DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-A049-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved February 26, 2024, from

1. The Epicureans

For the foundation and nature of the Epicurean school, and for Epicurus’ own writings, see Epicurus. After Epicurus’ death in 271 bc the school continued to flourish, at Athens and in other centres around the Mediterranean, for at least five centuries. Although there were numerous developments and schisms, these were always moderated by appeals to the scriptural authority of Epicurus’ own writings and those of his close collaborators Metrodorus, Polyaenus and Hermarchus.

The surviving writings of Epicurus include Letter to Herodotus, Letter to Pythocles, Letter to Menoeceus, Kyriai doxai (Key Doctrines) – all preserved in Book X of Diogenes Laertius – and parts of On Nature. In addition, we have from the first century bc the Epicurean poem of Lucretius, dealing mainly with physics, and numerous fragmentary papyri of the Epicurean Philodemus, excavated from a villa at Herculaneum. Finally, there is the second-century ad philosophical inscription of the Epicurean Diogenes of Oenoanda, which contains much supplementary information.

Citing this article:
Sedley, David. The Epicureans. Epicureanism, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-A049-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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