The Invention and Gendering of Epicurus
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Michigan Press
Title Page, Copyright, Acknowledgments
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As a philosophical community and as a way of seeing the world, Epicureanism had a centuries-long life in Athens and Rome, as well as in cities and towns across the Mediterranean. In the words of Diogenes Laertius, who records in the third century CE that the school in Athens had already survived without...
1. The First Lampoons of Epicurus
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Epicurus’ close associate and disciple Metrodorus had a brother named Timocrates, who claimed that he “loved his brother as nobody else could and hated him as nobody else could.”2 The reference to this remark has survived in On Frank Speech, a work by the first-century...
1. Odysseus and the Telos
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The archetypal hedonists of ancient Greek literature are the Phaeacians, the comfort-loving inhabitants of the mythical island of Scheria in Homer’s Odyssey.2 Some ancient readers viewed Odysseus’ last landfall before reaching Ithaca as a peaceful utopia far removed from the toils of the outside...
3. A Woman Named “Pleasing”
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At the entrance to the Vatican Library in Rome sits an oversized statue of a figure commonly identified as Saint Hippolytus.2 The statue is clearly a pastiche: the lower half is the fragment of a second-century CE Roman copy of an earlier Greek original, most of the upper half is part of another...
4. Virtus and Voluptas
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Seneca begins one of his epistles to Lucilius with a conventional acknowledgment of a recent communication from his correspondent: Magnam ex epistula tua percepi voluptatem (“I received great pleasure from your...
5. The Material Epicurean
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What does an Epicurean look like? This question received great attention in antiquity. For Epicurean women, ancient commentary is nearly nonexistent. We may have a representation of the feet of an Epicurean woman—either Leontion or Themista...
Conclusion: The Size of the Sun and the Gender of the Philosopher
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According to Epicurean theory, the sun is “as large as it looks,” or roughly a foot wide.2 This miscalculation attracted a great deal of ridicule in antiquity, but the second-century CE Stoic Cleomedes departed from the routine derision by attributing the error to a compromised masculinity...
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Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2012