Epicureanism is the philosophical and ethical doctrine and the school of ancient Greek philosophy, founded by Epicurus in Athens. It had a fairly wide influence on the consciousness of thinkers of the subsequent stages of the Hellenic era, as well as of ancient Rome. According to Epicureanism, the highest blessing is the enjoyment of life, which implies the absence of physical pain and anxiety, as well as deliverance from the fear of death and gods, seeming indifferent to what is happening in the mortal world.

Epicurus, at the age of 32, arranged his school first in Mytilene and Lampsacus (310 BC), and then, after 5 years, transferred it to Athens (according to another version the school was founded in Athens in 306 BC). The school was in the garden of the philosopher, for this reason it was called the "Garden", and the followers of Epicurus began to be called "philosophers from the gardens." Women and slaves were accepted into the school, and it was not required to give up their property. Metropolitan was a famous pupil of Epicurus (he died while the teacher was still alive). After the death of Epicurus Hermarchus was the head of the Garden. Then the Epicureans were led consistently by Polystratus, Dionysius and Basilides.

In the Christian authors of the Middle Ages the Epicureans turned into a synonym for atheists. In the list of 80 Christian heresies "Panarion" (about 378 years) Epicureans are in the eighth place. Dante Alighieri (XIII century) placed the Epicureans in the 6th circle of Hell, whereas usually the Greek philosophers lived in Limbo (in Catholic theology, Limbo is a speculative, non-scriptural idea about the afterlife condition of those who die in original sin without being assigned to the Hell of the Damned).

Subsequently, Epicureans were highly valued by freethinkers of the Renaissance and the Baroque period: Francesco Petrarca, Giovanni Boccaccio, Leonardo Bruni, Lorenzo Valla, Pierre Gassendi, Jean de La Fontaine, Hercule Cyrano de Bergerac. Atomism, sensationalism and hedonism attracted freethinkers in the teachings of Epicurus.

Epicurus relied on the main ideas of the philosophy of Democritus, since the teacher of Epicurus was his follower of Naviesifan. At the same time, Epicurus creates a completely new atomistic theory. The difference is that in Democritus’ teachings the motion of atoms is carried out in the emptiness solely by the law of the fall of bodies under their own weight, in Epicurus’ teachings along with the action of the law of falling bodies there is another factor - the atom exhibits the property of "self-denial" from the "line of necessity."

The idea of Epicurus about the arbitrary deviation of atoms from the deterministic motion is a specific reflection of the fact of the appearance of new qualities of people, e.g. individual freedom, a certain minimum of social autonomy of the individual. Human beings (as a "social atoms") acquire in themselves (and not in the cosmic world order, which dissolves the individual, the uniqueness) an autonomous, self-sufficient ground of their expression of will. In general, Democritus's main focus is on the laws of the existence of objects (man is also only an object), Epicurus focuses on the subject. Epicurus is not concerned with the doctrine of the cosmos as a set of atoms, but the problem of the possibility of deviations, cases, subjective expression of will. The meaning of his idea of the arbitrary deviation of the atom from the line of necessity lies in the main rule of wisdom, which is to be able to avoid dissatisfaction, suffering. It is about the avoidance of suffering, not the pursuit of pleasures of desires. The pursuit of desires always brings its opposite - dissatisfaction.

Consistently adhering to the atomistic theory, Epicurus concludes that the human soul is corporal. The death of the body is the death of the soul, because the essence of the soul is the movement of atoms in the body. In accordance with this understanding of man and subjective properties, he develops consistently sensualist doctrine of knowledge. The world is known by means of thinking and senses, between which there is no big difference, because both the sensation and the thinking are caused by the motion of atoms. Criteria of truth recognized sensory perceptions (leakage of images, emissions from things), concepts (or general representations, identical with memories).

Epicurus creates a life-affirming ethics that is optimistic and utilitarian in its direction. Moral life requires compliance with the measure in everything. Ideal is in satisfaction of natural, not far-fetched desires. The fairness is to not harm the other and not to be harmed by another. At the heart of human interactions is the personal benefit that extends to unselfish friendship. Philosophy not only gives knowledge, but also spiritual pleasure. The wise man is not a carefree hermit who has departed from life, but a connoisseur of life who has risen above ordinary, can express his will.

Epicurus preached that in order to receive true satisfaction from life, one must limit one's desires and needs, and this is precisely the wisdom and prudence of a happy life. The epicurean is a person who understands that the main pleasure is life itself and the absence of suffering in it. The more immoderate and greedy people are, the more difficult it is for them to achieve happiness and the sooner they doom themselves to eternal discontent and fear. Subsequently, the ideas of Epicurus were greatly distorted by Rome. Epicureanism in the basic provisions began to differ from the ideas of its founder and approached the so-called "hedonism". In this distorted form, the doctrine of Epicurus has reached even to this day. Modern people often rest assured that the Epicurean is one who considers his own pleasure to be the highest good of life and for the sake of multiplying the latter lives immodestly, allowing himself all kinds of excesses.