Epigrams on Epicurus - His Life and Death

  • Book VII - Sepulchral Epigrams

    No. 72 - Menander


    Quote

    On Epicurus and Themistocles


    "Hail, ye twin-born sons of Neocles, of whom the one saved his country from slavery the other from folly."

    Translated W. R. Paton



  • Book VII - Sepulchral Epigrams

    No. 106 - Diogenes Laertius


    Quote

    On Epicurus


    "Adieu, and remember my doctrines," were Epicurus' last words to his friends when dying. For after entering a warm bath, he drank wine and then on the top of it he drank cold death."

    Translated W. R. Paton



  • I think that No. 72 by Menander is an encouraging sign of more fertile fields beyond. He was a comic playwright and a boyhood friend of Epicurus (serving alongside him in the mandatory two-year military training from age 18-20), and some of his works are even still being rediscovered. They were almost entirely lost in the middle ages, but a number of discoveries in the 19th and 20th centuries have brought back a few of his plays. In several instances the sheets of papyrus were found in the paper lining of mummy cases.


    I'm finding quotations on the internet attributed to him that are thoroughly Epicurean (it is absurd to think that the gods answer prayers, for instance), but nothing authoritative. If a good online source can be found we will need to look into it.

  • One thing that struck me here was the Νεοκλειδα Neocleida "twin-born sons of Neocles" (both their fathers were named Neocles). This echoes the designation of Agamemnon and Menelaus as the Atreidai "two sons of Atreus" in the Iliad. Neocleida is simply in the vocative dual case of address as in "O sons pair of Neocles!"