The Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy Newsletter

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Sententia Vaticana 23, as usually emended, says that every friendship is choiceworthy for its own sake. I argue that this sentence should not be attributed to Epicurus. No other evidence supports the attribution of this view to Epicurus, and much other evidence counts strongly against it. It would be better to reject the emendation, so that the sentence says, in somewhat awkward but not entirely unprecedented Greek, that every friendship is by itself a virtue, or to attribute the emended sentence not to Epicurus but to the later, more timid Epicureans who, according to Cicero, conceded more value to friendship than Epicurus had.


Eric Brown presented “Epicurus, Sententia Vaticana 23” to the Society at its meeting with the American Philological Association in Washington DC, 1998. A much-revised version was published as “Epicurus on the Value of Friendship (‘Sententia Vaticana’ 23)” in Classical Philology 97.1 (2002) 68-80.

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