Sunday, July 18, 2021


One Life Only

Epicurus, Sententiae Vaticanae 14 = fragment 204 Usener (tr. Brad Inwood and L.P. Gerson):
We are born only once, and we cannot be born twice; and one must for all eternity exist no more. You are not in control of tomorrow and yet you delay your [opportunity to] rejoice. Life is ruined by delay and each and every one of us dies without enjoying leisure.

γεγόναμεν ἅπαξ, δὶς δὲ οὐκ ἔστι γενέσθαι· δεῖ δὲ τὸν αἰῶνα μηκέτι εἶναι· σὺ δὲ οὐκ ὢν τῆς αὔριον <κύριος> ἀναβάλλῃ τὸν χαῖρον· ὁ δὲ βίος μελλησμῷ παραπόλλυται καὶ εἷς ἕκαστος ἡμῶν ἀσχολούμενος ἀποθνῄσκει.
Text and apparatus from P. von der Mühll, ed., Epicuri Epistulae Tres et Ratae Sententiae a Laertio Diogene Servatae...Accedit Gnomologium Epicureum Vaticanum (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1922), p. 61:
Cf. Jürgen Hammerstaedt and Martin Ferguson Smith, "Diogenes of Oinoanda: New Discoveries of 2012 (NF 206–212) and New Light on 'Old' Fragments," Epigraphica Anatolica 45 (2012) 1–37 (at 21 = NF 209 II, lines 3-6):
ὡϲ οὐκ ἔϲτιν
δὶϲ ἀποθανεῖν,
οὕτωϲ οὐδὲ δὶϲ

As it is not possible to die twice, so it is not possible to live twice either.

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