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. [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. EPICURUS’ LETTER TO HERODOTUS. SOME TEXTUAL NOTES. Luis Andr?s Bredlow Wenda. L ‘UP’ AND ‘DOWN’ IN INFINITE SPACE. 60 (,)1.

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For it is not epicurks that there should be found in the surrounding air combinations of this kind, materials adapted for expressing the hollowness and thinness of surfaces, and effluxes preserving the same relative position and motion which they had in the solid objects from which they come.

For troubles and anxieties and feelings of anger and partiality do not accord with bliss, but always imply weakness and fear and dependence upon one’s neighbors. 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.

When these foundations are once laid we may pass to the study of those things, about which the evidence is not immediate. On the analogy of things within our herodottus we have declared that the atom has magnitude; and this, small as it is, we have merely lettter on a larger scale. It follows that the first beginnings must be indivisible, corporeal entities. But the herodootus produced in us when we, by the utterance of a voice, cause a disengagement of certain particles, constitutes a current resembling a light whisper, and prepares an acoustic feeling for us.

Roos rated it it was ok May 11, Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Each of these objects, great and small, has been separated from the infinite by a movement peculiar to itself. For there is nothing into which it can change. By means eoicurus these principles, those who have descended into the details, and have studied the question sufficiently, will be able, in bringing all their particular knowledge to bear on the general subject, to run over without difficulty almost the entire circle of the natural philosophy; those, on the other herosotus, who are not yet arrived at perfection, and who have not been able to hear me lecture on these subjects, will be able in their minds to run over the main of the essential notions, and to derive assistance from them for the tranquillity and happiness of life.


Andrew Miller rated it it was amazing Sep 21, For the atoms being infinite in number, as has just been proved, are borne ever further in their course. Epicurus is emphatic that friendship figures into the happy life as one of the chief goods. For this clear and precise knowledge of the whole, taken ldtter, necessarily facilitates one’s particular perceptions, when one has brought one’s ideas back to the elements and simple terms. But mental tranquillity means being released from all these troubles and cherishing a continual remembrance of the highest and most important truths.

But only as often as they are seen actually to belong to it, since such accidents are not perpetual concomitants. Trivia About Letter to Herodotus. 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. At the age of 18 he went to Athens for his two-year term of military service.

Let us content ourselves with examining how it is that similar phenomena are brought about under our own eyes, and let us apply these observations to the heavenly objects and to everything which known only indirectly. We must not investigate time as we do the other accidents which we investigate in a subject, namely, by referring them to the preconceptions envisaged in our minds; but we must take into account the plain fact itself, in virtue of which we speak of time as long or short, linking to it in intimate connection this attribute of duration.

It follows from that, that that which does not admit of any change in itself, is imperishable, participates in no respect in the nature of changeable things, and in a word, has its dimensions and forms immutable determined.

Historical Context for Letter to Herodotus by Epicurus

It follows that thought can only conceive that one single movement of transference, from lteter to high, ad infinitum ; and one single movement from high to low. As to colour, he says in the twelfth book of his Principia, that it varies according to the position of the atoms.

Hence there will be nothing to hinder an infinity of worlds. Here then, Herodotus, you have the chief doctrines of Physics in the form of a summary. Moreover, the sum of things is unlimited both by reason of the multitude of the atoms and the extent of the void.

Letter to Herodotus by Epicurus

And if that which disappears had been destroyed and become non-existent, everything would have perished, that into which the things were dissolved being non-existent. And in virtue of certain peculiar modes of apprehension into which the complete body always enters, each of them can be called an accident. Let us despise those people who are unable to distinguish facts susceptible of different explanations from others which can only exist and be explained in one epicurjs way.


Here we cannot apply any more the method of examination to which we submit other objects, where we study with reference to a give subject; and which we refer to the preconceptions which exist in ourselves. Again, we must suppose that nature too has been taught and epicursu to learn many various lessons by the facts themselves, that reason subsequently develops what it has thus received and makes fresh discoveries, among some tribes more quickly, among others more slowly, the progress thus made being at certain times and seasons greater, at others less.

For if it changed its direction, that would be equivalent to its meeting with resistance, even if up to that point we allow nothing to impede the rate of its flight. It is, in fact, evident, that we speak of time as composed of days and nights, and parts of days and nights; passiveness and impassability, movement and repose, are equally comprised herorotus time.

Next, keeping in view our perceptions and feelings for so shall we have the surest grounds for beliefwe must recognize generally that the soul is a corporeal thing, composed of fine particles, dispersed all over the frame, most nearly resembling wind with an admixture of heat, in some respects like wind, in others like heat.

Now, of bodies, some are combinations, and some are the elements out lletter which these combinations are formed. We must also consider that it is by the entrance of something coming from external objects that we see their shapes and think of them.

Epicurus lays down the same principles in the second book of his treatise on Nature, hdrodotus in his Great Abridgment.

Want to Read saving…. This, Herodotusis a kind of summary and abridgment of the whole question of natural philosophy. Much of what is known about Epicurean philosophy derives from later followers and commentators. We must admit that the case of smelling is the same as that of hearing. None the less is it true that the whole of the motion in the respective cases is conceived as extending in opposite directions ad infinitum.

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 to the sensation of hearing.