Erotic Temperance: Fortune and Development of an Epicurean Suggestion in the Imperial Roman Age

Martino Menghi



The purpose of this writing is to follow the course of an idea, namely that of erotic temperance, which the Epicureans most probably derived as a corollary of their origininary ethics. It was during the imperial Roman age that such and idea met a certain audience for different reasons, two of which at least cannot remain unnoticed.The first reason was the theoretical and clinic support given to this idea by such Epicurean oriented physicians as Rufus and Soranus, and by Aretheus; the other one should have been the meeting of the notion of erotic temperance with such ethical principles as the moderation, the control of passions, the impassibilty of man towards life events ajnd a new vision the relationship between husband and wife, which entered into the pattern of the gentleman's behaviour during the imperial age contributing to the starting of a new ethics. But, if erotic temperance represented on the one hand an ideal for the cultivated class of Roman imperial society, it was on the other perceived as a scrupilously observed realty by Germans, and as one of the principal reasons of their physical and moral energy. Furthemore, the ideal of a severe erotic control of the early Christians offer precise evidence, will represent an important ground of agreement for theirs and contemporary pagan ethics.


Key words: Epicureism - Imperial Age - Erotic temperance 

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