Ancient Testimonia about Epicurus

translated by Peter Saint-Andre (in progress)

Last Updated: 2018-01-06


The testimonia are Greek paraphrases or Latin translations of the thoughts of Epicurus as found in ancient authors. The numbering follows that of Hermann Usener in his 1887 volume Epicurea.


  English Translation Greek or Latin Original [note]
188. Vides Epicurum quantopere non tantum eruditiores, sed haec quoque imperitorum turba miretur. Hic ignotus ipsis Athenis fuit, circa quas delituerat. Multis itaque iam annis Metrodoro suo superstes in quadam epistula, cum amicitiam suam et Metrodori grata commemoratione cecinisset, hoc novissime adiecit, nihil sibi et Metrodoro inter bona tanta nocuisse, quod ipsos illa nobilis Graecia non ignotos solum habuisset, sed paene inauditos.
192. Quosdam ait Epicurus ad veritatem sine ullius adiutorio exisse, fecisse sibi ipsos viam. Hos maxime laudat, quibus ex se impetus fuit, qui se ipsi protulerunt. Quosdam indigere ope aliena, non ituros, si nemo praecesserit, sed bene secuturos.
199. To achieve true freedom, you must be a slave to philosophy. Philosophiae servias oportet, ut tibi contingat vera libertas.
201. If you live according to nature, you will never be poor; if you live according to opinion, you will never be rich. Si ad naturam vives, numquam eris pauper; si ad opiniones, numquam eris dives.
205. Think upon death. Meditare mortem.
206. Believe me, your words will make a greater impression if you sleep on a cot and wear worn-out clothes. For then you will not merely say them, but prove them. Magnificentior, mihi crede, sermo tuus in grabato videbitur et in panno. Non enim dicentur tantum illa, sed probabuntur.
208. I write this not for the crowd but for you alone; each of us is a large enough audience for the other. Haec ego non multis, sed tibi; satis enim magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus.
209. Take special care to withdraw into yourself when you are thrown into a crowd. Tunc praecipue in te ipse secede, cum esse cogeris in turba.
210. We prize some worthy person and keep him always before our eyes, living as though he were watching us and doing everything as if he could see us. Aliquis vir bonus nobis diligendus est ac semper ante oculos habendus, ut sic tamquam illo spectante vivamus et omnia tamquam illo vidente faciamus.
211. Do everything as if Epicurus were watching. Sic fac omnia, tamquam spectet Epicurus.
222.
374.
413.
475. A joyous poverty is a noble thing. Honesta res est laeta paupertas.
477. Poverty in accord with the law of nature is wealth. Divitiae sunt ad legem naturae composita paupertas.
484. Uncontrolled anger begets madness. Immodica ira gignit insaniam.
491. A fool's life is unpleasant and confused; it is always something yet to be. Stulta vita ingrata est et trepida; tota in futurum fertur.
493. They live poorly, who are always merely preparing to live. Male vivunt, qui semper vivere incipiunt.
494. Among other faults he also has this folly: he is always merely preparing to live. Inter cetera mala hoc quoque habet stultitia: semper incipit vivere.
495. Everyone goes out of life just as they came into it. Nemo non ita exit e vita, tamquam modo intraverit.
496. It's absurd to rush toward death because of disgust with life, when it's the kind of life you lead that causes you to rush toward death. Ridiculum est currere ad mortem taedio vitae, cum genere vitae, ut currendum ad mortem esset, effeceris.
498. It's absurd to seek the peace of death, when your fear of death is what makes your life bereft of peace. Quid tam ridiculum quam adpetere mortem, cum vitam inquietam tibi feceris metu mortis ?
503. Primum sperare se nullum dolorem esse in illo extremo anhelitu; si tamen esset, habere aliquantum in ipsa brevitate solacii. Nullum enim dolorem longum esse, qui magnus est. Ceterum succursurum sibi etiam in ipsa distractione animi corporisque, si cum cruciatu id fieret, post illum dolorem se dolere non posse. Non dubitare autem se, quin senilis anima in primis labris esset nec magna vi distraheretur a corpore.
522. Knowledge of error is the beginning of health. Initium est salutis notitia peccati.
542. Choose who you will eat and drink with before you choose what you will eat and drink; for feasting without a friend is like the life of a lion or a wolf. Ante circumspiciendum est, cum quibus edas et bibas, quam quid edas et bibas. Nam sine amico visceratio leonis ac lupi vita est.
602.

Translator's Notes

[0] The English translation is provided under Creative Commons CC0 (for details, refer to the Publisher's Note). The Greek and Latin text is in the public domain. The text provided here generally follows that of Hermann Usener as published in his Epicurea (1887), with some attention paid to the texts of G. Arrighetti as published in Epicuro Opere (Torino: Giulio Einaudi Editore, 1960) and of A.A. Long and D.N. Sedley as published in Volume 2 of The Hellenistic Philosophers (Cambridge University Press, 1987).


Publisher's Note

The Greek and Latin text provided here is in the public domain.

The translator has provided the following statement regarding the copyright of his translation:

I, Peter Saint-Andre, made this translation of the ancient testimonia about Epicurus from Greek and Latin into English in the year 2018. By licensing this translation under Creative Commons CC0, I hereby release all legal and economic rights to this translation under all jurisdictions (including but not limited to the rights to copy, republish, translate, arrange, modify, and make derivative works from this translation), and I grant anyone the right to use this translation without conditions for any purpose. My intent is that this translation shall be free from all claims of copyright and therefore shall pass directly into the public domain.


Paragraphs

188 | 192 | 199 | 201 | 205 | 206 | 208 | 209 | 210 | 211 | 222 | 374 | 413 | 475 | 477 | 484 | 491 | 493 | 494 | 495 | 496 | 498 | 503 | 522 | 542



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