Master Katy Chenoweth
Classical Humanities 2200
30 July 2015
In the Tusculan Disputations, Cicero wrote “The Epicureans by their writings have seized the whole of Italy.” Indeed, this often neglected or dismissed branch of philosophy played a great role in the development of the culture of Rome through the late Republican period. It can prove difficult to find examples of noteworthy Epicureans holding political office compared with their polemic counterparts, the Stoics, largely because of the Epicurean teaching “[one must] live without being noticed.” Still, there are a few who hold public office despite their Epicurean beliefs, or perhaps more appropriately, continue to hold Epicurean beliefs despite the social expectation to aspire to public office. From the writings and of Cicero and Lucretius, we can come to understand the immense impact Epicureanism had on Roman culture.
The first chronicled Roman who was classically trained in Epicureanism is Titus Albucius, a member of the upper class living around 100 B.C.E. who spent his youth studying philosophy and oration in Athens. Albucius grew fond of Epicureanism and declared himself a devotee of the school; however, after reaching adulthood, Albucius returned to Rome to follow the cursus honorum, eventually ending up as praetor of a province. After being exiled, Albucius went back to Athens and fully dedicated himself to Epicureanism by abandoning the political life entirely. Indeed, a seemingly innocuous