The historical background

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
 
By Haris Dimitriadis
 
 
The end of the city-state
 
There is no doubt that the Peloponnesian War marked the end of the city-state as a creative power that fulfilled the lives of the citizens. After the defeat of Athenians by the Spartans, Athenian participatory democracy lost its dominance in the Greek world. But the Spartan domination did not last long either. Full of arrogance and pride Sparta was embroiled in constant wars and was inevitably subjugated under the Macedonian yoke. The immediate cause of the collapse of classical Greece was the painful experience of a multiannual war with enormous losses in manpower, but also the brutal bleeding of financial resources. The city-state could no longer provide an acceptable standard of living for its citizens, and intellectuals began to move away from the principles of direct democracy, embracing the idea of monarchy.
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Diogenes Laertius: Epicurus

Diogenes Laertius (3rd Century AD) is the primary source for the surviving complete letters of Epicurus and for biographical and other pertinent information about him:

Index:

  • Biography of Epicurus
  • Epicurus’s followers and namesakes
  • Epicurus’s writings
  • Overview of Epicureanism
  • Epicurean epistemology and physics
  • Epicurean ethics
  • Biography of Epicurus
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The letter to Menoeceus

Translated by Cyril Bailey, Oxford, 1926

Greeting

Let no one when young delay to study philosophy, nor when he is old grow weary of his study. For no one can come too early or too late to secure the health of his soul. And the man who says that the age for philosophy has either not yet come or has gone by is like the man who says that the age for happiness is not yet come to him, or has passed away. Wherefore both when young and old a man must study philosophy, that as he grows old he may be young in blessings through the grateful recollection of what has been, and that in youth he may be old as well, since he will know no fear of what is to come. We must then meditate on the things that make our happiness, seeing that when that is with us we have all, but when it is absent we do all to win it.

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The Vatican Sayings

Translated by Cyril Bailey РOxford, 1926

  1. A blessed and indestructible being has no trouble himself and brings no trouble upon any other being; so he is free from anger and partiality, for all such things imply weakness.
  2. Death is nothing to us; for that which has been dissolved into its elements experiences no sensations, and that which has no sensation is nothing to us.

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