With today’s release of the Letter to Pythocles, I have now completed these “ Elemental Editions” of each of Epicurus’ three letters from Diogenes Laertius, plus a. The Letter to Pythocles. CLEON brought me a letter from you in which you continue to express a kindly feeling towards me, which is a just return for my interest in. The Letter to Pythocles is a treatment of phenomena of the sky. It is possibly one of the few fully extant writings of Epicurus — the second of three.
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The round shape of hailstones is not impossibly due to the extremities on all sides being melted and to the fact that, as explained, particles either of moisture or of wind surround them evenly on all sides and in every quarter, when they freeze.
Diogenes Laertius : Principal Doctrines of Epicurus
A Friendly Letter of Complaint. But first of all, let us go through the opinions which he held, and his disciples held about the wise man.
Nor will he pytholces indulge in drunkenness, says Epicurus, in his Banquet, nor will lrtter entangle himself in affairs of state as he says in his first book on Lives. The appearance of a face in the orb of the moon, epicirus depend either on a displacement of its parts, or on the interposition of some obstacle, or on any other cause capable of accounting for such an appearance.
A thunderbolt is caused when winds are repeatedly collected, imprisoned, and violently ignited; or when a part is torn asunder and is more violently expelled downwards, the rending being due to the fact that the compression of the clouds has made the neighboring parts more dense; or again it may be due like thunder merely to the expulsion of the imprisoned fire, when this has accumulated and been more violently inflated with wind and has torn the cloud, being unable to withdraw to the pythocoes parts because it is continually more and more closely compressed [generally by some high mountain where thunderbolts mostly fall].
He will take care of his property, and provide for the future. Epicurus thinks that those are natural and necessary which put an end to pains as drink when one is thirsty; and that those are natural but not necessary which only diversify pleasure, but do not remove pain, such as expensive food; and that these are neither natural nor necessary, which are such as pytgocles, or the erection of statues.
All these alternatives are possible: The section numbers in the Greek text are shown in red and the section numbers in the translation are shown in green.
So you will do well to take and learn them and get them up quickly along with the short epitome in my letter to Herodotus. And in consequence of these, the greatest evils which befall wicked men, and the lwtter which are conferred on the good, are all attributed to the gods; for they connect all their ideas of them with a comparison of human virtues, and everything which is different from human qualities, they regard as incompatible with the divine nature.
Book 10 contains the life and doctrines of Epicurus. I was glad to receive your request and am full of pleasant expectations. Snow may be produced letfer a light vapour full of moisture which the clouds allow to escape by passage intended for that end, when they are pressed, in a corresponding manner, by other clouds, and set in motion by the wind. Lightning too happens in a variety of ways.
It may also happen that the light vapours reunite and become condensed under the form of clouds, that they then take fire in consequence of letterr rotary motion, epicutus that, bursting the obstacles which surround them, they proceed towards the places whither the force by which they are animated drags them. The same phenomena takes place in other cases before our own eyes under many analogies.
Epicurus, Letter to Pythocles
Hail is produced by an energetic condensation acting on the ethereal particles which the cold embraces in every direction; or, in consequence of less violent condensation acting however on aqueous particles, and accompanied by division, in such a manner as to produce, at the same time, the reunion of certain elements and of the collective masses; or by the rupture of some dense and eoicurus mass which would explain at the same time, the numerousness of the particles and their individual hardness.
Thunder possibly arises from the movement of the winds revolving in the cavities of the clouds; of which we may see an image in vessels pythoclse our own daily use.
Further, the moon may possibly shine by her own light, just as possibly she may derive her light from the sun; for in our own experience we see many things which shine by their own light and many also which shine by borrowed light.
Cahiers de Philologie, 3. We see bow the former really take place, but not how the celestial phenomena take place, for their occurrence may possibly be due to a variety of causes. It is also possible, that the same necessity which has originally given epicurua their circular movement, may have compelled some to follow their orbit regularly, and have subjected others to an irregular process; we may also suppose that the uniform character of the centre which certain stars traverse favours their regular march, and their return to a certain point; and that in the case of others, on the contrary, the differences of the centre produce the changes which we observe.
Above all, apply yourself to the study of general principles, of the epichrus, and of questions of this kind, and to the investigation of the different criteria and of the passions, and to the study of the chief good, with a view to which we prosecute all our researches. Rocco Pezzimenti – – Ler.
Pythhocles same doctrine is reproduced, and occurs again in the eleventh book of his treatise on Nature; where he says, “if the distance has made it lose is size, a fortioriit would take away its brilliancy; for colour epicuris not, any more than size, the property of traversing distance pythodles alteration. Imprint all these precepts in your memory, O Pythoclesand so you will easily escape fables, and it will be easy for you to discover other truths analogous to these.
That the wise man will only feel gratitude to his friends, but to them equally whether they are present or absent. But to lay down as assured a single explanation of these phenomena is worthy of those who seek to dazzle the multitude with marvels.
But one must not be so much in love with the explanation by a single way as wrongly to reject all the others from ignorance of what can, and what cannot, be within human knowledge, and consequent tp to discover the undiscoverable. The world is a collection of things embraced by the heaven, containing the stars, the earth, and all visible objects.
And there are several other ways in which thunderbolts may possibly be produced. That the wise man, however, cannot exist in every state of body, nor in every nation. The regular and periodical march of these phenomena has nothing in it that ought to surprise us, if we only attend to the analogous facts which take place under our eyes.
Ed Zalta’s Version of Neo-Logicism: A halo round the moon arises because the air on all sides extends to the moon; or because it equably raises upwards the currents from the moon so high as to impress a circle upon the cloudy mass and not to separate it altogether; or because it raises the air which immediately surrounds the moon symmetrically from all sides up to a circumference round her and there forms a thick ring. We do not seek to wrest by force what is impossible, nor to understand all matters equally well, nor make our treatment always as clear as when we discuss human life or explain the principles of physics in general—for instance, that the whole of being consists of bodies and intangible nature, or that the ultimate elements of things are indivisible, or any other proposition which admits only one explanation of the phenomena to be possible.
And every objection brought against this part of the theory will easily be met by anyone who attends to plain facts, as I show in my work On Nature. For such folly as this would not possess the most ordinary being if ever so little enlightened, much less one who enjoys perfect felicity.
Epicurus, Letter to Pythocles – PhilPapers
To give one uniform and positive explanation of all these facts, is not consistent with the conduct of any people but those who love to flash prodigies in the eyes of the multitude. Or again, by congelation in clouds which have uniform density a fall of snow might occur through the clouds which contain moisture being densely packed in close proximity to each other; and these clouds produce a sort of compression and cause hail, and this happens mostly in spring.
University of Texas Press. For in all the celestial phenomena such a line of research is not to be abandoned; for, if you fight against clear evidence, you never can enjoy genuine peace of mind. Know then, that the only aim of the knowledge of the heavenly phenomena, both those which are spoken of in contact with one another, and of those which have a spontaneous existence, is that freedom from anxiety, and that calmness which is derived from a firm belief; and this is the aim of every other science.
The waning of the moon and again her waxing might be due to the rotation of the moon’s body, and equally well to configurations which the air assumes; further, it may be due to the interposition of certain bodies.
Fowler – – The Classical Review 30 It is right then for a man to consider the things which produce happiness, since, if happiness is present, we have everything, and when it is absent, we do everything with a view to possess it. No keywords specified fix it. Such men live with one another most agreeably, having the firmest grounds of confidence in one another, enjoying the advantages of friendship in all their fullness, and not lamenting as a pitiable circumstance, the premature death of their friends.
For in the study of nature we must not conform to empty assumptions and arbitrary laws, but follow the promptings of the facts; for our life has no need now of unreason and false opinion; our one need is untroubled existence. This explanation, moreover, is in accordance with the impressions of the senses. When, therefore, we say that pleasure is a chief good, we are not speaking of the pleasures of the debauched man, or those which lie in sensual enjoyment, as some think who are ignorant, and who do not entertain our opinions, or else interpret them perversely; but we mean the freedom of the body from pain, and the soul from confusion.
Accustom yourself also to think death a matter with which we are not at all concerned, since all good and all evil is in sensation, and since death is only the privation of sensation.
On-line English translation of Epicurus’ summary of his explanations for celestial and meteorological phenomena.