Metrodorus a leading Epicurean philosopher, was, according to the best authorities, a native of Lampsacus, although some claim that he was an Athenian. He flourished in the second half of the 3d century BC. From his earliest connection with this school of philosophy until his death, he lived in daily and intimate intercourse with Epicurus, absenting himself only six months during the whole period. He is regarded as the founder of that baser and more sensual form of Epicurean philosophy which many, who sought for "pleasure as the chief good," substituted for the intellectual enjoyment adopted by Epicurus as his ideal good. According to Cicero, he made perfect happiness to consist in having a well-constituted body, and knowing that it would always remain so. One of his sayings, as quoted by Athenaeus, was that "the belly is the foundation of all philosophy." He claimed that all pertaining to a happy life should be tested and measured by this organ. Metrodorus became the favorite disciple of Epicurus, and may justly be ranked second only to him in importance. He died in 277 BC., at the age of fifty-three, seven years before the death of his master, who had intended to make him his successor. He left two children, a son and daughter, whom Epicurus protected while he was living, and for whom he generously provided in his will.
Metrodorus left to the world some of his thoughts in the tangible form of thirteen volumes, as enumerated by Diogenes. All these have disappeared, except some fragments found among the Herculanean Papyri: the most important of which is a portion of his treatise . Περὶ Αἰσθησίαν, contained in the sixth volume of the Neapolitan collection. For many years the Epicureans kept the 20th of each month as a festal day in honor of their master and of Metrodorus, whose name will ever be linked with that of Epicurus. Another philosopher of like name flourished in Chios, in Greece, about 400 BC. He was the author of a Treatise on Nature, which was very celebrated. See Bayle, Hist. and Crit. Dict. s.v.; Fabricius, Biblioth. Grceca, 3:606 Pliny, Hist. Nat. 35:40; Plutarch, Paulus AEmilius, 32. (H.W.T.)