Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Epicurus (342-270 B.C.), a noted Greek philosopher, was a native of Samos, where he lived till 18. He then came to Athens, where he is said to have attended the lectures of Xenocrates, then head of the Academy, and then went to Colophon, where his father taught and where he gave lessons in grammar. He then taught philosophy at Mitylene and Lampsacus, and he came in 306 to Athens, where he bought a garden and lectured to many pupils. He was simple of nature and abstemiousin habits, took no part in public affairs, and bore the infirmities that came upon his later life with great fortitude. He was a general favourite. In his ethical system he taught that pleasure and pain were the chief good and evil respectively to be sought and avoided, and that virtue should be sought as a means to peace of mind, which is the highest happiness. He has been misrepresented to such an extent as to have become proverbial as the embodiment of sensual greed as the "pig satisfied," and Milton speaks of the "Epicurean sty." But however some of his followers may have misinterpreted him, his system is hardly more Epicurean (in the modern sense of the word) than the system which makes the greatest happiness" of the greatest number the standard of action is selfish. In his physical system Epicurus was a follower of Democritus and Diagoras, and held the atomic theory, and that sensation is the result of reflection or emanations (eidola) given off by matter. His doctrines were mainly popularised by Lucretius.