Inspiration and wisdom from divine felines

79 Inspiring Quotes by Epicurus

  • Last updated Jul 27 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Epicurus.

Wikipedia Summary for Epicurus

Epicurus (341–270 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher and sage who founded Epicureanism, a highly influential school of philosophy. He was born on the Greek island of Samos to Athenian parents. Influenced by Democritus, Aristippus, Pyrrho, and possibly the Cynics, he turned against the Platonism of his day and established his own school, known as "the Garden", in Athens. Epicurus and his followers were known for eating simple meals and discussing a wide range of philosophical subjects. He openly allowed women and slaves to join the school as a matter of policy. Epicurus is said to have originally written over 300 works on various subjects, but the vast majority of these writings have been lost. Only three letters written by him—the letters to Menoeceus, Pythocles, and Herodotus—and two collections of quotes—the Principal Doctrines and the Vatican Sayings—have survived intact, along with a few fragments of his other writings. Most knowledge of his teachings comes from later authors, particularly the biographer Diogenes Laërtius, the Epicurean Roman poet Lucretius and the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus, and with hostile but largely accurate accounts by the Pyrrhonist philosopher Sextus Empiricus, and the Academic Skeptic and statesman Cicero.

For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to help people attain a happy (eudaimonic), tranquil life characterized by ataraxia (peace and freedom from fear) and aponia (the absence of pain). He advocated that people were best able to pursue philosophy by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. He taught that the root of all human neurosis is death denial and the tendency for human beings to assume that death will be horrific and painful, which he claimed causes unnecessary anxiety, selfish self-protective behaviors, and hypocrisy. According to Epicurus, death is the end of both the body and the soul and therefore should not be feared. Epicurus taught that although the gods exist, they have no involvement in human affairs. He taught that people should behave ethically not because the gods punish or reward people for their actions, but because amoral behavior will burden them with guilt and prevent them from attaining ataraxia.

Like Aristotle, Epicurus was an empiricist, meaning he believed that the senses are the only reliable source of knowledge about the world. He derived much of his physics and cosmology from the earlier philosopher Democritus (c. 460–c. 370 BC). Like Democritus, Epicurus taught that the universe is infinite and eternal and that all matter is made up of extremely tiny, invisible particles known as atoms. All occurrences in the natural world are ultimately the result of atoms moving and interacting in empty space. Epicurus deviated from Democritus by proposing the idea of atomic "swerve", which holds that atoms may deviate from their expected course, thus permitting humans to possess free will in an otherwise deterministic universe.

Though popular, Epicurean teachings were controversial from the beginning. Epicureanism reached the height of its popularity during the late years of the Roman Republic. It died out in late antiquity, subject to hostility from early Christianity. Throughout the Middle Ages Epicurus was popularly, though inaccurately, remembered as a patron of drunkards, whoremongers, and gluttons. His teachings gradually became more widely known in the fifteenth century with the rediscovery of important texts, but his ideas did not become acceptable until the seventeenth century, when the French Catholic priest Pierre Gassendi revived a modified version of them, which was promoted by other writers, including Walter Charleton and Robert Boyle. His influence grew considerably during and after the Enlightenment, profoundly impacting the ideas of major thinkers, including John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, Jeremy Bentham, and Karl Marx.



grayscale photography of mountain surrounded by trees

Death is nothing to us, since when we are, death has not come, and when death has come, we are not.

--Epicurus

rainbow desert

Necessity is an evil; but there is no necessity for continuing to live subject to necessity.

--Epicurus

Arizona landscape

The art of living well and the art of dying well are one.

--Epicurus

None

A blessed and indestructible being has no trouble himself and brings no trouble upon any other being; so he is free from anger and partiality, for all such things imply weakness.

--Epicurus

man in black bubble hoodie looking at the stars

The most important consequence of self-sufficiency is freedom.

--Epicurus

None

Pleasure is our first and kindred good. It is the starting point of every choice and of every aversion, and to it we always come back, inasmuch as we make feeling the rule by which to judge of every good thing.

--Epicurus

green tree under blue sky during night time

Self-sufficiency is the greatest of all wealth .

--Epicurus

pug puppy

Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

--Epicurus

black wooden louver door window

All friendship is desirable in itself, though it starts from the need of help.

--Epicurus

green ceramic mug on wooden desk

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.

--Epicurus

Longer Version:

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink, for dining alone is leading the life of a lion or wolf.


dew drops on glass panel

There are definite worlds both like and unlike this world of ours...We must believe that in all worlds, there are living creatures and plants and other things we see in this world.

--Epicurus

sunset

It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself.

--Epicurus

brown and white humming bird

Plain fare gives as much pleasure as a costly diet, while bread and water confer the highest possible pleasure when they are brought to hungry lips.

--Epicurus

green trees on brown dried leaves during daytime

If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires.

--Epicurus


brown wooden pathway in the middle of green trees

Pleasure is the beginning and the end of living happily.

--Epicurus

Longer Version:

Pleasure is the beginning and the end of living happily. Epicurus taught: Pleasure, defined as freedom from pain, is the highest good.


bird on pier

If God listened to the prayers of men, all men would quickly have perished: for they are forever praying for evil against one another.

--Epicurus

silhouette of people riding bicycle

Earthquakes may be brought about because wind is caught up in the earth, so the earth is dislocated in small masses and is continually shaken, and that causes it to sway.

--Epicurus

blue boat on sand near body of water during daytime

We ought to be thankful to nature for having made those things which are necessary easy to be discovered; while other things that are difficult to be known are not necessary.

--Epicurus

woman carrying toddler on seashore

Many friends are the key to happiness.

--Epicurus

None

Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search of it when he has grown old. For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul.

--Epicurus

person in blue denim jeans and brown leather boots

Thanks be to blessed Nature that she has made what is necessary easy to obtain, and what is not easy unnecessary.

--Epicurus

Arizona landscape

The noble soul occupies itself with wisdom and friendship.

--Epicurus

pink and blue sky with moon

If the gods listened to the prayers of men, all men would quickly have perished: for they are forever praying for evil against one another.

--Epicurus

grassland landscape

Justice... is a kind of compact not to harm or be harmed.

--Epicurus

multicolored abstract painting

I was not, I was, I am not, I care not. (Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo).

--Epicurus

high-angle photography of beach side

He who understands the limits of life knows that it is easy to obtain that which removes the pain of want and makes the whole of life complete and perfect. Thus he has no longer any need of things which involve struggle.

--Epicurus

silhouette of off-road car

I spit upon luxurious pleasures, not for their own sake, but because of the inconveniences that follow them.

--Epicurus


None

A strict belief in fate is the worst of slavery, imposing upon our necks an everlasting lord and tyrant, whom we are to stand in awe of night and day.

--Epicurus

silhouette of person standing beside bare tree under stary sky

The just man is most free from disturbance, while the unjust is full of the utmost disturbance.

--Epicurus

green trees beside body of water during daytime

The misfortune of the wise is better than the prosperity of the fool.

--Epicurus

close-up photo of two men shaking hands near beach at sunset

I would rather be first in a little Iberian village than second in Rome.

--Epicurus

silhouette of flying bird

When someone admits one and rejects another which is equally in accordance with the appearances, it is clear that he has quitted all physical explanation and descended into myth.

--Epicurus

black wooden louver door window

As if they were our own handiwork we place a high value on our characters.

--Epicurus

red strawberry fruit on red surface

For a wrongdoer to be undetected is difficult; and for him to have confidence that his concealment will continue is impossible.

--Epicurus

elephants on green grass field during daytime

Most men are in a coma when they are at rest and mad when they act.

--Epicurus

swimming pool with stainless steel ladder

The greater the Difficulty the more Glory in surmounting it, and the loss of false Joys secures to us a much better Possession of real ones.

--Epicurus

sealion surrounded by rocks during daytime

Injustice is not evil in itself, but only in the fear and apprehension that one will not escape those who have been set up to punish the offense.

--Epicurus


pink and white tulips on white surface

We do not so much need the help of our friends as the confidence of their help in need.

--Epicurus

person standing on rock formation during daytime

There is no such thing as justice in the abstract; it is merely a compact between men.

--Epicurus

Longer Version:

There is no such thing as justice in the abstract; it is merely a compact between men in their various relations with each other, in whatever circumstances they may be, that they will neither injure nor be injured.


stars across the sky view at the desert

I never desired to please the rabble. What pleased them, I did not learn; and what I knew was far removed from their understanding.

--Epicurus


white and blue building under clear sky

We recognize pleasure as the first good innate in us, and from pleasure we begin every act of choice and avoidance, and to pleasure we return again, using the feeling as the standard by which we judge every good.

--Epicurus

None

The magnitude of pleasure reaches its limit in the removal of all pain. When such pleasure is present, so long as it is uninterrupted, there is no pain either of body or of mind or of both together.

--Epicurus

white and blue ice on water

The greater difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.

--Epicurus

blue, white, and pink petaled flowers on gray surface

Thus that which is the most awful of evils, death, is nothing to us, since when we exist there is no death, and when there is death we do not exist.

--Epicurus

white petaled flower

There are infinite worlds both like and unlike this world of ours. For the atoms being infinite in number... are borne on far out into space.

--Epicurus


blue wall

Justice is never anything in itself, but in the dealings of men with one another in any place whatever and at any time. It is a kind of compact not to harm or be harmed.

--Epicurus

pug lying on pet bed

You don't develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.

--Epicurus

green leaf

The wealth required by nature is limited and is easy to procure; but the wealth required by vain ideals extends to infinity.

--Epicurus

silver round analog wall clock

Men inflict injuries from hatred, jealousy or contempt, but the wise man masters all these passions by means of reason.

--Epicurus

icy mountain scenery

We must consider both the ultimate end and all clear sensory evidence, to which we refer our opinions; for otherwise everything will be full of uncertainty and confusion.

--Epicurus

castle surrounded fog

The time when most of you should withdraw into yourself is when you are forced to be in a crowd.

--Epicurus

silhoutte of mountains during sunset

Do everything like someone is gazing at you.

--Epicurus

brown sands

The mind that is much elevated and insolent with prosperity, and cast down with adversity, is generally abject and base.

--Epicurus

aerial view of gray building on brown sand

Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.

--Epicurus

leafless tree on body of water during daytime

If you wish to make Pythocles rich, do not add to his store of money, but subtract from his desires.

--Epicurus

sunset forest

The knowledge of sin is the beginning of salvation.

--Epicurus

orange smoke on blue background

Not what we have But what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.

--Epicurus

red moon wallpaper

Haec ego non multis (scribo), sed tibi: satis enim magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus. I am writing this not to many, but to you: certainly we are a great enough audience for each other.

--Epicurus

man jumping on hill during golden hour

It is not so much our friends' help that helps us, as the confidence of their help.

--Epicurus

forest with tall and green trees during daytime

Why are you afraid of death? Where you are, death is not. Where death is, you are not. What is it that you fear.

--Epicurus

yellow green leaf

Of all the means to insure happiness throughout the whole life, by far the most important is the acquisition of friends.

--Epicurus


None

We must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed toward attaining it.

--Epicurus

landscape photography of mountain

Tranquil pleasure constitutes human beings' supreme good.

--Epicurus

white rose enclosed photograph

Pleasure is the first good. It is the beginning of every choice and every aversion. It is the absence of pain in the body and of troubles in the soul.

--Epicurus

fawn pug on bed

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not.

--Epicurus

Longer Version:

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.



pink flower

Riches do not exhilarate us so much with their possession as they torment us with their loss.

--Epicurus

shoreline during golden hour

If death causes you no pain when you're dead, it is foolish to allow the fear of it to cause you pain now.

--Epicurus

brown sand under blue sky during daytime

The fool's life is empty of gratitude and full of fears; its course lies wholly toward the future.

--Epicurus

green trees beside lake during daytime

Death means nothing to us.

--Epicurus

brown and gray floral textile

Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist.

--Epicurus

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