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Plato, Hyperides, and Hellenistic Cult Practice

On the Commemoration of the Dead in the School of Epicurus

In: Mnemosyne
Author:
Jan Erik Heßler University of Würzburg, Department of Classics

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Abstract

This paper investigates the commemoration of the dead as practised in the Epicurean school: for this purpose, it first discusses the remembrance of the past and of the deceased as constitutive elements of the cult community of the Kepos. The community of the Epicureans is studied in the context of other contemporary associations and Hellenistic ruler cults, and with a view to (possible) connections with the cult of the god Dionysus. In a next step, the paper examines Epicurean testimonies on the subject of commemorating the dead in comparison with passages in Plato and the epitaphioi logoi, especially the epitaphios written by Hyperides. This way, some striking parallels emerge, and it becomes evident how deeply Epicurean doctrine and practice were embedded in the context of the late Classical and Hellenistic polis.

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