As I will be writing extensively by way of this blog regarding the Ancient Greek Philosopher Epicurus; I feel compelled to provide introductory material which seems practical in the light of the subjects to be explored and the sources I will most often reference. As my time is limited (although pleasure is my ultimate end, like all folks I must endure a weekly work schedule to enhance the pleasant life I seek: Bodily comfort and peace of mind. Without a job, I have neither!); I will forego writing as to the history of Epicurus; and thus I offer the following Wiki link for that very purpose:
To be honest, I have not reviewed the Wiki article regarding Epicurus for a while, yet the link I just referenced is exactly the locale I researched when I first became interested in Epicurus a few months ago.
Epicurus was known to be a prolific writer during his time, yet unfortunately only 3 complete letters remain, along with a variety of his other writings. Among the remaining writings that are still available to us at this time: A listing of his Primary Doctrines (recorded by Diogenes Laertius in his work “Lives of the Eminent Philosophers”), certain sayings discovered in 1888 in a Vatican Manuscript, and certain other fragments of letters and sayings mostly attributed to Epicurus regarding a number of topics. There are supplemental works about his teachings; some from the hand of those who were allied to to his ideology, and others from critics.
Of his writings, I shall reference most often:
Letter to Menoeceus (LM)
Principal Doctrines (PD)
Vatican Sayings (VS)
The Fragments (FG)
The two letters which he wrote that I will least reference are:
Letter to Herodotus (LH)
Letter to Pythocles (LP)
(I may develop more interest in these letters later, but I am most partial to his Letter to Menoeceus for two primary reasons. Firstly, this letter so very well overviews his general philosophy. Secondly, my primary interest is in the field of Ethics, and this is his letter which most completely addressed that topic)
A debt of gratitude is owed to one Lucretius; a poet and pensman Epicurean who lived some 200 years after Epicurus himself, for his work “On The Nature of Things”; whose primary subject matter was metaphysics, to the end of removing unnecessary fears of death.
A work worthy of representation in any discussion is the defense before Cicero by 1st Century Epicurean sympathizer Lucius Torquatus. This defense, made directly to Cicero (a known critic) is quite possibly the most organized and complete explanation of the general philosophy of Epicurus second only to the Letter to Menoeceus.
For those who might be interested in studying anything related to Epicurus beyond my periodic blog posts, I highly recommend two sites which have proven most beneficial to me in my personal studies. I list them in the order of my personal preference:
(Both are also listed on my Blogroll)
In closing, I offer one of my favorite sayings of Epicurus as a brief sampling of blogs to come:
“As long as we are on the road of life, we must make the later journey better than the beginning, but be happy and content when we have reached the end.” VS 48