Marble head of Epikouros
Roman, Imperial period, 2nd century A.D.
Copy of a Greek statue of the 1st half of the 3rd century B.C.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC
Born on the island of Samos in 341 B.C., Epikouros spent most of his life in Athens, where he founded the Kepos (Garden), one of the most influential philosophical schools of the Hellenistic age, and where he lived until his death in 271 B.C. Epikouros must have been honoured by a portrait statue made late in his lifetime or soon after his death. The esteem in which his teachings were held is shown by the numerous Roman copies, including a bust and a herm still bearing the inscriptions identifying him, that produce the same original. From other copies, we know that the original statue, which was probably first set up in the Kepos to honor Epikouros, represented him seated calmly and classically composed on an elaborate chair.