Epicurus adopted the atomist philosophy of Leucippus and Democritus, incorporating an unpredictable 'swerve' to avoid determinacy. 'He who asserts that everything happens by necessity can hardly find fault with one who denies that everything happens by necessity; by his own theory this very argument is voiced by necessity'. (Vatican Sayings 40)
Epicurus is often cited as a precursor of modern Humanism. 'Death ... is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not'. (Letter to M) 'Dreams have neither a divine nature nor a prophetic power, but they are the result of images that impact on us'. (Vatican Sayings 24)
However, very little of his teachings have survived except in the recollections of his later followers, in particular in De Rerum Natura by the Roman poet Lucretius.