Epicurus, 341-270 B.C.
Epicurus was born of Athenian parents on the island of Samos. He began his philosophical studies at an early age on the islands of the Aegean and the coast of Asia Minor, where he encountered the followers of Plato and Democritus. He first taught at Mytilene, on Lesbos (c.311), and soon moved to Lampsacus on the Hellespont. Around 307 he established in Athens an Epicurean community called the Garden.
The Garden became the prototype of most Epicurean groups at the time. Its members included women and at least one slave. The fact that the Epicureans accepted courtesans exposed them to the ridicule of their opponents. However, even the enemies of Epicurus admired their ability to cultivate such close friendships. After his death in 270, the followers of Epicurus celebrated his memory at a monthly feast and his teaching spread rapidly throughout the Greek world.
Three letters containing summaries of Epicurean doctrine have been preserved in Diogenes Laertius' Life of Epicurus (see below): To Herodotus (on atomic theory); To Pythocles (on astronomy and meteorology); and To Menoeceus (on ethics).
Epicureanism became a way of life with set prescriptions laid down for the guidance of the novice. Geometry does not describe the world as we experience it. Rhetoric is an abuse of language. Music and poetry are not fit for conversation. Epicurus also warned his followers against assuming heavy responsibilities and instead praised the life that escapes man's notice. While such a philosophy of uninvolvement alienated the Epicureans from the intellectual elites of the day, the Epicurean lifestyle was now within the reach of a wider of circle of people who did not enjoy the advantages of wealth or education. To these people, Epicurus recommended the cultivation of friendship and the enjoyment of simple pleasures.
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The Principle Doctrines (from Diogenes Laertius' Lives (Book X, 139-154)
I What is blessed and indestructible has no troubles
itself, nor does it give trouble to anyone else, so that its is not
affected by feelings of anger or gratitude. For all such things are a sign
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