Mytilene, the capital of the island
Lesbos, and then in
Epicurus taught and gained followers. In
Athens Epicurus bought a property for his school called "Garden", later the name of Epicurus school.
 Its members included
Metrodorus. Epicurus emphasized friendship as an important ingredient of happiness, and the school seems to have been a moderately ascetic community which rejected the political limelight of Athenian philosophy. They were fairly cosmopolitan by Athenian standards, including women and slaves. Some members were also
vegetarians as, from slender evidence, Epicurus did not eat meat, although no prohibition against eating meat was made.
The school's popularity grew and it became, along with
Pyrrhonism, one of the dominant schools of
Hellenistic philosophy, lasting strongly through the later
 Another major source of information is the Roman politician and philosopher
Cicero, although he was highly critical, denouncing the Epicureans as unbridled
hedonists, devoid of a sense of
virtue and duty, and guilty of withdrawing from public life. Another ancient source is
Diogenes of Oenoanda, who composed a large inscription at
scrolls obtained from the library at the
Villa of the Papyri in
Herculaneum contain a large number of works by
Philodemus, a late Hellenistic Epicurean, and Epicurus himself, attesting to the school's enduring popularity.
Diogenes reports slanderous stories, circulated by Epicurus' opponents.
 With growing dominance of
Peripateticism, and later,
Christianity, Epicureanism declined. By the late third century CE, there was little trace of its existence.
 The early Christian writer
Lactantius criticizes Epicurus at several points throughout his Divine Institutes. In
Divine Comedy, the Epicureans are depicted as
heretics suffering in the
sixth circle of hell. In fact, Epicurus appears to represent the ultimate heresy. The word for a heretic in the
Talmudic literature is "Apiqoros" (אפיקורוס).
In the 17th century the French Franciscan priest, scientist and philosopher
Pierre Gassendi wrote two books forcefully reviving Epicureanism. Shortly thereafter, and clearly influenced by Gassendi,
Walter Charleton published several works on Epicureanism in English. Attacks by Christians continued, most forcefully by the
early modern period, scientists adopted
atomist theories, while
materialist philosophers embraced Epicurus' hedonist ethics and restated his objections to natural