Marble head of Epikouros

Period: Imperial

Date: 2nd century A.D.

Culture: Roman

Medium: Marble, Pentelic

Dimensions: 19 5/8 × 9 3/4 × 11 1/2 in. (49.8 × 24.8 × 29.2 cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1911

Accession Number: 11.90


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 270 B.C. Epikouros must have been honored 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 reproduce 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.