Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher who lived from 341 BC to 270 BC. He was born on the island of Samos, off the coast of modern-day Turkey, and later founded his own school of philosophy known as the Garden in Athens.
Epicurus believed that the purpose of human life was to achieve happiness and that this could be achieved through the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. He defined pleasure not as the indulgence in physical pleasure, but rather as the absence of pain, fear, and anxiety.
Epicurus also believed that the gods, if they existed, did not intervene in human affairs and that death was nothing to fear, as it was simply the end of consciousness.
Throughout his life, Epicurus wrote extensively on philosophy, ethics, and politics. His teachings emphasized the importance of living a simple and virtuous life, free from the distractions of wealth and power.
Today, Epicurus is remembered as one of the most influential philosophers of the ancient world, and his ideas continue to shape our understanding of happiness, ethics, and the purpose of life. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most famous Epicurus quotes and what they can teach us about living a good life.
Table of Contents
- Epicurus Quotes on Life and Death
- Epicurus Quotes on Friendship and Relationships
- Philosophical Epicurus Quotes
- Epicurus Quotes on God and the Masses
- Epicurus Quotes on Justice and Possessions
- Interesting Facts about Epicurus
Epicurus Quotes on Life and Death
The art of living well and the art of dying well are one.
Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist.
If you shape your life according to nature, you will never be poor; if according to people’s opinions, you will never be rich.
Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not coming, and, when death is coming, we are not.
Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance.
It is possible to provide security against other ills, but as far as death is concerned, we men live in a city without walls.
Therefore, foolish is the man who says that he fears death, not because it will cause pain when it arrives but because anticipation of it is painful.
when you die, your mind will be gone even faster than your body.
Some men spend their whole life furnishing for themselves the things proper to life without realizing that at our birth each of us was poured a mortal brew to drink.
Against other things it is possible to obtain security, but when it comes to death we human beings all live in an unwalled city.
We must free ourselves from the prison of everyday affairs and politics.
We must laugh and philosophize and manage our households and look after our other affairs all at the same time, and never stop proclaiming the words of the true philosophy
Epicurus Quotes on Friendship and Relationships
We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.
You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.
To eat and drink without a friend is to devour like the lion and the wolf.
It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help.
The noble man is chiefly concerned with wisdom and friendship; of these, the former is a mortal good, the latter an immortal one.
Of all the things which wisdom provides to make us entirely happy, much the greatest is the possession of friendship.
All friendship is desirable in itself, though it starts from the need of help.
Of all the things which wisdom acquires to produce the blessedness of the complete life, for the greatest is the possession of friendship.
We need to set our affections on one good man and keep him constantly before our eyes, so that we may live as if he were watching us and do everything as if he saw what we were doing.
Philosophical Epicurus Quotes
I was not; I was, I am not; I care not.
Live in obscurity.
Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.
The greater the difficulty, the more the glory in surmounting it.
He who is not satisfied with a little is satisfied with nothing.
He who least needs tomorrow will most gladly greet tomorrow.
The misfortune of the wise is better than the prosperity of the fool.
He who has peace of mind disturbs neither himself nor another.
Misfortune seldom intrudes upon the wise man; his greatest and highest interests are directed by reason throughout the course of life.
Empty is the argument of the philosopher which does not relieve any human suffering.
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.
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.
Let no one delay the study of philosophy while young nor weary of it when old.
Both old and young alike ought to seek wisdom: the former in order that, as age comes over him, he may be young in good things because of the grace of what has been, and the latter in order that, while he is young, he may at the same time be old, because he has no fear of the things which are to come.
If a person fights the clear evidence of his senses, he will never be able to share in genuine tranquillity.
He who says either that the time for philosophy has not yet come or that it has passed is like someone who says that the time for happiness has not yet come or that it has passed.
If you wish to make Pythocles rich, do not add to his store of money, but subtract from his desires.
The fool’s life is empty of gratitude and full of fears; its course lies wholly toward the future.
It is not the pretended but the real pursuit of philosophy that is needed, for we do not need the appearance of good health but to enjoy it in truth.
Vain is the word of that philosopher which does not heal any suffering of man.
The most important consequence of self-sufficiency is freedom.
The man who says that all events are necessitated has no ground for critizing the man who says that not all events are necessitated. For according to him this is itself a necessitated event.
Epicurus Quotes on God and the Masses
It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself.
The time when most of you should withdraw into yourself is when you are forced to be in a crowd.
If God listened to the prayers of men, all men would quickly have perished: for they are forever praying for evil against one another.
Don’t fear the gods, don’t worry about death. What is good is easy to get, and what is terrible is easy to endure.
The opinions held by most people about the gods are not true conceptions of them but fallacious notions, according to which awful penalties are meted out to the evil and the greatest of blessings to the good.
The conquest of fear, especially fear of unaccountable divine beings who meddle in nature at will, means a reduction in the sum total of human pain and suffering and opens the door to the calm acceptance of a new picture of the world—a world in which nature is autonomous and where there are ideal beings who never meddle.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
Epicurus Quotes on Justice and Possessions
Justice… is a kind of compact not to harm or be harmed.
Contented poverty is an honorable estate.
Not what we have, but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance.
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.
Never say that I have taken it, only that I have given it back.
There is no such thing as justice in the abstract; it is merely a compact between men.
If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires.
The wealth required by nature is limited and is easy to procure, but the wealth required by vain ideals extends to infinity.
It is better for you to be free of fear lying upon a pallet than to have a golden couch and a rich table and be full of trouble.
The wise man who has become accustomed to necessities knows better how to share with others than how to take from them, so great a treasure of self-sufficiency has he found.
A free life cannot acquire many possessions, because this is not easy to do without servility to mobs or monarchs.
It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly. And it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life.
We must, therefore, pursue the things that make for happiness, seeing that when happiness is present, we have everything; but when it is absent, we do everything to possess it.
Men inflict injuries from hatred, jealousy or contempt, but the wise man masters all these passions by means of reason.
Interesting Facts about Epicurus
After these inspiring quotes, here are some interesting facts about Epicurus that may surprise you.
- Much of What We Know is Actually Wrong – Epicureanism is the name of the philosophy that is inspired by the teachings of Epicurus. We understand its’ meaning seeking out pleasure and then enjoying things to excess, as it can be drinking too much, eating too much, or having too much sex. However, Epicurus himself was actually a frugal and restrained person. A little bit of cheese once in a while was the most indulgent his tastes ever got.
- Three Letters Are All That’s Left – Much of the work of Epicurus has been lost. His On Nature, which contained 37 volumes, has not survived, although a number of fragments from it have been found among charred pieces of papyrus. It had been recovered from the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum, as it was destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79.
- He Influenced Recent Philosophy Too – Epicurus influenced other great minds, among them were Karl Marx, who decided to write his doctoral thesis on the differences between Epicurus’ and Democritus’ views of nature. Schopenhauer and Nietzsche also admired the views of Epicurus, and Nietzsche applauded the ability of Epicurus to remain cheerful even when he was in pain and ill.
- The Purpose of Philosophy – For Epicurus, philosophy had the purpose to attain a life that is happy, tranquil, characterized by attractions, peace and freedom from fear, and be absent of pain, and simply to live a self-sufficient life while being surrounded by friends.
- Allowing Women to Take Part in the Academy – Epicurus’ school became a notable institute for the progress of philosophical education. More than that, it was also the first philosophical Greek institute that allowed women to take part in academic endeavours.
For more profound and philosophical quotes, please visit our pages dedicated to Immanuel Kant quotes, Leo Tolstoy quotes, Franz Kafka quotes, and Osho quotes.