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Chapter 2 - Sint Ista Graecorum: How to be an Epicurean in Late Republican Rome – Evidence from Cicero’s On Ends 1–2

from Part I - Epicurus and Roman Identities

Sergio Yona
Affiliation:
University of Missouri, Columbia
Gregson Davis
Affiliation:
Duke University, North Carolina
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Summary

In this chapter, I examine to what extent Epicurus’ message was still relevant as such in the late Roman Republic and to what extent it had to be adapted to the new ideological and political circumstances. An analysis of books 1 and 2 of Cicero’s On Ends shows that Cicero had perfectly appropriated the Greek philosophical tradition and that he basically thought along the lines of the age-old school discussions. A typically Roman context seems to have had only limited influence on his argument: his conception of virtue, for instance, or his stress on the importance of the brilliant achievements of famous ancestors, though illustrated with many Roman examples, are borrowed from traditional Greek arguments. His attack on Torquatus’ inconsistency between words and deeds is clever and convincing, but rests on a theoretical construct. All in all, the Epicureans of Cicero’s day saw no major problems in adapting their philosophical convictions to the complex world of the Roman Republic.

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Epicurus in Rome
Philosophical Perspectives in the Ciceronian Age
, pp. 11 - 36
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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