La folle nostalgia dell’immortalità. Su Epicuro, Ad Men. 124.10-11


  • Enrico Piergiacomi


The Foolish Craving for Immortality. On Epicurus, Ad Men. 124.10-11.

The short article proposes an interpretation of Epicurus’ words πόθος τῆςἀθανασίας (Ad Men. 124.10-11). Arguably, the expression does not simplyrefer to a generic desire of the foolish man for immortality. Since in Greekliterature πόθος has usually the meaning of ‘craving’ and is often associatedto the erotic remembrance of an absent lover, the phrase πόθος τῆςἀθανασίας might aim at two goals. On the one hand, it indicates that thefoolish man ‘craves’ for immortality in a way similar to the man who painfullycraves for his absent lover, i.e. that this foolish man experiences manydamaging and useless sufferings. On the other hand, the expression πόθοςτῆς ἀθανασίας probably alludes to Plato’s praise of the erotic struggle forimmortality, described especially in his Symposium and his Phaedrus. Theinterpretation also allows to positively reevaluate Epicurus’ writing skillsand to distinguish two kinds of ‘craving’: the useless/damaging one, experiencedby foolish men and lovers, and the rewarding/useful one, felt bythe wise man who remembers with pleasure the dead friends from the past.