"Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers" by Diogenes Laertius - Epicureanism | Epic Swerve

"Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers" by Diogenes Laertius

Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laertius (circa 300AD) is a biography of major Greek philosophers, including Book 10 on Epicurus. Contained within are:

  • A letter from Epicurus to Herodotus entitled “A Summary of Physical Nature”
  • A letter from Epicurus to Pythocles entitled “A Summary of Phenomena of the Sky”
  • A letter from Epicurus to Menoeceus entitled How to Live a Happy Life
  • The last will of Epicurus, outlining his final thoughts and disposition of his assets (and care of the children)
  • The Principle Doctrines

Diogenes was at least a fan of Epicurus, if not an Epicurean. Regarding Epicurus, Diogenes writes:

“our philosopher has abundance of witnesses to attest his unsurpassed goodwill to all men – his native land, which honoured him with statues in bronze; his friends, so many in number that they could hardly be counted by whole cities … the School itself which, while nearly all the others have died out, continues for ever without interruption through numberless reigns of one scholarch after another; his gratitude to his parents, his generosity to his brothers, his gentleness to his servants … and in general, his benevolence to all mankind.”

You can read the entire text of Book X on Wikisource1.

You can read more about the book here on Wikipedia2.

1 Lives of the Eminent Philosophers/Book X, https://en.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=Lives_of_the_Eminent_Philosophers/Book_X&oldid=9192237 (last visited Jan. 6, 2022).

2 Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lives_and_Opinions_of_Eminent_Philosophers&oldid=1027395060 (last visited Jan. 6, 2022).



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