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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Nor will he groan and howl oythocles he is put to the torture. Request removal from index. We there said, for instance, that there are other things, except bodies and the void, and that the atoms are the principles of things, and so the rest.

Multiple Explanations in Epicurus’ Letter to Pythocles in: Epicurean Meteorology

And the rising and setting of the sun, moon, and stars may be due to kindling and quenching, a provided that the circumstances are such as to produce this result in each of the two regions, east and west: Book 10 contains the life and doctrines of Epicurus. The rest of the winds arise when a few of them fall into epicurys many hollows and they are thus divided and multiplied. Or, again, to the fact certain regions are passed through more rapidly than others, as is seen to be the case by our own eyes, in those things to which we can compare the heavenly phenomena.

I was glad to receive your request and am full of pleasant expectations.

Letter to Pythocles

Nevertheless, the difference of place, and diverse other circumstances, make justice vary. Dew is formed when such particles as are capable of producing this sort of moisture meet each other from the air: Reece – – Journal of Business Ethics 8 7: On which account, the correct knowledge of the fact that death is no concern of ours, makes the mortality of life pleasant to us, inasmuch as it sets forth no illimitable time, but relieves us for the longing for immortality.

Perhaps also, this may be caused by the fact, that except in the route in which they move, and in which we perceive them, they do not find any material suitable to their nature. For it is very absurd that that which does not distress a man when it is present, should afflict him only when expected.

Multiple Explanations in Epicurus’ Letter to Pythocles

Above all things let us beware of making the Deity interpose here, for that being we ought to suppose exempt from all toil and perfectly happy; otherwise we shall be only giving vain explanations of the heavenly phenomena, as has happened already to a crowd of authors. And those who have not fully accepted this, in proportion as they have not done so, will be ill acquainted with these very subjects, nor have they secured the end for which they ought to be studied.


Epicurus in Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy categorize this paper. Besides, all the difficulties on this subject will be easily explained pythoccles one attends to the clear evidence of the perceptions, as I have shown in my books about Nature.

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. Click on the G symbols to go to the Greek text for each section. This translation is by C. The fact that the weather is eipcurus foretold from the behavior of certain animals is a mere coincidence in time.

That which permits the wind to penetrate is the fact that falls take place in the interior, or that the air being impressed by the winds insinuates itself into the subterranean caverns. To leyter a single cause for these effects when the facts suggest several causes is madness and a strange inconsistency; yet it is done by adherents of rash astronomy, who assign meaningless causes for the stars whenever they persist in saddling the divinity with burdensome tasks.

Letter to Pythocles – Epicurus Wiki

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 adjacent parts because it is continually more and more closely compressed [generally by some high mountain where thunderbolts mostly fall].

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. And there are other ways in which snow might be formed.

The rainbow arises when the sun shines upon humid air; or again by a certain peculiar blending of light with air, which will cause either all the distinctive qualities of these colors or else some of them belonging to a single kind, and from the reflection of this light the air all around will be colored as we see it to be, as the sun shines upon its parts. Therefore, the most formidable of evils, death, is nothing to us, since, when we exist, death is not present to us; and when death is present, then we have no existence.


The appearance of the face in the moon may equally well arise from interchange of parts, or from interposition of something, or in any other of the ways which might be seen to accord with the facts. Moreover there are several other ways in which this might be brought about, as may be seen by anyone capable of reasoning in accordance with the facts. It may also be the case, that being themselves endowed with a peculiar movement, they advance at the end of certain periods of time, and in consequence of particular circumstances, towards the places which we inhabit.

All the other objects which our world comprises, for instance, the earth and the sea, were also formed spontaneously, and subsequently gained size, by the addition and violent movement of light substances, composed of elements of fire and air, or even of these two principles at once. It may also arise from the fact of the moon uniformly rejecting from all quarters, the air which surrounds it, in such a manner as to produce this circular and opaque covering.

Epicurus – – Chronicle Books.

All this, Pythocles, you should keep in mind; for then epicurrus will escape a long way from myth, and you will be able to view in their connection the instances which are similar to these. In a word, we gave a precise and simple explanation for every fact, conformable to appearances. It is also possible, that the same necessity which has originally given them 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 epicurks the pythoclee 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.

Besides, we must compare the different modes of explanation appropriate to phenomena, and recollect that it is not impossible that many causes may at one and the same time concur in their production. Certain stars may revolve without pyyhocles not only for the reason alleged by some, because this is the part of the world round which, itself unmoved, the rest revolves, but it may also be because a circular eddy of air surrounds this part, which prevents them from traveling out of sight like other stars or because there is a dearth of necessary pythhocles farther on, while there is abundance in that part where they are seen to be.