Epictetus, 55 - 135
Frontispiece for Edward Ivie's translation of
His original name is unknown, as a youth he was a slave of Epaphroditus, a wealthy freedman under Nero, and his name simpley means "acquired". While still a slave he studied Stoic philosophy under Musonius Rufus. He was emancipated and taught philosophy at Rome until the emperor Domitian banished all philosophers from Rome in 93, then extended the ban to all of Italy. Epictetus went to Nicopolis in Greece and founded a school. No writing of his own survives, but his student Arrian recorded The Discourses, asserting that this work was based on notes from the lectures of Epictetus. He was a powerful speaker and his conversation was widely sought, the emperor Hadrian was a friend.
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- A child understands fear, and the hurt and hate it brings. permalink
- A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope. permalink
The Golden Sayings of Epictetus, Hastings Crossley, ed. (1909)
- All philosophy lies in two words: Sustain and Abstain. permalink
- Any one thing in the creation is sufficient to demonstrate a Providence to an humble and grateful mind. permalink
- Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him. permalink
- Appear to know only this; never to fail nor fall. permalink
- Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant. permalink
- Bear in mind that you should conduct yourself in life as at a feast. permalink
- Difficulties show men what they are. In case of any difficulty remember that God has pitted you against a rough antagonist that you may be a conqueror, and this cannot be without toil. permalink
Discourses (2nd century CE)
- Everything has two handles: one by which it may be borne, another by which it cannot. permalink
- First say to yourself what you would be, and then do what you have to do. permalink
- Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling that desire. permalink
- God has entrusted me with myself. permalink
- In every affair consider what precedes and what follows, and then undertake it. permalink
- Is freedom anything else than the power of living as we choose? Nothing else. Tell me then, you men, do you wish to live in error? We do not. No one who lives in error is free. Do you wish to live in fear? Do you wish to live in sorrow? Do you wish to live in tension? By no means. No one who is in a state of fear or sorrow or tension is free, but whoever is delivered from sorrows or fears or anxieties, he is at the same time also delivered from servitude. permalink
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