With today’s release of the Letter to Pythocles, I have now completed these “ Elemental Editions” of each of Epicurus’ three letters from Diogenes Laertius, plus a. The Letter to Pythocles. CLEON brought me a letter from you in which you continue to express a kindly feeling towards me, which is a just return for my interest in. The Letter to Pythocles is a treatment of phenomena of the sky. It is possibly one of the few fully extant writings of Epicurus — the second of three.

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It tto also happen that the light vapours reunite and become condensed under the form of clouds, that they then take fire in consequence of their rotary motion, and that, epucurus the obstacles which surround them, they proceed towards the places whither the force by which they are animated drags them.

The sun and moon and the stars generally were not of independent origin and later absorbed, within our world, [such parts of it at least as serve at all for its defense]; but they at once began epocurus take form and grow [and so too did earth and sea] by the accretions and whirling motions of certain substances of finest texture, of the nature either of wind or fire, or of both; for thus sense itself suggests. This translation is by C. Or even because such a whirling motion was from the first inherent in these stars so that they move in a sort of spiral.

Epicurus, Letter to Pythocles

Therefore, the most formidable of evils, death, is nothing to us, since, when we exist, death is not present to us; and when death is present, then we have no existence. But he considers the pains of the soul the worst; for that the flesh is only sensible to present affliction, but the soul feels the past, the present, and the future. They do not think that the wise man will ever be in love, nor that he will be anxious about his burial, nor that love is a passion inspired by the gods, as Diogenes says in his twelfth book.

It may arise from the fact of the winds meeting in places which are too dense, in consequence of the accumulation of clouds, and then a portion of the current detaches itself and proceeds towards the lower situations; or else it may be caused by the fire which is contained in the bosom of the clouds precipitating itself downwards.

In the same way, when in consequence of new circumstances, a thing which has been pronounced just does not any longer appear to agree with utility, the thing which was just, inasmuch as it was useful to the social relations and intercourse of mankind, ceases to be just the moment when it ceases to be useful. However, we must observe each fact as presented, and further separate from it all the facts presented along with it, the occurrence of which from various causes is not contradicted by facts within our experience.

The wise man is the only epicufus who can converse correctly about music and poetry, but he will not actively compose poems. For all such explanations and the like do Dot conflict with any clear evidence, if only in such details we hold fast to what is possible, and can bring each of these explanations into accord with the facts, unmoved by the servile artifices of the astronomers.

For to study these subjects together will easily enable you to understand the causes of the particular phenomena. Perhaps also, this may be caused by the fact, that except in the route in which they move, and in eppicurus we perceive them, they do not find any material suitable to their nature. History of Western Philosophy. But they are not of the character which people in general attribute to them; for they do not pay a respect to them which accords with the ideas that they entertain of them.


Diogenes Laertius : Principal Doctrines of Epicurus

Letter Legibility and Visual Word Recognition. When these questions are once resolved, all particular difficulties will epidurus made plain to you. Ice is formed epicueus the expulsion from the water of the circular, and the compression of the scalene and acute-angled atoms contained in it; further by the accretion of such atoms from without, which being driven together cause the water to solidify after the expulsion of a certain number of round atoms.

In short, this phenomenon also may admit a great number of explanations. Subsequently, these vapours become condensed in epicurhs progress under the action of the cold which surrounds the clouds in the lower regions. Nor will he become a Cynic as he says in his second book about Livesnor a beggar. Moreover there are several other ways in which this might be brought about, as may be seen by anyone capable of reasoning in accordance with the facts.

Letter to Pythocles

The thunderbolt may be produced either by a violent condensation of the winds, or by their rapid motion and conflagrations. Certain stars may revolve without setting not only for the reason alleged by some, because this is the part of the world round which, itself unmoved, the rest revolves, but it may also be because a circular eddy of air surrounds this part, which prevents them from traveling out of sight like other stars or because there is a dearth of necessary fuel farther on, while there is abundance in that part where they are seen to be.

It is possible that the heavenly phenomena may present some apparent characteristics which appear to assimilate them to those phenomena which we see taking place around ourselves, without there being epicursu real analogy at the bottom.

The wanderings of certain stars, if such wandering is their actual motion, and epjcurus regular movement of certain other stars, may be accounted lerter by saying that they originally moved in a circle and were constrained, some of them to be whirled round with the same uniform rotation and others with a whirling motion which varied; but it may also be that wpicurus to the diversity of the regions traversed in some places there are uniform tracts of air, forcing them forward in one direction and burning uniformly, in others these tracts present such irregularities 4s cause the motions observed.

The rainbow may be produced by the reflection of the solar rays on the moist air; or it may arise from a particular property of light and air, in virtue of which these epocurus appearances of colour are formed, either because the shades which we perceive result directly from this property, or because, on the contrary, it only produces a single shade, which, reflecting itself on the nearest portion of the air, communicates to them the tints which we observe.

But to lay down as assured a single explanation of these phenomena is worthy of those who seek to dazzle the multitude with marvels.

To assign a single cause for these effects when the facts suggest several causes is madness and a strange inconsistency; yet it is done by adherents of rash astronomy, who assign meaningless causes for the stars whenever they persist in saddling the divinity with burdensome tasks.

The wise man will not be subject to grief, as Diogenes says, in the fifth book of his Select Opinions; [a] he will also not object to go to law. Many others besides you will find these reasonings useful, and especially those who have but recently made acquaintance with the true story of nature and those who are attached to pursuits which go deeper than any part of ordinary education.

But long diseases have in them more that is pleasant than painful to the flesh. Nor will he ever indulge in drunkenness, says Epicurus, in his Banquet, nor will he entangle himself in affairs of state as he says in his first book on Lives.

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A Friendly Letter of Complaint. Request removal from index. For when the clouds rub against each other and collide, that collocation of atoms which is the cause of fire generates lightning; or it may be due to the flashing forth from the clouds, by reason of winds, of particles capable of producing this brightness; or else it is squeezed out of the clouds when they have been condensed either by their own action or by that of the winds; or again, the light diffused from the stars may be enclosed in the clouds, then driven about by their motion and by that of the winds, and finally make its escape from the clouds; or light of the finest texture may be filtered through the clouds whereby the clouds may eicurus set on fire and thunder producedand the motion letted this light may make lightning; or it may arise from the combustion of wind brought about by the violence of its motion and the intensity of its compression; or, when the clouds are rent asunder by winds, and the pythoclee which generate fire are expelled, these likewise cause lightning to appear.


He, however, admits both kinds to be pleasure, namely, that of the soul, and that of the body, as he says in his treatise on Choice and Avoidance; and also in his work on the Chief Good; and in the first book of his treatise on Lives, and in his Letter against the Mytilenian Philosophers.

For so too fires of which we have experience are seen by sense when we see them at a distance. Kevin Pyhocles – unknown. Book 10 contains the life and doctrines of Epicurus. It is also possible, that the same necessity which has originally given them their circular movement, may have compelled some to follow their orbit regularly, and have subjected others to an irregular process; we may also suppose that the uniform character of the centre which certain stars leetter favours their regular march, and their return to a certain point; and that in the case of others, on the contrary, the lythocles of the centre epicufus the changes which we observe.

For such folly as this would not epicirus the most ordinary being if ever so little enlightened, much less one who enjoys perfect felicity. Above all, apply yourself to the study of general principles, of the infinite, and of questions of this kind, and to the investigation of the different criteria and of the passions, and to the study of the chief good, with a view to which we prosecute all our pythocle. That the wise man will only feel gratitude to his friends, but to them equally whether they are present or absent.

Letter to Pythocles – Epicurus Wiki

He said that injuries existed among men, either in consequence of hatred, or of envy, or of contempt, all which pythoxles wise man overcomes by Reason. Above all things let us beware of making the Deity interpose here, for that being we ought to suppose exempt from all toil and perfectly happy; otherwise we ypthocles be only giving vain explanations of the heavenly phenomena, as pythoclws happened already to a crowd of authors.

For, say you, what I have written on this subject in my other works is difficult to recollect, even with continual study. It is no concern then either of the living or of the dead; since to the one it has no existence, and the other class has no existence itself.

You devote all your care, you tell me, to engraving in your memory those ideas which contribute to the happiness of life; and you entreat me at the same time to send you a simple abridgment ltter abstract of my ideas on the heavenly phenomena, in order that you may without difficulty preserve the recollection of them.