[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. 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. curus’ Letter to Herodotus which is faithful to the best manuscript tradition of the text, credits Epicurus with a clear and plausible. (though lamentably fallacious).

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For if it were so, it could neither act nor be acted upon. The same principles are laid down in the first, and fourteenth, and letetr book of the treatise on Nature; and also in the Great Abridgment.

For it is utterly impossible that the voice should act in this manner on the air. We must chiefly reflect upon that to which we attach this peculiar character of time, and by which we measure it.

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Epicurus – Letter to Herodotus

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. Further, we must hold that to arrive at accurate knowledge of epicuris cause of things of most moment is the business of natural science, and that happiness depends on this viz.

Not that, if we consider the minute times perceptible by reason alone, the moving body itself arrives at herpdotus than one place simultaneously for this too is inconceivablealthough in time perceptible to sense it does arrive simultaneously, however different the point of departure from that conceived by us.

Roos rated it it was ok May 11, But to attribute any and every magnitude to the atoms does not help to explain lefter differences of quality in things; moreover, in that case atoms large enough to be seen ought to have reached us, which is never observed to occur; nor can we conceive how its occurrence should be possible, in other words that an atom should become visible. Hence, so long as the soul is in the body, it never loses sentience through the removal of some other part.

But we must respect the established notions on this subject, provided, nevertheless, that they do not all contradict the respect due to truth; for nothing is more calculated to trouble the soul than this strife of contradictory notions and principles.

When then, in virtue of these common characteristics, and of this resemblance, we wish to form an idea of the smallest particle perceptible by the senses, in taking the objects which change, for our terms of comparison, it is necessary that we should seize on some characteristic common to these different objects.

Historical Context for Letter to Herodotus by Epicurus

And further, we must not suppose that the worlds have necessarily one and the ti shape. Book 10 contains the life and doctrines of Epicurus. For there is nothing into which it can change. Still, it would not have had sensation, had it not been somehow confined within the rest of the frame.

So that, if this statement be accurately retained and take effect, a man will, I make no doubt, be incomparably better equipped than his fellows, even if he should never go into all the exact details. For this clear and precise knowledge of the whole, taken together, necessarily facilitates one’s particular perceptions, when one has brought one’s ideas back to the elements and simple terms. The solidity which they possess causes them, while knocking against one another, to re-act the one upon the other; till at last the repeated shocks bring on the dissolution of the combined body; and for all this there is no external heroditus, the atoms and the void being the only causes.


We must recognize that this analogy also holds of the minimum in the atom; it is only in minuteness that legter differs from that which is observed by sense, but it follows the same analogy. For the atoms out of which a world might arise, or by which a world might be formed, have not all been expended on one world or a finite number of worlds, whether like or unlike this one.

But the rest of the frame, though it provides this indispensable conditions for the soul, itself also has a share, derived from the soul, of the said quality; and yet does not possess all the qualities of soul. This phenomenon, on the contrary, is perfectly explained, if we admit that certain images of the same colour, of the same shape, and of a proportionate magnitude pass from these objects to us, and so arrive at being seen and comprehended.

This is because each atom is separated from heordotus rest by void, which is incapable of offering any resistance to the rebound; while it is the solidity of the atom which makes it rebound after a collision, however short the distance to which it rebounds, when it finds itself imprisoned in a mass of entangling atoms. Therefore we must not suppose that the air itself is molded into shape by the voice epicuruw or something similar; for it is very far from being the case that the air is acted upon by it in this way.

But it is not possible that these minima of the atom should group themselves together through the possession of motion.

Click on the G symbols to go to the Greek text for each section. Error would not epicufus occurred, if we had not experienced some other movement in ourselves, conjoined with, but distinct from, the perception of what is presented. It follows, therefore, as a matter of absolute necessity, that the principles of things must be corporeal, indivisible elements.

This is an elementary fact which in itself is well worth bearing in mind. To begin with, nothing comes into being out of what is non-existent For in that case anything would have arisen out of anything, standing as it would in no need of its proper germs. But the rest of the frame, whether the whole of it survives or only a part, no longer has sensation, when once those atoms have departed, which, however few in number, are required to constitute the nature of soul.

Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus

We must also note carefully the impressions which we receive in the presence of objects, in order to bring ourselves back to that point in the circumstances in which it is necessary to suspend the judgment, or even when the question is about things, the evidence of which is not immediately perceived.


These heavenly phenomena admit of several explanations; they have no reason of a necessary epicjrus, and one may explain them in different manners.

Open Preview See a Problem? Subsequently whole tribes adopted their own special names, ti order that their communications might be less ambiguous to each other and more briefly expressed. In fact, we see these minima one after another, beginning with the first, and not as occupying letteg same space; nor do we see them touch one another’s parts with their parts, but we see that by virtue of their own peculiar character as being unit indivisibles they afford a means of measuring magnitudes: 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.

Michael Lloyd-Billington rated it really liked it Apr 27, In fact, if one only looks at the continued movement of an atom which takes place in herodltus indivisible moment of time, the briefest possible, they all have a movement equally rapid. And, first of all, we must admit that nothing can come of that which does not exist; for, were the fact otherwise, then everything would be produced from everything, herdotus there would be no need of any seed.

Matthew heroodtus it it was ok Feb 07, Further, we must keep in mind that soul has the greatest share in causing sensation. Why, on the other hand, should the small atoms have a rapidity superior to that of the large ones, since both the one and the other find everywhere an easy passage, from the very moment that no obstacle intervenes to thwart their movements?

He will personally discover a great number of truths which I have myself set forth in my entire work; and these truths being stored in his memory, will be a constant assistance to him.

There is no need to banish from reality this clear evidence that the accident has not the nature of that whole—by us called body—to which it belongs, nor of the permanent properties which accompany the whole. Hence there will be nothing gerodotus hinder an infinity of epkcurus.

Diogenes Laertius : The Letter of Epicurus to Herodotus

Hence, since such lettdr course is of service to all who take up natural science, I, who devote to the subject my continuous energy and reap the calm enjoyment of a life like this, have prepared for you just such an epitome and manual of the doctrines as a whole. Rees rated it it was amazing Aug 14, This remark applies particularly to the earth.

There exists in it a special part, endowed with an extreme mobility, in consequence of the exceeding slightness of the elements which compose it, and also in reference to its more immediate sympathy with the rest of the body.

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