In this paper, I offer an interpretation of reception mechanisms and literary patterns of Epicurus’ compendia of his own doctrines as a particular genre of knowledge transmission, best defined through its manifold communicative functions. The analysis does not move from a descriptive point of view, but rather from a normative one, i.e. it aims to throw light on those passages in which Epicurus more or less explicitly outlines ways of reception and rhetorical characteristics of those compendia. Comparisons with similar texts by later authors, mostly (and significantly, as I try to show) medical writings such as those of Galen and Oribasius, provide further context for Epicurus’ statements. The results of the survey are then exploited to suggest a plausible answer about the relationship between Epicurus’ abridgements and his main treatise Περὶ φύσεως.