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/owett Fellow alld Clauzcal Tuto" oj Ballzol College, Ox/o1d


P"nua ,,.
At tu



By J oh.. J ohnso.. Pnnter lo 1]U Utnvers,ty

AN interest in Lucretius took me back many years ago, as it has others, to the study of the remaíns of Epicurus, without which the true meaning of the Latin poet cannot be fully understood. The great work oí Usener placed at one's disposal all that was then available for the knowledge of EpicUfUS, and with the exception of the Vatican Gnomologium nothing has since been added. 1 But the study of Epicltrta brought me to the conclusion that something more than a mere text was needed: the work of Brieger, Giussani, T ohte, and others on certain portions of the Epicurean theory had at once shed light and raísed new problems, and 1 was thus led to set abo,ut rnaking rny own text, translation, and cornmentary. Sínce 1 have been at work, there have appeared the German translation of Kochalsky, the Italian translation and brief cornmentary of Bígnone, amI quite recently the new Teubner text of von der Muehll. Each of theseand especially in my view the work of Bígnone-have greatly advanced the study of Epicurus, but there is

For certam fragments of the llEpl.


see Cornrnentary,


39 1 .



still no complete 1 translation in English and no complete commentary in any language. In the circumstances it seems worth while to publish the result of a good many years' work on the Epicurean texto But 1 do so with much hesitation. No one can be more ful1y aware than 1 am of the extreme difficulty of the writings of Epicurus, and the necessari1y tentatative character of any solution of their many cruces: 1 would repeat with fervour the words of U sener, e nune curn librurn rnanibus emitto, sentio me nominem et inconstantem fuisse '. But 1 trust that 1 have shed sorne light on dark places and at least have rnade it clear where the problems lie and what are the data for their solution. 1 hope to follow up this work shortly with a volume of critical essays on the system of Epicurus, where it will be possible to deal with sorne of the problems at greater length. My debt to many predecessors in Epicurean studies is great, and will become obvious in the commentary, but 1 think that after U sener 1 owe most to two great 1talian scholars, Giussani and Bignone.

C. B.
OXFüRD, .5eptembcr, 1924.
I Many of the lmportant passages have been translated by 1\1r. R D. Hlcks 10 hls St01C alld Eplcurean (1910), but I do not always find myself m agreement wlth hls verslOns. His translation of Diogenes Laertms m the Loeb senes unfortunately appeared too late for me to use n. For the same reason 1 have been unable to use the translatlOn of the Letters and the Kvp¡a¡ ~ó~a' by A. Ernout in his Commentary on Lucrelius 1, JI.

INTRODUCTION. MSS. and editions .

TEXT AND TRAN5LATIüN. Epistula ad Herodotum Epistula ad Pythoclea . Epistula ad Menoeceum
Kvplal ~~al


56 82

Fragmenta Vlta Epicun .


COMMENTARY. Letter to Herodotus Letter lo Pythocles Letter to Menoeceus PrIncIpal Doctrines Fragments Life of Eplcurus BIBLIOGRAPHY INDEX OF PRINCIPAL TERMS

• 173 · 275
· 32 7 34-4-

· 375 • 4-° 1

FRONTISPIECE. EPICUruS, from the bust Caplto/mo, Rome.


the Museo

29 (formerly 253). but both derived during the Middle Ages (rom the same source. B. The book purports to be a • Llfe' of Epicurus and IS compiled In haphazard fashion from many doxographical sources. the other more negligent work: thls is shown by the occasional unexpected agreement of the chlef representatlves of the two classes. representmg any anClent cleavage of tradition. the Kúp¡a¡ 6. The oldest representatlVe of the first cIass is B. sources for Diogenes. SlX MSS.INTRODUCTION MSS.ó!aL. Thus the problem of the text of Epicurus is for the most part that of the MS. By far the greater part of the extant remains of Epicurusthe three Ietters. AND EDITIONS. . (BFGHPQ) were used by Usener in the preparation of hlS great editlOn (1887): for a (ull account of them his pre(ace should be consuIted. the one class representmg a careful copying. a parchment codex of the twelfth century. (TDWCoZ)ofwhICh the last two are the most important. in the public hbrary at Naples: It was corrected by a hand of the (ourteenth century whose readings not infrequentIy agree with those of Co. ni. A brief account. will suffice for this edltion m WhlCh 1 have been gUlded entlrely by thelr reports. of Diogenes fall mto two main classes. the quotations occurnng from time to time in the course of the narrative. accordmg to Usener. not. based on the work of Usener and von der MuehIl. who has added readmgs from five more MSS. B and F. B 1. and Usener's report of the readings of the pnnCipal codices checked and occasJOnal1y corrected by P. and many of the surviving fragments-are embodied in the tenth book of Diogenes LaertlUs. These SIX have recently been re-read. The M SS. the Codex Borbonicus gr. von der MuehIl (1922).

Usener is. 13. but von der MuehIl is inclined to regard it as representing another family of the same stock. attributed by Usener to the tweIfth and by von der Muehll to the thirteenth century. P has unfortunately been much corrected and the corrections have often obscured or obhterated its orIginal readings: von der MuehIl distinguishes P~ (Usener's PI) who derived bis readings froro anotber copy of tbe same familyand pa (Usener's P2) who corrected tbe text later by tbe vulgate traditIon. the Codex Vaticanus gr. the Codex Laurentianus LXIX. to be also derived from P. These two. Belonging to the same class. the Codex Parisinus gr. It i5 described by U sener as • the twin' oC B. 35 of the fourteenth century. often able to recover the original reading of P from two other MSS. F II.). a paper codex of the beginning of the fourteenth century. but later than Q and made after the W correction of P and therefore embodying a mixed text. a paper codex made In the fourteenth century or at the be· ginmng of tbe fifteenth. is F. and W. frequently confirm the orlgmal text of P. of the second c1ass. We are. which be has himself colIated [rom pbotograpbs and Co which he tefers to as Co. which he believes. are H H. the Codex Laurentianus LXIX. however. denved more careIessIy from the same original tradition as the first class.. or one or other of them.• P 10 INTRODUCTION Later than B. 15 P. whlch appear to have been copied from P before it was corrected. also a copy of P. though with less certamty. a large parchment MS. 1759. The chlef MS. For this purpose Usener relies Q mostly on the authorlty of Q. (' The Old Seragho '): tbls MS. though of lesser Importance. of opinion that it is an . may be taken to preserve lt. the Codex ConstantmopolitanusVeteris Serail. bowever. 140 of the fourteenth century (one of von der Muehl1's MSS. Von der MuebIl prefers to quote a MS. the Codex Parlsinus gr. and In other places. was wrltten in the fourteenth or fifteenth century (the last page being added later in the sixteenth). but alroost roore important. 1758. where P's reading has been obscured.

B. AND EDITIONS JI unscholarly copy and cannot be taken by itse1C to represent the tradition of the second class. a paper MS. which is avallable when from time to time lt quotes passages tn extenso A less \{I valuable epitome of the same character IS \{I. except where readings rest on its sole authority. found 111 the Codex Palatmus Vaticanus gr. 93 and dated 1338.. at the time of Constantlne Porphyrogemtus. are not mfrequently due to conJecture rather than to traditlOn. made. the Z Codex Lobcowicensis Raudmtzianus. (1 have not myse1f quoted lt.tro prtnceps was pubhshed by Froben at Basle in 1523 and is said m the preface to be a transcnpt of the MS. f The ed. often references to other passages In EPlcuruS or . and von der Muehll 15 of opmlOn that Usener is sometlmes mlstaken 10 attnbutmg too great Importan ce to them G The remalnmg MS quoted by Usener IS G. would appear to have been abad copy of the corrected Z ThlS printed text has therefore derivatlvely the authority of a MS. 109. and to D. ThlS codex again has been much corrected and von der MuehIl beheves that after lt had already recelved the addltions of Z2 and ZJ it was the source oC the first pnnted edition oC Diogenes. He has also made some use of <1>. said to be of the [our· teenth century. and is accordingly quoted by U sener in support of F. as he thmks. of Matthew Aungathus. which he has hlmselC collated. Von der Muehll finds the necessary support for Fin Z. Von der MuehIl refers also occaslOnally to T. D the Codex Urbmas Vat. iu. of DlOgenes were ennched by a consIderable body of scholia. Its best readings. 96. professor at Wlttenberg The MS. the Codex Borbomcus lP gr. an epltome of DlOgenes LaertlUs 111 Codex Vaticanus gr. It appears to represent a mixed tradltlon of T the two classes.) Von der MuehII points out the frequency with WhlCh \Ve find in support of a readmg the comb1OatlOn FpJZf thIS combmatlOn may be taken to represent the second class. 28. the Codex Laurentianus LXIX. The M SS. gr.MSS. 28. however.

and BorbonIcus.g.) it is easy to detect thern. 1 am myself more mclined to hold the opmion of Usener that It is an EpIcurean compilation. and used thcm unscientificalIy. or addztamentum'. Most modern edltors would agree that U sener was too ready to assurne 'gloss. They falI naturally into two classes. constantly or wlth ]udgement. and made sorne correctlOns. The edltors of the slxteenth century had access only to mfenor MSS. to the llt"p' cl>vO"t"w. Yet to each and all of these earher edltors are due certain conjectural restorations which stIll find a place in modern texts. Stephanus (1570) reIIed on G and another infenor MS. Sometimes.12 INTRODUCTION amplifications of or comments on the text: these have become interwoven into the text and are especiaIly frequent in the letters to Herodotus and to PythocJes. XV-XVJl). and that many phrases thus excluded by hirn can be restored to the texto Von der Muehll IS oC opinion that Jt 15 the intrusion of these addltions in the letter to Pythocles which has caused ltS dislocated and incoherent appearance. and that lt was m origm a genume work oC Eplcurus' own hand. but in other places the task of disentangling text and gloss IS extrernely difficult and delicate. and recent cntlcIsm has not altered his opimons. schollUrn. Wlth the earIJer edltlOns of DlOgenes or of the tenth book Usener has dealt In hls Introduction (pp. Vatlcanus. where they are accompanied by references (e. In the seventeenth century Gassendl revived the serious study of Epicureamsm and may be sald to have mtroduced the theory of atomIsm to the modern world. Mananus 393: Sambucus (1566) used the Venetus. he was a poor Greek scholar. Of the edttw prtnccps of Froben (1523) 1 have already spoken. but Huebner (1828) agam returned to the tradition of . but dld not consult the MSS. and m hls edltIon of Book X (1649) showed no respect for tradltion and practlcaIly re-wrote the texto Meibom (1692) m Usener's view dId still greater damage to the texto Schneider (1813) was able to sorne extent to repaIr the harm done. But though he too has contributed permanent emendations to the text. To the same class belong the edltlOns of Aldobrandinus (1594) and Menagius (1664).

MSS. and in dealmg wIth passages whlch he could not understand he was too apt eIther to mtroduce vlolent emendatlOns or to assume the mtruslOn of a gloss or schohum. who already m 1882 had pubhshed a como mentary on the Ietter to Herodotus. and any future work must take the form of a re'exammatlOn of the evidence on the lines WhICh he laId down. Hermann Usener's great work Eptcurea appeared in 1887. The work of Usener naturally gave an Impetus to the study of Eplcurus. but m many Instances also makmg contnbutlOns to the eIUcldatIon of the texto Of these the most Important are the works of Brreger and Giussani. But almost more lmportant were hIS services to the texto The way for a scientIfic study of the MS. At the same tIme he is not what would now be called a conservative editor. U sener threw over the whole previous traditIon of printed editions and made a fresh start from the scientific study of the MSS and theIT re1ations to one another. dealmg for the most part with indivIdual points in the Eplcurean theory. and Bonner who had coliated the two Pans MSS. he estab· lished a store-house of mformation on Epicureanism and In many cases parallels which serve to illustrate and often to explam the text of Epicurus hImself. m which there IS a further study of the text: he lS too apt to indulge in wl1d emendatlOn. Bneger. though he derived assistance from F and from his own scholarshIp. and Cobet (1862). But a glance at the critIcal apparatus In thlS edltlOn or that of von der MuehIl will show how often his correctlOns have been accepted. could not get free from it. His text is accordmgly estabhshed on a far sounder basls and he has hlmself made important and valuable corrections. (P and Q). added a second pamphlet in 1893 Eptkurs Lehre van der Sede. and smce hls edltIon there has been published a considerable body of essays and artlc1es. More stlmulating and . and is the foundation of aH modero study of EPICUruS. but has marle a few useful suggestlOns. AND EDITIONS 13 Meibom. By collecting together from the whole range of classical lIterature citations from Epicurus and allusIons to hIS theories. tradition had been prepared by Wachsmuth who had coIlated the Italian M SS.

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