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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
If the piglet at the Villa dei Papiri, like the Boscoreale cups, symbolises Epicureanism, it may also, like them, equate the philosophy with simple hedonism.
From that angle, however, the meeting of Joshi's argument and mine is more dependent on the compatibility between Platonism and Epicureanism than it is on the content of Lovecraft's work.
Vitruvius's philosophical eclecticism shows what may have been a common approach to Epicureanism in Augustan Rome.
"Though an old man," Jefferson wrote in the years when he was working on the school, "I am a young gardener." (56) The university lawn--and the areas he planned for a school of botany and an experimental farm--would help connect students to the earth and teach them the agrarian virtue that was central to his version of Epicureanism.
Thomas More, in a dazzling display of circular logic, embraced Epicureanism and then denounced it as pernicious to faith in his celebrated "Utopia".
He is 'pinned down' by his Epicureanism, egocentricity and carnal lust and has forgotten to perform his necessary ritual suicide.
With such a variety of different philosophical world views, why did modern science and modern attitudes latch on to Epicureanism?
At the onset of the book, Corbett systematically provides a detailed panorama of how Epicureanism is received and represented throughout medieval thought, effectively preparing the reader for his contextualization of Epicurus in Dante.
Indeed, Bergson speculates that Lucretius would not have written his text if he had seen in Epicureanism little more than a dry and self-centred doctrine, 'contrived for the purpose of bringing to man the calm placidity of the beast and ridding him of his most noble anxieties' (1959: 80-1).
Informing Wordsworth and the Enlightenment Idea of Pleasure are wide-ranging discussions of Shaftsbury, Kant, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Wordsworth, and a host of twentieth-century theorists besides, as their writings bear upon classical, Enlightenment, and post-Enlightenment conceptions of pleasure, joy, self-interest, self-love, Epicureanism, hedonism, happiness, utility and utilitarianism, contentment, complacency, bliss, comfort, and delight.
"Laclos' Anthropology of Pleasure." Enlightened Pleasures: Eighteenth-Century France and the New Epicureanism, 128-148.
It is a stretch, but Corbett makes it, starting with Dante's reception of Epicureanism, and eventually his reception of the secular man.