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Epicureanism is not just for gourmands – journalist Luke Slattery argues that it can help us rethink out materialist ways and face the challenges of man-made climate change.

Epicureanism has been diluted into a byword for gourmet dining, but does the original ancient Greek 'philosophy of the Garden' contain insight that could save the world? Luke Slattery argues that reading Epicurus could help us rethink our materialist ways and challenge the inevitability of man-made climate change. Rather than appealing to altruism, or calling for revolution in the global economy, the Epicurean philosophy turns the developed world's credo of 'greed is good' on its head, counselling that genuine happiness comes from the quieting of desire; from less, not more. And that might just be the mindset we need to rein in unsustainable development.

In this thoughtful Penguin Special, Slattery traces the radicalism of classical Epicurean thought, and its popularity despite political suppression. Along the way, he tours the archaeological sites of the ancient village of Oinoanda in Turkey and the Villa of the Papyri, buried along with Pompeii, with its ancient library of petrified scrolls. Might some of this treasure's fragments, painstakingly restored, reveal answers to the big questions faced in the twenty-first century?

Formats & editions

  • EBook


    December 14, 2012

    Penguin eBooks

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  • Paperback


    June 26, 2013


    96 pages

    RRP $9.99

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Also by Luke Slattery

The First Dismissal: Penguin Special


The Histories
The Republic
Marcus Aurelius
Attila The Hun
Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves
The Ancient Greeks
The Sword and the Throne
National Geographic The Greeks
Seneca: A Life
The Ancient Art of Growing Old
Red Thread
Eugenie Grandet
The Roman Search For Wisdom
Cities Of The Classical World
The Birth Of Classical Europe