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A Visit
of three Departements
of The Louvre
In 23 steps.


Skeleton Cups      Bj 1923-24

Sully 1st floor
room 33 showcase 4 (8)
An ephemeral present
or an eternal future?
End of the first century BC,
first half of the first century AD.
Height: 10.40 cm; Diameter: 10.40 cm.

Skeletons Cups Boscoreale


Bible and Epicurean conception of life

Archaeologists have unearthed more than a hundred silver artefacts from the ruins of the Roman villa of Boscoreale on the slopes of Vesuvius. This treasure, buried during the eruption of the volcano in 79 AD, hoarded a set of tableware embellished with mythological and floral decorations.
Like the incredible workmanship
and astonishing sculptural quality
of these cups,
where their splendour combines
with their macabre appearance,
the pieces in this set are an exceptional illustration of Roman culture at the time of Augustus.
The inscriptions refer to famous authors and Greek philosophers, depicted as skeletons.

 Bible and Epicurean conception of life

Short maxims entreat us to make the most of life. One says: “Enjoy life while you can, for tomorrow is uncertain.”

This Epicurean conception of life where faith was out of the question, as the quote by Paul the Apostle reminds us: “If the dead are not to be raised up, ‘let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we are to die.’ ” - 1 Corinthians 15:32  AE64
Portrait of the Philosopher Metrodoros
Back to Back with One of his Master Epicurus.
MR 478
Sully room 17 known
as the Caryatids' Room
Metrodorus (330-277 BC) and Epiricus
(341-270 BC) can be identified here thanks
notably to a double portrait in the Capitoline Museum in Rome (inv. 52) inscribed with
the names of these two leading figures
of the Epicurean school of philosophy. 
Epicurus taught that the gods were not
interested in humans and that pleasure is
the one and only thing of value in life.
The Bible emphasises
an eternal future and
not an ephemeral present.
The fundamental motivation
of Epicureanism and that
of Christianity is
totally different.
Faith is the assured expectation
of things hoped for,
the evident demonstration
of realities though not beheld.”
Hebrews 11:1.
The Greek word hypostasis, ‘certain expectation’, often features in ancient commercial documents written on papyrus. It designated what was implied by the visible conditions and guaranteed future ownership. The Bible scholars Moulton and Milligan suggested that this text be translated by “Faith is the title-deed of things hoped for”. AE69


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