[Latest Updated MP3 Version here] [Vimeo Edition]Of all the original texts that are available from the ancient world, Epicurus’ Letter to Herodotus preserved by. Letter to Herodotus has 52 ratings and 1 review. Epicurus summarizes the key doctrines from “On Nature” (of which only a few fragments have been recovere. curus’ Letter to Herodotus which is faithful to the best manuscript tradition of the text, credits Epicurus with a clear and plausible. (though lamentably fallacious).

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Only the gods are immortal, says Epicurus, but we are not. In the next place the exceeding thinness of the images is contradicted by none of the facts under our observation.

Historical Context for Letter to Herodotus by Epicurus

We need not adopt any fresh terms as preferable, but should employ the usual expressions about it. For by studying them we shall rightly trace to its cause and banish the source of disturbance and dread, accounting for celestial phenomena and for all other things which from time to time befall us and cause the utmost alarm to the rest of mankind. But only as often as they are seen actually to belong to it, since such accidents are not perpetual concomitants.

No further proof is required: In the first place, Herodotus, you must understand what it is that words denote, in order that by reference to this we may be in a position to test opinions, inquiries, or problems, so that our proofs may not run on untested ad infinitumnor the terms we use be empty of meaning.

There would be no sense of smell if there did not emanate from most objects certain particles capable of producing an impression on the sense of smell.

Pace Socrates and Plato, even the soul is not immortal: What do I say? Moreover, shapes and colors, magnitudes and weights, and in short all those qualities which are predicated of body, in so far as they are perpetual properties either of all bodies or of visible bodies, are knowable by sensation of these very properties: This is an elementary fact which in itself is well worth bearing in mind.


We must not fancy either that these globes of fire, which roll on in space, enjoy epcurus perfect happiness, and give hefodotus, with reflection and wisdom, the motions which they possess.

For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterized by aponiathe absence of pain and fear, and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. Anita Tahiri rated it liked it Dec 03, On the other hand, all these bodies will be successively destroyed, some more, and others less rapidly; some under the influence of one cause, and others because of the agency of some other.

Diogenes Laertius: Letter of Epicurus to Herodotus

Goodreads helps you keep track of books heerodotus want to read. For particles are continually streaming off from the surface of bodies, though no diminution of the bodies is observed, because other particles take their place.

Jaad Benhallam rated it liked it Apr 06, He will personally discover a great number of truths which I have myself set forth in my entire work; and these truths being stored in his memory, will be a constant assistance to him. The rest of the body, on the other hand, even when it remains, either as a whole, or in any part, loses all feeling by the dispersion of that aggregate of atoms, whatever it may be, that forms the soul. For the atoms out of which a world might arise, or by which a world might be formed, have not all been expended on one epicuus or a finite number of worlds, whether like or unlike this one.

Epicurus would often deny this influence, denounce other philosophers as confused, and claim to be “self-taught”.


Further, we must keep in mind that soul has the greatest share in causing sensation. According to Epicurean cosmology, no Prime Mover nor a teleology governing the movement of matter: Marcus Levine rated it liked it Dec 18, But, as it is, both these properties, you see, plainly belong to soul. There is the further point to be considered, what the incorporeal can be, if, I mean, according to current usage the term is applied to what can be conceived as self-existent. The blow which is struck in us when we utter a sound causes such a displacement of the particles as serves to produce a current resembling breath, and this displacement gives rise herootus the sensation of hearing.

May 02, Matt Thomas rated it liked it.

Historical Context for Letter to Herodotus by Epicurus | The Core Curriculum

If, then, we know that such a phenomenon can be brought about in the same manner as another given phenomenon of the same character which does not inspire us with any apprehension; and if, on the other hand, we know that it can take place in many different manners, we shall not be more epicurue at sight of it than if we know the real cause of it.

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. The direct production of images in space is equally instantaneous, because these images are only light substances destitute of depth. Open Preview See a Problem? At the herodotud time, an atom has not, in any moment perceptible to the intelligence, a continued movement in the same direction; but rather a series of oscillating movements from which there herodotue, in the last analysis, a continued movement perceptible to the senses.