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EPICURUS,

disappeared, and philosophers endeavoured to estab­lish an internal freedom based upon ethical princi­ples, and to maintain it in spite of outward oppres­sion, no. less than to secure it against man's own passions and evil propensities. Perfect independ­ence, self reliance, and contentment, therefore, were regarded as the highest good and as the qualities which alone could make men happy, and as human happiness was with Epicurus the ultimate end of all philosophy, it was necessary for him to make ethics the most essential part, and as it were the centre of his whole philosophy. He had little esteem for logic and dialectics, but as he could not altogether do without them, he prefixed to his ethics a canon, or an introduction to ascertain the criterium which was to guide him in his search after truth and, in distinguishing good from evil. His criteria themselves were derived from sensuous perception combined with thought and reflection. We obtain our knowledge and form our concep­tions of things, according to him, through elfScoAa, i. e* images of things which are reflected from them, and pass through our senses into our minds. Such a theory is destructive of all absolute truth, and a mere momentary impression upon our senses or feelings is substituted for it. His ethical theory was based up6n .the dogma of the Cyrenaics, that pleasure constitutes the highest happiness, and must consequently be the end of all human exer­tions. Epicurus, however, developed and ennobled this theory in a manner which constitutes the peculiarity and real merit of his philosophy, and which gained for him so many friends and admirers both in antiquity and in modern times. Pleasure with him was not a mere momentary and transitory sensation, but he conceived it as something lasting and imperishable, consisting in pure and noble mental enjoyments, that is, in drapa^ia and dirovfa, or the freedom from pain and from all influences which disturb the peace of our mind, and thereby our happiness, which is the result of it. The summum bonum, according to him, consisted in this peace of mind; and the great problem of his ethics, therefore, was to shew how it was to be attained, and ethics was not only the principal branch of philosophy, but philosophy itself, -and the value and importance of all other kinds of knowledge Were estimated by the proportion in which they contributed towards that great object of human life, or in which they were connected with ethics. His peace of mind was based upon <}>p6vriffis9 which he described as the beginning of everything good, as the origin of all virtues, and which he himself therefore occasionally treated as the highest good itself. . .. .

, In the physical part of his philosophy, he fol­lowed the atomistic doctrines of Democritus and Diagoras. His views are well known from Lucre-tius's poem De Rerum Natura. It would, however, appear that sometimes. he misunderstood the views of his predecessors, and distorted them by introducing things which were quite foreign to them ; sometimes he appears even in contradiction with himself. The deficiencies are most striking in his views concerning the gods, which drew upon him the charge of atheism. His gods, like every­thing else, consisted of atoms, and our notions of them are based upon the e^coAa which are reflected from them and pass into our minds. They were and always had been in the enjoyment of perfect happiness, which had not been disturbed by the

EPICYDES. 35

laborious business of creating the world; arid as the government of the world would interfere with their happiness, he conceived the gods as exercising no influence whatever upon the world or man.

The number of pupils of Epicurus who propa­gated his doctrines, was extremely great; but his philosophy received no farther development at their hands, except perhaps that in subsequent times his lofty notion of pleasure and happiness was reduced to that of material and sensual plea­sure. His immediate disciples adopted and followed his doctrines with the most scrupulous conscien­tiousness : they were attached and devoted to their master in a manner which has rarely been equalled either in ancient or modern times: their esteem, love, and veneration for him almost bordered upon worship; they are said to have committed his works to memory; they had his portrait engraved upon rings and drinking vessels, and celebrated his birthday every year. Athens honoured him with bronze statues. But notwithstanding the extraordinary devotion of his pupils and friends, whose number, says Diogenes, exceeded that of the population of whole towns, there is no philoso­pher in antiquity who has been so violently at­tacked, and whose ethical doctrines have been so much mistaken and misunderstood, as Epicurus. The cause of this singular phaenomenon was partly a superficial knowledge of his philosophy, of which Cicero, for example, is guilty to a very great extent, and partly also the conduct of men who called themselves Epicureans, and, taking advantage of the facility with which his ethical theory was made the handmaid of a sensual and debauched- life, gave themselves up to the enjoyment of sensual plea^-sures^ At Rome, and during the time of Roman ascendancy in the ancient world, the philosophy of Epicurus never took any firm root; and it is" theri and there that, owing to the paramount influence of the Stoic philosophy, we meet with the bit­terest antagonists of Epicurus. The disputes for and against his philosophy, however, are not confined to antiquity; they were renewed at the time of the revival of letters, and are continued to the present day. The number of works that have,been written upon Epicurus and his philoso­phy is prodigious (Fabric. BibL Graec. vol. iii. p. 584, &c.); we pass over the many histories of Greek philosophy, and mention only the inOst important works of which Epicurus is the special subject. Peter Gassendi, de Vita et Moribus Epi-curi commentarim libris octo constans, Lugdun. 1647, and Hag. Comit. 1656, 4to.; Gassendi, Syntagma Philosophiae Epieuriy Hag. Comit. 1659, 4to., London, 1668, 12mo.$ Amsterdam, 1684; J; Rondel, La Vie d"1 Epicure, Paris, 1679, 12m0.y La Haye, 1686, 12mo.; a Latin translation of this work appeared at Amsterdam $ 1693, 12mo., and an English one by Digby, London, 1712, 8vo.; Batteux, jLa Morale tPEpicure, Paris, 1758, 8vo.; Bremer, Versucli einer Apologie des Epicur^ Berlin, 1776, 8vo.; Warriekros, Apologie und Leben Epi-curs, Greifswald, 1795, 8vo.; and especially Stein-hart in Ersch u. Gruher, Allgem. Encyclop. Vol. xxxv. p. 459, &c.

Diogenes Laertius (x. 26) mentions three other persons of the name of Epicurus, and Menage on that passage points out three more; but all of them are persons concerning whom nothing is known. [L. S.j

EPICYDES (5E7Ti/cJ8»7s). 1. A Syracusan by-

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