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Pleasure is key so slow down and enjoy!

Epicureanism is a philosophy built on the foundation of realism.Founded by Epicurus,

once a student at Platoʼs Academy who later went on and branched off into a life of

seclusion and moderation with his followers. This school of thought directly correlates

to the way Epicurus himself lived his life. Epicurus was a man who was clearly

content with his life, one of the issues Epicurus sets out to solve is the fear that was

so prevalent in ancient times. The idea of life after death was and is a huge basis of

uncertainty within society and through the use of physics and “atomistic materialism”

epicureanism tries to address the fact that you will die and that is the end, not exactly

a happy ending but a realist perspective nonetheless.

Pleasure is not about flashy, materialistic possessions. As long as something holds
intrinsic value pleasure and ultimately happiness is attainable.

1. You must be open minded and willing to accept the ideas that are preached.

2.You must not hide in blissfulness or ignorance, you must be willing to accept reality
and face it head on only then can you reach solace.

3. You must be able to welcome death.The roots of epicureanism is basically that you
must accept the idea of death before no longer fearing it and with that fear still within
you, you will not reach true happiness.

4. You must be open to a scientific perspective as well opposed to a strictly
philosophical standpoint.Much of the school is dependent on the scientific theories
proposed and therefore making it crucial to be accepted universally.\

5. Finally, as an epicurean you must welcome moderation with open arms.
Epicureanism is not about materialistic endeavors rather, personal definitions of
pleasure. Achieving pleasure through simplicity is the most practical and rational way
possible. Whether it be that you are not financially stable enough to enjoy lifeʼs luxuries
or you just do not wish to, the importance of enjoying the simpler things is extremely


1) Encyclopedia of World Biography | 2004 http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Epicurus.aspx

2) 2003-2012 University Press Inc http://www.ancientgreece.com/s/People/Epicurus/

3) The Epicurus & Epicurean Philosophy web site 1996- http://www.epicurus.net/

4) http://www.epicurus.net/en/history.html

5) http://atheism.about.com/library/glossary/general/bldef_epicureanism.htm -Blog


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Come live a perfect ascetic lifestyle, and join the cynics! (By Tyler)

Facts about Cynicism:

Cynicism, like most schools of philosophy, originated in Ancient Athens. The principal beliefs of Cynicism involved ascetic lifestyles and few possessions, as well as being in harmony with nature. The founder of cynicism is usually credited as Diogenes of Sinope, famous for living on the streets of Athens in a tub, and often called the dog man for his lifestyle. He begged for a living. He had no possessions. At one point, he was captured by pirates and decided to live in Corinth instead. The other person usually credited with the founding of Cynicism is Antisthenes, an extremely sarcastic philosopher. Alexander the Great once said that if he could be anyone except himself, he would be Antisthenes. Antisthenes died around 80 years old, and was a follower of Socrates. Cynicism had a great impact on some prominent members of Greek society, notably Crates of Thebes, who renounced a large fortune to live a life of Cynic poverty. Cynicism gradually faded away around 5th Century BCE, although some say that early Christians used some of its principle beliefs.

The famous Cynic Diogenes of Sinope, his tub, and some dogs on the streets of Athens. Note the lack of possessions, and general look of poverty.

Five tips for how to become the perfect Cynic:

  1. You must be prepared to renounce all possessions, fame, wealth, and power if you want to be a prominent Cynic.
  2. To be truly happy, you must be self-sufficient, and happiness is the chief virtue of Cynics.
  3. You must be shameless to be a Cynic.
  4. You must be indifferent to insults.
  5. As a Cynic, it is your job to hound people about the error of their ways.


“Cynicism.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 08 June 2012. Web. 14 Aug. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynicism>.


“Cynicism and Stoicism.” Cynicism and Stoicism. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2012. <http://philosophy.lander.edu/ethics/stoicism.html>.


“Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.” Antisthenes. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2012. <http://www.iep.utm.edu/antisthe/>.


“Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.” Diogenes of Sinope. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2012. <http://www.iep.utm.edu/diogsino/>.

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“You don’t need to have sex or material goods to live a life of pleasure, try Epicureanism!” (By Elliot)


What is Epicureanism?

Epicureanism started off as a humble philosophy based around the philosophy of Epicurus.  He was a great materialist in the philosophical sense and believed that the world is made up of tiny atoms which move through the void of open space.  Atoms themselves are microscopic bits of matter which come together to make everything in the universe.  He did believe in the gods as having bodies made of atoms, but these atoms unlike the souls of humans did not separate.  He believed in a state of being called ataraxia, or a state of ultimate tranquility, something the gods had achieved which he believed everybody should strive to achieve.  Because this state of being was so wonderful, not even the gods were interested in the lives of humans as they were so content with existence to care, and so people should not fear or rely on the gods.  Because of this pursuit of tranquility and the easy lifestyle he proposed many people even illiterate would follow his philosophy to become one the most popular philosophies of ancient Greece.

When being an epicurean, sometimes it is best to just enjoy some of the simpler pleasures in life with some friends rather than excess 

How to be an Epicurean?

  1. First of all, one must not rely on the gods, they have found ataraxia and have no interest in human lives, and this also means people should not fear the gods for any reason.
  2. One must not fear death, since everything is made of atoms, nothing will last the tests of time.  Once you die, your body will disintegrate and so you will not be able to suffer after your death.
  3. Live a life of pleasure with good food and friends, but do not overindulge because there is a measure to everything.
  4. People should set long term goals for themselves and try to determine the best way to gain pleasure in the long term, as it means one will be happier than simply satisfying the desires for pleasure in the short term.
  5. Finally Epicureans believe in the pursuit and understanding of philosophical knowledge and scientific knowledge as both come together to help one know the limits of our universe.


Works Cited


Efired.  “Stock photo white wine on the table.”  <http://www.123rf.com/photo_10429345_white-wine-

on-the-table.html>.  web.  April 2011.  August 14, 2012.


Lendering, Jona.  “Epicurus.”  <http://www.livius.org/ei-er/epicurus/epicurus.html>.  web.  2005.

August 14, 2012.


O’ Keefe, Tim.  “Epicurus.”  http://www.iep.utm.edu/epicur/#H5.  web.  July 11, 2005.  August 14, 2012.

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Cynicism: Be happy. Live like a dog. (by Eily)

Background Information

  • Originated in Classical Greece
  • Is a precursor of Stoicism
  • Virtue is the only thing you need for happiness
  • Goal of cynics is to attain happiness
  • Neglect everything (besides virtue): society, hygiene, family, sex, power, money
  • Believed that world belonged equally to everyone
  • Believes that suffering by false judgments of what was valuable, worthless customs and possessions of society
  • Word cynic is derived from Greek word for dog (because to be a cynic, one would live like a dog)
  • Become self sufficient
  • Live in accordance with nature

Antisthenes of Athens (445-365 BCE)

  • Founder of Cynicism
  • Pupil of Socrates
  • Contemporary of Plato
  • “I have enough to eat till my hunger is stayed, to drink till my thirst is sated; to clothe myself as well; and out of doors not [even] Callias there, with all his riches, is more safe than I from shivering; and when I find myself indoors, what warmer shirting do I need than my bare walls?”

Diogenes of Sinope (412-323 BCE)

  • Adopted Antisthenes way of life (self-sufficiency, austerity, and shamelessness)
  • Slept in a tub
  • Ate raw meat

Crates of Thebes (365-285 BCE)

  • Pupil of Diogenes
  • Renounced a large inheritance
  • Married and lived on street like beggar (with wife)
  • Taught Zeno of Citium (founder of Stoicism), had heavy influence of Stoic behaviour

This bust of Antisthenes, considered the father of Cynicism, demonstrates his Cynicness; shaggy, unkept hair and beard, and simple clothes.

5 Prescriptive Tips

  1. Cynics have no property. Reject all conventional values of money, fame, power or reputation.
  2. Cynics also live in harmony with nature, you must do this too.
  3. Cynics are the watchdogs of society. You must hound people in the error of their ways.
  4. Your body and mind must be at their top level. One cannot function properly without the other.
  5. All cynics are Cosmopolitan. If someone asks you where you are from, say you are a citizen of the world.


“Cynicism.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., 6 Aug. 2012. Web. 14 Aug. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynicism&gt;.

Hanson, Scott. “How to Be a Cynic: 7 steps.” wikiHow – The How-to Manual That You Can Edit. N.p., 28 July 2012. Web. 14 Aug. 2012. <http://www.wikihow.com/Be-a-Cynic&gt;.

Piering, Julie. “Cynics.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. N.p., 18 Apr. 2006. Web. 14 Aug. 2012. <http://www.iep.utm.edu/cynics/&gt;.

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Later Greek Schools of Philosophy: Stoics, Cynics, Epicureans

Today’s homework is to conduct your own research into one of the later Greek schools of Philosophy. Research your assigned school and prepare a manual telling people “How to live like a ______”

Your manual must include the following components:

1.  A slogan (2 marks)

2. Background information about the school, its origins, important figures, impact on Greek society and legacy (3 marks)

3. Five prescriptive tips on how to live like a Stoic, Cynic or Epicurean (5 marks)

4. A relevant image with an explanatory caption (2 marks)

5. Neatness, clarity, organization and well documented research (3 marks)

Total: 15 marks

Please email these to me by tomorrow morning. Your pamphlets will be posted on the blog.

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Facebook template

Hi everyone,

Here is the powerpoint template for the Roman Facebook project, created by teacher/blogger Lindsay Cesari.

Facebook Template

This assignment is due Friday, July 20.

Please speak to me if you have any questions or want me to look over your research before you submit the assignment!


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The Classical World on Film

 Movies transport us to faraway times and exotic locales. They can provide intimate portraits of great figures and a front row view of major events. On the other hand, they can present biased or inaccurate histories and exaggerate human traits. Many films have been made about Classical civilizations. In this assignment, we will wrestle with the question:

Do historical films help or hinder our understanding of Classical civilizations?

Watch a movie that features Ancient Greece or Rome and consider the following questions:

  1. Were there inaccuracies in the movie compared to the material in our course?
  2. What did you learn from the movie that you did not already know?
  3. Were there any underlying values or opinions being presented by the director in the way (s)he depicted the main theme of the film or the way (s)he portrayed the heroes and villains of the story?
  4. How did the depiction of this event or person compare to reading about the same topic?
  5. Did you have an emotional reaction to the film, why or why not? How do your own history and experiences affect how you perceive the film?
  6. Did the film have an impact at the time of release on society’s perspective of the event and people involved? Did the film change your perspective about the people or event?

Write a review of the film (2 – 3 pages) based on your answers to the above questions. The review must contain:

1) Introduction: Give the title of your movie, the year and country where it was made, and a list of its starring cast and crew. Was it a big budget blockbuster, an indie film, a made for TV movie or an educational resource? Include any awards it won.

2) Content: Give a BRIEF plot summary of the movie.

3) Research and Analysis: Do you think that your movie portrays the ancient world with a great deal of historical accuracy? You will need to conduct research for this section and make connections between the film and the historical period or event that it portrays. Be sure to cite any quotations you use in this section properly (either in-text citations or footnotes and a works cited page).

4) Conclusion and Review: State whether or not you would recommend this film to others in order to enhance their appreciation of Classical Civilizations and include any questions you may still have after viewing the film.

Due Wednesday July 18

Examples of Films:

–       Agora (2009)

–       Rome (2005/2006)

–       Alexander (2004)

–       Spartacus (1960)

–       Ben-Hur (1959)

–       Clash of the Titans (2010)

–       The Trojan Women (1971)

–       Cleopatra (1963

–       The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)

–       The Last Legion (2007)

–       Gladiator (2000)

–       Antony and Cleopatra (1972)

–       Hercules (1997)

–       Caligula (1979)

–       I, Claudius (1976)

–       The Eagle (2011)

–       Julius Caesar (1970)

–       Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

–       The Odyssey (1997)

–       Spartacus: Blood and Sand (2010)

–       Alexander the Great (1956)

–        300 (2006)

Here is a link to the Odyssey movie we were watching in class today. We stopped at 1:38.

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