Welcome to Episode 188 of Lucretius Today. This is a podcast dedicated to the poet Lucretius, who wrote "On The Nature of Things," the only complete presentation of Epicurean philosophy left to us from the ancient world. Each week we walk you through the Epicurean texts, and we discuss how Epicurean philosophy can apply to you today. If you find the Epicurean worldview attractive, we invite you to join us in the study of Epicurus at EpicureanFriends.com, where you will find a discussion thread for each of our podcast episodes and many other topics. We are now in the process of a series of podcasts intended to provide a general overview of Epicurean philosophy based on the organizational structure employed by Norman DeWitt in his book "Epicurus and His Philosophy."
This week we continue our discussion of Chapter 15, entitled "Extension, Submergence, and Revival."
Chapter XV - Extension, Submergence, And Revival
- The Reaction Against Epicureanism
- Epicureanism In The Early Empire
- Plutarch, Anti-Epicurean
- Epicureanism In The Graeco-Roman World
- Third And Fourth Centuries
- Epicureanism In the Middle Ages
- The Epicurean Revival
On page 354 is a reference to a painting entitled "Triumph of St Augustine," about which DeWitt says:
A similar motive inspired a painting now in the Palazzo Diamanti in Ferrara, Italy. which is entitled "The Triumph of St. Augustine." To the right of the saint in the upper register appear Aristotle, Plato, Socrates. and Seneca. In the middle register the Virtues are represented as punishing the sinners, among whom appear Epicurus."
Either this one at wikisource is different, or it is only part of what DeWitt describes, so we need to track this down.
Wow thanks Don! Pretty disgusting but thanks for finding!
Yes, this is the fresco in question. At the center top is St. Augustine. At his right hand is the original ΙΧΘΥΣ symbol--a wheel of eight spokes made by combining the 5 letters together (but with a Lunate Sigma--C instead of Σ). This design evidently predates the fish symbol, and it has been argued that the resulting circle was so made because it looks like bread.
At his left hand is a representation of the 10 celestial spheres, and below it the philosophers Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.
Epicurus is on the far right, in maroon or burgundy--you can just make out part of his name. And because I hate to leave the reader with a load of drivel, here's Thoreau;
I am not sure but I should betake myself in extremities to the liberal divinities of Greece, rather than to my country's God. Jehovah, though with us he has acquired new attributes, is more absolute and unapproachable, but hardly more divine, than Jove. He is not so much of a gentleman, not so gracious and catholic, he does not exert so intimate and genial an influence on nature, as many a god of the Greeks.
Joshua's mention of the bread symbol was new to me. Thanks, Joshua!
That specific design then must have been based on the panis quadratus:
I would like to add a note on the word "triumph." This came to my attention when reading Bart Ehrman's "The Triumph of Christianity." His purposeful use of that word - and its use by others at the time - is tied directly to the Roman understanding of that term. We tend to see "triumph" as simply a synonym for "winning." But a Roman triumph was an event celebrating that your enemies were crushed, and they were paraded through the streets in chains. That's a triumph! And that's what's being depicted in this artwork with St. Augustine.
As editing proceeds on this week's episode, we have some typical pronunciation questions which I probably butchered, so I will beg forgiveness and see if there is a consensus on correct pronunciation.
In the great debate between the Christian Origen and the possibly Epicurean Celsus, how do we pronounce those names?
Does Origen rhyme which "origin," or where is the emphasis, and is there a hard or soft "g"?
As to Celsus, it seems I hear both hard "C" and soft "C" pronunciations. In the recording I went with the hard C, but we don't use a hard "C" with "Cicero," so I probably got it wrong.
Edit -- we need a thread or subforum on Celsus so I will add him
Here's a new thread for Celsus. General Bio of Celsus and the Possibility that the Celsus Who Wrote "The True Word" was not the Celsus who was friend of Lucian
As Joshua points out in this episode, DeWitt comes down on the side that the two people are the same, and says that the questioning arises from the view that the writer is too smart to be an Epicurean. This is an instance where I am not so sure DeWitt is right, because it seems in my (long ago) reading I too thought that the writer seemed to be talking about gods being actively involved in human affairs, and if so I would think that would mark him clearly as non-Epicurean.
But it was years ago when I read that and I may not at the time have appreciated some of the subtleties of the Epicurean position that people do benefit from having proper opinions about the gods, so perhaps I was reading Celsus too narrowly. Whichever is the case, Celsus seems to be regarded as among the first anti-Christian writers, so he deserves our attention for many reasons, even if he was not fully orthodox Epicurean. No doubt there is a lot of stuff in Celsus that it would profit us to talk about, just like there is in Lucian's anti-Christian "Death of Peregrine"
Regarding pronunciation, what you'll hear is that Latin had a very regular phonology. Each letter makes one sound. The C is a K sound, never an S sound--G is always hard as in 'got', never like J as in 'gentle'.
I don't know if that's true, and it's slightly beside the point anyway. There are a series of long-standing conventions regarding the English pronunciation of Latin names and words, and even these conventions vary between English speaking countries. And some of them are outdated but not thoroughly so, adding to the confusion. For example, it was once thought proper to anglicize Tullius into Tully, and Plinius into Pliny. But Tully has generally been dropped in favor of Cicero, and Pliny has been kept.
So even if Latin phonology is highly regular, English pronunciation of those words and names is scattershot. We say Seezer instead of Kaiser, but Carpay instead of Sarpay.
And for the record, I have never not heard it pronounced ORE-eh-gin (...and tonic)
Now for a calculated move to draw Don into the conversation...
I'll see your Rick & Morty and raise you a Luke Ranieri
This was brought home to me at work today when a young women from Ecuador who has asked me to help her with her English pronunciation told me that she struggles with words like prepared because the "erred" sound we make at the end has us "swallowing our tongues".
So we are supposed to be saying KIKERO?
So we are supposed to be saying KIKERO?
No. The *English/American" pronunciation of his name is [SI-sa-ro]. If you're speaking his name in Latin, it's like [KI-ke-ro]. We don't speak Latin. We speak English, therefore, "Sisero." In Italian or Ecclesiastical Latin, it'd be "Chichero" I think.
Episode 188 of the Lucretius Today Podcast is now available!
Tertullian, anticipating the varied pleasures of Judgment Day;
What a panorama of spectacle on that day! Which sight shall excite my wonder? Which, my laughter? Where shall I rejoice, where exult--as I see so many and so mighty kings, whose ascent to heaven used to be made known by public announcement, now along with Jupiter himself, along with the very witnesses of their ascent, groaning in the depths of darkness? Governors of provinces, too, who persecuted the name of the Lord, melting in flames fiercer than those they themselves kindled in their rage against the Christians braving them with contempt?
Whom else shall I behold? Those wise philosophers blushing before their followers as they burn together, the followers whom they taught that the world is no concern of God's whom they assured that either they had no souls at all or that what souls they had would never return to their former bodies? The poets also, trembling, not before the judgment seat of Rhadamanthus or of Minos, but of Christ whom they did not expect to meet.
Then will the tragic actors be worth hearing, more vocal in their own catastrophe; then the comic actors will be worth watching, more lither of limb in the fire; then the charioteer will be worth seeing, red all over on his fiery wheel; then the athletes will be worth observing, not in their gymnasiums, but thrown about by fire--unless I might not wish to look at them even then but would prefer to turn an insatiable gaze on those who vented their rage on the Lord.
"This is He," I will say, "the son of the carpenter and the harlot, the sabbath-breaker, the Samaritan who had a devil. This is He whom you purchased from Judas, this is He who was struck with reed and fist, defiled with spittle, given gall and vinegar to drink. This is He whom the disciples secretly stole away to spread the story of His resurrection, or whom the gardener removed lest his lettuces be trampled by the throng of curious idlers."
What praetor or consul or quaestor or priest with all his munificence will ever bestow on you the favor of beholding and exulting in such sights? Yet, such scenes as these are in a measure already ours by faith in the vision of the spirit. But what are those things which "eye has not seen nor ear heard and which have not entered into the heart of man"? Things of greater delight, I believe, than circus, both kinds of theater, and any stadium.
Julian the Apostate, his condemnation of Epicureans and Pyrrhonists;
Let us not admit discourses by Epicureans or Pyrrhonists – though indeed the gods have already in their wisdom destroyed their works, so that most of their books are no longer available. Nevertheless, there is no reason why I should not, by way of example, mention these works too, to show what sort of discourses priests must especially avoid; and if such discourses, then much more must they avoid such thoughts.
Fragmentum Epistulae 288a-305d