In the 3rd century B.C. Epicurus became renowned for developing a system of moral and social philosophy which was popular during ancient times. Epicureanism underwent a resurgence among intellectuals, scholars and Christian believers during the Enlightenment era.
A prodigious author during his lifetime, tragically most of the works Epicurus wrote are lost, with only a handful of texts remaining extant for study in the present day. Epicurus advocated a peaceful existence defined by modest living; cultivation of inner peace and fearlessness; surrounding oneself in personal tranquility with worthy friends and family members as good company; and the observation of justice.
The Principal Doctrines list forty core beliefs of Epicureanism; each tenet ranges between a single sentence and a single paragraph in length, and explains or instructs a given subject from the Epicurean point of view. Personal conduct and concepts such as just laws are among the subjects present.
Letter to Menoeceus is a surviving personal correspondence famous for succinctly expressing many of the ethical traits of Epicureanism. Epicurus proscribes advice to his friend, and by extension other individuals wishing to follow his philosophy; the pursuit of knowledge; pleasure defined as an absence of bodily pain or mental anguish; and a modest lifestyle.
This edition of Epicurus's writings is perfect for scholarly study and contemplation. The original Greek of both texts is present, while three contrasting interpretations of the Principle Doctrines are offered. To further stimulate the reader's interests, three lengthy essays by scholars of the 17th and 19th centuries shed insight both on the philosophy itself, and how it came to renewed regard in the eyes of Enlightenment-era scholars.