Philodemus of Gadara
(Greek: Φιλόδημος ὁ Γαδαρεύς, Philodēmos, "love of the people"; c. 110 – prob. c. 40 or 35 BC) was an Epicurean
philosopher and poet. He studied under Zeno of Sidon in Athens, before moving to Rome, and then to Herculaneum. He was once known chiefly for his poetry preserved in the Greek Anthology, but since the 18th century, many writings of his have been discovered among the charred papyrus rolls at the Villa of the Papyri
Villa of the Papyri
at Herculaneum. The task of excavating and deciphering these rolls is difficult, and work continues to this day. The works of Philodemus so far discovered include writings on ethics, theology, rhetoric, music, poetry, and the history of various philosophical schools. Barker 1908 suggested he was owner of the Villa of the Papyri
Villa of the Papyri


1 Life 2 The Villa of the Papyri 3 Inductive reasoning 4 List of Philodemus' works

4.1 Historical works 4.2 Scientific works 4.3 Theological writings 4.4 Ethics 4.5 On rhetoric, music, and poetry

5 References 6 Further reading

6.1 English translations 6.2 Studies

7 External links

Life[edit] Philodemus was born c. 110 BC, in Gadara, Coele-Syria
(in present-day Jordan). He studied under the Epicurean
Phoenician philosopher, Zeno of Sidon, the head (scholarch) of the Epicurean
school, in Athens, before settling in Rome
about 80 BC. He was a follower of Zeno, but an innovative thinker in the area of aesthetics, in which conservative Epicureans had little to contribute. He was a friend of Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, and was implicated in Piso's profligacy by Cicero,[2] who, however, praises Philodemus warmly for his philosophic views and for the elegans lascivia of his poems.[3] Philodemus was an influence on Horace's Ars Poetica. The Greek anthology
Greek anthology
contains thirty-four of his epigrams - most of them, love poems. The Villa of the Papyri[edit] There was an extensive library at Piso's Villa of the Papyri
Villa of the Papyri
at Herculaneum, a significant part of which was formed by a library of Epicurean
texts, some of which were present in more than one copy, suggesting the possibility that this section of Piso's library was Philodemus' own. The contents of the villa were buried in the eruption of Vesuvius, 79 CE, and the papyri were carbonized and flattened but preserved. During the 18th-century exploration of the Villa by tunnelling, from 1752 to 1754 there were recovered carbonized papyrus rolls containing thirty-six treatises attributed to Philodemus. These works deal with music, rhetoric, ethics, signs, virtues and vices, the good king, and defend the Epicurean
standpoint against the Stoics and the Peripatetics. The first fragments of Philodemus from Herculaneum
were published in 1824. "The difficulties involved in unrolling, reading, and interpreting these texts were formidable. Naples was not a particularly hospitable destination for classical scholars. Finally, the philosophies of the Hellenistic schools were neither well-known nor highly regarded until quite recently. These factors combined to cripple scholarly interest in and use of the Herculaneum
papyri. Recently, however, in part due to the efforts of the International Center for the Study of the Herculaneum
Papyri, these rolls have been the object of renewed scholarly work and have yielded many findings indispensable for the study of Hellenistic philosophy."[4] Today researchers work from digitally enhanced photographs, infra-red and multiple-imaging photography, and 18th-century transcriptions of the documents, which were being destroyed as they were being unrolled and transcribed. The actual papyri are in the National Library, Naples. Named for the philosopher poet, the Philodemus Project is an international effort, supported by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and by contributions of individuals and participating universities, to reconstruct new texts of Philodemus' works on Poetics, Rhetoric, and Music. These texts will be edited and translated and published in a series of volumes by Oxford University Press. Philodemus: On Poems. I, edited with Introduction, Translation, and Commentary by Richard Janko, appeared in 2001 and won the Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit. "Philodemus’ On Poems, in particular, opens a window onto a lost age of scholarship—the period between Aristotle’s Poetics and Horace’s Art of Poetry, the works which define classicism for the ancient and modern worlds," Janko has written.[5] The Project's next volumes are scheduled to be:

On Poems V, edited and translated by David Armstrong, James Porter, Jeffrey Fish, and Cecilia Mangoni On Rhetoric
I-II, edited and translated by David Blank On Rhetoric
III, edited and translated by Dirk Obbink and Juergen Hammerstaedt.

Inductive reasoning[edit] in On Methods of Inference, Philodemus comments on the problem of induction, doubting the reliability of inductive reasoning from the observed to the unobserved. One problem is the existence of unique events that could never be guessed from what happens elsewhere. "There are also in our experience some infrequent occurrences, as for example the man in Alexandria half a cubit high, with a colossal head that could be beaten with a hammer, who used to be exhibited by the embalmers; the person in Epidaurus who was married as a young woman and then become a man."[6] Induction is also unreliable if it extrapolates far beyond our experience: "We shall not, therefore, use the [inference] that since the men among us are mortal the men in Libya would also be mortal, much less the inference that since the living beings among us are mortal, if there are any living beings in Britain, they would be mortal."[7] List of Philodemus' works[edit] This is a list of the major works of Philodemus found so far at Herculaneum. Historical works[edit]

Index Stoicorum (PHerc. 1018) Index Academicorum (PHerc. 164, 1021) On the Stoics (PHerc. 155, 339) On Epicurus
(PHerc. 1232, 1289) Works on the Records of Epicurus
and some others (PHerc. 1418, 310) To Friends of the School (PHerc. 1005)

Scientific works[edit]

On Phenomena and Inferences (PHerc. 1065)

Theological writings[edit]

On Piety (PHerc. 1428) On the Gods (PHerc. 26) On the Way of Life of the Gods (PHerc. 152, 157)


On Vices and Virtues, book 7 (On Flattery) (PHerc. 222, 223, 1082, 1089, 1457, 1675) On Vices and Virtues, book 9 (On Household Management) (PHerc. 1424) On Vices and Virtues, book 10 (On Arrogance) (PHerc. 1008) Comparetti Ethics
(named after its first editor; PHerc. 1251) On Death (PHerc. 1050) On Frank Criticism (PHerc. 1471) On Anger (PHerc. 182)

On rhetoric, music, and poetry[edit]

On Rhetoric
(on many papyri) On Music
(PHerc. 1497) On Poems (on many papyri) On the Good King according to Homer (PHerc. 1507)


^ Ethel Ross Barker (1908). "Buried Herculaneum".  ^ Cicero, In Pisonem, 68–72 ^ cf. Horace, Satires, i. 2. 120 ^ The Philodemus Project Archived 2010-08-13 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Janko, Richard. " Richard Janko on Philodemus". OUP. Archived from the original on 2007-04-18. Retrieved 28 July 2011.  ^ Philodemus, On Methods of Inference, ed. P. De Lacy and E. De Lacy (Naples, 1978), pp. 92-3. ^ Philodemus, On Methods of Inference, pp. 96-99; J. Franklin, The Science of Conjecture: Evidence and Probability Before Pascal (Baltimore, 2001), pp. 201-2.

Further reading[edit] English translations[edit]

Philodemus: On Death. (2009), W. Benjamin Henry. SBL. ISBN 1-58983-446-1 Philodemus: On Frank Criticism. (1998), David Konstan, Diskin Clay, Clarence, E. Glad. SBL. ISBN 1-58983-292-2 Philodemus: On Methods of Inference. 2nd edition. (1978). Phillip Howard De Lacy, Estelle Allen De Lacy. Bibliopolis. Philodemus, On Piety, Part 1. (1996). Critical Text with Commentary by Dirk Obbink. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-815008-3 Philodemus, On Poems. I, (2001), Edited with Introduction, Translation, and Commentary by Richard Janko. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-815041-5 Philodemus, On Poems, Books 3-4, with the Fragments of Aristotle, On Poets. (2010). Edited with Introduction, Translation, and Commentary by Richard Janko. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-957207-0 Philodemus, On Property Management. (2013), Voula Tsouna. SBL. ISBN 1-58983-667-7 Philodemus, On Rhetoric
Books 1 and 2: Translation and Exegetical Essays. (2005). Clive Chandler (editor). Routledge. ISBN 0-415-97611-1 David Sider, (1997), The Epigrams of Philodemos. Introduction, Text, and Commentary. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509982-6


Marcello Gigante, Dirk Obbink, (2002), Philodemus in Italy: The Books from Herculaneum. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-08908-0 Dirk Obbink (editor), (1995), Philodemus and Poetry: Poetic Theory and Practice in Lucretius, Philodemus and Horace. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-508815-8 Voula Tsouna, (2007), The Ethics
of Philodemus. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-929217-2

External links[edit]

Philodemus Project Blank, David. "Philodemus". In Zalta, Edward N. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  Philodemus: une bibliographie, annotated bibliography by Annick Monet Philodemus: translation of all surviving epigrams at; adapted from W.R.Paton (1916-18) David Armstrong, Jeffrey Fish, Patricia A. Johnston, and Marilyn B. Skinner, eds., 2003, Vergil, Philodemus, and the Augustans; condensed introduction on-line Philodemus' writings (Greek texts): Rhetorica, ed. Sudhaus, vol. 1, vol. 2; Academica, ed. Mekler; De Musica, ed. Kemke Harry M. Hubbel: The Rhetorica of Philodemus. Translation and Commentary, Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences 23, 1920, 243-382

v t e



Greek era

Epicurus Polyaenus Metrodorus Batis Leontion Carneiscus Idomeneus Hermarchus Colotes Themista Leonteus Polystratus Dionysius of Lamptrai Basilides Philonides Diogenes of Tarsus Alcaeus and Philiscus Apollodorus Demetrius Lacon Zeno of Sidon

Roman era

Amafinius Rabirius Titus Albucius Phaedrus Philodemus Lucretius Patro Catius Siro Diogenes of Oenoanda


(cf. Hedonism) Tetrapharmakos


Aponia Ataraxia Clinamen Eudaimonia Hedone Metakosmia


On the Nature of Things List of English translations of De rerum natura

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 268806125 LCCN: n84007239 ISNI: 0000 0003 9196 1028 GND: 11859401X SELIBR: 83767 SUDOC: 027208362 BNF: cb119300385 (data) ULAN: 500056228 SN