Posts by Charles

    To be frank, yes there isn't a lot of flattery. The entire manuscript the poems come from is very raunchy and satirical, this section on Epicurus is surprisingly vulgar for its time, and CB 211 (Alte Clamat Epicurus) is often contrasted with 211a (Palästinalied, or Palestine Song), which details a pilgrim stepping foot in the holy land, alluding to the crusades.

    But in a way, such a bawdy and low brow depiction portrayed in a positive manner, can be considered, at least by me, flattering.

    Still, such an old historical reference, especially when originally made into a song, is worthy of notice.

    From Carmina Burana 211 (11th - 13th century)

    Alte clamat Epicurus, or "From on High, States Epicurus"





    "From on high states Epicurus:


    A stuffed belly reassures us.

    As my God I will revere it

    Such a God requires gluttony

    Whose temple is the kitchen

    Where the odors are bewitchin'

    His convenience everlasting

    Since he never calls for fasting.

    Breakfast tastes a whole lot better

    Belching, intoxicated together.

    Empty flasks beneath the table

    We're happy and grateful.



    Filled to burst his skin, he wobbles

    like a wine skin or bottle;

    Breakfast, supper, lunch united,

    Fat, red cheeks are so excited;

    When his swollen dick gets bigger,

    Like a chain it's filled with vigor.



    Like religion, pale and useless,

    Roars into the whirlwind, fruitless,


    Roars the stomach in its battle:


    Wine and mead together rattle;


    Happy and life is easy

    With a busy belly

    Says the belly "I care for nothing

    Except myself. After procuring

    peace in itself

    I gently carry myself

    Over water and meat

    I sleep and retreat."

    ---

    Original Text

    https://www.flashlyrics.com/ly…n/alte-clamat-epicurus-91

    Where I got some of the english text aside from my own translations

    http://stcpress.org/pieces/alte_clamat_epicurus





    "Let us drink and be merry, dance, joke, and rejoice,

    With Claret and Sherry, Theorbo and Voice;

    The changeable world to our joy is unjust,

    All treasure uncertain, then down with your dust.

    In frolic dispose your pounds, shillings and pence,

    For we shall be nothing a hundred years hence.

    We’ll kiss and be free with Nan, Betty, and Philly,

    Have oysters and lobsters, and maids by the belly;

    Fish-dinners will make a lass spring like a flea,

    Dame Venus (Love’s goddess) was born of the sea.

    With her and with Bacchus we’ll tickle the sense,

    For we shall be past it a hundred years hence.


    Your most beautiful bit that hath all eyes upon her,

    That her honesty sells for a hogo* of honour;

    Whose lightness and brightness doth shine in such splendour

    That none but the stars are thought fit to attend her,

    Though now she be pleasant and sweet to the sense,

    Will be damnably mouldy a hundred years hence.

    Then why should we turmoil in cares and in fears,

    Turn all our tranquillity to sighs and to tears?

    Let’s eat, drink and play till the worms do corrupt us,

    ’Tis certain that post mortem nulla Voluptas*.

    Let’s deal with our damsels, that we may from thence

    Have broods to succeed us a hundred years hence."

    * "hogo" in the archaic sense, or "haut gout" means meat that is turning/rotting but remains strongly desirable, but today is used to describe the strong and rank flavor in certain rums.

    * "no pleasure after death"

    The value of ataraxia is parasitic upon that of aponia, since the only ataraxia worth having is that which comes from pleasant memories and confident expectations of sensory pleasures of a painless kind. Thus the body's pleasures have pride of place.


    This is an interesting point, for the longest time I had only considered that the static, or pleasures regarding ataraxia could only result from a recollection of previous pleasures, as noticed from Epicurus' Letter to Idomeneus. But having read other literature and sources that did not prove that this was necessarily so in every instance (Aristippus section from DL), it's always been clear that the two concepts are redundant, or at least aponia is, since ataraxia implies a state that pain would make impossible.

    So then, the model of pleasure follows a route of continuous pleasure, found both in the sensory pleasures here and now, with the possibility of pleasure in the long run, or in the present when reflecting upon previous pleasures.

    Perhaps we should make a new thread concerning the Cyrenaics, as I have a lot of material and small tidbits of information on them, as they're of huge fascination to me, contrary to popular belief, and perhaps some on this forum. I am inclined to believe that Epicurus took more inspiration and likeness towards the Cyrenaics than is often admitted.


    As for the key differences between their approach to pleasure, where the Cyrenaics believed in only the pleasure of the moment whereas Epicurus believed in pleasures recollected and anticipated further and constant pleasure in the long run (not to be confused with time spent). Just as the Epicurean Canon is essential for understanding Epicurean ethics, so too must we understand the epistemology of Aristippus & his most immediate followers.

    The first Cyrenaics were "empiric-skeptics", believing with certainty that your senses are accurate to what you are currently experiencing. But they do not regard the state, or properties of what they are sensing, and do not believe that knowledge can extend beyond your current state of sensational feeling. I had a brief conversation with someone on the subject of Cyrenaic pleasures & ataraxia quite a few months ago, and he cited a position taken by a researcher, that this sensation extant in only the moment becomes a verb, so that the experience of seeing yellow becomes "I am being yellowed", or to a more accurate example: "I am being pleasured", "I am pleased", etc.


    With this in mind, its perfectly clear why the Cyrenaics would deny the possibility of pleasure that could be experienced with the mind, and thus, when the present has not occurred, in essence, a "static" pleasure, since as we have discussed, and made known, pleasure and pain to the first Cyrenaics, only consisted in smooth and rough motions.

    1.2.1 Empedocles (494-c434 BCE), Anaxagoras and Diogenes of Apollonia, as described by Theophrastus, consider pleasure and pain as kinds of perception.

    Quote

    Among the early philosophers, says Diocles, his favourite was Anaxagoras, although he occasionally disagreed with him, and Archelaus the teacher of Socrates. Diocles adds that he used to train his friends in committing his treatises to memory. - Book 10, Epicurus


    I think it's worth mentioning that according to DL, Anaxagoras and his pupil Archelaus were of particular favorites, or regarded with much sympathy by Epicurus. It's also interesting that Anaxagoras lived in Lampsacus for quite some time, though DL cites Favorinus via Metrodorus of Lampsacus, he is referring to Metrodorus the Elder, and not the friend and disciple of Epicurus. But his influence on the town may be the reason why Epicurus, when teaching and amassing a circle of friends in Lampsacus, was able to understand the former's philosophy.

    Of course that section in Book 10, we may have to take it with a tiny grain of salt, as DL is citing Diocles of Magnesia, who wrote a biography of philosophers much like Laertius, yet nothing about him is known besides his work as a writer. Though Book 10 is not the only time where DL cites him, instead he cites him quite heavily in virtually every book regarding the Cynics and Stoics, barring a few.

    While searching for the appropriate forum category for this post I discovered that you've cited him along that long list of quotations & citations for the fullness of pleasure model.

    The Full Cup / Fullness of Pleasure Model

    "Alciphron, Letters, III.55.8 (Autocletus to Hetoemaristus {“Gatecrasher” to “Prompt-to-breakfast”}): Zenocrates the Epicurean took the harp-girls in his arms, gazing upon them from half-closed eyes with a languishing and melting look, and saying that this was “tranquility of the flesh” and “the full intensity of pleasure.”

    Nothing is harder to please, it seems, than an old man who

    is just starting to behave like a boy again.
    How this Epicurus is controlling me, criticizing everything, suspecting

    everything, writing me incomprehensible letters and

    chasing me out of his garden. By Aphrodite, even if he

    had been an Adonis, though nearly eighty years old, I

    wouldn’t put up with him, this lice-ridden and sickly man

    who is all wrapped up in fleece instead of felt. How long

    must one endure this philosopher? Let him have his

    Principal Doctrines on Nature and his distorted Canons, and

    permit me to live according to nature, my own mistress,

    without anger and violence. I really have such a besieger,

    not at all like you, Lamia, have in Demetrius. It’s not

    possible to lead a virtuous life on account of this man. He

    wants to be a Socrates with his chatter and irony, and he

    believes Pythocles is an Alcibiades and thinks he can make

    me his Xanthippe. I will end up leaving for whatever place

    and flee from land to land rather than to endure his

    incessant letters.


    But now he has ventured into the most terrible and

    intolerable act of all, which is why I’m writing to you,

    hoping you’ll tell me what to do. You know that handsome

    fellow Timarchus from Cephisia. I don’t deny that I’m

    quite familiar with the young man (I have for a long time

    been truthful to you, Lamia) and I almost got my first lesson in love from him; he took my virginity when I was living

    next door. Since that time he has never ceased sending me

    all sorts of nice things like clothes, gold, Indian maids and

    Indian servants. I won’t mention the rest.

    But he anticipates the seasons in the smallest delicacies, so that nobody

    may taste them before I do. So that’s the kind of lover

    about whom Epicurus says, ‘Shut him out and don’t let him

    come near you.’ What kind of names do you think he’s calling him?

    Not as an Athenian or a philosopher *** or of

    Cappadocia coming to Greece for the first time. Even if

    the whole city of Athens were full of Epicures, by Artemis, I

    wouldn’t weigh them all against Timarchus’s arm, or even

    against his finger!


    What do you say, Lamia? Isn’t this true? Am I not right?

    And don’t, I beg of you by Aphrodite, don’t let this answer

    enter your mind: ‘But he’s a philosopher, he’s distinguished, he has many friends.’ He may even take what I

    have, and teach others. It is not doctrine that warms me,

    but the object of my desire, and I desire Timarchus, by

    Demeter! What’s more, on account of me the young man

    has been forced to abandon everything, the Lyceum, his

    youth, his comrades and friends, in order to live with Epicurus and flatter him and chant his windy doctrines. This

    Atreus says, ‘Get out of my realm and don’t approach

    Leontium!’ Like it wouldn’t be more fair if Timarchus said

    ‘No, don’t you approach mine!’ And the man who is young puts up with his elderly rival,

    the latecomer, but the other can’t stand him who has a more rightful claim.


    By the gods, I implore you, Lamia, what should I do?

    By the mysteries, by the release from these misfortunes,

    when I think about my separation from Timarchus I immediately turn cold, my hands and feet begin to sweat and my

    heart turns upside down. I beg you, take me into your

    house for a few days, and I’ll make him aware of what good

    things he was enjoying with me in the house. He’s not

    going to stand the boredom any more; that I know for sure.

    He will immediately send out Metrodorus, Hermarchus

    and Polyaenus as ambassadors. How often, Lamia, do you

    think I’ve told him in private: ‘What are you doing,

    Epicurus? Don’t you know how Timocrates, the brother of

    Metrodorous, is making fun of you because of this, in the

    assembly, in the theatre, in front of the other sophists?’ But

    what can I do with this man? He’s shameless in his desire,

    and I’m going to be just like him, shameless, and not let go

    of my Timarchus. Farewell.

    Interestingly enough, I went through the rest of the collection and found a feature of Epicurus as well as one on Metrodorus, though Hermarchus & Leontion were nowhere to be found.

    EpicurusEngraving.jpg


    MetrodorusEngraving.jpg

    I don't have any reason to believe that the print of Metrodorus is none other than Metrodorus the Younger. There have been other Metrodorus' throughout history but none have been as significant or recorded as much as the disciple and best friend of Epicurus, no doubt because of Laertius and Cicero.

    I came across Bayle some time ago, I remember his Dictionary to be disappointing and his mentions of Epicurus is usually in response to religion, such as conflating his defense of Epicurus as a means to target Nicolas Malebranche, a theologian during his time (as well as his work on King David). It seems that when discussing Epicurean Philosophy from the Enlightenment, there are three categories: materialist physics, ethics, Epicurus as a living weapon against religion. The bulk of this comes from the 18th century, though less focused on the physics (England in the 19th century would take that route) and more so on ethics of pleasure and embracing atheism.

    It's also very important to discern whether or not these authors throughout history were *actually* Epicurean. For a while I had been convinced that Jean Meslier had some Epicurean influences, as it was a common subject to learn about in France. But, I came across some papers and it was made clear that in his private bookshelf there had been no copies of Lucretius or of Laertius. The point is that we look at those who very clearly espoused Epicurean ideas before determining how useful their works are, though the micro-discoveries we make on here are enough to make it all worth it.

    Pío Baroja seems promising, since I keep seeing Spanish translations of Epicurus all the time (Epicuro). I'm not familiar with Spain and its history with Epicurean Philosophy but I know a link exists, perhaps with writers during the time of Bourbon Spain. Nice find!