A new, public-domain translation of the Letter to Menoikos of Epicurus, including the original Greek text along with notes on the translation. Letter to Menoeceus By Epicurus. Translated by Robert Drew Hicks. Greeting. Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search. Letter to Menoeceus. Epicurll«1 (TranAated by Brad Inwo(Jd and L. R Geraon). Let no one delay the study of philosophy while young nor weary of it when old.

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It is not impious to deny the gods that most people believe in, but to ascribe to the gods what most people believe. Who, then, is superior in your judgment to such a man?

Letter to Menoikos

The Greek text is in the public domain. Plain fare gives as much pleasure as a costly diet, when once the pain of want has been removed, while bread and water confer the highest possible pleasure when they are epicurrus to hungry lips.

Menofceus licensing this translation under Creative Commons CC0I hereby release all legal and economic rights to this translation under all jurisdictions including but not limited to the rights to copy, republish, translate, arrange, modify, and make derivative works from this translationmenoeceud I grant anyone the right to use this translation without conditions for any purpose. It is not an unbroken succession of drinking-bouts and of merrymaking, not sexual love, not the enjoyment of the fish and other delicacies of a luxurious table, which produce a pleasant life; it is sober reasoning, epkcurus out the grounds of every choice and avoidance, and banishing those beliefs through which the greatest disturbances take possession of the soul.

For something that causes no trouble when present causes only a groundless pain when merely expected. Then, is the definition of necessary and necessary unique to each person?

Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus – PhilPapers

For man loses all semblance of mortality by living in the midst of immortal blessings. For the virtues have grown into one with a pleasant life, and a pleasant life is inseparable from them. Last updated Wednesday, December 17, at Of all this the beginning and the greatest good is menpeceus. Letter Legibility and Visual Word Recognition.

Such as food, water, oxygen, shelter. Instead, we pass up many pleasures when we will gain more of what we need from doing so.

Thus practical wisdom is more valuable than philosophy and is the source of every other excellence [ note ], teaching us that it is not possible to live joyously without also living wisely and beautifully and meboeceus, nor to live wpicurus and beautifully and rightly without living joyously. The group also said friendship makes getting necessities easier thus friendship helps pleasure and happiness.

Reflect on what brings happiness, because if you have that you have everything, but if not you will do everything to attain it.


This rendering is consistent with the connection that Epicurus makes between such desires and opinions that are not based on an understanding of the inborn requirements of human nature. Rocco Pezzimenti – – Ler. Stephen Hetherington – – The Journal of Ethics 17 Although I cannot provide complete justification for that expansion in a brief note, I shall do so in a forthcoming book on Epicurus.

And even as men choose of food ho merely and simply the larger portion, but the more pleasant, so the wise seek to enjoy the time which is most pleasant and not merely that which is longest. I have chosen “the standard of how that thing affects us” as a more neutral translation. Exercise yourself in these and kindred precepts day and night, both by yourself and with him who is like to you; then never, either in waking or in dream, will you be disturbed, but will live as a god among people.

For truly there are gods, and knowledge of them is evident; but they are not such as the multitude believe, seeing that people do not steadfastly maintain the notions they form respecting them. It is, however, by measuring one against another, and by looking at the conveniences and inconveniences, teat all these matters must be judged. Some translators understand epicuruss as applying to “the gods” from the previous sentence, with the sense that the gods would not interfere in human affairs because they don’t care about “consider as alien” mortal creatures who are so different from themselves.

Second, train yourself to hold that death is nothing to us, because good and evil consist in sensation, and death is the removal of sensation. For since they are at home with what is best about themselves, they accept that which is similar and consider alien that which is different. And of the necessary desires some are necessary if we are to be happy, some if the body is to be rid of uneasiness, some if we are even to live. Skrupskelis – – Transactions of the Charles S.

For he holds that we are responsible for what we achieve, even though some things happen by necessity, some by chance, epciurus some by our own power, because although necessity is not accountable he sees that chance is unstable whereas the things that are within our eplcurus have no other master, so that naturally praise and blame are inseparably connected to them.

Of those that are necessary, some are necessary for happiness, some for health, and some for life itself.

Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search of it when he has grown old. Oxygen would be the most necessary and then water, food, shelter and so on.

epicrus Not the man who denies the gods worshipped by the multitude, but he who affirms of the gods what the multitude believes about them is truly impious. First believe that God is a living being immortal and blessed, according to the notion of a god indicated by the common sense of mankind; and so believing, you shall not affirm of him anything that is foreign to his immortality or that is repugnant to his blessedness.


This is why we say that pleasure is the beginning and the end of a completely happy life. It is proper to make all these decisions through measuring things side by side and looking at both the advantages and disadvantages, for sometimes we treat a good thing as bad and a bad thing as good. Just as he does not choose leter greatest amount of food but the most pleasing food, so he savors not the longest time but the span of time that brings the greatest joy.

Much worse is he who says that it were good not to be born, but when once one is born to pass quickly through the gates of Hades.

Discussion summary on : Epicurus Letter to Menoeceus – Philosophy course site

Those things which without ceasing I have declared unto you, do them, and exercise yourself in them, holding them to be the elements of right life.

Arrighetti as published in Epicuro Opere Torino: Rein Gold – unknown. On Political and Economic Theology.

For if he truly believes this, why epkcurus he not depart from life? Sometimes we treat the good as an evil, and the evil, on the contrary, as a good. Thus we need pleasure only when we are in pain caused by its absence; but when we are not in pain then we have no need of pleasure. It is even worse to say that it is good to never have been born, or:.

Therefore, 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. Peirce Society 43 4: The wise person does not deprecate life nor does he fear the cessation of life.

Do not ascribe to god anything that is inconsistent with immortality and blissfulness; instead, believe about god everything that can support immortality and blissfulness. For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul. For gods there are: The one holds out some faint hope that we may escape if we honor the gods, while the necessity of the naturalists is deaf to all entreaties.