In addition to the commonly cited quotations of Epicurus found among the Principal Doctrines and the Vatican Sayings, many others have been passed down to us from a variety of classical sources. This popular arrangement of 87 fragments follows the outline set forth by C. Bailey's 1926 collectioneach translation is a consensus of several different editions.
Concerning Choice and Avoidance
The Shorter Summary, a.k.a. The Little Epitome
4) But even apart form this argument I do not know how one should say that things in the dark have color.*
5) Polyaenus: "Do you, Epicurus, deny the existence of the warmth produced by wine?" Someone interrupted: "It does not appear that wine is unconditionally productive of heat." (And a little later:) "It seems that wine is unconditionally productive of heat, but wine of a certain quantity might be said to produce heat in a certain body."
6) Therefore we must not speak of wine as unconditionally productive of heat, but rather say that a certain quantity of wine will produce heat in a certain body which is in a certain disposition, or that a different quantity will produce cold in a different body. For in the compound body of wine there are certain particles out of which could might be produced, if, as need arises, united with different particles they could form a structure which could cause cold. So that those are deceived who say that wine is unconditionally heating or cooling.
7) Wine often enters the body without exerting any power either of heating or of cooling, but when the structure is disturbed and an atomic rearrangement takes place, the atoms which create heat at one time come together and by their number give heat and inflammation to the body, at anther they retire and so cool it.
9) It is strange indeed that you were not at all impeded by your youth, as you would say yourself, from attaining, young as you were, a distinction in the art of rhetoric far above all you contemporaries, even the experienced an famous. It is strange indeed, I say, that you were not at all impeded by your youth from winning distinction in the art of rhetoric, which seems to require much practice and habituation, whereas youth can be an impediment to the understanding of the true nature of the world, towards which knowledge might seem to contribute more than practice and habituation.
On the Goal of Life
10) I do not know how I can conceive the good, if I withdraw the pleasures of taste, withdraw the pleasures of love, withdraw the pleasures of hearing, and withdraw the pleasurable emotions caused by the sight of a beautiful form.
From Uncertain Works
Letters to Several Persons
22) I suppose that those grumblers will believe me to be a disciple of The Mollusk [Nausiphanes] and to have listened to his teaching in company with a few hard-drinking youths. For indeed the fellow was a bad man and his habits, as such, could never lead to wisdom.
Letters to Individuals
30) On this truly happy day of my life, while at the point of death, I write this to you. The disease in my bladder and stomach are pursuing their course, lacking nothing of their natural severity: but against all this is the joy in my heart at the recollection of my conversations with you. Do you, as I might expect form your devotion from boy hood to me and to philosophy, take good care of the children of Metrodorus.
31) In your feeling of reverence for what I was then saying you were seized with an unaccountable desire to embrace me and clasp my knees and show me all the signs of homage paid by men in prayers and supplications to others; so you made me return all these proofs of veneration and respect to you. Go on thy way as immortal and think of us too as immortal.
Letters to Uncertain Persons
35) We have arrived at Lampsacus safe and sound—Pythocles, Hermarchus, Ctesippus and I—and there we found Themista and our other friends all well. I hope you too are well and your mamma, and that you are always obedient to Papa and Matro, as you used to be. Let me tell you that the reason that I and all the rest of us love you is that you are always obedient to them.
36) A week before writing this, the stoppage became complete and I suffered pains such as bring men to their last day. If anything happens to me, do you look after the children of Metrodorus for four or five years, but do not sped any more on them than you now spend each year on me.
41) The only contribution I require is that which … ordered the disciples to send me, even if they are among the Hyperboreans. I wish to receive from each of you two hundred and twenty drachmae a year and no more.
44) Do not think it unnatural that when the flesh cries out, the soul cries too. The flesh cries out to be saved from hunger, thirst, and cold. It is hard for the soul to repress these cries, and dangerous for it to disregard nature’s summons, because the soul accustomed to independence day by day.
45) The man who follows nature and not groundless opinions is independent of all things. For in reference to what is enough for nature, every possession is riches—but in reference to unlimited desires, even the greatest wealth [is not riches but poverty].
47) = Vatican Saying XIV
49) … remembering your letter and your discussion about the men who are not able to see the analogy between phenomena and the unseen nor the harmony which exists between sensations and the unseen and again the contradiction…
53) = Vatican Saying 54
54) Vain is the word of a philosopher which does not heal any suffering of man. For just as there is no profit in medicine if it does not expel the diseases of the body, so there is no profit in philosophy either, if it does not expel the suffering of the mind.
57) Let us at least offer pious and noble sacrifices where it is customary, and let us do all things lawfully while not troubling ourselves with common beliefs about what concerns the noblest and holiest of beings. Further, let us be free of any care in regard to their opinion. Thus, one may live in conformity with nature…
60) We have need of pleasure when we suffer pain because of pleasure's absence; but when we are not feeling such pain, though we are in a condition of sensation, we have no need of pleasure. For the pleasure which arises from nature does not produce wickedness, but rather the longing connected with vain fancies.
61) That which creates insuperable joy is the complete removal of a great evil. And this is the nature of good, if one can once grasp it rightly and then hold by it, rather than walking about tediously babbling about the good.**
62) It is better to endure particular pains which produce greater satisfactions that we may enjoy. It is well to abstain from particular pleasures which produce more severe pains so that we may not suffer them.
68) It is common to find a man poor in determining the natural end of life but rich with empty fancies. For no fool is satisfied with what he has, but is distressed for what he has not. Just as men with a fever, through the malignancy of their disease, are always thirsty and desire the most injurious things, so too those whose mind is in an evil state are always poor in everything and in their greed are plunged into capricious desires.
77) Nature teaches us to pay little heed to what fortune brings, and when we are prosperous to understand that we are unfortunate, and when we are unfortunate not to regard prosperity highly, and to receive unemotionally the good things which come from fortune and to range ourselves boldly against the seeming evils which it brings: for all that the many regard as good or evil is fleeting, and wisdom has nothing in common with fortune.
82) Even if they [wrongdoers] are able to escape punishment, it is impossible to win security by escaping: and so the fear of the future which always presses upon them does not suffer them to be happy or to be free from anxiety in the present.
85. Happiness and blessedness do not correlate with abundance of riches, exalted positions, or offices or power, but with freedom from pain and gentleness of feeling and a state of mind that sets limits that are in accordance with nature.
* Cf. Lucretius, II.730