Thursday, January 14, 2016


The Pig

Augustine, Expositions of the Psalms 73.25 (tr. Maria Boulding):
Now it is possible that the one who maintains, "Once I'm dead, I shall no longer exist," is a person of some education, and he has learned this from a crazy fellow named Epicurus, a so-called philosopher, but in truth a lover of futility rather than a lover of wisdom. Philosophers themselves dubbed him "the Pig," because they held that a "philosopher" who held bodily pleasure to be the supreme good deserved to be called a pig wallowing in the mire of the flesh. So perhaps it is from this man that our educated objector has learnt to say, "Once I'm dead, I shall no longer exist."

et forte qui dicit: cum mortuus fuero, postea nihil ero: et litteras didicit, et ab Epicuro didicit hoc, nescio quo deliro philosopho, vel potius amatore vanitatis, non sapientiae; quem ipsi etiam philosophi porcum nominaverunt: qui voluptatem corporis summum bonum dixit, hunc philosophum porcum nominaverunt, volutantem se in coeno carnali. ab illo forte didicit iste litteratus dicere: non ero posteaquam mortuus fuero.
Partially quoted, without an indication of source, by Isidore, Etymologies 8.6.15 (tr. Stephen A. Barney et al.):
The Epicureans ... are so called from a certain philosopher Epicurus, a lover of vanity, not of wisdom, whom the philosophers themselves named 'the pig,' wallowing in carnal filth, as it were, and asserting that bodily pleasure is the highest good.

Epicurei dicti ab Epicuro quodam philosopho amatore vanitatis, non sapientiae, quem etiam ipsi philosophi porcum nominaverunt, quasi volutans in caeno carnali, voluptatem corporis summum bonum adserens.
I am "Epicuri de grege porcum," in the words of Horace (Epist. 1.4.16) — a pig from Epicurus' herd.


Statue of a pig, Villa dei Papiri, Herculaneum (from Warren, p. 133)

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