Epicurus (341-270 BC)

was a Greek philosopher born on the island of Sámos of an Athenian family, and privately educated by his father, a schoolteacher, and by various philosophers. At the age of 18 he went to Athens to perform military service. After a brief stay he joined (322) his father in Colophon, where he began teaching.

Epicurus founded a philosophical school in Mitilíni on the island of Lésvos about 311, and two or three years later he became head of a school in Lampsacus (now Lâpseki, Turkey). Returning to Athens in 306, he settled there permanently and taught his doctrines to a devoted body of followers. Because instruction took place in the garden of Epicurus's home, his followers were known as "philosophers of the garden."

Both women and men frequented his garden, and this occasioned much gossip about the alleged activities there. Students from all over Greece and Asia Minor flocked to Epicurus's school, attracted as much by his charm as by his intellect.

Epicurus was a prolific author. According to the account of his life by the 3rd-century AD historian and biographer Diogenes Laërtius, he left 300 manuscripts, including 37 treatises on physics and numerous works on love, justice, the gods, and other subjects. Of his writings, only three letters and a number of short fragments survive, preserved in Diogenes Laërtius's biography. The principal additional sources of information about the doctrines of Epicurus are the works of the Roman writers Cicero, Seneca, Plutarch, and Lucretius, whose poem De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) delineates the Epicurean philosophy.

Also see the Sovran Maxims: Index

Source: http://www.epicureans.org