The "Leaping Pig" from Herculaneum

  • Leaping Pig from Herculaneum


    It does not appear that we currently have a thread devoted to the Leaping Pig, at least not here in this forum where it needs to be. This is to start that thread so we can eventually explore details such as :


    1. Where it was discovered.
    2. Where it is now.
    3. References to it in articles and journals.
    4. Creating a replica via 3d printing.
    5. How it ties in with Epicurean iconography.


    I would also like a graphic version that can be added to the right-hand panel of graphics, probably right underneath the explanation of the EpicureanFriends logo. Something that looks like a flag, perhaps incorporating a circle or other reference to the sun, so that we have two "in your face" references at once.


    "Oh, you don't like Epicurus' view of how to consider the size of the sun, we'll just say til the end of time: 'The Size of The Sun Is As It Appears!'"

    "Oh, you don't like Epicurus' view of Pleasure as the goal of life and you think certain animals are 'unclean,' well then we'll adopt a PIG as our mascot!"



    As to "in your face" references:


    In closing I argue that the size of the sun is an Epicurean shibboleth. In Epicurus,in Lucretius and in Demetrius,we see the same nostrum repeated, with progressive elaborations that do not fully clarify the basic precept. The persistence of Epicureans in this formulation is not so much the result of reflexive dogma or pseudo-intellectual obscurantism as it is a passphrase, a litmus test. Think like an Epicurean, and you will figure out that the sun’s appearance and the sun itself are two related but distinct things with two different sizes; that you must keep the infallible data of the senses, tactile as well as visual, in proper perspective when making judgments about your perception; and that the available data is insufficient to estimate the sun’s magnitude to an acceptable degree of confidence (compare Barnes: 1989, 36). Think that Epicureans believe the sun’s diameter is a foot,that they are absurd,and you have exposed yourself as un-Epicurean. The first/second-century AD Stoic doxographer Cleomedes, who as Algra points out “nowhere takes account of the Epicurean principle of multiple explanations,”likewise fails this test when he mocks Epicurus’ position on the size of the sun.

  • From the Herculaneum Society Pagethat Don found - Someone else who appreciates "thumbing one's nose!" ;)


    This life-size piglet was found in the Villa of the Papyri alongside many other bronzes and marbles in the largest collection of statues surviving from the Greco-Roman world. There is some evidence that the Epicureans adopted the piglet as a symbol of their hedonistic philosophy, which did not mean (as their critics alleged) the indulgence of carnal desires but the pursuit of true pleasure and inner tranquillity. The young animal is in an innocent state of nature and has not yet learned the fears and hatreds that cause pain in human life. "Pig" in the mouths of others was an insult so this appropriation of the tag was another way Epicureans thumbed their noses at society's ordinary, misguided values.

    This carefree, energetic and frisky youngster, a favourite of many visitors to the Herculaneum Gallery in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, seemed a good mascot for our young Society when we started up in 2004. And who knows but that pigs may fly?

  • I would also like a graphic version that can be added to the right-hand panel of graphics, probably right underneath the explanation of the EpicureanFriends logo. Something that looks like a flag, perhaps incorporating a circle or other reference to the sun

    The young animal is in an innocent state of nature and has not yet learned the fears and hatreds that cause pain in human life.

    And pigs have no thumbs :saint:


    I could create a graphic, will see what I can come up with :)

  • Nate, for some reason my tablet doesn't want to open the second two images. You might have better software for making graphics -- can you make this pig white with a yellow circle behind it?

  • The latter two images are high-quality transparency images. If you have a black background, the black images will blend into it because they do not contain any negative space except for a PNG background-removal.

  • What we eventually need is a "vector graphic" image of that leaping pig, along the lines of what Nate already as, in a format that these vector graphic programs like Inkscape (the free one) and others can use.


    That way the image can be rotated and resized and all sorts of things done to it without losing sharpness.


    I think what's involved 's "tracing" the PNG into such a program and saving it in SVG format. I will try to experiment if I can find time, but that 's what we need - an SVG format.


    Ironic, because what it means is turning an actual image of a pig into a series of electronic numbers ;)