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(ĕp'ĭkyo͝orē`ənĭz'əm), philosophy that follows the teachings of EpicurusEpicurus
, 341–270 B.C., Greek philosopher, b. Samos; son of an Athenian colonist. He claimed to be self-taught, although tradition states that he was schooled in the systems of Plato and Democritus by his father and various philosophers.
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, who held that pleasure is the end of all morality and that real pleasure is attained through a life of prudence, honor, and justice. The philosophy was popular throughout the ancient world; it was spread by the successors of Epicurus, who included Polystratus, Zeno of Sidon, and Philodemus of Gadara. Only in later times did epicureanism come to mean devotion to extravagant pleasure.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the philosophical teaching derived from the ideas of Epicurus.

The philosophical school (called the Garden) that Epicurus founded in Athens was one of the most influential intellectual currents of the Hellenic age along with Stoicism, its constant opponent in philosophical debate. The most famous members of the early Garden (fourth and third centuries B.C.) were Metrodorus, Polyaenus, Hermarchus, and Colotes; those of the middle period (second and first centuries B.C.) were Zeno of Sidon, Phaedrus, and Philodemus of Gadara. Phaedrus (who taught Cicero) and Philodemus (who may have been Lucretius’ teacher) brought Epicureanism to Rome. The outstanding achievement of Roman Epicureanism is Lucretius’ narrative poem On the Nature of Things (first century B.C.). The Epicurean school remained in existence until the middle of the fourth century.

A revival of Epicureanism (especially its ethics and its atomistic teachings) occurred during the Renaissance; its ideas continued to spread during the 17th and 18th centuries and were most consistently developed by P. Gassendi. Epicureanism was also frequently understood in the vulgar sense—that is, as the cult of sensory pleasures (for example, in ancient Rome, among the philosophers of the Renaissance, and during the Enlightenment in France).


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


See also Feast.
gave banquet unrivalled for sumptuousness. [O.T.: Daniel 5:1–4]
Finches of the Grove
eating club established for expensive dining. [Br. Lit.: Great Expectations]
Gatsby, Jay
modern Trimalchio, wines and dines the upper echelon. [Am. Lit.: The Great Gatsby]
Lucullus, Lucius Licinius
(110–57 B.C.) gave luxurious banquets. [Rom. Hist.: New Century, 650]
young pagan who follows the original philosophical tenets of Epicurus in his search for an answer to life. [Br. Lit.: Pater Marius the Epicurean in Magill II, 630]
vulgar freedman gives lavish feast for noble guests. [Rom. Lit.: Satyricon]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
This statue may be a self-deprecating, or even self-indulgent, allusion to the Epicureans, whom their opponents regularly compared to pigs, the animals most naturally associated with gluttonous eating.
The Seventh Annual Symposium of Epicurean Philosophy recently took place in Athens, Greece.
Yalom has introduced existential therapy to the ancient school of Epicurean philosophy.
This hinges on what is meant by the action of the Stoics and Epicureans in taking Paul from the agora (14) to the Areopagus to explain himself, as he was apparently promoting the cult of strange gods (Acts 17.18).
Since that time, his epicurean poem On the Nature of Things continues to fascinate due to the remarkable similarity of ideas to many modern beliefs.
Thirdly, re-reading Dante's representations of the graveyard of the Epicureans, the limbo of the virtuous pagans and the region of Ante-Purgatory through the lens of Dante's dualism in the Commedia, not only strengthens the argument for a dualistic Commedia, but also provides answers to longstanding uncertainties for each of the regions examined.
Furthermore, Epicureans unambiguously deny any immortality of individual human souls: after death each of us is nothing, and death is nothing to us.
If so, the standard position that Epicureans can fully rid themselves of the fear of death would be salvageable.
Each in its own way solidifies the significance of Lucretius and his Epicurean verses, but each has other heroes as well: for Brown, the lay humanists Bartolomeo Scala, Marcello Adriani, and Niccolo Machiavelli, but also the ancient biographer Diogenes Laertius and the city of Florence itself; for Greenblatt, especially the book-hunter Poggio Bracciolini but also free thinkers such as Giordano Bruno.
Traditionalists are more likely than Epicureans to be female, with lower to middle incomes, and pre-college educations.
One thing is sure: The TIF money so far has slavishly supported Sarasota's epicureans. It would take a titanic change of direction in City Hall to alter that well-worn course.