Epicurus (341–270 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher as well as the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism. Only a few fragments and letters of Epicurus's 300 written works remain. Much of what is known about Epicurean philosophy derives from later followers and commentators.
For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterized by ataraxia—peace and freedom from fear—and aponia—the absence of pain—and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. He taught that pleasure and pain are the measures of what is good and evil; death is the end of both body and soul and should therefore not be feared; the gods neither reward nor punish humans; the universe is infinite and eternal; and events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms moving in empty space.
As a boy, he studied philosophy for four years under the Platonist teacher Pamphilus. At the age of eighteen, he went to Athens for his two-year term of military service. After the completion of his military service, Epicurus joined his family in Turkey, where he studied under Nausiphanes, who followed the teachings of Democritus. In 311/310 BC Epicurus taught in Mytilene but caused strife and was forced to leave. He then founded a school in Lampsacus before returning to Athens in 306 BC where he remained until his death. There he founded The Garden, a school named for the garden he owned that served as the school's meeting place, about halfway between the locations of two other schools of philosophy, the Stoa and the Academy.