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Contrary to the impression held of Epicureanism in popular culture, Epicurus was famously modest in his time, as regards food and drink, and the antipode of a glutton.

A famous anecdote (Laertius X.11) is that Epicurus' requested of a follower of his to send him a small portion of cheese, "so he could feast". Epicurus also allegedly boasted that he would gladly rival Zeus in happiness, if only he had some bread and water (Ref: Aelian, Miscellaneous Histories).

The gross misunderstanding of Epicureanism as a philosophy of indulgence in luxury may have been deliberate on the part of contemporary competitors, such as the Stoics and the Peripatetics, who considered their own world-view "loftier" than that of Epicurus; it may have been perpetuated by the founders of the early Church, who were obviously theological opponents of Epicurus' views on god(s); and it may have conveniently made an august, "ancient sounding" moniker for present-day marketers of high-end comestibles, who need to differentiate the products they promote from low-end, everyday foods.

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