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  • If there's one thing I've learned from this discussion, it's that the medieval world and its inhabitants were utterly revolted, intimidated, and threatened by Epicurean philosophy, and they did everything that was humanly possible to erase his legacy from history. And yet, here we are.
  • Personally, I'm not convinced that any of the figures represent Epicurus. Bernard Frischer, researcher and archaeologist from Indiana University who specializes in Roman history wrote a book called The Sculpted Word: Epicureanism and Philosophical Recruitment in Ancient Greece in which he attests to the “magnetism” of Epicurus’ portrait. He devotes several hundred pages to exploring different cultural depictions of Epicurus throughout history based on available resources. On page 151 he makes an…
  • From whom, specifically, might Raphael have seen the image? I agree that it is a reasonable generalization to suppose that one of the hundreds of affluent, Italian benefactors of the Renaissance had access to Epicurus ... but it's hard to prove, especially when we consider that Epicurean literature was just re-discovered, and then proceeded to suffer several hundred years of misinterpretation by enthusiasts. I think it's imperative to our conclusion that we identify the name of this individual w…
  • Does anyone have a single source which mentions any historical figure who would have been familiar with Epicurean philosophy in the Late Middle Ages? In the 13th century, Danté mentions contemporary "Epicureans" by reputation, but fails to name any Epicurean teachers or writers. Our next recorded mention of Epicurean philosophy is several hundred years later, at the beginning of the Renaissance. All publicly-identifiable busts of Epicurus in the 21st-century were buried in the 16th. If 25-year-o…
  • This reminds me of The Peaceable Kingdom (1834), a painting by 19th-century American painter Edward Hicks. He painted over 60 versions of the same scene over a span of several decades. Without unpacking all of the symbolism, you'll notice the abundance of odd-looking, large felines. Despite the fact that it was painted less than 200 years ago by a modern artist, he had never seen a lion, so he painted large house cats. Despite living around Philadelphia in the early 19th-century with all of its …