Who was Epicurus?

Epicurus (c.341-271 B.C) is one of the major philosophers in the Hellenistic period, the three centuries following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC (and of Aristotle in 322 BC).

Epicurus was born in Samos and studied philosophy under the followers of Democritus and Plato. He founded his first philosophical school in Mytilene and Lampsacus before moving to Athens around 306 BCE. There he founded the Garden, a combination of philosophical community and school. The residents of the Garden, people from all walks of life, including women, put Epicurian teachings into practice. Epicurus died from kidney stones around 271 or 270 BC.

Anxious to eliminate all competition, the early Christians branded Epicureanism “self-indulgent hedonism and godlessness”, and shamelessly misrepresented what Epicurus and his followers actually said.

Epicureanism stands for moderation, enjoyment of life, tranquility, friendship and lack of fear. He also believed that the world was made up of atoms. It was only at the beginning of the 20th Century that Einstein finally persuaded the scientific community that atoms did indeed exist.