Epicureans on kingship

Sean McConnell

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    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Diogenes Laertius lists in his catalogue of Epicurus' works (10.28) a treatise On Kingship, which is unfortunately no longer extant. Owing to the Epicureans' antipathy to politics, such a work might be viewed with surprise and presumed to be virulently negative in outlook. Indeed, Plutarch reports that the Epicureans wrote on kingship only to ward people away from living in the company of kings (Adv. Col. 1127a) and that they maintained that to be king oneself was a terrible mistake (Adv. Col. 1125c-d). However, the scattered evidence that remains suggests the Epicurean views on kingship were both nuanced and sophisticated. In this paper I seek to reconstruct a viable account of the Epicurean position on kingship.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)178-198
    Number of pages21
    JournalThe Cambridge Classical Journal
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010

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