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The Life of Epicurus Epicurus was born on February 4th 341 BC the second of four brothers on the island of Samos in the Aegean Sea just off the west coast of what is now Turkey a region called Ionia Epicuruss parents were cleruchs a class of poor Athenian citizens who settled territory appropriated from the tributary states of Athens Cleruchs were looked down upon by Athenian residents and scorned as foreign invaders by the natives of the territories they settled which made their social position precarious This proved to be the case for Epicuruss family which was forced to evacuate Samos in 322 BC just a year after Epicurus was drafted into the Athenian army His father the school teacher Neocles and mother Chaerestrate subsequently moved the family home to the near-by coastal city of Colophon Epicuruss childhood took place during a momentous period in Greek history The Greeks had long been divided into many city-states spread over the Aegean basin including modern Greece Thrace and the Ionian coast and southern Italy and Sicily During Epicuruss childhood Alexander of Macedon made his remarkable conquest of Greece the Persian Empire and Egypt Greek culture was spread into various cities as far east as Afghanistan and Pakistan While Alexanders empire didnt survive his death in 323 BC the successor states that eventually emerged out of the wars among Alexanders generals retained a strong element of Greek language and culture particularly among the upper strata of society These states especially the Seleucid Empire that took over the territory of Persia the Ptolemaic Empire that took over Egypt and the Antigonid Empire that took over the Macedonian homeland were far vaster and more centralized than the old Greek city-states with the consequence that the relationship between the typical Greek individual and the state he lived in underwent a radical change Alexander of Macedon While Epicurus was serving in the Athenian
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