The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.

Related Content

Related Overviews



Epicurus (341—270 bc) Greek philosopher, founder of Epicureanism


See all related overviews in Oxford Reference »


More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Philosophy


Show Summary Details



(c. 460—370 bc) Greek philosopher

Quick Reference

(b. c.460 bc),

a celebrated Greek philosopher, born at Abdera. He advanced (with Leucippus) the theory that the world was formed by the concourse of atoms, the theory subsequently expounded by Lucretius and confirmed and developed by recent scientific discovery. Juvenal speaks of him as ever laughing at the follies of mankind, and he is sometimes known as the ‘laughing philosopher’.

Subjects: Philosophy

Reference entries

View all reference entries »