The ‘Good’ is An Attribute of Pleasure: Comics Mocking Epicurus

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists 7.9-10

“And the same Bato, in his play called The Murderer, also mocks one of the upstanding philosophers before he continues:

When is possible to lie down with a beautiful woman
And have two small carafes of Lesbian wine—
And this is the ‘prudent man’; this is the ‘good man’?
Epicurus once said the things I am saying now.
If everyone would live the life that I live,
No one would be out of place or an adulterer

And Hegesippos adds in The Comrade-Lovers

When wise Epicurus was asked by someone
To tell him what that “good” is, which
They are always seeking, he said it was pleasure.
Well done, the man replied, best and wisest man!
There is no greater good anywhere than chewing.
And the ‘good’ is an attribute of pleasure.”


καὶ ἐν τῷ ᾿Ανδροφόνῳ δὲ ἐπιγραφομένῳ ὁ αὐτὸς Βάτων διαπαίξας τινὰ τῶν ἐπιεικῶν φιλοσόφων ἐπιφέρει (IV 500 M)·

ἐξὸν γυναῖκ’ ἔχοντα κατακεῖσθαι καλὴν
καὶ Λεσβίου χυτρῖδε λαμβάνειν δύο·
ὁ φρόνιμος <οὗτός> ἐστι, τοῦτο τἀγαθόν.
᾿Επίκουρος ἔλεγε ταῦθ’ ἃ νῦν ἐγὼ λέγω.
εἰ τοῦτον ἔζων πάντες ὃν ἐγὼ ζῶ βίον,
οὔτ’ ἄτοπος ἦν ἂν οὔτε μοιχὸς οὐδὲ εἷς.

῾Ηγήσιππος δ’ ἐν Φιλεταίροις (IV 481 M)·

᾿Επίκουρος ὁ σοφὸς ἀξιώσαντός τινος
εἰπεῖν πρὸς αὐτὸν ὅτι ποτ’ ἐστὶ τἀγαθόν,
ὃ διὰ τέλους ζητοῦσιν, εἶπεν ἡδονήν.
Β. εὖ γ’, ὦ κράτιστ’ ἄνθρωπε καὶ σοφώτατε·
τοῦ γὰρ μασᾶσθαι κρεῖττον οὐκ ἔστ’ οὐδὲ ἓν
ἀγαθόν· Α. πρόσεστιν ἡδονῇ γὰρ τἀγαθόν.

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