Many philosophers have come and gone in ancient history, leaving behind their theories, thoughts, and literary talents. Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher who lived from 341 BC to 270 BC. Quotes that have been attributed to Epicurus touched upon his thoughts on hope, justice, and death. In this article, you will learn more about the philosopher, as well as some of his words of wisdom.
Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher who founded a school of philosophy called Epicureanism. Researchers have found 300 written works attributed to Epicurus, but only a few fragments and letters have survived the test of time. The kind of philosophy that he supported has been illustrated in the works of later followers and commentators.
Epicurus often wrote and taught about ataraxia and aponia in his philosophical works. He believed that our purpose was to achieve a happy life full of tranquility, which was peaceful and free of fear , called ataraxia. Aponia was described as the absence of pain that was aided by living a life surrounded by friends.
In his teachings, Epicurus saw pleasure and pain as measures of the concepts of good and evil. He believed that death was the end of the body and soul. He taught that all of this should not be feared. He believed that gods did not reward or punish humans. Epicurus also spoke of the universe and of the events that occurred in the world, which he believed was connected to the motions and interactions of atoms that moved within an empty space.
Epicurus established a school that used the garden of his house as a base. Because of this, his school was referred to as ‘The Garden.” His following was small, but considered devoted to the philosopher. The school was also different from others because they allowed women to attend, which was a rule and not an exception.
The primary members of the school included:
Ã‚Â· Hermarchus , wrote works in opposition to Plato, Aristotle, and Empedocles
Ã‚Â· Idomeneus , a financier
Ã‚Â· Leonteus , pupil of Epicurus, who attended the school with his wife Themista. Interestingly, the couple named their son Epicurus.
Ã‚Â· Polyaenus of Lampsacus , mathematician
One of the things that Epicurus emphasized within his school was that friendship was important to achieving happiness. His school reflected this view, as he encouraged the school to run as if a community of friends were living together. The school was also set up using a system of hierarchy amongst the followers. Members were also expected to swear to an oath.
Words of Wisdom , Epicurus
Ã‚Â· “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
Ã‚Â· “Justice is a contract of expediency, entered upon to prevent men harming or being harmed.”
Ã‚Â· “The man least dependent upon the morrow goes to meet the morrow most cheerfully.”
Ã‚Â· “Death is nothing to us, since when we are, death has not come, and when death has come, we are not.”
Ã‚Â· “Pleasure is the beginning and the end of living happily.”