These Epicurus quotes highlight his thoughts about friendship, death, philosophy, and more.
Epicurus, a Greek philosopher, turned against the popular teachings of Plato, and founded Epicureanism. Epicurus was more progressive than many of his peers, and allowed women to take part in his school, ‘The Garden.’
His teachings centered on the idea that people could live a happy life if they were self-sufficient and surrounded by friends and loved ones. I am really feeling these Epicurus quotes, as I agree with this philosophy wholeheartedly!
Epicurus faced some controversy because his teachings were in opposition to the early teachings of Christianity. He taught that people could find peace and freedom if they let go of the idea of divine influence and suffering. He also believed that death was the end of existence and torment in the afterlife was myth.
These Epicurus quotes expand more on his ideas about friendship, death, philosophy, and material possessions.
Don’t forget to also check out these Plato quotes on democracy, the republic and life.
Epicurus quotes that are a matter of life and death
1. “Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not coming, and, when death is coming, we are not.”― Epicurus
2. “Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist.” ― Epicurus
3. “It is possible to provide security against other ills, but as far as death is concerned, we men live in a city without walls.” ― Epicurus
4. “The art of living well and the art of dying well are one.” ― Epicurus
5. “Some men spend their whole life furnishing for themselves the things proper to life without realizing that at our birth each of us was poured a mortal brew to drink.” ― Epicurus
Epicurus quotes about Friendship and relationships
6. “It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help.” ― Epicurus
7. “You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” ― Epicurus
8. “The noble man is chiefly concerned with wisdom and friendship; of these, the former is a mortal good, the latter an immortal one.” ― Epicurus
9. “To eat and drink without a friend is to devour like the lion and the wolf.” ― Epicurus
10. “We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.” ― Epicurus
11. “Of all the things which wisdom provides to make us entirely happy, much the greatest is the possession of friendship.” ― Epicurus
Philosophical Epicurus quotes
12. “Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.” ― Epicurus
13. “He who is not satisfied with a little is satisfied with nothing.” ― Epicurus
14. “The misfortune of the wise is better than the prosperity of the fool.” ― Epicurus
15. “We must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed toward attaining it.” ― Epicurus
16. “Both old and young alike ought to seek wisdom: the former in order that, as age comes over him, he may be young in good things because of the grace of what has been, and the latter in order that, while he is young, he may at the same time be old, because he has no fear of the things which are to come.” ― Epicurus
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17. “I was not; I was, I am not; I care not.” ― Epicurus
18. “He who has peace of mind disturbs neither himself nor another.” ― Epicurus
19. “Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search of it when he has grown old. For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul.” ― Epicurus
20. “Misfortune seldom intrudes upon the wise man; his greatest and highest interests are directed by reason throughout the course of life.” ― Epicurus
21. “Empty is the argument of the philosopher which does not relieve any human suffering.” ― Epicurus
If you’re enjoying these quotes, read our collection of Greek Philosopher quotes on ancient knowledge to motivate you.
22. “The fool’s life is empty of gratitude and full of fears; its course lies wholly toward the future.” ― Epicurus
23. “He who says either that the time for philosophy has not yet come or that it has passed is like someone who says that the time for happiness has not yet come or that it has passed.” ― Epicurus
24. “The greater the difficulty, the more the glory in surmounting it.” ― Epicurus
25. “Live in obscurity.” ― Epicurus
26. “If a person fights the clear evidence of his senses, he will never be able to share in genuine tranquillity.” ― Epicurus
27. “He who least needs tomorrow will most gladly greet tomorrow.” ― Epicurus
28. “It is not the pretended but the real pursuit of philosophy that is needed, for we do not need the appearance of good health but to enjoy it in truth.” ― Epicurus
Epicurus quotes about God and the masses
29. “If God listened to the prayers of men, all men would quickly have perished: for they are forever praying for evil against one another.” ― Epicurus
30. “It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself.” ― Epicurus
31. “I never desired to please the rabble. What pleased them, I did not learn; and what I knew was far removed from their understanding.” ― Epicurus
32. “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” ― Epicurus
33. “The time when most of you should withdraw into yourself is when you are forced to be in a crowd.” ― Epicurus
34. “Don’t fear the gods, don’t worry about death. What is good is easy to get, and what is terrible is easy to endure.” ― Epicurus
35. “I have never wished to cater to the crowd; for what I know they do not approve, and what they approve I do not know.” ― Epicurus
36. “The opinions held by most people about the gods are not true conceptions of them but fallacious notions, according to which awful penalties are meted out to the evil and the greatest of blessings to the good.” ― Epicurus
37. “If God listened to the prayers of men, all men would quickly have perished: for they are forever praying for evil against one another.” ― Epicurus
Epicurus quotes about possessions and justice
38. “It is better for you to be free of fear lying upon a pallet than to have a golden couch and a rich table and be full of trouble.” ― Epicurus
39. “It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly. And it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life.” ― Epicurus
40. “If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires.” ― Epicurus
41. “A free life cannot acquire many possessions, because this is not easy to do without servility to mobs or monarchs.” ― Epicurus
42. “There is no such thing as justice in the abstract; it is merely a compact between men.” ― Epicurus
43. “Justice… is a kind of compact not to harm or be harmed.” ― Epicurus
44. “The wealth required by nature is limited and is easy to procure, but the wealth required by vain ideals extends to infinity.” ― Epicurus
45. “Never say that I have taken it, only that I have given it back.” ― Epicurus
46. “We must, therefore, pursue the things that make for happiness, seeing that when happiness is present, we have everything; but when it is absent, we do everything to possess it.” ― Epicurus
47. “Contented poverty is an honorable estate.” ― Epicurus
48. “I am grateful to blessed Nature because she made what is necessary easy to acquire and what is hard to acquire unnecessary.” ― Epicurus
49. “Not what we have, but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance.” ― Epicurus
50. “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ― Epicurus
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What did you learn from these Epicurus quotes?
While Epicurus is considered a hedonist because he believed people could seek their own pleasures in life, he adhered to a code of morality. He believed that people could only be truly happy by living simply and making wise and moral choices.
He taught that people who lived their lives in a dishonest and immoral way would have more troubles in life. He placed more value on platonic friendships than he did on sex and marriage.
Epicurus’ teachings made their way into the medical field thanks to Epicurean doctor Asclepiades of Bithynia. His approach to treating patients was more sympathetic and less painful.
He also treated mental patients with kindness and natural therapies, instead of confinement. Epicurus’ teachings also included physics and theology.
What’s your biggest takeaway from these Epicurus quotes and sayings? Do you have a favorite Epicurus quote that didn’t make the list? Leave it in the comments below.
January 26, 2021 7:00 AM EST