Authored by: John Penwill

Ancient Philosophy of Religion

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9781844652204
eBook ISBN: 9781315729633
Adobe ISBN: 9781317546511


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Although Epicurus (341–270/71 BCE) was born and bred an Athenian citizen, he did not set up permanent residence in Athens until 306 BCE. He grew up on the island of Samos in the Aegean (then an Athenian colony) and moved to Colophon in Asia Minor after the Macedonian Perdiccas had expelled the Athenians from Samos in 321. It was in Colophon that Epicurus received his early and formative philosophical training from Nausiphanes of Teos, a philosopher who had espoused Democritean atomism and who held that the goal of the individual in life was akataplÄ“xia, the ability to maintain composure. After his move to Athens Epicurus purchased a house, where he and his close associates lived, and a kitchen garden near the Academy, where he gave his lectures (whence the term ‘The Garden’ to denote Epicurean philosophy). As a philosophical school, Epicureanism was remarkable for including both women and slaves as members, although the chief positions were held by men. Epicurus died in 271; the school in Athens continued after his death as did other communities that had been established in various parts of the Greek-speaking world. 1 1.

For a fuller biography, see Rist (1972: 1–13).

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