. Plutarch, Is "Live Unknown" a Wise Precept? 3, p. 1129A: Of the tens of thousands of lines written to honor Metrodorus, Aristobulus, Chaeredemus, and composed with no small labor...

Book I

[ U37 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.23: He {Metrodorus} showed dauntless courage in meeting troubles and death, as Epicurus declares in the first book of his Metrodorus memoirs.

32. On Music

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

33. Neocles, Dedicated to Themista

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

34. Theories about Diseases [and Death], Dedicated to Mithres

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

35. On Vision

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

36. On Holiness

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.27: (noted above)

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 21, p. 1102C: The books On the Gods and On Holiness.  [cf. U30]

Cicero, On the Nature of the Gods, I.41.115 (Cotta speaking): ... Epicurus also wrote books On Holiness and and On Devotion.  (noted above)

[ U38 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.104-105 [pp. 122- Gomperz] {Obbink I.44.1258 + I.40.1130}: And in On Holiness he calls the life of perfection the most pleasant and most blessed, and instructs us to guard against all defilement, with our intellect comprehensively viewing the best psychosomatic dispositions, for the sake of fitting all that happens to us to blessedness. || ...manner, on account of these things impiously does away with the whole notion of divinity together with the preservation of common beliefs, and that, as those who are said to be religious think, it hurls us into unsurpassable impiety.  For pious is the person who preserves the immortality and consummate blessedness of a god together with all the things included by us; but impious is the person who banishes wither where a god is concerned.  And the person who sees also that the good and ill sent us by a god come without any unhealthy anger or benevolence, declares that a god has no need of human things...

[ U39 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.83 [p. 113.3 Gomperz] {Obbink I.8.205}: And having written another book On Holiness, in it too he makes clear that not only that thing which exists indestructibly, but also (that which) continually exists in perfection as one and the same entity, are termed in the common usage "unified entities," some of which entities are perfected out of the same elements and others from similar elements.

[ U40 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.80 [p. 110.3 Gomperz] {Obbink I.13.350}: For it is possible for beings constituted out of similarity for ever to have perfect happiness, since unified entities can be formed no less out of identical than out of similar elements and both kinds of entity are recognized by Epicurus as being exactly the same things, for example in his book On Holiness.  The demonstration that this involves no contradiction may be passed over.  Therefore he was wont to say that nature brought all these things to completion alike.  And that for the most part they come about when they are formed from an aggregation of various similar particles, ...

[ U41 ]

Uncertain Author, Vol. Herc. 2, X.201 fr. XLIV: ... in other places, such as in his work On Holiness, and in the 12th and 13th books On Nature, and in the first of his books On Timocrates.

37. Theories on the Passions, against Timocrates

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

38. On Wealth

[ U42 ]

Philodemus, On Wealth, Vol. Herc. 2, III.101

Cf. Cicero, On End-Goals, Good and Bad, II.17.55: According to your {Epicurean} school, it is right to try to get money even at some risk; for money procures many very delightful pleasures.

[ U43 ]

Philodemus, On Wealth, Vol. Herc. 2, III.98

[ U44 ]

Philodemus, On Wealth, Vol. Herc. 2, III.91

[ U45 ]

Philodemus, On Wealth, Vol. Herc. 2, III.96

39. Polymedes

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

40. Prognostication

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

41. Exhortation to Study Philosophy

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

42. On Rhetoric

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 33, p. 1127A: ...they write on rhetoric to deter us from oratory...

Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, II.17, 15: As for Epicurus, who shirked all disciplines, his statements on the subject do not surprise me at all {because he had written against the use of rhetoric}. [Cf. XII 2, 24 (fr. 156).]

[ U46 ]

Philodemus, On Rhetoric, Vol. Herc. 2, V.54

[ U47 ]

Metrodorus, On Poems, I, by way of Philodemus, On Rhetoric, Vol. Herc. 2, V.58

[ U48 ]

Philodemus, On Rhetoric, Vol. Herc. 2, V.48

Philodemus, On Rhetoric, Vol. Herc. 2, V.51: ... to truly establish that, according to Epicurus, rhetoric is an art.

[ U49 ]

Philodemus, On Rhetoric, Vol. Herc. 2, IV.73 [= Oxon. II.81]: According to Epicurus’ disciples, they say that argument is the art of composing lectures and of apodictic oratory, while the articulation of legal proceedings and political harangues are not arts.

Philodemus, Commentary On Rhetoric, I, col. VII, Vol. Herc. V.35

Philodemus, On Rhetoric, Vol. Herc. 2, IV.106 [= Oxon. II.144 & Vol. Herc. 2, V.43]

Philodemus, On Rhetoric, Vol. Herc. 2, V.51

[ U50 ]

Philodemus, On Rhetoric, Vol. Herc. 2, IV.93 [= Oxon. II.101]

[ U51 ]

Ammianus Marcellinus, History of Rome, XXX 4, 3: The rich genius of Plato defines this calling, pogitikês moríon eídolon, i.e., forensic oratory, as an image of a part of politics; but Epicurus calls it kakotechnía "a vile technique."

[ U52 ]

Philodemus, On Rhetoric, Vol. Herc. 2, IV.78

[ U53 ]

Philodemus, On Rhetoric, Vol. Herc. 1, IV (chapters 3-6, pages 210-, Gros edition)

[ U54 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.13: ...in his On Rhetoric, he demands clarity above all.

[ U55 ]

Philodemus, On Rhetoric, Vol. Herc. 2, V.57

43. Doctrine of the Elements (12 Books)

[ U56 ]

Scholion on Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus, by way of Laertius, Lives, X.44: He says below that atoms have no quality at all except shape, size, and weight, while in his twelve books of the Elements he states that color varies with the arrangement of the atoms.

44. Symposium

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

Plutarch, Table Talk, I, proem, p. 612D: This most famous philosophers, Plato, Xenophon, Aristotle, Speusippus, Epicurus, Prytanis, Hieronymus, and Dio of the Academy, who all considered the recording of conversations held at table a task worth some effort.

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, V p. 186E: We will now talk about the Homeric symposia.  In these, namely, the poet distinguishes times, persons, and occasions.  This feature Xenophon and Plato rightly copied, for at the beginning of their treatises they explain the occasion of the symposium, and who are present.  But Epicurus specifies no place, no time; he has no introduction whatsoever.  One has to guess, therefore, how it comes about that a man with cup in hand suddenly propounds questions as though he were lecturing before a class.

Ibid., 187B: Homer introduces guests who differ in their ages and views of life – Nestor, Ajax, Odysseus – all of whom, speaking generally, strive after excellence, but have set out in specifically diverse paths to find it.  Epicurus on the other hand, introduced none but prophets of atoms, although he had before him these as his models, such as the variety of symposia of the Poet {Homer}, and the charm of Plato and Xenophon as well.  177B: Epicurus, however, portrayed a symposium solely of philosophers.

Ibid., 179B:  Again, Homer tells us what we are to do before we begin to eat, namely, we are to offer as first-fruits some of the food to the gods. ... Homer also shows us the feaster at least offering libations ... all of which Plato also retains in his symposium.  But with Epicurus there is no libation, no preliminary offering to the gods; on the contrary, it is like what Simonides says of the lawless woman: "Oftentimes she eats up the offerings before they are consecrated."

Ibid., 182A: In the Symposium of Epicurus there is an assemblage of flatterers praising one another, while the symposium of Plato is full of men who turn their noses up in jeers at one another.  ...  In Homer, on the other hand, only sober symposia are organized.

[ U57 ]

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, V p. 187C: Again, Epicurus in his Symposium investigates the subject of indigestion  in order to get omens from it; following that, he asks about fevers. What need is there even to speak of the lack of proportion which pervades his style?

[ U58 ]

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 6, p. 1109E: Consider the discussion that Epicurus holds in his Symposium with Polyaenus about the heat in wine.  When Polyaenus asks, "Do you deny, Epicurus, the great heating effect of wine?", he replies, "What need is there to generalize that wine produces heat?" Further on, he says, "For it appears that it is not a general fact that wine produces heat, but a given quantity of wine may be said to produce heat for a given person."

[ U59 ]

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 6, p. 1109F: Again, after assigning as one cause the crowding and dispersal of atoms, and as another, the mixture and alignment of these with others, when the wine is mingled with the body, he adds in conclusion, "Thus, one should not generalize that wine is productive of heat, but only say that a particular amount produces heat for a particular body in a particular condition, or that such an amount results in chilling for another.  For in an aggregate such as wine there are also certain natural substances of such a sort that coolness might be formed of them, or such that, when aligned with others, they would produce a real coolness.  Hence, deceived by this, some generalize that wine is cooling, others, that it is heating."

[ U60 ]

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 6, p. 1110A: If then the man who asserts that the majority are deceived in supposing that what heats is heating or what cools is cooling should refuse to recognize "Everything is no more this than that" as a conclusion from his premises, he is himself deceived.  He proceeds to add, "And often the wine does not even possess the property of heating or cooling as it enters the body.  Rather, the bodily mass is so set in motion that the corpuscle shift their position: the heat-producing atoms are at one time concentrated, becoming numerous enough to impart warmth and heat to the body, but at another time are driven out, producing a chill."

[ U61 ]

Plutarch, Table Talk, III 6, 1, p. 653B: Certain young men with no long experience in the ancient literature were attacking Epicurus on the ground that he had introduced in his Symposium an unseemly and unnecessary discussion about the proper time for coition.  For an older man to talk about sex in the presence of youths at a dinner-party and weigh the pros and cons of whether one should make love before dinner or after dinner was, they claimed, the extreme of indecency.  At this, some of our company brought up Xenophon, who, so to speak, took his guests home after dinner, not on foot, but on horseback, to make love to their wives.  And Zopyrus the physician, who was very well acquainted with the works of Epicurus, added that they had not read Epicurus’ Symposium with attention; for Epicurus did not propose the problem as one involving a principle or a settled procedure and then proceed with his discussion of it; but he took the young men for a walk after dinner, conversed with them for the purpose of moral instruction, and restrained them from their lust on the ground that intercourse is always precarious and harmful, and affects worse those who engage in it when the have been eating and drinking.  "Indeed," said he {Zopyrus}, "even if intercourse were the chief topic of his inquiry, would it be to the philosopher’s credit to have refrained entirely from all consideration of the right time and hour for coition?  Would it not be better for him to engage, at the proper moment, in rational discussion of such matters?  And would it be to his credit that he consider this stage of his discussion not inappropriate to any occasion except drinking and dining, and there shameful?"...  This put the young men out of countenance, and they sat in silence.  The rest of the company asked Zopyrus to give them an account of what Epicurus had to say about this matter, and he replied that he did not remember the particulars accurately, but thought that the man feared the afflictions resulting from coition, due to the disturbance caused by our bodies entering into the tumult and turmoil of such activity.  For wine is generally a brawler, an instigator of tumult, and unsettles our body from its base; and if tranquility and sleep do not take possession of our body when it is in this condition, but the new disturbances of coition supervene, the forces which naturally tie together and cement the body are crushed and dislodged, and there is danger that the body be unseated, like a house shifted from its foundations – for the seed does not flow easily at this time, repletion blocking it, but with effort it is extracted in a clotted mass.  Consequently our man says that we must engage in such activity when the body is quiet and ended are the assimilations and fluxes of the nourishment which traverses and quits the body, and must do so before the body is again in need of further nourishment. 654B: Let us consider, if you will, whether it is proper and fitting, or contrary to all justice, for Epicurus to deprive Aphrodite of night ... 655A: Surely the body would not suffer greater harm by coition after dinner, as Epicurus thinks it does, provided a man does not make love when he is over-burdened, drunk or stuffed full to the point of bursting.  For of course, if that is the case, the thing is precarious and harmful.  But if a man is sufficiently himself and moderately relaxed, his body at ease and his spirit disposed and if then after an interval he makes love, he neither causes his body great disturbance, nor does he bring on any morbid excitement or unsettling of atoms, as Epicurus claims.

[ U62 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.118: Sexual intimacy, say the Epicureans, never does anyone any good, and one should feel fortunate if it does no harm.

Clement of Alexandria, Instructor, II 10, p. 84, 41: It’s a good saying that has come down to us which affirms: "Sexual intimacy never does anyone any good, and one should feel fortunate if it does no harm."

Porphyry, On Abstinence, I.52: It is not surprising that ordinary people think meat-eating contributes to health, for they are just people who think that enjoyment and sex preserve health, whereas these things have never profited anyone, and one must be content if they have done no harm.

Galen, Art of Medicine c.  24 t. I [p. 371 K.]: Sexual intercourse, according to Epicurus, is not ever beneficial.

Galen, comment on The Epidemics of Hippocrates III, I 4, Art of Medicine XVII, 1, p. 521: What need is there to write ... as Epicurus affirms ... that sexual intimacy never does anyone any good, and one should feel fortunate if it does no harm?

[ U63 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.119:  Epicurus says in his Symposium that the Sage will not lecture when in a state of drunkenness, nor transact business in an unjust manner.

[ U64 ]

Philodemus, On Rhetoric, Vol. Herc. 2, VII.184

[ U65 ]

Philodemus, On Rhetoric, Vol. Herc. 2, IV.106 [= Oxon. II.114 & Vol. Herc. 2, V.43]: {cf. U49}

Philodemus, On Rhetoric, Vol. Herc. 2, V.44 & IV.107 [= Oxon. II.115]: {cf. U11}

45. On the End-Goal

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.27: (noted above)

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.30: The ethical part deals with the facts of choice and avoidance.  This may be found in the books On Lifecourses, in the Letters, and in his treatise On the End-Goal. (noted above)

Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, III.18.41: In that book which embraces all your {Epicurus’} teaching ... the whole book, which deals with the highest good, is packed with words and sentiments of similar character.

Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, III.19.44: These admissions Epicurus must make or else remove from his book all that I have rendered word for word, or preferably the whole book should be flung away, for it is brimful of pleasures.

Cicero, On End-Goals, Good and Bad, II.7.20: Such is the language that he uses in the lecture dealing solely with the topic of the Chief Good.

Arrian, Diatribes of Epictetus, I.23.21 {= Arrian @ U34}:  Even if the flesh itself called itself most excellent, one would not have tolerated such a statement.  So what is it, Epicurus, that makes such a declaration? that composed the treatise On the End-Goal, or On Nature, or On the Criterion? that caused you to let your beard grown long?

[ U66 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.137: As proof that pleasure is the end he adduces the fact that living things, so soon as they are born, are well content with pleasure and are at enmity with pain, by the prompting of nature and apart from reason.  Left to our own feelings, then we shun pain; as when even Heracles, devoured by the poisoned robe, cries aloud: "And bites and yells, and rock to rock resounds; Headlands of Locris and Euboean cliffs." {Sophocles, The Women of Trachis, 786-87}

[ U67 ]

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, XII p. 546E: Not only Aristippus and his followers, but also Epicurus and his welcomed kinetic pleasure; I will mention what follows, to avoid speaking of the "storms" {of passion} and the "delicacies" which Epicurus often cites, and the "stimuli" which he mentions in his On the End-Goal.  For he says "For I at least do not even know what I should conceive the good to be, if I eliminate the pleasures of taste, and eliminate the pleasures of sex, and eliminate the pleasures of listening, and eliminate the pleasant motions caused in our vision by a visible form."

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, VII p. 280A: Again, in the work On the End-Goal, he says something like this: "As for myself, I cannot conceive of the good if exclude the pleasures derived from taste, or those derived from sexual intercourse, or those derived from entertainments to which we listen, or those derived from the motions of a figure delightful to the eye."

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, VII p. 278F: For Epicurus does not speak with face muffled, but in a loud voice he declares: "As for myself, I cannot conceive of the good if exclude the pleasures derived from taste, or those derived from sexual intercourse."

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.6: It is observed too that in his treatise On the End-Goal, he writes in these terms: "I know not how to conceive the good, apart from the pleasures of taste, sexual pleasures, the pleasures of sound, and the pleasures of beautiful form."

Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, III.18.41: Why do we shirk the question, Epicurus, and why do we not confess that we mean by pleasure what you habitually say it is, when you have thrown off all sense of shame?  Are these your words or not?  For instance, in that book which embraces all your teaching (for I shall now play the part of translator, so no one may think I am inventing) you say this: "For my part I find no meaning which I can attach to what is termed good, if I take away from it the pleasures obtained by taste, if I take away the pleasures which come from listening to music, if I take away too the charm derived by the eyes from the sight of figures in movement, or other pleasures by any of the senses in the whole man.  Nor indeed is it possible to make such a statement as this – that it is joy of the mind which is alone to be reckoned as a good; for I understand by a mind in a state of joy, that it is so, when it has the hope of all the pleasures I have named – that is to say the hope that nature will be free to enjoy them without any blending of pain."  And this much he says in the words I have quoted, so that anyone you please may realize what Epicurus understands by pleasure.

Ibid., III.20.46: For he has not only used the term pleasure, but stated clearly what he meant by it.   "Taste," he says, "and embraces and spectacles and music and the shapes of objects fitted to give a pleasant impression to the eyes,"

Cicero, On End-Goals, Good and Bad, II.3.7 (Torquatus to Cicero): "Does not Epicurus recognize pleasure in your sense?" (Cicero): "Not always," said I,  "now and then, I admit, he recognizes it only too fully, for he solemnly avows that he cannot even understand what good there can be or where it can be found, apart form that which is derived from food and drink, the delight of the ears, and the grosser forms of gratification.  Do I misrepresent his words?" Ibid., II.7.20: In a number of passages where he is commending that real pleasure which all of us call by the same name, he goes so far as to say that he cannot even imagine any Good that is not connected with pleasure of the kind intended by Aristippus.  Such is the language that he uses in the lecture dealing solely with the topic of the Chief Good.  II.8.23:  Men of taste and refinement, with first-rate chefs...  the accompaniment of dramatic performances and their usual sequel  – these are pleasures without which Epicurus, as he loudly proclaims, does not know what Good is.  II.10.29:  But fancy his failing to see how strong a proof it is that the sort of pleasure, without which he declares he has no idea at all what Good means (and he defines it in detail as the pleasure of the palate, of the ears, and subjoins the other kinds of pleasure, which cannot be specified without an apology).  I.10.30: the kinetic sort of pleasure ... he extols it so much that he tells us he is incapable even of imagining what other good there can be.  II.20:64:  ... Nor did he forgo those other indulgences in the absence of which Epicurus declares that he cannot understand what good is.

Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, I.40.111 (Cotta speaking):  Your school recognizes no pleasure of the mind which does not have its beginning and end in the physical body.  I take it that you, Velleius, are not like the rest of our Epicureans, who are ashamed of those sayings of Epicurus in which he states that he does not understand how there can be anything good except sensual and sexual pleasures.  And he then goes on quite unashamed to enumerate these pleasures one by one.

Cicero, Against Lucius Calpurnius Piso, 28.69: {Piso} would have it that Epicurus was an eloquent fellow; and indeed he does, I believe, assert that he cannot conceive any good apart from bodily pleasure.

[ U68 ]

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 4, p. 1089D: It is this, I believe, that has driven them, seeing for themselves the absurdities to which they were reduced, to take refuge in the "painlessness" and the "stable condition of the flesh," supposing that the pleasurable life is found in thinking of this state as about to occur in people or as being achieved; for the "stable and settled condition of the flesh," and the  "trustworthy expectation" of this condition contain, they say, the highest and the most assured delight for men who are able to reflect.  Now to begin with, observe their conduct here, how they keep decanting this "pleasure" or "painlessness" or "stable condition" of theirs back and forth, from body to mind and then once more from mind to body.

Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights, IX.5.2: Epicurus makes pleasure the highest good but defines it as sarkos eustathes katastema, or "a well-balanced condition of the body."

[ U69 ]

Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, III.18.42:  Then {Epicurus writes} a little lower: "I have often," he says, "asked men who were called wise what content could be left in a good, if they took away the advantages named, unless it were to be supposed that it was their wish to utter sentences destitute of meaning; I have been able to learn nothing form these men; if they choose to go on babbling about ‘virtues’ or ‘wisdoms’ they will mean nothing but the way in which the pleasures I have named are brought about."  What follows is to the same effect, and the whole book, which deals with the highest good, is packed with words and sentiments of similar character.

Cicero, On End-Goals, Good and Bad, II.15.48: Your Epicurus tells us that he is utterly at a loss to know what nature of qualities are assigned to this morality by those who make it the measure of the chief good.  For if morality be the standard to which all things are referred, while yet they will not allow that pleasure forms any part of it, he declares that they are uttering sounds devoid of sense (those are his actual words), and that he has no notion or perception whatsoever of any meaning that this term morality can have attached to it.  In common parlance, moral (honorable) means merely that which ranks high in popular esteem.  And popular esteem, says Epicurus, though often in itself more agreeable than certain forms of pleasure, is yet desired simply as a means to pleasure.

[ U70 ]

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, XII p. 546F: And in his On the End-Goal, he says again: "one must honor the noble, and the virtues and things like that, if they produce pleasure.  But if they do not, one must bid them goodbye."  With these statements he clearly makes virtue the minister of pleasure occupying the station of a handmaid.

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, VII p. 280B: {= U67, Again, in the work On the End-Goal...}

[ U71 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.136: (noted above)

46. Timocrates, in 3 Books

Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, I.33.93 (Cotta speaking): Epicurus ... heaped whole volumes of invective on Timocrates, the brother of his own colleague Metrodorus, because of some petty disagreement on a philosophical point.

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 32, p. 1126C: Epicurus, in fact, sent people off to Asia to rail at Timocrates, meaning to drive the man from court because he had fallen out with Metrodorus, whose brother he was and this is published in their books.

[ U72 ]

Book 1

Uncertain Author, Vol. Herc. 2, X.201, fr. XLIV: And in his first of those books on Timocrates...

[ U73 ]

Book 3

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.23: His {Metrodorus’} goodness was proved in all ways, as Epicurus testifies in the {dedicatory} introductions to his works and in the third book of Timocrates.

47. On Sensory Presentation

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

48. On Nature, in 37 Books

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.27: (noted above)

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.30: The physical part includes the entire theory of nature: it is contained in the thirty-seven books On Nature and, in a summary form, in the letters.

Ibid, X.7: Timocrates... also alleges that in his thirty-seven books On Nature, Epicurus uses much repetition and writes largely in sheer opposition to others, especially Nausiphanes... [U93]

Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus, by way of Laertius, Lives, X.35: For those unable to study point-by-point all my physical writings or to go into the longer treatises at all...

Epicurus, Letter to Pythocles, by way of Laertius, Lives, X.84: ... you ask me for a clear and concise statement respecting celestial phenomena; for what we have written on this subject elsewhere is, you tell me, hard to remember, although you have my books constantly with you.

Ibid. X.91: Every objection to this will be easily annihilated, as long as one pays attention to the evidence, which is demonstrated in the books On Nature.

Arrian, Diatribes of Epictetus, I.23.21 {= Arrian @ U34}:  Even if the flesh itself called itself most excellent, one would not have tolerated such a statement.  So what is it, Epicurus, that makes such a declaration? that composed the treatise On the End-Goal, or On Nature, or On the Criterion? that caused you to let your beard grown long?

Alciphron, Letters (Letters of Courtesans), II.2.2 (Leontium depicted writing to Lamia): How long can one suffer this philosopher? Let him keep his books On Nature, the Principal Doctrines, The Canon, and, my lady, let me be mistress to myself, as Nature intended, without anger and abuse.

Galen, comment on The Epidemics of Hippocrates III, I 4, On Human Nature I, C.M.G XV [p. 5 K.]: Some composed not just one book, but quite a few on the science of nature.  Certain others, however, composed truly a great many of them – such as Epicurus; he also, like all the rest, begins with the question of what might be most simple and universal thing that we can find in nature, or rather, what might the most fundamental and simple things be like, which the successors to the ancient philosophers were in the habit of calling "elements."

Book 1

[ U74 ]

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 13, p. 1114A: When he proposes at the beginning of his treatise that "the nature of existence is atoms and void," he treats that nature as one, dividing it into two parts, one of them actually nothing, but termed by you and your company "intangible," "empty," and "incorporeal."

[ U75 ]

Sextus Empiricus, Against the Physicists (Against the Dogmatists, III) 333: Epicurus was in the habit of using the terms holon (whole universe) and pan (all existence) equivalently when describing the nature of bodies and of the void.  For at one point he says, "the nature of the whole universe is atoms and void."

Cicero, On The Nature of The Gods, II.32,82 (Cotta speaking): There are others, such as Epicurus, who use the term nature to mean everything which exists, and derive all natural phenomena from the movements of material bodies in space.

[ U76 ]

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 11, p. 1112E: When Epicurus says "nature of existing things is atoms and void," do we taken him to mean that "nature" is distinct from "existing things," or simply indicate "existing things," and nothing more, just as it is his habit for instance to use the expression "the nature of void," for "void," and indeed "the nature of all existence," for "all existence?"

Scholion on Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus, by way of Laertius, Lives, X.39: "Everything is comprised of bodies and space."  This he says also in the Big Summary near the beginning and in his first book On Nature.

[ U77 ]

Scholion on Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus, by way of Laertius, Lives, X.40: "Again, some bodies are composites, while others are elements from which composite bodies are made."  He repeats this in the first book On Nature, and in books XIV and XV, and in the Big Summary.

[ U78 ]

Epicurus, On Nature, I uncertain fragment XVI, Vol. Herc. 2, V.90: It is necessary that the atoms undergo something in consequence of reciprocal collisions, as it was said at the beginning; nevertheless, contrary to the...

Book 2

Herculaneum Papyrus 1149,  Vol. Herc. 1, II (inscription): Epicurus, On Nature, Book 2 {title}

[ U79 ]

Scholion on Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus, by way of Laertius, Lives, X.73: "We ascribe the attribute of time to days and nights and their parts, and likewise to feelings of pleasure and pain and to neutral states, to states of movement and states of rest, conceiving a peculiar accident of these to be this very characteristic which we express by the word time."  He says this both in the second book On Nature and in The Big Summary.

Sextus Empiricus, Outlines of Pyrrhonism, III.137: According to Demetrius Laco, Epicurus defines time as "a concurrence of concurrences, concomitant with days and nights and seasons and affections and non-affections and motions and rests."

Book 4

[ U80 ]

Uncertain Author, Vol. Herc. 2, X.47: Nor does Epicurus say, in Book 4 of On Nature...

Book 11

Herculaneum Papyrus 1042 / Vol. Herc. 1, II.: Epicurus, On Nature, Book 11, number... {title}

Herculaneum Papyrus 154 / Vol. Herc. 2, vi 1-7: Epicurus, On Nature, Book 11 {title}

[ U81 ]

Scholion on Epicurus, Letter to Pythocles, by way of Laertius, Lives, X.91: "The size of the sun, [etc.,] is as it appears."  This he states in the eleventh book On Nature.  For, says he, if it had diminished in size on account of the distance, it would have diminished in brightness even more; for indeed there is no distance more proportionate to this diminution of size than is the distance at which the brightness begins to diminish.

Epicurus, Letter to Pythocles, by way of Laertius, Lives, X.91: Every objection to this will be easily annihilated, as long as one pays attention to the evidence, which is demonstrated in the books On Nature.

Book 12

[ U82 ]

Scholion on Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus, by way of Laertius, Lives, X.74:  "Furthermore, we must not suppose that the world-systems necessarily have one and the same shape."  Rather, in the 12th book On Nature, he himself says that the shapes of the world-systems differ, some being spherical, some oval, others again of shapes different from these.  They do not, however, take on every shape.  Nor are they living beings which have been separated from the infinite.

[ U83 ]

Scholion on Epicurus, Letter to Pythocles, by way of Laertius, Lives, X.96:  "An eclipse of the sun or moon may be due to the extinction of their light ... or the interposition of some other body, whether it be the earth or some other unseen body like it."  He says the same in the 12th book On Nature, and furthermore that the sun is eclipsed when the moon throws her shadow over him, and the moon is eclipsed by the shadow of the earth; or again, eclipse may be due to the moon’s withdrawal, and this is cited by Diogenes the Epicurean in the first book of Epilecta.

[ U84 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.83 [p. 113.23 Gomperz] {Obbink I.8.225}: And in the 12th book of On Nature he says that the earliest men arrived at conceptions of imperishable external entities.

[ U85 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.106 [p. 124.1 Gomperz]: {The rendering of this fragment in Usener (as virtually the same as U88, but attributed to Book 12) has been abandoned by subsequent scholarship}

[ U86 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.120, 3 [p. 135 Gomperz] {Obbink I.3.60}: ... if they inquire accurately, he says, he thinks that it is possible for their {divine} nature to exist even with many troubles surrounding it, and that it is possible even for many eternal and immortal gods to exist.

[ U87 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.82 [p. 112 Gomperz] {Obbink I.19.5}: ...as in the 12th book, he also reproaches Prodicus, Diagoras, and Critias among others, saying that they rave like lunatics, and he likens them to Bacchant revelers, admonishing them not to trouble or disturb us.  {cf. U155}

Book 13

[ U88 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.106, [p. 124, 6 Gomperz] {Obbink I.37.1053}: In the 13th book he mentions the congeniality which a god feels for some and the alienation for others. {cf. U85}

Uncertain Author, Vol. Herc. 2, X.201 {=U41} ... in other places, such as in his work On Piety, and in the 12th and 13th books On Nature, and in the first of his books On Timocrates.

Book 14

Herculaneum Papyrus 1148 / Vol. Herc. 2, VI 8-23: {title} Epicurus, On Nature, Book 14 ... To Polyaenus

[ U89 ]

Scholion on Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus, by way of Laertius, Lives, X.40: "Again, some bodies are composites, while others are elements from which composite bodies are made."  He repeats this in the first book On Nature, and in books 14 and 15, and in The Big Summary.

Book 15

Herculaneum Papyrus 1151 / Vol. Herc. 2, IV 24-36.: {title} Epicurus, [On Nature] Book 15 ... Written under the archonship of Hegemachus {300-299 B.C.}

[ U90 ]

Scholion on Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus, by way of Laertius, Lives, X.40: [= U89]

Book 28

Herculaneum Papyrus 1151 / Vol. Herc. 2, IV 24-36.: Epicurus, On Nature, Book 28 ... written under the archonship of Nicius {296-295 B.C.}, who came after Antiphates.

Book 35

[ U91 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.106, [p. 124.11 Gomperz] {Obbink I.37.1058}: In Book 35, in addition to clarifying somewhat this benefit, he says that even on account of thinking...

From Uncertain Volumes

[ U92 ]

Several Herculaneum Papyri comprise uncertain volumes from the series On Nature.

  1. #1056 (VH1, X): Epicurus, On Nature {title, with fragments of 28 pages}
    #697 (VH2, VI.55-68):
    Epicurus, On Nature {title}
    #1191: {unedited, without title}

  2. #362 (VH2, VI.92-95): Epicurus, On Nature {title}

  3. #1431 (VH2, VI.82-91): Epicurus, On Nature {title}

  4. #419 (VH2, IX.86-90): {without title}

  5. #993 (VH2, X.104-111): {without title}

  6. #1390 (VH2, X.95-100): {without title}

  7. #1420 (VH2, VII.68-70): {on sense perception}

Scholiast on Dionysius Thrax {"Dionysius the Thracian"}, The Art of Grammar, [p. 660, 25 Bekk.]:  And although Epicurus always made use of general outlines {of the senses of words}, he showed that definitions are more worthy of respect by using definitions instead of general outlines in the treatise On Nature; for he used definitions when he divided the totality {of existence} into the atomic and the void, saying that "the atomic is a solid body which has no share of void included in it; void is an intangible nature," i.e., not subject to touch.

[ U93 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.7: Timocrates... also alleges that in his thirty-seven books On Nature, Epicurus uses much repetition and writes largely in sheer opposition to others, especially Nausiphanes, and here is his own words: "but let them go hang; for, when laboring with an idea, he too had a sophist’s off-hand boastfulness like so many other slaves."

[ U94 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.119: Nor, again, will the Sage marry and rear a family – so Epicurus says in his Problems and in the work On Nature.  Though occasionally he may marry in accordance with special circumstances in his life.

49. Summary of Objections to the Physicists

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.27: (noted above)

Cf. the books Against Democritus

50. Chaeredemus

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.27: (noted above)

51. Letters

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.28: (noted above)

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.30: The physical part includes the entire theory of Nature: it is contained in the thirty-seven books On Nature and, in a summary form, in the letters.  The ethical part deals with the facts of choice and aversion: this may be found in the books On Lifecourses, in the letters, and in his treatise On the End-Goal.

Cicero, On End-Goals, Good and Bad, I.20.65 (Torquatus to Cicero): Epicurus in a single house, and a small one at that, maintained a whole company of friends, united by the closest sympathy and affection; and this still goes on in the Epicurean school.

Cf. Cicero, Ibid., II.25, 80-81; Cicero Academica II.36.115 (Lucullus): ...the Epicureans, so many of whom are friends of my own, so worthy, and so affectionate a set of men.

Philodemus, On Frank Criticism, Vol. Herc. 1, V.2, fragment XV: ... and why, when they have stopped, will he {the teacher} move on to {accolades}, and how will he exhibit to these those who have endured his ridicule?  In short, a wise man will employ frankness toward his friends the way that Epicurus and Metrodorus did towards...

[ U95 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.14: And in his correspondence he replaces the usual greeting, "I wish you joy," by wishes for welfare and right living,  "May you do well," and  "Live well."   Ibid., III.60-61 (Plato): ...Lastly, his {Plato’s} thirteen Epistles deal with ethics.  In these epistles his salutation was "Do well," as that of Epicurus was "Live well," and that of Cleon: "All joy."

Lucian, A Slip of the Tongue in Salutation, 6, [p. 732 Hemst.]: Epicurus was a man who certainly enjoyed enjoyment itself, and esteemed pleasure above everything else.  Yet, in his most serious letters (which are not very numerous) and in those to his most intimate friends, he starts off with "Live well!"

Cf. Suda, under "Greetings" {Χαίρειν, chi-166} : Cleon headed {his letters} thus, but Plato {preferred} "Do well," and Epicurus "Live well." {and again at epsilon, 3664 - "Do well"}

Summary of Letters

Herculaneum Papyrus 1044 f. 4 [Gomperz Edition, "Hermes" 5, p. 386]:  ... and the summaries of the letters of Epicurus, of Metrodorus, of Polyaenus, of Hermarchus, and of the disciples.

Fragments of Letters Written in Certain Years

Under the Archonship of Charinus {308 - 307 B.C.}

[ U96 ]

Philodemus, On Epicurus, Vol. Herc. 2, VI.107, fragment 2: ... Under Charinus ...

[ U97 ]

Philodemus, On Wealth, Vol. Herc. 2, III.85: Then, under Charinus, ..... all ..... and poverty is not ..... to changing .....  will be brought.

[ U98 ]

Ibid., fragment 86: ... Under Charinus ...

[ U99 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.107, [p. 125 Gomperz] {Obbink I.33.929}: {Epicurus says,} "Even if there should be war, it would not be terrible, if the gods are propitious;" and to Polyaenus, that he has "lived and would continue to live a pure life with Matron himself, if the gods are propitious;" and to the same in the archonship of Charinus that "in friendship with these being friends ..."

[ U100 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.74-75, [pp. 104-105 Gomperz] {Obbink I.29.840}: And in the archonship of Chrarinus and in that of Diotimus {286-285 B.C.} he warns against violating the covenant of the sacred festival table.

[ U101 ]

Under the Archonship of Olympiodorus {294-292 B.C.}

Philodemus, Treatises, Vol. Herc. 2, I.114

Under the Archonship of Philippus {292-291 B.C.}

Under the Archonship of Diotomus {286-285 B.C.}

Under the Archonship of Isaeus  {285-284 B.C.}

Cf. Philodemus, On the Philosophers, Vol. Herc. 1, VIII cap. 5, 7

[ U102 ]

Under the Archonship of Euthius {284-283 B.C.}

Philodemus, Treatises, Vol. Herc. 2, I.129

Under the Archonship of Pytharatus {271-270 B.C., the year of Epicurus’ Death}

See: U122, U138, U177, & U191

Under Archonships of Questionable History

 

[ U103 ]

Philodemus, On Wealth, Vol. Herc. 2, III.89

COLLECTIONS OF LETTERS

1. Letters to Important Persons

[ U104 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.107, [p. 125 Gomperz] {Obbink I.33.944}: And his brother, {Epicurus’ brother Neocles} an admirer and advanced student of his, says "it is necessary to piously distribute assistance from our money for the gods," writing not to a layman but to Phyrson the Colophonian, a man [lesser] than no one in political affairs.

2. Spurious Letters

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.3: Diotimus the Stoic, who was hostile to him, assailed him with bitter slanders, adducing fifty scandalous letters as written by Epicurus; and so too did the author who ascribed to Epicurus the epistles commonly attributed to Chrysippus

[ U105 ]

Aelius Theon, Preliminary Exercises, Rh. W. 1 [p. 169 Walz] {II,154 Butts}: One must also pay attention to the arrangement of words, by providing instruction about all the ways in which they will avoid faulty arrangement, but especially metrical and rhythmical style, like many of the phrases of the orator Hegesias ..., as well as some of the phrases of Epicurus, ... {= U131} ... and to those works being circulated as his (but even now, I have yet to find them in his writings):  "Tell me now, Polyaenus, do you know what has been a great joy to me?"  Such passages, therefore, are to be completely condemned, and have a faultiness of arrangement that is quite obvious.

LETTERS ADDRESSED TO SEVERAL PERSONS

3. To Friends Living in Egypt

[ U106 ]

Plutarch, Is "Live Unknown" a Wise Precept? 3, p 1128 F: [= U107]

4. To Friends Living in Asia

[ U107 ]

Plutarch, Is "Live Unknown" a Wise Precept? 3, p 1128 F: On the other hand, if it is to the good that you tender this advice to be unnoticed and unknown... you yourself, Epicurus, ought not to write your friends in Asia, not to enlist recruits from Egypt, not to cultivate the youth of Lampsacus!

5. To Friends Living in Lampsacus

Strabo, Geography, XIII p 589 [Casaubon]: ...and Metrodorus, the comrade of Epicurus, was from Lampsacus; and Epicurus himself was in a sense a Lampsacenian, having lived in Lampsacus and having been on intimate terms with the ablest men of that city, Idomeneus and Leonteus and their followers.

[ U108 ]

Philodemus, On Wealth, Vol. Herc. 2, III.89

[ U109 ]

Philodemus, Treatises, Vol. Herc. 2, I.110

[ U110 ]

Plutarch, Is "Live Unknown" a Wise Precept? 3, p 1129 A:  [= U107]

6. Letter to the Philosophers of Mytilene

[ U111 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.136: [= U1]

[ U112 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.7: [= U145]

[ U113 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.8: Furthermore, Epicurus himself in his letters says of Nausiphanes: "This so maddened him that he abused me and called me a didaskalon." {= "pedagogue," a trite, pedantic teacher}  Epicurus used to call Nausiphanes a pleumonon. {= "jellyfish," imputing obtuseness and insensibility}

[ U114 ]

Sextus Empiricus, Against the Professors, I.3: Epicurus, then, though he had been one of this man’s disciples, did his best to deny the fact in order that he might be thought to be a self-taught and original philosopher, and tried hard to blot out the reputation of Nausiphanes, and became a violent opponent of the Arts and Sciences wherein Nausiphanes prided himself.  Thus, in his Letter to the Philosophers of Mytilene, Epicurus says, "I quite suppose that ‘the bellowers’ will fancy that I am even a disciple of ‘the jellyfish’ having sat under him in the company of some crapulous striplings;" whereby he calls Nausiphanes a "jellyfish" as being without sense.  And again, after proceeding further and abusing the man at length, he hints at his proficiency in Arts and Sciences when he says – "In fact he was a sorry fellow and exercised himself on matters which cannot possibly lead to wisdom," alluding thereby to Arts and Sciences.

LETTERS ADDRESSED TO SINGLE PERSONS

7. To Athenaeus

[ U115 ]

Herculaneum Papyrus 176, c. 17 [Gomperz "Hermes" Edition, 5, p. 387]: ... then to Athenaeus, "When Polyaenus came to us, you no continued to demonstrate affection to his paternal namesake, but ... "

8. Against Anaxarchus

[ U116 ]

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 17, p. 1117A: Such is ... the man who, in in the letter to Anaxarchus can pen such words as these: "But I, for my part, summon you to sustained pleasures and not to empty virtues, which fill us with vain expectations that destroy peace of mind."

9. To Apelles

[ U117 ]

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, XIII p. 588A: First of all, I will recall Epicurus, who is distinguished for his candor; for, being himself uninitiated in the mysteries of a general education {i.e., professional training}, he congratulated those who went in for philosophy as he had, giving vent to such words as these:  "I congratulate you, sir, having gone in for philosophy free from all corruption."

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 12, p. 1094D: In admiration and most hearty commendation of a certain Apelles, they write that from childhood he steered clear of mathematical education and kept himself pure.

10. To Apollonides

[ U118 ]

Philodemus, On Frank Criticism, Vol. Herc. 1, V.2, fragment 73: ...to admonish {him}, since he is suitably disposed, just as Epicurus made certain reproaches against Apollonides, in such a way that, even in accusing him of these things, <provided he was truthful, he persuaded others to acknowledge {them} as their own, and may things, even if, being great men, they impugned as having suffered {them} undeservedly and, citing a rather Cynic-like rejoinder... >

11. To Aristobulus

[ U119 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, VII.6 (Zeno of Citium): And Antigonus (Gonantas) esteemed him {Zeno the Stoic}, and whenever he came to Athens he would hear him lecture and often invited him to come to his court.  This offer he always declined ... So he sent Persaeus and Philonides the Theban; and Epicurus in his letter to his brother Aristobulus mentions them living together with Antigonus.

12. To Dositheus

[ U120 ]

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 20, p. 1101A: They disagree with those who would do away with grief and tears and lamentation at the death of friends, and say that an absence of grief that renders us totally insensible stems from another great evil: hardness or a passion for notoriety so excessive as to be insane.  Hence they say that it is better to be moved somewhat and to grieve and to melt into tears and so with all the maudlin sentiment they feel and put on paper, getting themselves the name of being soft-hearted and affectionate characters.  For this is what Epicurus has said not only in many other passages, but in his letter on the death of Hegesianax to Dositheus and Pyrson {perhaps Phyrson} the father and brother of the deceased.

13. To Hermarchus

[ U121 ]

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, XIII p. 588B: Well, did not this same Epicurus keep Leontium as his mistress, the woman who had become notorious as a courtesan?  Why!  Even when she began to be a philosopher, she did not cease her courtesan ways, but consorted with all the Epicureans in the Gardens, and even before the very eyes of Epicurus; wherefore he, poor devil, was really worried about her, as he makes clear in his Letters to Hermarchus.

[ U122 ]

Cicero, On End-Goals, Good and Bad, II.30.96: Let me repeat the dying words of Epicurus, to prove to you that the discrepancy between his practice and his principles: "Epicurus to Hermarchus, greeting.  I write these words," he says, "on the happiest, and the last, day of my life.  I am suffering from diseases of the bladder and intestines, which are of the utmost possible severity."  Unhappy creature!  If pain is the Chef Evil, that is the only thing to be said.  But let us hear his own words.  "Yet all my sufferings," he continues, "are counterbalanced by the joy which I derive from remembering my theories and discoveries.  I charge you, by the devotion which from your youth up you have displayed towards myself and towards philosophy, to protect the children of Metrodorus."

Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, V.31.88: Well, do you think him afraid of death or pain?  He calls the day of his death happy and in the sufferings of acute pains he represses those very pains by the living remembrance of the truths he has discovered, and this he does not in a spirit that makes it seem to babble about the moment.

Ibid., V.9.26: What better than his remark that "fortune has but little weight with the wise?"  {Principal Doctrine 16} But is this said by one who, after saying that not only is pain the chief evil but the only evil as well, can bear all over his body the crushing burden of acutest pain at the moment he utters his loudest boasts against fortune?

Ibid., II.19.45: Let us then pass him over as saying absolutely nothing and compel him to admit that means of relief from pain are not to be sought from one who has pronounced pain to be the greatest of all evils, however resolutely the same person may show a touch of bravery in an attack of colic or a difficulty in passing water.

Ibid., V.26.74: He has in no way provided for himself those healing aids to the endurance of pain ... but says that he finds peace in the recollection of past pleasures...

14. (To a Hetera)

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.6: It is also said that Epicurus had written to many other Heterai, especially Leontium.

15. To Eurylochus

[ U123 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.13: Apollodorus in his Chronology tells us us that our philosopher was a pupil of Nausiphanes and Praxiphanes; but in his letter to Eurylochus, Epicurus himself denies it and says that he was self-taught.

16. To Herodotus

[ U124 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.5: It is said that Epicurus also extolled Idomeneus, Herodotus, and Timocrates, who had published his cryptic doctrines, and flattered them for that very reason.

17. To Themista

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.25: And then there is Leonteus of Lampsacus and his wife Themista, to whom Epicurus wrote letters.

[ U125 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.5: Then again to Themista, the wife of Leonteus: "I am quite ready, if you do not come to see me, to spin thrice on my own axis and be propelled to any place that you, including Themista, agree upon."

[ U126 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.5: And, as Theodorus says in the fourth book of his work, Against Epicurus, in another letter to Themista he thinks he preaches to her.

[ U127 ]

Philodemus, Treatises, Vol. Herc. 2, I.111: To Themista, during the Archonship of Phillipus. {292-291 B.C.}

18. To Idomeneus

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.25: And Epicurus wrote letters to Colotes and Idomeneus, who were also natives of Lampsacus.

[ U128 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.5: [= U124]

[ U129 ]

Philodemus, On Frank Criticism, Vol. Herc. 1, V.2, fragment 72: (therefore even Epicurus writes to Idomeneus that he prays to live up to this point).  And he will point out how many came to ruin badly, bereft of everything because of such a disposition to converse with frankness with certain people, and <he will assent> to all that we, having applied, <transfer>...

[ U130 ]

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 18, p. 1117D: But if, Colotes, you had met with expressions of Socrates’ such as Epicurus pens in a letter to Idomeneus: "So send us for the care of our sacred body an offering of first-fruits on behalf of yourself and your children – so I am inspired to put it;" to what more unmannerly terms could you have resorted?  {Traditionally, first-fruits were offered to a god support for Epicurus’ bodily needs is so depicted.}

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, VII p. 279F: It was in fact, for the sake of the belly and the pleasures of the flesh in general that this man flattered Idomeneus and Metrodorus. ... Epicurus, in fact, was the teacher of these men.

[ U131 ]

Aelius Theon, Preliminary Exercises, 2, I [p. 169 Walz] {II,154 Butts}: ... faulty arrangement, but especially metrical and rhythmical style, like many of the phrases of the orator Hegesias ... as well as some of the phrases of Epicurus, such as where he writes to Idomeneus: "Oh you who have from youth have regarded all my impressions as pleasurable."

[ U132 ]

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 21.3: It is your own studies that will make you shine and will render you eminent.  Allow me to mention the case of Epicurus.  He was writing to Idomeneus and trying to withdraw him from a showy existence to a sure and steadfast renown.  Idomeneus was at that time a minister of state who exercised a rigorous authority and had important affairs in hand.  "If you are affected by glory, my letters will make you more famous than all those things which you cherish and which make you cherished."  Did Epicurus speak falsely?  Who would have known of Idomeneus, had not the philosopher thus engraved his name in those letters of his?  All the grandees and satraps, even the king himself, who was petitioned for the title which Idomeneus sought, are sunk in deep oblivion.

[ U133 ]

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 22.5: You understand by this time that you must withdraw yourself from those showy and depraved pursuits; but you still wish to know how this may be accomplished. ...  Read the letter of Epicurus which bears on this matter; it is addressed to Idomeneus.  The writer asks him to hasten as fast as he can, and beat a retreat before some stronger influence comes between and takes from him the liberty to withdraw.  But he also adds that one should attempt nothing except at the time when it can be attempted suitably and seasonably.  Then, when the long-sought occasion comes, let him be up and doing.  Epicurus forbids us to doze when we are not in too great a hurry before the time, nor lag when the time arrives.

[ U134 ]

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 34, p. 1127D: Again, in a letter to Idomeneus, I believe – he calls upon him "not to live in servitude to laws and men’s opinions, as long as they refrain from making trouble in the form of a blow administered by your neighbor."  Ibid.: ... they recommend contempt for law if it is not backed by the fear of a blow or punishment.

[ U135 ]

Johannes Stobaeus, Anthology, 3.17.24: Again from Epicurus: "If you wish to make Pythocles rich, do not give him more money, but diminish his desire."

Cf. Ibid., 23 [Arsenius, Paroemiogr. Gotting. t. II p. 382, 11]:The precept of Epicurus... & Ibid. XVII.37: Epicurus, when asked how one can enrich oneself, responded: "Not by accumulating extraneous goods, but rather by trimming one’s needs."

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 21.7: In order that Idomeneus may not be introduced free of charge into my letter, he shall make up the indebtedness form his own account. It was to him that Epicurus addressed his well-known saying, urging him to make Pythocles rich, but not rich in the vulgar and equivocal way. "If you wish to make Pythocles rich," said he, "do not add to his store of money, but subtract from his desires."

[ U136 ]

Photius I of Constantinople, Lexicon, p 473, 1, under "Pythia and Delia" [= Suda {pi-3128}, II.2; p. 555, 10 Bernh.; Apostolius Proverbs, XV 9 Arsen.]: They say that Polycrates, the tyrant of Samos, having created the Pythia and the Delia {festivals} in Delos at the same time, sent an embassy to the oracle of the god {Apollo} to ask whether he was performing the details of the sacrifice in accordance with what was ordained: the Pythia answered: "these things are your Pythia and Delia" she intended to make clear that this was the end, for after a short time it happened that he was killed. Epicurus in one of his letters to Idomeneus refers to these things.

[ U137 ]

Philodemus, Treatises, Vol. Herc. 2, I.125,9: And to Idomeneus, then: ...... to this .......

[ U138 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.22: At the point of death, he also wrote the following letter to Idomeneus: "On this blissful day, which is also the last of my life, I write this to you.  My continual sufferings from strangury and dysentery are so great that nothing could augment them.  But the cheerfulness of my mind, which arises from the remembrance of our past conversations, counterbalances all these afflictions.  I am asking you to care for the children of Metrodorus, in a manner befitting the devotion you have given to me and to philosophy since you were a youth." [cf. U122]

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 66.47: There are other things which, though he would prefer that they not happen, he nevertheless praises and approves, for example the kind of resignation, in times of ill-health and serious suffering, to which I alluded a moment ago, and which Epicurus displayed on the last and most blessed day of his life. For he {Epicurus} tells us that he had to endure excruciating agony from a diseased bladder and from an ulcerated stomach – so acute that it permitted no increase of pain; "and yet," he says, "that day was none the less happy."  And no man can spend such a day in happiness unless he possesses the Supreme Good.  ...  We cannot say that the good which has rounded out a happy life, the good for which Epicurus rendered thanks in the last words he uttered, is not equal to the greatest.

Ibid., 92.25: Does it not seem just as incredible that any man in the midst of extreme suffering should say, "I am happy."?  And yet this utterance was heard in the very factory of pleasure, when Epicurus said: "Today and one other day have been the happiest of all!" although in the one case he was tortured by strangury, and in the other by the incurable pain of an ulcerated stomach.

Cicero, Letters to Friends, VII.26,1: {To Marcus Fadius Gallus, ca. 57 B.C.} I have a shrinking horror of all diseases, especially of that in regard to which the Stoics put a sinister interpretation upon your great Epicurus’ admission that he was troubled with strangury and gastritis; for they attributed the latter to gluttony, and the former to a still baser kind of self-indulgence.

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 5, p. 1089E: If reason could avert them {maladies of the body}, reasonable men would never be afflicted with strangury, dysentery, consumption, and the dropsy, with some of which Epicurus himself had to contend, Polyaenus with others, while others were fatal to Neocles and Agathobulus {a botched reference to "Neocles and Aristobulus"  –  brothers of Epicurus}.

Ibid., 18, p. 1099D: For one thing, not one of us would believe Epicurus when he says that while he was dying in the greatest pain and bodily afflictions he found compensation in being escorted on his journey by the recollection of the pleasures he had once enjoyed.

Arrian, Diatribes of Epictetus, I.23.21: So what is it, Epicurus ... {= Arrian @ U34} ... that wrote as it was dying: "We are spending what is our last and at the same time a happy day..."?

19. To Craterus

[ U139 ]

Philodemus, Vol. Herc. 2, I.125: And to the same Craterus, he writes .......... to be at Mithres.

20. To Colotes

[ U140 ]

Philodemus, On Frank Criticism, Vol. Herc. 1, V.2, fragment 9: ... in general such and such of their (sc. the students’) errors and what Epicurus learns from Leontium he will {hypothetically} ascribe to Colotes.  Since the wise man will also sometimes transfer to himself an intemperate error, {saying} that it occurred in his youth...

[ U141 ]

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 17, p. 1117B: Colotes himself, for another, while hearing a lecture of Epicurus on natural philosophy, suddenly cast himself down before him and embraced his knees; and this is what Epicurus himself writes about it in a tone of solemn pride: "You, as one revering my remarks on that occasion, were seized with a desire, not accounted for by my lecture, to embrace me by clasping my knees and lay hold of me to the whole extent of the contact that is customarily established in revering and supplicating certain personages.  You therefore caused me," he says, "to consecrate you in return and demonstrate my reverence."  My word!  We can pardon those who say that they would pay any price to see a painting of that scene, one kneeling at the feet of the other and embracing his knees while the other returns the supplication and worship.  Yet that act of homage, though skillfully contrived by Colotes, bore no proper fruit: he was not proclaimed a Sage.  Epicurus merely says:  "Go about as one immortal in my eyes, and think of me as immortal too."

Ibid., 19, p. 1117F: Now since Colotes was no Sage, not even after that demonstration of reverence...

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 18, p. 1100A: Epicurus said... that except for himself and his pupils, no one had ever been a Sage, but even wrote that as he was lecturing on natural philosophy, Colotes embraced his knees in an act of adoration.

Ibid., 19, p. 1100C: For he, who made so much of Neocles’ testimony and Colotes act of adoration ...

[ U142 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.74, 11 [p. 104 Gomperz] {Obbink I.29.820}: Now it would be absurd to relate in addition that they thought it right to make use of oaths and epithets of the gods, since their philosophical writing is filled with them.  But it is proper to say that he advised them to retain asseverations made by means of these and similar expressions, and above all to preserve those made by Zeus himself in the open manner, and not writing "by twin shoots!" {i.e., swearing oaths without stating by whom} or merely "it must be so."  Moreover to Colotes he took pains with regard to all forms of oaths and speaking about the gods.

21. To Leontium

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.6: {cited above} It is also said that Epicurus had written to many other Heterai, especially Leontium.  {cf. Cicero, above}

Alciphron, Letters (Letters of Courtesans), II.2 (Leontium depicted writing to Lamia):  How that Epicurus tries to manage me, scolding me for everything, suspicious of everything, writing me well-sealed letters, chasing me out of his school garden!   (3): He wants to be a Socrates and to talk on and on and to feign ignorance, and he regards his Pythocles as an Alcibiades and counts on making me his Xanthippe.  And the end will be that I shall leave for some destination or other and flee from land to land rather than put up with his interminable letters.

[ U143 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.5: In his letters, he wrote to Leontium,  "Oh Lord Paean {a reference to Apollo’s role as god of healing}, my dear little Leontium, to what tumultuous applause we were inspired as we read your letter."  {= Suda, under κροτοθορύβου ("loud applause") kappa-2480}

Plutarch, On Listening to Lectures, 15, p. 45F: For Epicurus expresses himself gracelessly when he says of his friends’ letters that they give rise to hullabaloos.

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 17, p. 1117A: But what epithet do they deserve – with your "roars" of ecstasy and "cries of thanksgiving" and tumultuous "bursts of applause" and "reverential demonstrations," and the whole apparatus of adoration that you people resort to in supplicating and hymning the man who summons you to sustained and frequent pleasures?

[ U144 ]

Philodemus, On Frank Criticism, Vol. Herc. 1, V.2, fragment 9: [= U140]

[ U145 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.7: Timocrates alleges... that his {Epicurus’} bodily health was pitiful, so much so that for many years he was unable to rise from his chair; and that he spent a whole mina daily on his table, as he himself says in his letter to Leontium and in that to the philosophers of Mytilene.

22. To Metrodorus

[ U146 ]

Cicero, On End-Goals, Good and Bad, II.3.7: You have no reason to be ashamed of sharing the opinions of a Sage who stands alone, so far as I am aware, in venturing to arrogate to himself that title.  For I do not suppose that Metrodorus himself claimed to be a Sage, though he did not care to refuse the compliment when the name was bestowed upon him by Epicurus.

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 18, p. 1100A: Indeed, was he not himself so impatient for renown that ... he said that except for himself and his pupils no one had ever been a Sage ... ?

[ U147 ]

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, V p. 279F: = [= U130]

23. To Mithras

[Cf. U102, U194]

[ U148 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.4: They accuse Epicurus of flattering Mithras, the minister of Lysimachus, bestowing upon him, in his letters, Apollo’s titles of Paean and Lord.

[ U149 ]

Philodemus, Vol. Herc. 2, I.125

[ U150 ]

Philodemus, Vol. Herc. 2, I.125

[ U151 ]

Philodemus, Treatises, Vol. Herc. 2, I.127

24. To Mys

{These four fragments are no longer accepted as having any references to Mys}

[ U152 ]

Philodemus, On Frank Criticism, Vol. Herc. 1, V.2, fragment VI: he will be frank with the one who has erred and even with him who responds with bitterness.  Therefore, Epicurus too, when Leonteus, because of Pythocles, did not admit belief in gods, reproached Pythocles in moderation, and wrote to him {i.e., Leonteus, though Usener renders "Mys"} the so-called "famous letter," taking his point of departure from Pythocles...

[ U153 ]

Philodemus, Vol. Herc. 2, I.111

[ U154 ]

Philodemus, On Wealth, Vol. Herc. 2, III.87

[ U155 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.120 [p. 135 Gomperz]

25. To Polyaenus

[ U156 ]

Herculaneum Papyrus 176, c. 10 [Gomperz "Zeitschrift" Edition (1866),  p. 694]

[ U157 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.75, 25 [p. 105 Gomperz] {Obbink I.30.865}: Moreover, in his letter to Polyaenus he says that one should join in the celebration of the festival of the Anthesteria.  For one must remember the gods ... of many ...

[ U158 ]

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 18.9: The great hedonist teacher Epicurus used to observe certain periods during which he would be niggardly in satisfying his hunger, with the object of seeing to what extent, if at all, one thereby fell short of attaining full and complete pleasure, and whether it was worth going to much trouble to make the deficit good.  At least so he says in the letter he wrote to Polyaenus in the archonship of Charinus {308 - 307 B.C.}.  He boasts in it indeed that he is managing to feed himself for less than a half-penny, whereas Metrodorus, not yet having made such good progress, needs a whole half-penny!

[Cf. Diogenes Laertius, U181]

[ U159 ]

Philodemus, On Wealth, Vol. Herc. 2, III.85

[ U160 ]

Philodemus, Scholion Zeno, Vol. Herc. 1, V.2 fr. 49: [= U170]

26. To Pythocles

[ U161 ]

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 29, p. 1124C: The young are made flighty and headstrong by the one who writes of Pythocles, not yet eighteen, that in all of Greece there is no one more gifted and that his powers of expression are a prodigy, who writes that he himself is moved to pray as the women do that all that superiority of talent may not bring down on the young man’s head the jealously and resentment of heaven.

[ U162 ]

Alciphron, Letters (Letters of Courtesans), II.2,3: (cf. above) ... he regards his Pythocles as an Alcibiades ...

[ U163 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.6: {Epicurus writes} in his letter to Pythocles: "Hoist all sail, my dear boy, and steer clear of all culture."

Plutarch, On Listening to Lectures, c.1, p. 15D: Shall we ... force them to put to sea in the Epicurean boat, and avoid poetry and steer their course clear of it?

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 12, p. 1094D: Yet these men divert and alter the course of these pleasures, so great and numerous that never as it were, go dry   and cut off their disciples from the taste; instead they tell some to "hoist all sail" to escape from them.

Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, XII.2.24: In the first place, Epicurus banishes us from his presence without more ado, since he bids all his followers to fly from learning in the swiftest ship that they can find.

[ U164 ]

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 12, p. 1094D: Pythocles is urgently implored by all, men and women alike, in the person of Epicurus, not to set his heart on "the so-called education of free men."

[ U165 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.5: And to the beautiful Pythocles he {Epicurus} writes: "I shall sit down and await your lovely and godlike appearance."

27. To Timocrates

[ U166 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.5: [= U124]

28. To Phyrson

[ U167 ]

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 20, p. 1101B: [= U120]

[ U168 ]

Philodemus, Vol. Herc. 2, I.122

[ U169 ]

Philodemus, On Piety, Vol. Herc. 2, II.109, 3 [p. 127 Gomperz] {Obbink I.28.785}: ... of some things better than by effectively preserving one’s conceptions of the gods during certain times.  And not only did he teach these things but also by his very deeds he is found to have taken part in all the traditional festivals and sacrifices.  In the archonship of Aristonymus {289-288 B.C.}, for instance, writing to Phyrson about a countryman of his, Theodotus, he says that he shared in all the festivals ..........., and that while he was joining in celebrating the festival of the Choes and the urban mysteries and the other festivals...

29. To Carmides

[ U170 ]

Philodemus, On Frank Criticism, Vol. Herc. 1, V.2, fragment 49: ... that Heraclides {Usener renders "Carmides"} is praised because, deeming the censures for the things that would be revealed to be less {important} than their benefit, he disclosed to Epicurus his errors.  Polyaenus too was such a man, who indeed, when Apollonides was remiss, would go to Epicurus...


LETTERS ADDRESSED TO UNCERTAIN PERSONS

30. Letter on Vocations

[ U171 ]

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, VIII p. 354B: I am aware that Epicurus, the ardent devotee of truth, has said of him {Aristotle}, in his letter On Vocations, that after he had devoured his inheritance he entered the army, and on meeting with poor success in the campaign he betook himself to drug-selling.  Afterwards, Epicurus says, Plato opened his school, and Aristotle went so far as to hazard himself there, and attended the lectures, being no dullard, and gradually assumed the contemplative habit.  I am aware, too, that Epicurus is the only one that has said these things against him, and not Eubulides as well; nor has Cephisodorus, even, ventured to say that kind of thing against the Stageirite, although both he and Eubulides have published tracts against the man. 

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.8: Epicurus called ... Aristotle a reckless spender, who, after devouring his patrimony, took to soldiering and selling drugs.

Aristocles, by way of Eusebius of Caesarea, Preparation for the Gospel, XV 2 p. 791A: How is it possible, according to what Epicurus claims in his letter On Vocations, that he {Aristotle} squandered his patrimony during his youth; dedicated himself afterwards to military life; then, because things went badly, occupied himself selling drugs, and finally, when Plato opened his school to the public, he participated there?

[ U172 ]

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, VIII p. 354C: In the same letter Epicurus says also that Protagoras the sophist, from being a porter and wood-carrier, became the private secretary of Democritus.  For the latter, struck by something peculiar in the way in which Protagoras piled wood, gave him his first start by adopting him into his household.  He then taught reading and writing in some remote village, and from this branched out into the sophist’s profession.

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.8: Epicurus called ... Protagoras a basket-carrier (phormophóron) and the scribe of Democritus and a village schoolmaster.

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, IX.53 (Protagoras): He also invented the shoulder-pad on which porters carry their burdens ... for he himself had been a porter, says Epicurus somewhere.

[ U173 ]

Uncertain Author, in Cramer Anec. Paris., II p. 171, 31: In the work entitled The Large Lecture, {Megalo Logo}, Protagoras says: "Teaching requires some natural ability and some practice; and one must begin to learn this skill during one’s youth."  Yet, this ought not to be said if he himself began teaching later, as Epicurus mentions about Protagoras.

31. Letter on Stilpo

[ U174 ]

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 9.18: For just as other things have for us an inherent attractiveness, though the Sage may love his friends dearly, often comparing them with himself, and putting then ahead of himself, yet all the good will be limited to his own being, and he will speak the words which were spoken by the very Stilpo, after his country was captured and his children and his wife lost, as he emerged from the general desolation alone and yet happy, spoke as follows to Demetrius (known as "Poliorcetes" {Sacker of Cities} because of the destruction {poliorkeîn} he brought upon them) in answer to the question whether he had lost anything: "I have all my goods with me!" ... This saying of Stilpo makes common ground with Stoicism; the Stoic also can carry his goods unimpaired through cities that have been burned to ashes; for he is self-sufficient. Such are the bounds which he sets to his own happiness.  But you must not think that our school alone can utter noble words; Epicurus himself, the reviler of Stilpo, used similar language... {more below @ U474}

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 9.1: You desire to know whether Epicurus is right when, in one of his letters, he rebukes those who hold that the Sage is self-sufficient and for that reason does not stand in need of friendships.  This is the objection raised by Epicurus against Stilpo and those {Cynics and/or Stoics} who believe that the chief good is a mind devoid of feeling {impatiens}.

[ U175 ]

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 9.8: Let us now return to the question.  The wise man, I say, self-sufficient though he be, nevertheless desires friends if only for the purpose of practicing friendships, in order that his noble qualities may not lie dormant.  Not, however, for the purpose mentioned by Epicurus in the letter quoted above:  "That there may be someone to sit by him when he is ill, to come to his rescue when he is hard up or thrown into chains," but so that on the contrary he may have someone by whose sickbed he himself may sit or whom he may himself release when that person is held prisoner by hostile hands.

32. Letter to a young boy or girl

[ U176 ]

Herculaneum Papyrus 176, c. 10 [Gomperz  "Hermes" Edition, 5, p. 386]

33. Letter from his last days

[ U177 ]

Philodemus, Vol. Herc. 2, I.128 (31 Diano): As I write this, it is the seventh day that I have been unable to urinate and have had pains of the kind which lead to death.  So, if anything should happen, take care of Metrodorus’ children for our or five years, spending no more on them than you now spend on me in a year.

FRAGMENTS FROM UNCERTAIN LETTERS

Epicurus’ remarks on private problems

[ U178 ]

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 20, p. 1100A: Epicurus admitted that some pleasures come from glory.  Indeed, was he not himself so impatient for renown... that he even wrote that as he was lecturing on on natural philosophy, Colotes embraced his knees in an act of adoration, and that his own brother Neocles declared from childhood that there had never been born and was not now anyone wiser than Epicurus, and that their mother got in herself atoms of such a kind that by their conjunction must produce a Sage?

Ibid., 19, p. 1100C: For he, who made so much of Neocles’ testimony and Colotes’ act of adoration and took such satisfaction in them would never convince any man alive that if he had been applauded by the assembled Greeks at Olympia, he would not have lost his head and raised a shout of jubilation.

Plutarch, On Brotherly Love, 16, p. 487D: In the case of Epicurus also, his brothers’ respect for him was clearly great because of the goodwill and solicitude he had for them, inspired as they were with admiration both for his other attainments and especially for his philosophy.  For even if they were mistaken in their opinion (they were convinced and constantly declared from their earliest childhood that there was no one wiser than Epicurus), we may well admire both the man who inspired this devotion and also those who felt it.

Cf. Dionysius the Episcopalian, by way of Eusebius of Caesarea, Preparation for the Gospel, XIV 26, 2 p. 779A: How many atoms, in fact, and of what type, had shed from Epicurus’ father to he himself, when Epicurus was seeded?  And, once immersed in the womb of his mother, how did they assemble, what form did they assume, what figure; how did they move, how did they develop?

[ U179 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.2: He himself says that he began his devotion to philosophy at fourteen years of age.

[ U180 ]

Philodemus, Vol. Herc. 2, I.116: .. of the difference relating to the good, for which reasons Epicurus proclaimed himself the supreme monarch, or at least considered himself residing principally with Athena, where they live [in envy?] of the philosophers.

[ U181 ]

Johannes Stobaeus, Anthology, XVII.24: From Epicurus: "I revel in the pleasure of my humble body, employing water and bread, and I spit upon the pleasures of extravagance, not for their own sake, but because of the difficulties which follow from them."

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.11: In his correspondence he himself mentions that he was content with plain bread and water.

Cf. Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 21.10: Go to his Garden some time and read the motto carved there: "Dear Guest, here you will do well to tarry; here our highest good is pleasure."  The caretaker of that abode, a friendly host, will be ready for you; he will welcome you with barley-meal, and serve you water also in abundance, with these words: "Have you not been well entertained?  This garden does not whet your appetite; but quenches it.  Nor does it make you more thirsty with every drink; it slakes the thirst with a natural cure – a cure that requires no fee.  It is with this type of pleasure that I have grown old."

[ U182 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.11:  In his correspondence ... {= U181} ...  And again: "Send me a little pot of cheese, that, when I like I may fare sumptuously."

[ U183 ]

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 15, p. 1097C: One cannot ignore the man’s absurd inconsistency: he treads under foot and belittles the actions of Themistocles and Miltiades and yet writes this to his friends about himself: "The way in which you have provided for me in the matter of sending the grain was godlike and magnificent, and you have given tokens of your regard form me that reach to high heaven."  So if someone had taken that corn ration of his bread-stuff from our philosopher’s letter, the expressions of gratitude would have conveyed the impression that it was written in thanksgiving for the freedom or deliverance of the whole Greek nation or of the Athenian state.

[ U184 ]

Philodemus, Treatises, Vol. Herc. 2, I.127: "The only contribution I require is that which … ordered the disciples to send me, even if they are among the Hyperboreans. I wish to receive from each of you two hundred and twenty drachmae a year and no more."  And in another letter: "Ctesippus brought me the annual tribute, which was sent on behalf of your father and you yourself."

[ U185 ]

Philodemus, Treatises, Vol. Herc. 2, I.118: After having given a sheep to a young boy from an enclosed pen: "Take care of the toy that I have gifted to you."

[ U186 ]

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 16, p. 1097E:  But for one ... to be proud ... {U190} ... recalling Neocles’ last words, by the curious pleasure that is mingled with tearsno one would call this the "mental joy" or "delight" of men in their sound minds.

[ U187 ]

Gnomologion from the Parisinus codex, 1168, f. 115r- (Maxims of Epicurus): "I never desired to please the rabble. What pleased them, I did not learn; and what I knew was far removed from their understanding."

Cf. Maximus the Abbot, Gnomologion, 6, [p.172 Tig.; t. II pp. 549- Combef.]: (Author not given; the Laurentianus and Borbonicus codices report, "from Epicurus.")

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 29.10: Here I shall pay what I owe you. "I have never wished to cater to the crowd; for what I know, they do not approve, and what they approve, I do not know."  "Who said this?" you ask, as if you were ignorant of whom I am pressing into service; it is Epicurus.  But this same watchword rings in your ears from every sect: Peripatetic, Academic, Stoic, Cynic.  For who that is pleased by virtue can please the crowd?

Cf. Tertullian, Apologetics, 38: But we disapprove of what pleases you, and what is ours does not please you.  But the Epicureans rightly recognized something honest within pleasure, namely: peace of mind.

[ U188 ]

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 79.15: There is Epicurus, for example; mark how greatly he is admired, not only by the more cultured, but also by this ignorant rabble.  This man, however, was unknown to Athens itself, near which he had hidden himself away.  And so, when he had already survived by many years his friend Metrodorus, he added in a letter these last words, proclaiming with thankful appreciation the friendship that had existed between them:  "So greatly blessed were Metrodorus and I that it has been no harm to us to be unknown, and almost unheard of, in this well-known land of Greece."

[ U189 ]

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 6, p. 1090E: ... the reflux of the sea that came near to engulfing Epicurus on his voyage to Lampsacus, as he writes?

[ U190 ]

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 16, p. 1097E: But for one to go out of his way to work up an excitement about small comforts, like sailors celebrating a feast of Aphrodite, and to be proud because when suffering from dropsy he invited friends to a number of feasts and in spite of the disease did not refuse to take liquid ... {U186} ... no one would call this the "mental joy" or "delight" of men in their sound minds.

[ U191 ]

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IX.41: "During my illness," Epicurus says himself, "my lectures were not about the sufferings of my body, nor did I talk to my visitors about such matters. All my time was spent contemplating natural philosophy, reasoning on its most important points, particular this: how my mind, though partaking a natural and unavoidable sympathy with the present indisposition of my body, might nevertheless keep itself free from disturbance, and in constant possession of its own proper happiness."  He adds, "With regard to my body, I did not permit the physicians to altogether do with me what they would, as if I expected great results from them, or as if I thought it a matter of such great consequence, to recover my health by their methods.  For my present condition, I thought, was tolerable, and still allowed me great content."

Regarding Epicurus’ Disciples

[ U192 ]

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 52.3: Epicurus remarks that certain men have worked their way to the truth without anyone’s assistance, carving out their own passage. And he gives special praise to these, for their impulse has come from within, and they have forged to the front by themselves. Again, he says, there are others who need outside help, who will not proceed unless someone leads the way, but who will follow faithfully. Of these, he says, Metrodorus was one; this type of man is also excellent, but belongs to the second grade. We ourselves are not of that first class, either; we shall be well-regarded if we are admitted into the second. Nor need you despise a man who can gain salvation only with the assistance of another; the will to be saved means a great deal, too.  You will find still another class of man and a class not to be despised who can be forced and driven into righteousness, who do not need a guide as much as they require someone to encourage and, as it were, to force them along. This is the third variety. If you ask me for a man of this pattern also, Epicurus tells us that Hermarchus was such. And of the two last-named classes, he is more ready to congratulate the one, but he feels more respect for the other; for although both have reached the same goal, it is a greater credit to have brought about the same result with the more difficult material upon which to work.

[ U193 ]

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 22, p. 1103A: {noted above} Metrodorus, Polyaenus, and Aristobulus were sources of "confidence" and "joy" to Epicurus; indeed he continually cared for them when they were ill and mourned them when they died.

[ U194 ]

Plutarch, Against Colotes, 33, p. 1126E: Yet when Metrodorus went down to the Piraeus, a distance of some forty stades, {~ 5 miles} to help one Mithres, a Syrian, a royal officer who had been arrested, letters went out to everyone, men and women alike, with Epicurus’ solemn glorification of that journey.

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 22, p. 1097B (Theon Speaking): Thus a short while ago we heard our friend here {Plutarch} describe the expressions Epicurus gave vent to and the letters he sent to his friends as he extolled and magnified Metrodorus, telling how nobly and manfully he went from town to the coast {from Athens to Piraeus} to help Mithres the Syrian, although Metrodorus accomplished nothing on that occasion.

[ U195 ]

Philodemus, Treatises, Vol. Herc. 2, I.119,4: Because not even Eudemus was proficient enough in philosophy, according to something even Mys tells us...

[ U196 ]

Philodemus, Treatises, Vol. Herc. 2, I.129: Epicurus says: "We call ‘vain pursuits’ the types of life that do not tend towards happiness."  And again: "For the gods, it would seem worthwhile for the entire conduct of life, of a free way of life, not to be subject to laws."  Indeed, now he adds the things relative to such a one, for those reasons that we have shown, and also those relating to Mithres.

[ U197 ]

Philodemus, Treatises, Vol. Herc. 2, I.113: ... to Timocrates ...... us, all these things that are in fashion, as you know, are intended to help even you, not just through awareness, but also through their usage, until you gain the full assistance that one gets from philosophy, and of which  ..... and benevolent to the people .... politician ... of the populace...

Regarding the Stoics

[ U198 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, VII.5 (Zeno of Citium): He {Zeno} used to lecture, pacing up and down the Stoa Poikile {Painted Porch}, which is also called the colonnade or Portico of Pisianax, but which received its name from the painting of Polygnotus; his object being to keep the spot clear of a concourse of idlers. ... Here then, people came henceforth to hear Zeno, and this is why they were known as men of the Stoa, or Stoics; and the same name was given to his followers, who had formerly been known as Zenonians.  So it is stated by Epicurus in his letters.

Sayings

[ U199 ]

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 8.7:  I am still culling through the pages of Epicurus.  I read today, in his works, the following maxim: "To win real freedom, you must be the slave of Philosophy."  The man who submits and surrenders himself to her is not kept waiting; he is emancipated on the spot. For the very service of Philosophy is freedom.  It is likely that you will ask me why I quote so many of Epicurus’ noble words instead of words taken from our own {Stoic} school. But is there any reason why you should regard them as sayings of Epicurus and not common property?

[ U200 ]

Porphyry, Letter to Marcella, 30, [p. 209, 7 Nauck]: Do not think it unnatural that when the flesh cries out for anything, the soul should cry out too.  The cry of the flesh is, "Let me not hunger, or thirst, or shiver," and it’s hard for the soul to restrain these desires.  And while it is difficult for the soul to prevent these things, it is dangerous to neglect nature which daily proclaims self-sufficiency to the soul via the flesh which is intimately bonded to it.

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 4.10: Let me share with you a saying which pleased me today.  It, too, is culled from another man’s Garden:  "Poverty, brought into conformity with the law of nature, is great wealth."  Do you know what limits that law of nature ordains for us?  Merely to avert hunger, thirst, and cold.

Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies, II 21, p. 178.41: Epicurus, who held that happiness consists in not being hungry, nor thirsty, nor cold...

Cf. Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, V.35.102: Time would fail me should I wish to carry on about the cause of poverty; for the matter is evident and nature herself teaches us daily how few and how small her needs are, and how cheaply satisfied.

[ U201 ]

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 16.7: There is also this saying of Epicurus: "If you shape your life according to nature, you will never be poor; if you do so according to opinion, you will never be rich."  For nature’s wants are small; the demands of opinion are boundless.

[ U202 ]

Porphyry, Letter to Marcella, 27, [p. 207, 31 Nauck]: So he who follows nature and not groundless opinions is in all things self-sufficient.  For every possession is wealth when it comes to satisfying nature, while even the greatest wealth is poverty when it comes to the unlimited desires.

[ U203 ]

Porphyry, Letter to Marcella, 29, p. 209, 1: But insofar as you are in want, it is through forgetfulness of your nature that you feel the want.  For thereby you cause to yourself vain fears and desires.

[ U204 ]

Johannes Stobaeus, Anthology, XVI.28: From Epicurus: "We are born once and there can be no second birth. For all eternity we shall no longer be. But you, although you are not master of tomorrow, are postponing your happiness. We waste away our lives in delaying, and each of us dies without having enjoyed leisure." {= Vatican Saying 14}

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 27, p. 1104E: ... those who say that "We are born once; there is no second birth; we must forever be no more."  Indeed by discounting the present moment as a minute fraction, or rather as nothing at all, in comparison with all time, men let it pass fruitlessly.  {Source may be a letter to Idomeneus – cf. U133 & Lactantius, Divine Institutes, III.17.38 (U491)}

Ibid., 30, p. 1106F: "There is no second birth; we must forever be no more," Epicurus says.

Cf. Arsenius, Paroemiogr. Gotting., II p341, 25: This noble thought is from Epicurus.

[ U205 ]

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 26.8: Epicurus will oblige me, with the following saying: "Rehearse death," or, the idea may come across to us rather more satisfactorily if put in this form: "It is a very good thing to familiarize oneself with death." ... "Rehearse death" to say this is to tell a person to rehearse his freedom.  A person who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.

Cf. Porphyry, On Abstinence, I.51: Most people,  even though they have many possessions, make endless efforts because they think they will lack enough.  We are satisfied with available, simple things if we keep in mind that all the wealth in the world is not strong enough to give the soul a worthy release from disturbance, but the trouble of the flesh is removed by very moderate, ordinary things which are very easy to get. And if even things on this level fall short, that does not disturb the person who rehearses death.

[ U206 ]

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 20.9: Although you may look askance, Epicurus will once again be glad to settle my indebtedness:  "Believe me, your words will be more imposing if you sleep on a cot and wear rags.  For in that case you will not be merely saying them; you will be demonstrating their truth."  I, at any rate, listen in a different spirit to the utterances of our friend Demetrius, after I have seen him reclining without even a cloak to cover him, and, more than this, without rugs to lie upon.  He is not only a teacher of the truth, but a witness to the truth.

[ U207 ]

Porphyry, Letter to Marcella, 29, p. 209, 1: "It is better for you to have confidence {about the future} while lying on a cheap bed than to be disturbed while possessing a golden couch and an extravagant table."

[ U208 ]

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 7.11: Here is a nice expression by Epicurus, written to one of the partners of his studies: "I write this not for the many, but for you; each of us is enough of an audience for the other." Lay these words to hear, Lucilius, that you may scorn the pleasure which comes from the applause of the majority. Many men praise you; but have you any reason for being pleased with yourself, if you are a person whom the many can understand?

[ U209 ]

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 25.6: When this aim has been accomplished, and you begin to hold yourself in some esteem, I shall gradually allow you to do what Epicurus, in another passage, suggests: "The time when you should most of all withdraw into yourself is when you are forced to be in a crowd."

[ U210 ]

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 11.8: My letter calls for a conclusion.  Here’s one for you, on that will serve you in good stead, too, which I’d like you to take to heart.  "We need to set our affections on some good man and keep him constantly before our eyes, so that we may live as if he were watching us and do everything as if he saw what we were doing."  This, my dear Lucilius, is Epicurus’ advice, and in giving it he has given us a guardian and a moral tutor – and not without reason either: misdeeds are greatly diminished if a witness is always standing near intending doers.

[ U211 ]

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 25.5: I must insert in this letter some more of his sayings: "Do everything as if Epicurus were watching you."

[ U212 ]

Philodemus, Treatises, Vol. Herc. 2, I.126 [29 Diano]: ... bringing your letter and the reasoning which you had carried out concerning men who could see neither the analogy which obtains between the phenomena and the unseen {realities} nor the consistency which exists between the senses and the senses {realities} and again the counterfactuals, which also might be, in truth, the only ...

[ U213 ]

Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 28, p. 1105D: If then, "the memory of a dead friend is pleasant on every count" as Epicurus said, we need no more to make us see the great delight that they renounce when, although they suppose that they can receive and capture the apparitions and likenesses of dead companions {in dreams?} – images that have neither mind nor feeling – they do not think they will ever again meet those friends themselves, or ever again see a dear father or dear mother or perhaps a gentle wife, and have not even the hope of such company.

Cf. Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 63.7: Thinking of departed friends is to me something sweet and mellow.

[ U214 ]

Maximus the Abbot (aka "Maximus the Confessor"), Sayings, c. 8 [p. 196 Ribittiana]:  "Do not avoid conferring small favors: for then you will likewise seem to be open to conferring great things."

[ U215 ]

Maximus the Abbot (aka "Maximus the Confessor"), Sayings, 66 [p. 259 Ribittiana]: "If your enemy makes a request to you, do not scorn his request; but keep on your guard; for he is like a dog."

[ U216 ]

Philodemus, On Vices and Virtues, 1.IX Vol. Herc. 1, III c.27.20 [= Oxon. I.104; p. 64,5 Goettl.]: Now if someone reproaches us because we write about economy, that would be enough for us, together with Epicurus and Metrodorus, who give advice and exhortations on household management in a particularly accurate way, albeit with minimal details.

52. Will

[ U217 ]

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, X.16: (Reproduced elsewhere)

[ U218 ]

Aelian, fr. 39, p. 201,1 [= Suda, under Epicurus, {epsilon-2405}; p. 418, 12 (Bernh.)]: Epicurus was so enslaved by pleasure that, towards the end, he wrote in his will to offer a sacrifice to his father, to his mother, and to his brothers once a year, and to the above-mentioned Metrodorus and Polyaenus, but to he himself, the Sage, two timespreferring even here, in his depravity, the largest portion.  And this gourmand and glutton stipulated that stone tables would be set up at the tomb as votive offerings.

Plutarch, Is "Live Unknown" a Wise Precept? 3, p 1129A: Oh Epicurus, don’t leave instructions about funeral ceremonies.  For what else is the meaning of the feasts?  Of the meetings of your friends and the fair? {referring to the provisions for the annual celebration of Epicurus’ birthday and monthly gatherings of Epicureans}


Fragments from uncertain sources →


Attalus' home page   |   23.10.15   |   Any comments?