Where Is Epicurus In The "School of Athens"?

  • What we could and should collaborate on, however, is a script for Elli to read in presenting the issues. I am up for collaborating on that. Elli have you got an initial script - your paper perhaps - that we could post somewhere (google docs) and make comments / suggestions on ? (such as suggesting the opening history of the mural and citations on each character)?


    We could frame it and make it sound like an "Unsolved Mysteries" TV show.

  • This thread is gathering such a life of its own that I am going to set up a separate forum for it. That will allow discussion to be separated out into distinct threads on Raphael, Vatican history relating to the mural, the particular portrayals of figures, etc. I moved it to "Places of Significance" but if anyone wants to suggest a better location let me know.

  • I would expect that most discussion will continue to take place in this thread and I am not specifically encouraging new posts in the new threads. However it's already almost impossible to read through this thread given its length, so I'm giving the option to future posters to write their new comments on particular figures where they may more easily be found.

  • Let's consider professor Erler's arguments as he points out in his book"Epicurus: An introduction to his practical ethics and politics".


    He identifies the man wearing the wreath of ivy as Epicurus. He refers to the letter to Menoeceus. The ivy man is surrounded by four people of every age. This shall represent Epicurus' call for philosophing being a young guy as well as being an old men.


    He also argues that Epicurus is characterized by words by Sidonius Apollinaris:


    "You do not burn with envy at the thought of those paintings all over the gymnasia of the Areopagus and in the prytanea showing Speusippus with his head bowed forward, Aratus with his head bent back, Epicurus with unwrinkled skin, Diogenes with long beard, Socrates with trailing hair, Aristotle with out-thrust arm."


    Finally, Erler refers to Horace. Erler writes "the fat and sleek man with good keeping."


    Personally, I'd also add the fact that one of the guys is lying on the shoulder of the suggested Epicurus, searching for philosophy as help and guidance.

  • He also argues that Epicurus is characterized by words by Sidonius Apollinaris:


    "You do not burn with envy at the thought of those paintings all over the gymnasia of the Areopagus and in the prytanea showing Speusippus with his head bowed forward, Aratus with his head bent back, Epicurus with unwrinkled skin, Diogenes with long beard, Socrates with trailing hair, Aristotle with out-thrust arm."


    That's an interesting quote I don't think I have focused on before. Do those observations also carry over beyond Socrates and Aristotle also to Speusippus and Aratus? I will have to look up what is available on that. I suppose it could be argued that the figure in orange does not appear to have wrinkled skin either.


    If someone were looking for "fat and sleek...." then the wreathed figure does fit that description, but would that not refer to "a hog in Epicurus' herd" rather than to Epicurus himself?

  • If someone were looking for "fat and sleek...." then the wreathed figure does fit that description, but would that not refer to "a hog in Epicurus' herd" rather than to Epicurus himself?

    I was also irritated by professor Erler's words but he writes as follows: " 'Epicurus with unwrinkled skin': This reminds us of one of Horace's famous dictums about Epicurus, the fat and sleek man with good keeping." (He refers to "Hor. Epist. 1.4.15." . Perhaps this quotation might be clarifying.)