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Title: A Selection from the Discourses of Epictetus with the Encheiridion
Author: Epictetus
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Selection from the Discourses of Epictetus with the Encheiridion" ***






Very little is known of the life of Epictetus. It is said that he was a
native of Hierapolis in Phrygia, a town between the Maeander and a
branch of the Maeander named the Lycus. Hierapolis is mentioned in the
epistle of Paul to the people of Colossae (Coloss. iv., 13); from which
it has been concluded that there was a Christian church in Hierapolis
in the time of the apostle. The date of the birth of Epictetus is
unknown. The only recorded fact of his early life is that he was a
slave in Rome, and his master was Epaphroditus, a profligate freedman
of the Emperor Nero. There is a story that the master broke his slave’s
leg by torturing him; but it is better to trust to the evidence of
Simplicius, the commentator on the Encheiridion, or Manual, who says
that Epictetus was weak in body and lame from an early age. It is not
said how he became a slave; but it has been asserted in modern times
that the parents sold the child. I have not, however, found any
authority for this statement.

It may be supposed that the young slave showed intelligence, for his
master sent or permitted him to attend the lectures of C. Musonius
Rufus, an eminent Stoic philosopher. It may seem strange that such a
master should have wished to have his slave made into a philosopher;
but Garnier, the author of a “Mémoire sur les Ouvrages d’Epictète,”
explains this matter very well in a communication to Schweighaeuser.
Garnier says: “Epictetus, born at Hierapolis of Phrygia of poor
parents, was indebted apparently for the advantages of a good education
to the whim, which was common at the end of the Republic and under the
first emperors, among the great of Rome to reckon among their numerous
slaves grammarians, poets, rhetoricians, and philosophers, in the same
way as rich financiers in these later ages have been led to form at a
great cost rich and numerous libraries. This supposition is the only
one which can explain to us how a wretched child, born as poor as Irus,
had received a good education, and how a rigid Stoic was the slave of
Epaphroditus, one of the officers of the imperial guard. For we cannot
suspect that it was through predilection for the Stoic doctrine, and
for his own use, that the confidant and the minister of the
debaucheries of Nero would have desired to possess such a slave.”

Some writers assume that Epictetus was manumitted by his master, but I
can find no evidence for this statement. Epaphroditus accompanied Nero
when he fled from Rome before his enemies, and he aided the miserable
tyrant in killing himself. Domitian (Sueton., Domit. 14), afterwards
put Epaphroditus to death for this service to Nero. We may conclude
that Epictetus in some way obtained his freedom, and that he began to
teach at Rome; but after the expulsion of the philosophers from Rome by
Domitian, A.D. 89, he retired to Nicopolis in Epirus, a city built by
Augustus to commemorate the victory at Actium. Epictetus opened a
school or lecture room at Nicopolis, where he taught till he was an old
man. The time of his death is unknown. Epictetus was never married, as
we learn from Lucian (Demonax, c. 55, torn, ii., ed. Hemsterh., p.
393). When Epictetus was finding fault with Demonax, and advising him
to take a wife and beget children, for this also, as Epictetus said,
was a philosopher’s duty, to leave in place of himself another in the
universe, Demonax refuted the doctrine by answering: Give me then,
Epictetus, one of your own daughters. Simplicius says (Comment., c. 46,
p. 432, ed. Schweigh.) that Epictetus lived alone a long time. At last
he took a woman into his house as a nurse for a child, which one of
Epictetus’ friends was going to expose on account of his poverty, but
Epictetus took the child and brought it up.

Epictetus wrote nothing; and all that we have under his name was

Photius (Biblioth., 58) mentions among Arrian’s works “Conversations
with Epictetus,” [Greek: Homiliai Epichtaeton], in twelve books. Upton
thinks that this work is only another name for the Discourses, and that
Photius has made the mistake of taking the Conversations to be a
different work from the Discourses. Yet Photius has enumerated eight
books of the Discourses and twelve books of the Conversations.
Schweighaeuser observes that Photius had not seen these works of Arrian
on Epictetus, for so he concludes from the brief notice of these works
by Photius. The fact is that Photius does not say that he had read
these books, as he generally does when he is speaking of the books
which he enumerates in his Bibliotheca. The conclusion is that we are
not certain that there was a work of Arrian entitled “The Conversations
of Epictetus.”

Upton remarks in a note on iii., 23 (p. 184, Trans.), that “there are
many passages in these dissertations which are ambiguous or rather
confused on account of the small questions, and because the matter is
not expanded by oratorical copiousness, not to mention other causes.”
The discourses of Epictetus, it is supposed, were spoken extempore, and
so one thing after another would come into the thoughts of the speaker
(Wolf). Schweighaeuser also observes in a note (ii., 336 of his
edition) that the connection of the discourse is sometimes obscure
through the omission of some words which are necessary to indicate the
connection of the thoughts. The reader then will find that he cannot
always understand Epictetus, if he does not read him very carefully,
and some passages more than once. He must also think and reflect, or he
will miss the meaning. I do not say that the book is worth all this
trouble. Every man must judge for himself. But I should not have
translated the book, if I had not thought it worth study; and I think
that all books of this kind require careful reading, if they are worth
reading at all.



faculties (except that which I shall soon mention), you will find not
one which is capable of contemplating itself, and, consequently, not
capable either of approving or disapproving. How far does the grammatic
art possess the contemplating power? As far as forming a judgment about
what is written and spoken. And how far music? As far as judging about
melody. Does either of them then contemplate itself? By no means. But
when you must write something to your friend, grammar will tell you
what words you should write; but whether you should write or not,
grammar will not tell you. And so it is with music as to musical
sounds; but whether you should sing at the present time and play on the
lute, or do neither, music will not tell you. What faculty then will
tell you? That which contemplates both itself and all other things. And
what is this faculty? The rational faculty; for this is the only
faculty that we have received which examines itself, what it is, and
what power it has, and what is the value of this gift, and examines all
other faculties: for what else is there which tells us that golden
things are beautiful, for they do not say so themselves? Evidently it
is the faculty which is capable of judging of appearances. What else
judges of music, grammar, and the other faculties, proves their uses,
and points out the occasions for using them? Nothing else.

What then should a man have in readiness in such circumstances? What
else than this? What is mine, and what is not mine; and what is
permitted to me, and what is not permitted to me. I must die. Must I
then die lamenting? I must be put in chains. Must I then also lament? I
must go into exile. Does any man then hinder me from going with smiles
and cheerfulness and contentment? Tell me the secret which you possess.
I will not, for this is in my power. But I will put you in chains. Man,
what are you talking about? Me, in chains? You may fetter my leg, but
my will not even Zeus himself can overpower. I will throw you into
prison. My poor body, you mean. I will cut your head off. When then
have I told you that my head alone cannot be cut off? These are the
things which philosophers should meditate on, which they should write
daily, in which they should exercise themselves.

What then did Agrippinus say? He said, “I am not a hindrance to
myself.” When it was reported to him that his trial was going on in the
Senate, he said: “I hope it may turn out well; but it is the fifth hour
of the day”—this was the time when he was used to exercise himself and
then take the cold bath,—“let us go and take our exercise.” After he
had taken his exercise, one comes and tells him, “You have been
condemned.” “To banishment,” he replies, “or to death?” “To
banishment.” “What about my property?” “It is not taken from you.” “Let
us go to Aricia then,” he said, “and dine.”

rational animal only is the irrational intolerable; but that which is
rational is tolerable. Blows are not naturally intolerable. How is
that? See how the Lacedaemonians endure whipping when they have learned
that whipping is consistent with reason. To hang yourself is not
intolerable. When then you have the opinion that it is rational, you go
and hang yourself. In short, if we observe, we shall find that the
animal man is pained by nothing so much as by that which is irrational;
and, on the contrary, attracted to nothing so much as to that which is

Only consider at what price you sell your own will: if for no other
reason, at least for this, that you sell it not for a small sum. But
that which is great and superior perhaps belongs to Socrates and such
as are like him. Why then, if we are naturally such, are not a very
great number of us like him? Is it true then that all horses become
swift, that all dogs are skilled in tracking footprints? What then,
since I am naturally dull, shall I, for this reason, take no pains? I
hope not. Epictetus is not superior to Socrates; but if he is not
inferior, this is enough for me; for I shall never be a Milo, and yet I
do not neglect my body; nor shall I be a Croesus, and yet I do not
neglect my property; nor, in a word, do we neglect looking after
anything because we despair of reaching the highest degree.

ALL MEN TO THE REST.—If a man should be able to assent to this doctrine
as he ought, that we are all sprung from God in an especial manner, and
that God is the father both of men and of gods, I suppose that he would
never have any ignoble or mean thoughts about himself. But if Cæsar
(the emperor) should adopt you, no one could endure your arrogance; and
if you know that you are the son of Zeus, will you not be elated? Yet
we do not so; but since these two things are mingled in the generation
of man, body in common with the animals, and reason and intelligence in
common with the gods, many incline to this kinship, which is miserable
and mortal; and some few to that which is divine and happy. Since then
it is of necessity that every man uses everything according to the
opinion which he has about it, those, the few, who think that they are
formed for fidelity and modesty and a sure use of appearances have no
mean or ignoble thoughts about themselves; but with the many it is
quite the contrary. For they say, What am I? A poor, miserable man,
with my wretched bit of flesh. Wretched, indeed; but you possess
something better than your bit of flesh. Why then do you neglect that
which is better, and why do you attach yourself to this?

Through this kinship with the flesh, some of us inclining to it become
like wolves, faithless and treacherous and mischievous; some become
like lions, savage and bestial and untamed; but the greater part of us
become foxes, and other worse animals. For what else is a slanderer and
malignant man than a fox, or some other more wretched and meaner
animal? See then and take care that you do not become some one of these
miserable things.

OF PROGRESS OR IMPROVEMENT.—He who is making progress, having learned
from philosophers that desire means the desire of good things, and
aversion means aversion from bad things; having learned too that
happiness and tranquillity are not attainable by man otherwise than by
not failing to obtain what he desires, and not falling into that which
he would avoid; such a man takes from himself desire altogether and
confers it, but he employs his aversion only on things which are
dependent on his will. For if he attempts to avoid anything independent
of his will, he knows that sometimes he will fall in with something
which he wishes to avoid, and he will be unhappy. Now if virtue
promises good fortune and tranquillity and happiness, certainly also
the progress towards virtue is progress towards each of these things.
For it is always true that to whatever point the perfecting of anything
leads us, progress is an approach towards this point.

How then do we admit that virtue is such as I have said, and yet seek
progress in other things and make a display of it? What is the product
of virtue? Tranquillity. Who then makes improvement? Is it he who has
read many books of Chrysippus? But does virtue consist in having
understood Chrysippus? If this is so, progress is clearly nothing else
than knowing a great deal of Chrysippus. But now we admit that virtue
produces one thing, and we declare that approaching near to it is
another thing, namely, progress or improvement. Such a person, says
one, is already able to read Chrysippus by himself. Indeed, sir, you
are making great progress. What kind of progress? But why do you mock
the man? Why do you draw him away from the perception of his own
misfortunes? Will you not show him the effect of virtue that he may
learn where to look for improvement? Seek it there, wretch, where your
work lies. And where is your work? In desire and in aversion, that you
may not be disappointed in your desire, and that you may not fall into
that which you would avoid; in your pursuit and avoiding, that you
commit no error; in assent and suspension of assent, that you be not
deceived. The first things, and the most necessary are those which I
have named. But if with trembling and lamentation you seek not to fall
into that which you avoid, tell me how you are improving.

Do you then show me your improvement in these things? If I were talking
to an athlete, I should say, Show me your shoulders; and then he might
say, Here are my Halteres. You and your Halteres look to that. I should
reply, I wish to see the effect of the Halteres. So, when you say: Take
the treatise on the active powers ([Greek: hormea]), and see how I have
studied it, I reply: Slave, I am not inquiring about this, but how you
exercise pursuit and avoidance, desire and aversion, how you design and
purpose and prepare yourself, whether conformably to nature or not. If
conformably, give me evidence of it, and I will say that you are making
progress; but if not conformably, be gone, and not only expound your
books, but write such books yourself; and what will you gain by it? Do
you not know that the whole book costs only five denarii? Does then the
expounder seem to be worth more than five denarii? Never then look for
the matter itself in one place, and progress towards it in another.
Where then is progress? If any of you, withdrawing himself from
externals, turns to his own will ([Greek: proairesis]) to exercise it
and to improve it by labor, so as to make it conformable to nature,
elevated, free, unrestrained, unimpeded, faithful, modest; and if he
has learned that he who desires or avoids the things which are not in
his power can neither be faithful nor free, but of necessity he must
change with them and be tossed about with them as in a tempest, and of
necessity must subject himself to others who have the power to procure
or prevent what lie desires or would avoid; finally, when he rises in
the morning, if he observes and keeps these rules, bathes as a man of
fidelity, eats as a modest man; in like manner, if in every matter that
occurs he works out his chief principles ([Greek: ta proaegoumena]) as
the runner does with reference to running, and the trainer of the voice
with reference to the voice—this is the man who truly makes progress,
and this is the man who has not travelled in vain. But if he has
strained his efforts to the practice of reading books, and labors only
at this, and has travelled for this, I tell him to return home
immediately, and not to neglect his affairs there; for this for which
he has travelled is nothing. But the other thing is something, to study
how a man can rid his life of lamentation and groaning, and saying, Woe
to me, and wretched that I am, and to rid it also of misfortune and
disappointment, and to learn what death is, and exile, and prison, and
poison, that he may be able to say when he is in fetters, Dear Crito,
if it is the will of the gods that it be so, let it be so; and not to
say, Wretched am I, an old man: have I kept my gray hairs for this? Who
is it that speaks thus? Do you think that I shall name some man of no
repute and of low condition? Does not Priam say this? Does not Oedipus
say this? Nay, all kings say it! For what else is tragedy than the
perturbations ([Greek: pathae]) of men who value externals exhibited in
this kind of poetry? But if a man must learn by fiction that no
external things which are independent of the will concern us, for my
part I should like this fiction, by the aid of which I should live
happily and undisturbed. But you must consider for yourselves what you

What then does Chrysippus teach us? The reply is, to know that these
things are not false, from which happiness comes and tranquillity
arises. Take my books, and you will learn how true and conformable to
nature are the things which make me free from perturbations. O great
good fortune! O the great benefactor who points out the way! To
Triptolemus all men have erected temples and altars, because he gave us
food by cultivation; but to him who discovered truth and brought it to
light and communicated it to all, not the truth which shows us how to
live, but how to live well, who of you for this reason has built an
altar, or a temple, or has dedicated a statue, or who worships God for
this? Because the gods have given the vine, or wheat, we sacrifice to
them; but because they have produced in the human mind that fruit by
which they designed to show us the truth which relates to happiness,
shall we not thank God for this?

AGAINST THE ACADEMICS.—If a man, said Epictetus, opposes evident
truths, it is not easy to find arguments by which we shall make him
change his opinion. But this does not arise either from the man’s
strength or the teacher’s weakness; for when the man, though he has
been confuted, is hardened like a stone, how shall we then be able to
deal with him by argument?

Now there are two kinds of hardening, one of the understanding, the
other of the sense of shame, when a man is resolved not to assent to
what is manifest nor to desist from contradictions. Most of us are
afraid of mortification of the body, and would contrive all means to
avoid such a thing, but we care not about the soul’s mortification. And
indeed with regard to the soul, if a man be in such a state as not to
apprehend anything, or understand at all, we think that he is in a bad
condition; but if the sense of shame and modesty are deadened, this we
call even power (or strength).

OF PROVIDENCE.—From everything, which is or happens in the world, it is
easy to praise Providence, if a man possesses these two qualities: the
faculty of seeing what belongs and happens to all persons and things,
and a grateful disposition. If he does not possess these two qualities,
one man will not see the use of things which are and which happen:
another will not be thankful for them, even if he does know them. If
God had made colors, but had not made the faculty of seeing them, what
would have been their use? None at all. On the other hand, if he had
made the faculty of vision, but had not made objects such as to fall
under the faculty, what in that case also would have been the use of
it? None at all. Well, suppose that he had made both, but had not made
light? In that case, also, they would have been of no use. Who is it
then who has fitted this to that and that to this?

What, then, are these things done in us only? Many, indeed, in us only,
of which the rational animal had peculiar need; but you will find many
common to us with irrational animals. Do they then understand what is
done? By no means. For use is one thing, and understanding is another;
God had need of irrational animals to make use of appearances, but of
us to understand the use of appearances. It is therefore enough for
them to eat and to drink, and to copulate, and to do all the other
things which they severally do. But for us, to whom he has given also
the intellectual faculty, these things are not sufficient; for unless
we act in a proper and orderly manner, and conformably to the nature
and constitution of each thing, we shall never attain our true end. For
where the constitutions of living beings are different, there also the
acts and the ends are different. In those animals then whose
constitution is adapted only to use, use alone is enough; but in an
animal (man), which has also the power of understanding the use, unless
there be the due exercise of the understanding, he will never attain
his proper end. Well then God constitutes every animal, one to be
eaten, another to serve for agriculture, another to supply cheese, and
another for some like use; for which purposes what need is there to
understand appearances and to be able to distinguish them? But God has
introduced man to be a spectator of God and of his works; and not only
a spectator of them, but an interpreter. For this reason it is shameful
for man to begin and to end where irrational animals do; but rather he
ought to begin where they begin, and to end where nature ends in us;
and nature ends in contemplation and understanding, and in a way of
life conformable to nature. Take care then not to die without having
been spectators of these things.

But you take a journey to Olympia to see the work of Phidias, and all
of you think it a misfortune to die without having seen such things.
But when there is no need to take a journey, and where a man is, there
he has the works (of God) before him, will you not desire to see and
understand them? Will you not perceive either what you are, or what you
were born for, or what this is for which you have received the faculty
of sight? But you may say, There are some things disagreeable and
troublesome in life. And are there none at Olympia? Are you not
scorched? Are you not pressed by a crowd? Are you not without
comfortable means of bathing? Are you not wet when it rains? Have you
not abundance of noise, clamor, and other disagreeable things? But I
suppose that setting all these things off against the magnificence of
the spectacle, you bear and endure. Well then and have you not received
faculties by which you will be able to bear all that happens? Have you
not received greatness of soul? Have you not received manliness? Have
you not received endurance? And why do I trouble myself about anything
that can happen if I possess greatness of soul? What shall distract my
mind, or disturb me, or appear painful? Shall I not use the power for
the purposes for which I received it, and shall I grieve and lament
over what happens?

Come, then, do you also having observed these things look to the
faculties which you have, and when you have looked at them, say: Bring
now, O Zeus, any difficulty that thou pleasest, for I have means given
to me by thee and powers for honoring myself through the things which
happen. You do not so; but you sit still, trembling for fear that some
things will happen, and weeping, and lamenting, and groaning for what
does happen; and then you blame the gods. For what is the consequence
of such meanness of spirit but impiety? And yet God has not only given
us these faculties, by which we shall be able to bear everything that
happens without being depressed or broken by it; but, like a good king
and a true father, He has given us these faculties free from hindrance,
subject to no compulsion, unimpeded, and has put them entirely in our
own power, without even having reserved to Himself any power of
hindering or impeding. You, who have received these powers free and as
your own, use them not; you do not even see what you have received, and
from whom; some of you being blinded to the giver, and not even
acknowledging your benefactor, and others, through meanness of spirit,
betaking yourselves to fault-finding and making charges against God.
Yet I will show to you that you have powers and means for greatness of
soul and manliness; but what powers you have for finding fault making
accusations, do you show me.

CONSEQUENCES.—I indeed think that the old man ought to be sitting here,
not to contrive how you may have no mean thoughts nor mean and ignoble
talk about yourselves, but to take care that there be not among us any
young men of such a mind, that when they have recognized their kinship
to God, and that we are fettered by these bonds, the body, I mean, and
its possessions, and whatever else on account of them is necessary to
us for the economy and commerce of life, they should intend to throw
off these things as if they were burdens painful and intolerable, and
to depart to their kinsmen. But this is the labor that your teacher and
instructor ought to be employed upon, if he really were what he should
be. You should come to him and say: Epictetus, we can no longer endure
being bound to this poor body, and feeding it, and giving it drink and
rest, and cleaning it, and for the sake of the body complying with the
wishes of these and of those. Are not these things indifferent and
nothing to us; and is not death no evil? And are we not in a manner
kinsmen of God, and did we not come from him? Allow us to depart to the
place from which we came; allow us to be released at last from these
bonds by which we are bound and weighed down. Here there are robbers
and thieves and courts of justice, and those who are named tyrants, and
think that they have some power over us by means of the body and its
possessions. Permit us to show them that they have no power over any
man. And I on my part would say: Friends, wait for God: when he shall
give the signal and release you from this service, then go to him; but
for the present endure to dwell in this place where he has put you.
Short indeed is this time of your dwelling here, and easy to bear for
those who are so disposed; for what tyrant, or what thief, or what
courts of justice are formidable to those who have thus considered as
things of no value the body and the possessions of the body? Wait then,
do not depart without a reason.

OF CONTENTMENT.—With respect to gods, there are some who say that a
divine being does not exist; others say that it exists, but is inactive
and careless, and takes no forethought about anything; a third class
say that such a being exists and exercises forethought, but only about
great things and heavenly things, and about nothing on the earth; a
fourth class say that a divine being exercises forethought both about
things on the earth and heavenly things, but in a general way only, and
not about things severally. There is a fifth class to whom Ulysses and
Socrates belong, who say:

I move not without thy knowledge.—Iliad, x., 278.

Before all other things then it is necessary to inquire about each of
these opinions, whether it is affirmed truly or not truly. For if there
are no gods, how is it our proper end to follow them? And if they
exist, but take no care of anything, in this case also how will it be
right to follow them? But if indeed they do exist and look after
things, still if there is nothing communicated from them to men, nor in
fact to myself, how even so is it right (to follow them)? The wise and
good man then, after considering all these things, submits his own mind
to him who administers the whole, as good citizens do to the law of the
state. He who is receiving instruction ought to come to be instructed
with this intention, How shall I follow the gods in all things, how
shall I be contented with the divine administration, and how can I
become free? For he is free to whom everything happens according to his
will, and whom no man can hinder. What then, is freedom madness?
Certainly not; for madness and freedom do not consist. But, you say, I
would have everything result just as I like, and in whatever way I
like. You are mad, you are beside yourself. Do you not know that
freedom is a noble and valuable thing? But for me inconsiderately to
wish for things to happen as I inconsiderately like, this appears to be
not only not noble, but even most base. For how do we proceed in the
matter of writing? Do I wish to write the name of Dion as I choose? No,
but I am taught to choose to write it as it ought to be written. And
how with respect to music? In the same manner. And what universally in
every art or science? Just the same. If it were not so, it would be of
no value to know anything, if knowledge were adapted to every man’s
whim. Is it then in this alone, in this which is the greatest and the
chief thing, I mean freedom, that I am permitted to will
inconsiderately? By no means; but to be instructed is this, to learn to
wish that everything may happen as it does. And how do things happen?
As the disposer has disposed them? And he has appointed summer and
winter, and abundance and scarcity, and virtue and vice, and all such
opposites for the harmony of the whole; and to each of us he has given
a body, and parts of the body, and possessions, and companions.

What then remains, or what method is discovered of holding commerce
with them? Is there such a method by which they shall do what seems fit
to them, and we not the less shall be in a mood which is conformable to
nature? But you are unwilling to endure, and are discontented; and if
you are alone, you call it solitude; and if you are with men, you call
them knaves and robbers; and you find fault with your own parents and
children, and brothers and neighbors. But you ought when you are alone
to call this condition by the name of tranquillity and freedom, and to
think yourself like to the gods; and when you are with many, you ought
not to call it crowd, nor trouble, nor uneasiness, but festival and
assembly, and so accept all contentedly.

What then is the punishment of those who do not accept? It is to be
what they are. Is any person dissatisfied with being alone? Let him be
alone. Is a man dissatisfied with his parents? Let him be a bad son,
and lament. Is he dissatisfied with his children? Let him be a bad
father. Cast him into prison. What prison? Where he is already, for he
is there against his will; and where a man is against his will, there
he is in prison. So Socrates was not in prison, for he was there
willingly. Must my leg then be lamed? Wretch, do you then on account of
one poor leg find fault with the world? Will you not willingly
surrender it for the whole? Will you not withdraw from it? Will you not
gladly part with it to him who gave it? And will you be vexed and
discontented with the things established by Zeus, which he, with the
Moirae (fates) who were present and spinning the thread of your
generation, defined and put in order? Know you not how small a part you
are compared with the whole. I mean with respect to the body, for as to
intelligence you are not inferior to the gods nor less; for the
magnitude of intelligence is not measured by length nor yet by height,
but by thoughts.

How may a man eat acceptably to the gods, he answered: If he can eat
justly and contentedly, and with equanimity, and temperately, and
orderly, will it not be also acceptable to the gods? But when you have
asked for warm water and the slave has not heard, or if he did hear has
brought only tepid water, or he is not even found to be in the house,
then not to be vexed or to burst with passion, is not this acceptable
to the gods? How then shall a man endure such persons as this slave?
Slave yourself, will you not bear with your own brother, who has Zeus
for his progenitor, and is like a son from the same seeds and of the
same descent from above? But if you have been put in any such higher
place, will you immediately make yourself a tyrant? Will you not
remember who you are, and whom you rule? That they are kinsmen, that
they are brethren by nature, that they are the offspring of Zeus? But I
have purchased them, and they have not purchased me. Do you see in what
direction you are looking, that it is towards the earth, towards the
pit, that it is towards these wretched laws of dead men? but towards
the laws of the gods you are not looking.

WHAT PHILOSOPHY PROMISES.—When a man was consulting him how he should
persuade his brother to cease being angry with him, Epictetus replied:
Philosophy does not propose to secure for a man any external thing. If
it did (or if it were not, as I say), philosophy would be allowing
something which is not within its province. For as the carpenter’s
material is wood, and that of the statuary is copper, so the matter of
the art of living is each man’s life. When then is my brother’s? That
again belongs to his own art; but with respect to yours, it is one of
the external things, like a piece of land, like health, like
reputation. But Philosophy promises none of these. In every
circumstance I will maintain, she says, the governing part conformable
to nature. Whose governing part? His in whom I am, she says.

How then shall my brother cease to be angry with me? Bring him to me
and I will tell him. But I have nothing to say to you about his anger.

When the man who was consulting him said, I seek to know this, How,
even if my brother is not reconciled to me, shall I maintain myself in
a state conformable to nature? Nothing great, said Epictetus, is
produced suddenly, since not even the grape or the fig is. If you say
to me now that you want a fig, I will answer to you that it requires
time: let it flower first, then put forth fruit, and then ripen. Is
then the fruit of a fig-tree not perfected suddenly and in one hour,
and would you possess the fruit of a man’s mind in so short a time and
so easily? Do not expect it, even if I tell you.

not then this robber and this adulterer to be destroyed? By no means
say so, but speak rather in this way: This man who has been mistaken
and deceived about the most important things, and blinded, not in the
faculty of vision which distinguishes white and black, but in the
faculty which distinguishes good and bad, should we not destroy him? If
you speak thus you will see how inhuman this is which you say, and that
it is just as if you would say, Ought we not to destroy this blind and
deaf man? But if the greatest harm is the privation of the greatest
things, and the greatest thing in every man is the will or choice such
as it ought to be, and a man is deprived of this will, why are you also
angry with him? Man, you ought not to be affected contrary to nature by
the bad things of another. Pity him rather; drop this readiness to be
offended and to hate, and these words which the many utter: “These
accursed and odious fellows.” How have you been made so wise at once?
and how are you so peevish? Why then are we angry? Is it because we
value so much the things of which these men rob us? Do not admire your
clothes, and then you will not be angry with the thief. Consider this
matter thus: you have fine clothes; your neighbor has not; you have a
window; you wish to air the clothes. The thief does not know wherein
man’s good consists, but he thinks that it consist in having fine
clothes, the very thing which you also think. Must he not then come and
take them away? When you show a cake to greedy persons, and swallow it
all yourself, do you expect them not to snatch it from you? Do not
provoke them; do not have a window; do not air your clothes. I also
lately had an iron lamp placed by the side of my household gods;
hearing a noise at the door, I ran down, and found that the lamp had
been carried off. I reflected that he who had taken the lamp had done
nothing strange. What then? To-morrow, I said, you will find an earthen
lamp; for a man only loses that which he has. I have lost my garment.
The reason is that you had a garment. I have a pain in my head. Have
you any pain in your horns? Why then are you troubled? For we only lose
those things, we have only pains about those things, which we possess.

But the tyrant will chain—what? The leg. He will take away—what? The
neck. What then will he not chain and not take away? The will. This is
why the ancients taught the maxim, Know thyself. Therefore we ought to
exercise ourselves in small things, and beginning with them to proceed
to the greater. I have pain in the head. Do not say, Alas! I have pain
in the ear. Do not say alas! And I do not say that you are not allowed
to groan, but do not groan inwardly; and if your slave is slow in
bringing a bandage, do not cry out and torment yourself, and say, Every
body hates me; for who would not hate such a man? For the future,
relying on these opinions, walk about upright, free; not trusting to
the size of your body, as an athlete, for a man ought not to be
invincible in the way that an ass is.

HOW WE SHOULD BEHAVE TO TYRANTS.—If a man possesses any superiority, or
thinks that he does when he does not, such a man, if he is
uninstructed, will of necessity be puffed up through it. For instance,
the tyrant says, I am master of all! And what can you do for me? Can
you give me desire which shall have no hindrance? How can you? Have you
the infallible power of avoiding what you would avoid? Have you the
power of moving towards an object without error? And how do you possess
this power? Come, when you are in a ship, do you trust to yourself or
to the helmsman? And when you are in a chariot, to whom do you trust
but to the driver? And how is it in all other arts? Just the same. In
what, then, lies your power? All men pay respect to me. Well, I also
pay respect to my platter, and I wash it and wipe it; and for the sake
of my oil-flask, I drive a peg into the wall. Well, then, are these
things superior to me? No, but they supply some of my wants, and for
this reason I take care of them. Well, do I not attend to my ass? Do I
not wash his feet? Do I not clean him? Do you not know that every man
has regard to himself, and to you just the same as he has regard to his
ass? For who has regard to you as a man? Show me. Who wishes to become
like you? Who imitates you, as he imitates Socrates? But I can cut off
your head. You say right. I had forgotten that I must have regard to
you, as I would to a fever and the bile, and raise an altar to you, as
there is at Rome an altar to fever.

What is it then that disturbs and terrifies the multitude? Is it the
tyrant and his guards? (By no means.) I hope that it is not so. It is
not possible that what is by nature free can be disturbed by anything
else, or hindered by any other thing than by itself. But it is a man’s
own opinions which disturb him. For when the tyrant says to a man, I
will chain your leg, he who values his leg says, Do not; have pity. But
he who values his own will says, If it appears more advantageous to
you, chain it. Do you not care? I do not care. I will show you that I
am master. You cannot do that. Zeus has set me free; do you think that
he intended to allow his own son to be enslaved? But you are master of
my carcase; take it. So when you approach me, you have no regard to me?
No, but I have regard to myself; and if you wish me to say that I have
regard to you also, I tell you that I have the same regard to you that
I have to my pipkin.

What then? When absurd notions about things independent of our will, as
if they were good and (or) bad, lie at the bottom of our opinions, we
must of necessity pay regard to tyrants: for I wish that men would pay
regard to tyrants only, and not also to the bedchamber men. How is it
that the man becomes all at once wise, when Cæsar has made him
superintendent of the close stool? How is it that we say immediately,
Felicion spoke sensibly to me? I wish he were ejected from the
bedchamber, that he might again appear to you to be a fool.

Has a man been exalted to the tribuneship? All who meet him offer their
congratulations; one kisses his eyes, another the neck, and the slaves
kiss his hands. He goes to his house, he finds torches lighted. He
ascends the Capitol; he offers a sacrifice on the occasion. Now who
ever sacrificed for having had good desires? for having acted
conformably to nature? For in fact we thank the gods for those things
in which we place our good.

A person was talking to me to-day about the priesthood of Augustus. I
say to him: Man, let the thing alone; you will spend much for no
purpose. But he replies, Those who draw up agreements will write my
name. Do you then stand by those who read them, and say to such
persons, It is I whose name is written there? And if you can now be
present on ail such occasions, what will you do when you are dead? My
name will remain. Write it on a stone, and it will remain. But come,
what remembrance of you will there be beyond Nicopolis? But I shall
wear a crown of gold. If you desire a crown at all, take a crown of
roses and put it on, for it will be more elegant in appearance.

AGAINST THOSE WHO WISH TO BE ADMIRED.—When a man holds his proper
station in life, he does not gape after things beyond it. Man, what do
you wish to happen to you? I am satisfied if I desire and avoid
conformably to nature, if I employ movements towards and from an object
as I am by nature formed to do, and purpose and design and assent. Why
then do you strut before us as if you had swallowed a spit? My wish has
always been that those who meet me should admire me, and those who
follow me should exclaim, O the great philosopher! Who are they by whom
you wish to be admired? Are they not those of whom you are used to say
that they are mad? Well, then, do you wish to be admired by madmen?

ON PRÆCOGNITIONS.—Præcognitions are common to all men, and præcognition
is not contradictory to præcognition. For who of us does not assume
that Good is useful and eligible, and in all circumstances that we
ought to follow and pursue it? And who of us does not assume that
Justice is beautiful and becoming? When then does the contradiction
arise? It arises in the adaptation of the præcognitions to the
particular cases. When one man says, “He has done well; he is a brave
man,” and another says, “Not so; but he has acted foolishly,” then the
disputes arise among men. This is the dispute among the Jews and the
Syrians and the Egyptians and the Romans; not whether holiness should
be preferred to all things and in all cases should be pursued, but
whether it is holy to eat pig’s flesh or not holy. You will find this
dispute also between Agamemnon and Achilles; for call them forth. What
do you say, Agamemnon? ought not that to be done which is proper and
right? “Certainly.” Well, what do you say, Achilles? do you not admit
that what is good ought to be done? “I do most certainly.” Adapt your
præcognitions then to the present matter. Here the dispute begins.
Agamemnon says, “I ought not to give up Chryseis to her father.”
Achilles says, “You ought.” It is certain that one of the two makes a
wrong adaptation of the præcognition of “ought” or “duty.” Further,
Agamemnon says, “Then if I ought to restore Chryseis, it is fit that I
take his prize from some of you.” Achilles replies, “Would you then
take her whom I love?” “Yes, her whom you love.” “Must I then be the
only man who goes without a prize? and must I be the only man who has
no prize?” Thus the dispute begins.

What then is education? Education is the learning how to adapt the
natural præcognitions to the particular things conformably to nature;
and then to distinguish that of things some are in our power, but
others are not. In our power are will and all acts which depend on the
will; things not in our power are the body, the parts of the body,
possessions, parents, brothers, children, country, and, generally, all
with whom we live in society. In what then should we place the good? To
what kind of things ([Greek: ousia]) shall we adapt it? To the things
which are in our power? Is not health then a good thing, and soundness
of limb, and life, and are not children and parents and country? Who
will tolerate you if you deny this?

Let us then transfer the notion of good to these things. Is it
possible, then, when a man sustains damage and does not obtain good
things, that he can be happy? It is not possible. And can he maintain
towards society a proper behavior? He can not. For I am naturally
formed to look after my own interest. If it is my interest to have an
estate in land, it is my interest also to take it from my neighbor. If
it is my interest to have a garment, it is my interest also to steal it
from the bath. This is the origin of wars, civil commotions, tyrannies,
conspiracies. And how shall I be still able to maintain my duty towards
Zeus? For if I sustain damage and am unlucky, he takes no care of me.
And what is he to me if he cannot help me? And further, what is he to
me if he allows me to be in the condition in which I am? I now begin to
hate him. Why then do we build temples, why setup statues to Zeus, as
well as to evil demons, such as to Fever; and how is Zeus the Saviour,
and how the giver of rain, and the giver of fruits? And in truth if we
place the nature of Good in any such things, all this follows.

What should we do then? This is the inquiry of the true philosopher who
is in labor. Now I do not see what the good is nor the bad. Am I not
mad? Yes. But suppose that I place the good somewhere among the things
which depend on the will; all will laugh at me. There will come some
greyhead wearing many gold rings on his fingers, and he will shake his
head and say: “Hear, my child. It is right that you should
philosophize; but you ought to have some brains also; all this that you
are doing is silly. You learn the syllogism from philosophers; but you
know how to act better than philosophers do.” Man why then do you blame
me, if I know? What shall I say to this slave? If I am silent, he will
burst. I must speak in this way: “Excuse me, as you would excuse
lovers; I am not my own master; I am mad.”

(difficulties) which show what men are. Therefore when a difficulty
falls upon you, remember that God, like a trainer of wrestlers, has
matched you with a rough young man. For what purpose? you may say. Why,
that you may become an Olympic conqueror; but it is not accomplished
without sweat. In my opinion no man has had a more profitable
difficulty than you have had, if you choose to make use of it as an
athlete would deal with a young antagonist. We are now sending a scout
to Rome; but no man sends a cowardly scout, who, if he only hears a
noise and sees a shadow anywhere, comes running back in terror and
reports that the enemy is close at hand. So now if you should come and
tell us: “Fearful is the state of affairs at Rome; terrible is death;
terrible is exile; terrible is calumny; terrible is poverty; fly, my
friends, the enemy is near,” we shall answer: “Begone, prophesy for
yourself; we have committed only one fault, that we sent such a scout.”

Diogenes, who was sent as a scout before you, made a different report
to us. He says that death is no evil, for neither is it base; he says
that fame (reputation) is the noise of madmen. And what has this spy
said about pain, about pleasure, and about poverty? He says that to be
naked is better than any purple robe, and to sleep on the bare ground
is the softest bed; and he gives as a proof of each thing that he
affirms his own courage, his tranquillity, his freedom, and the healthy
appearance and compactness of his body. There is no enemy near, he
says; all is peace. How so, Diogenes? “See,” he replies, “if I am
struck, if I have been wounded, if I have fled from any man.” This is
what a scout ought to be. But you come to us and tell us one thing
after another. Will you not go back, and you will see clearer when you
have laid aside fear?

ON THE SAME.—If these things are true, and if we are not silly, and are
not acting hypocritically when we say that the good of man is in the
will, and the evil too, and that everything else does not concern us,
why are we still disturbed, why are we still afraid? The things about
which we have been busied are in no man’s power; and the things which
are in the power of others, we care not for. What kind of trouble have
we still?

But give me directions. Why should I give you directions? Has not Zeus
given you directions? Has he not given to you what is your own free
from hindrance and free from impediment, and what is not your own
subject to hindrance and impediment? What directions then, what kind of
orders did you bring when you came from him? Keep by every means what
is your own; do not desire what belongs to others. Fidelity (integrity)
is your own, virtuous shame is your own; who then can take these things
from you? who else than yourself will hinder you from using them? But
how do you act? When you seek what is not your own, you lose that which
is your own. Having such promptings and commands from Zeus, what kind
do you still ask from me? Am I more powerful than he, am I more worthy
of confidence? But if you observe these, do you want any others
besides? “Well, but he has not given these orders,” you will say.
Produce your præcognitions ([Greek: prolaepseis]), produce these proofs
of philosophers, produce what you have often heard, and produce what
you have said yourself, produce what you have read, produce what you
have meditated on; and you will then see that all these things are from

If I have set my admiration on the poor body, I have given myself up to
be a slave; if on my poor possessions, I also make myself a slave. For
I immediately make it plain with what I may be caught; as if the snake
draws in his head, I tell you to strike that part of him which he
guards; and do you be assured that whatever part you choose to guard,
that part your master will attack. Remembering this, whom will you
still flatter or fear?

But I should like to sit where the Senators sit. Do you see that you
are putting yourself in straits, you are squeezing yourself? How then
shall I see well in any other way in the amphitheatre? Man, do not be a
spectator at all, and you will not be squeezed. Why do you give
yourself trouble? Or wait a little, and when the spectacle is over,
seat yourself in the place reserved for the Senators and sun yourself.
For remember this general truth, that it is we who squeeze ourselves,
who put ourselves in straits; that is, our opinions squeeze us and put
us in straits. For what is it to be reviled? Stand by a stone and
revile it, and what will you gain? If then a man listens like a stone,
what profit is there to the reviler? But if the reviler has as a
stepping-stone (or ladder) the weakness of him who is reviled, then he
accomplishes something. Strip him. What do you mean by him? Lay hold of
his garment, strip it off. I have insulted you. Much good may it do

This was the practice of Socrates; this was the reason why he always
had one face. But we choose to practise and study anything rather than
the means by which we shall be unimpeded and free. You say:
“Philosophers talk paradoxes.” But are there no paradoxes in the other
arts? And what is more paradoxical than to puncture a man’s eye in
order that he may see? If any one said this to a man ignorant of the
surgical art, would he not ridicule the speaker? Where is the wonder,
then, if in philosophy also many things which are true appear
paradoxical to the inexperienced?

AGAINST THEM.—Appearances are to us in four ways. For either things
appear as they are; or they are not, and do not even appear to be; or
they are, and do not appear to be; or they are not, and yet appear to
be. Further, in all these cases to form a right judgment (to hit the
mark) is the office of an educated man. But whatever it is that annoys
(troubles) us, to that we ought to apply a remedy. If the sophisms of
Pyrrho and of the Academics are what annoys (troubles), we must apply
the remedy to them. If it is the persuasion of appearances, by which
some things appear to be good, when they are not good, let us seek a
remedy for this. If it is habit which annoys us, we must try to seek
aid against habit. What aid, then, can we find against habit? The
contrary habit. You hear the ignorant say: “That unfortunate person is
dead; his father and mother are overpowered with sorrow; he was cut off
by an untimely death and in a foreign land.” Hear the contrary way of
speaking. Tear yourself from these expressions; oppose to one habit the
contrary habit; to sophistry oppose reason, and the exercise and
discipline of reason; against persuasive (deceitful) appearances we
ought to have manifest præcognitions ([Greek: prolaepseis]), cleared of
all impurities and ready to hand.

When death appears an evil, we ought to have this rule in readiness,
that it is fit to avoid evil things, and that death is a necessary
thing. For what shall I do, and where shall I escape it? Suppose that I
am not Sarpedon, the son of Zeus, nor able to speak in this noble way.
I will go and I am resolved either to behave bravely myself or to give
to another the opportunity of doing so; if I cannot succeed in doing
anything myself, I will not grudge another the doing of something
noble. Suppose that it is above our power to act thus; is it not in our
power to reason thus? Tell me where I can escape death; discover for me
the country, show me the men to whom I must go, whom death does not
visit. Discover to me a charm against death. If I have not one, what do
you wish me to do? I cannot escape from death. Shall I not escape from
the fear of death, but shall I die lamenting and trembling? For the
origin of perturbation is this, to wish for something, and that this
should not happen. Therefore if I am able to change externals according
to my wish, I change them; but if I cannot, I am ready to tear out the
eyes of him who hinders me. For the nature of man is not to endure to
be deprived of the good, and not to endure the falling into the evil.
Then at last, when I am neither able to change circumstances nor to
tear out the eyes of him who hinders me, I sit down and groan, and
abuse whom I can, Zeus and the rest of the gods. For if they do not
care for me, what are they to me? Yes, but you will be an impious man.
In what respect, then, will it be worse for me than it is now? To sum
up, remember that unless piety and your interest be in the same thing,
piety cannot be maintained in any man. Do not these things seem
necessary (true)?

GREAT THINGS AMONG MEN.—What is the cause of assenting to anything? The
fact that it appears to be true. It is not possible then to assent to
that which appears not to be true. Why? Because this is the nature of
the understanding, to incline to the true, to be dissatisfied with the
false, and in matters uncertain to withhold assent. What is the proof
of this? Imagine (persuade yourself), if you can, that it is now night.
It is not possible. Take away your persuasion that it is day. It is not
possible. Persuade yourself or take away your persuasion that the stars
are even in number. It is impossible. When then any man assents to that
which is false, be assured that he did not intend to assent to it as
false, for every soul is unwillingly deprived of the truth, as Plato
says; but the falsity seemed to him to be true. Well, in acts what have
we of the like kind as we have here truth or falsehood? We have the fit
and the not fit (duty and not duty), the profitable and the
unprofitable, that which is suitable to a person and that which is not,
and whatever is like these. Can then a man think that a thing is useful
to him and not choose it? He cannot. How says Medea?

“’Tis true I know what evil I shall do,
But passion overpowers the better counsel.”

She thought that to indulge her passion and take vengeance on her
husband was more profitable than to spare her children. It was so; but
she was deceived. Show her plainly that she is deceived, and she will
not do it; but so long as you do not show it, what can she follow
except that which appears to herself (her opinion)? Nothing else. Why
then are you angry with the unhappy woman that she has been bewildered
about the most important things, and is become a viper instead of a
human creature? And why not, if it is possible, rather pity, as we pity
the blind and the lame, so those who are blinded and maimed in the
faculties which are supreme?

Whoever then clearly remembers this, that to man the measure of every
act is the appearance (the opinion), whether the thing appears good or
bad. If good, he is free from blame; if bad, himself suffers the
penalty, for it is impossible that he who is deceived can be one
person, and he who suffers another person—whoever remembers this will
not be angry with any man, will not be vexed at any man, will not
revile or blame any man, nor hate, nor quarrel with any man.

So then all these great and dreadful deeds have this origin, in the
appearance (opinion)? Yes, this origin and no other. The Iliad is
nothing else than appearance and the use of appearances. It appeared to
Alexander to carry off the wife of Menelaus. It appeared to Helene to
follow him. If then it had appeared to Menelaus to feel that it was a
gain to be deprived of such a wife, what would have happened? Not only
would the Iliad have been lost, but the Odyssey also. On so small a
matter then did such great things depend? But what do you mean by such
great things? Wars and civil commotions, and the destruction of many
men and cities. And what great matter is this? Is it nothing? But what
great matter is the death of many oxen, and many sheep, and many nests
of swallows or storks being burnt or destroyed? Are these things then
like those? Very like. Bodies of men are destroyed, and the bodies of
oxen and sheep; the dwellings of men are burnt, and the nests of
storks. What is there in this great or dreadful? Or show me what is the
difference between a man’s house and a stork’s nest, as far as each is
a dwelling; except that man builds his little houses of beams and tiles
and bricks, and the stork builds them of sticks and mud. Are a stork
and a man then like things? What say you? In body they are very much

Does a man then differ in no respect from a stork? Don’t suppose that I
say so; but there is no difference in these matters (which I have
mentioned). In what then is the difference? Seek and you will find that
there is a difference in another matter. See whether it is not in a man
the understanding of what he does, see if it is not in social
community, in fidelity, in modesty, in steadfastness, in intelligence.
Where then is the great good and evil in men? It is where the
difference is. If the difference is preserved and remains fenced round,
and neither modesty is destroyed, nor fidelity, nor intelligence, then
the man also is preserved; but if any of these things is destroyed and
stormed like a city, then the man too perishes: and in this consist the
great things. Alexander, you say, sustained great damage then when the
Hellenes invaded and when they ravaged Troy, and when his brothers
perished. By no means; for no man is damaged by an action which is not
his own; but what happened at that time was only the destruction of
stork’s nests. Now the ruin of Alexander was when he lost the character
of modesty, fidelity, regard to hospitality, and to decency. When was
Achilles ruined? Was it when Patroclus died? Not so. But it happened
when he began to be angry, when he wept for a girl, when he forgot that
he was at Troy not to get mistresses, but to fight. These things are
the ruin of men, this is being besieged, this is the destruction of
cities, when right opinions are destroyed, when they are corrupted.

ON CONSTANCY (OR FIRMNESS).—The being (nature) of the good is a certain
will; the being of the bad is a certain kind of will. What, then, are
externals? Materials for the will, about which the will being
conversant shall obtain its own good or evil. How shall it obtain the
good? If it does not admire (over-value) the materials; for the
opinions about the materials, if the opinions are right, make the will
good: but perverse and distorted opinions make the will bad. God has
fixed this law, and says, “If you would have anything good, receive it
from yourself.” You say, No, but I will have it from another. Do not
so: but receive it from yourself. Therefore when the tyrant threatens
and calls me, I say, Whom do you threaten? If he says, I will put you
in chains, I say, You threaten my hands and my feet. If he says, I will
cut off your head, I reply, You threaten my head. If he says, I will
throw you into prison, I say, You threaten the whole of this poor body.
If he threatens me with banishment, I say the same. Does he then not
threaten you at all? If I feel that all these things do not concern me,
he does not threaten me at all; but if I fear any of them, it is I whom
he threatens. Whom then do I fear? the master of what? The master of
things which are in my own power? There is no such master. Do I fear
the master of things which are not in my power? And what are these
things to me?

Do you philosophers then teach us to despise kings? I hope not. Who
among us teaches to claim against them the power over things which they
possess? Take my poor body, take my property, take my reputation, take
those who are about me. If I advise any persons to claim these things,
they may truly accuse me. Yes, but I intend to command your opinions
also. And who has given you this power? How can you conquer the opinion
of another man? By applying terror to it, he replies, I will conquer
it. Do you not know that opinion conquers itself, and is not conquered
by another? But nothing else can conquer will except the will itself.
For this reason too the law of God is most powerful and most just,
which is this: Let the stronger always be superior to the weaker. Ten
are stronger than one. For what? For putting in chains, for killing,
for dragging whither they choose, for taking away what a man has. The
ten therefore conquer the one in this in which they are stronger. In
what then are the ten weaker? If the one possesses right opinions and
the others do not. Well then, can the ten conquer in this matter? How
is it possible? If we were placed in the scales, must not the heavier
draw down the scale in which it is.

How strange then that Socrates should have been so treated by the
Athenians. Slave, why do you say Socrates? Speak of the thing as it is:
how strange that the poor body of Socrates should have been carried off
and dragged to prison by stronger men, and that anyone should have
given hemlock to the poor body of Socrates, and that it should breathe
out the life. Do these things seem strange, do they seem unjust, do you
on account of these things blame God? Had Socrates then no equivalent
for these things? Where then for him was the nature of good? Whom shall
we listen to, you or him? And what does Socrates say? “Anytus and
Melitus can kill me, but they cannot hurt me.” And further, he says,
“If it so pleases God, so let it be.”

But show me that he who has the inferior principles overpowers him who
is superior in principles. You will never show this, nor come near
showing it; for this is the law of nature and of God that the superior
shall always overpower the inferior. In what? In that in which it is
superior. One body is stronger than another: many are stronger than
one: the thief is stronger than he who is not a thief. This is the
reason why I also lost my lamp, because in wakefulness the thief was
superior to me. But the man bought the lamp at this price: for a lamp
he became a thief, a faithless fellow, and like a wild beast. This
seemed to him a good bargain. Be it so. But a man has seized me by the
cloak, and is drawing me to the public place: then others bawl out,
Philosopher, what has been the use of your opinions? see, you are
dragged to prison, you are going to be beheaded. And what system of
philosophy ([Greek: eisagogaen)] could I have made so that, if a
stronger man should have laid hold of my cloak, I should not be dragged
off; that if ten men should have laid hold of me and cast me into
prison, I should not be cast in? Have I learned nothing else then? I
have learned to see that everything which happens, if it be independent
of my will, is nothing to me. I may ask, if you have not gained by
this. Why then do you seek advantage in anything else than in that in
which you have learned that advantage is?

Will you not leave the small arguments ([Greek: logaria]) about these
matters to others, to lazy fellows, that they may sit in a corner and
receive their sorry pay, or grumble that no one gives them anything;
and will you not come forward and make use of what you have learned?
For it is not these small arguments that are wanted now; the writings
of the Stoics are full of them. What then is the thing which is wanted?
A man who shall apply them, one who by his acts shall bear testimony to
his words. Assume, I intreat you, this character, that we may no longer
use in the schools the examples of the ancients, but may have some
example of our own.

To whom then does the contemplation of these matters (philosophical
inquiries) belong? To him who has leisure, for man is an animal that
loves contemplation. But it is shameful to contemplate these things as
runaway slaves do; we should sit, as in a theatre, free from
distraction, and listen at one time to the tragic actor, at another
time to the lute-player; and not do as slaves do. As soon as the slave
has taken his station he praises the actor and at the same time looks
round; then if any one calls out his master’s name, the slave is
immediately frightened and disturbed. It is shameful for philosophers
thus to contemplate the works of nature. For what is a master? Man is
not the master of man; but death is, and life and pleasure and pain;
for if he comes without these things, bring Cæsar to me and you will
see how firm I am. But when he shall come with these things, thundering
and lightning, and when I am afraid of them, what do I do then except
to recognize my master like the runaway slave? But so long as I have
any respite from these terrors, as a runaway slave stands in the
theatre, so do I. I bathe, I drink, I sing; but all this I do with
terror and uneasiness. But if I shall release myself from my masters,
that is from those things by means of which masters are formidable,
what further trouble have I, what master have I still?

What then, ought we to publish these things to all men? No, but we
ought to accommodate ourselves to the ignorant ([Greek: tois idiotais])
and to say: “This man recommends to me that which he thinks good for
himself. I excuse him.” For Socrates also excused the jailer who had
the charge of him in prison and was weeping when Socrates was going to
drink the poison, and said, “How generously he laments over us.” Does
he then say to the jailer that for this reason we have sent away the
women? No, but he says it to his friends who were able to hear
(understand) it; and he treats the jailer as a child.

of the philosophers perhaps seem to some to be a paradox; but still let
us examine as well as we can, if it is true that it is possible to do
everything both with caution and with confidence. For caution seems to
be in a manner contrary to confidence, and contraries are in no way
consistent. That which seems to many to be a paradox in the matter
under consideration in my opinion is of this kind; if we asserted that
we ought to employ caution and confidence in the same things, men might
justly accuse us of bringing together things which cannot be united.
But now where is the difficulty in what is said? for if these things
are true, which have been often said and often proved, that the nature
of good is in the use of appearances, and the nature of evil likewise,
and that things independent of our will do not admit either the nature
of evil or of good, what paradox do the philosophers assert if they say
that where things are not dependent on the will, there you should
employ confidence, but where they are dependent on the will, there you
should employ caution? For if the bad consists in the bad exercise of
the will, caution ought only to be used where things are dependent on
the will. But if things independent of the will and not in our power
are nothing to us, with respect to these we must employ confidence; and
thus we shall both be cautious and confident, and indeed confident
because of our caution. For by employing caution towards things which
are really bad, it will result that we shall have confidence with
respect to things which are not so.

We are then in the condition of deer; when they flee from the
huntsmen’s feathers in fright, whither do they turn and in what do they
seek refuge as safe? They turn to the nets, and thus they perish by
confounding things which are objects of fear with things that they
ought not to fear. Thus we also act: in what cases do we fear? In
things which are independent of the will. In what cases on the contrary
do we behave with confidence, as if there were no danger? In things
dependent on the will. To be deceived then, or to act rashly, or
shamelessly, or with base desire to seek something, does not concern us
at all, if we only hit the mark in things which are independent of our
will. But where there is death or exile or pain or infamy, there we
attempt to run away, there we are struck with terror. Therefore, as we
may expect it to happen with those who err in the greatest matters, we
convert natural confidence (that is, according to nature) into
audacity, desperation, rashness, shamelessness; and we convert natural
caution and modesty into cowardice and meanness, which are full of fear
and confusion. For if a man should transfer caution to those things in
which the will may be exercised and the acts of the will, he will
immediately by willing to be cautious have also the power of avoiding
what he chooses; but if he transfer it to the things which are not in
his power and will, and attempt to avoid the things which are in the
power of others, he will of necessity fear, he will be unstable, he
will be disturbed; for death or pain is not formidable, but the fear of
pain or death. For this reason we commend the poet, who said:

“Not death is evil, but a shameful death.”

Confidence (courage) then ought to be employed against death, and
caution against the fear of death. But now we do the contrary, and
employ against death the attempt to escape; and to our opinion about it
we employ carelessness, rashness, and indifference. These things
Socrates properly used to call tragic masks; for as to children masks
appear terrible and fearful from inexperience, we also are affected in
like manner by events (the things which happen in life) for no other
reason than children are by masks. For what is a child? Ignorance. What
is a child? Want of knowledge. For when a child knows these things, he
is in no way inferior to us. What is death? A tragic mask. Turn it and
examine it. See, it does not bite. The poor body must be separated from
the spirit either now or later as it was separated from it before. Why
then are you troubled if it be separated now? for if it is not
separated now, it will be separated afterwards. Why? That the period of
the universe may be completed, for it has need of the present, and of
the future, and of the past. What is pain? A mask. Turn it and examine
it. The poor flesh is moved roughly, then on the contrary smoothly. If
this does not satisfy (please) you, the door is open; if it does, bear
(with things). For the door ought to be open for all occasions; and so
we have no trouble.

What then is the fruit of these opinions? It is that which ought to be
the most noble and the most becoming to those who are really educated,
release from perturbation, release from fear. Freedom. For in these
matters we must not believe the many, who say that free persons only
ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who
say that the educated only are free. How is this? In this manner: Is
freedom anything else than the power of living as we choose? Nothing
else. Tell me then, ye men, do you wish to live in error? We do not. No
one then 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 perturbation? By no
means. No one then who is in a state of fear or sorrow or perturbation
is free; but whoever is delivered from sorrows and fears and
perturbations, he is at the same time also delivered from servitude.
How then can we continue to believe you, most dear legislators, when
you say, We only allow free persons to be educated? For philosophers
say we allow none to be free except the educated; that is, God does not
allow it. When then a man has turned round before the prætor his own
slave, has he done nothing? He has done something. What? He has turned
round his own slave before the prætor. Has he done nothing more? Yes:
he is also bound to pay for him the tax called the twentieth. Well
then, is not the man who has gone through this ceremony become free? No
more than he is become free from perturbations. Have you who are able
to turn round (free) others no master? is not money your master, or a
girl or a boy, or some tyrant or some friend of the tyrant? Why do you
trouble then when you are going off to any trial (danger) of this kind?
It is for this reason that I often say, study and hold in readiness
these principles by which you may determine what those things are with
reference to which you ought to be cautious, courageous in that which
does not depend on your will, cautious in that which does depend on it.

going into court, what you wish to maintain and what you wish to
succeed in. For if you wish to maintain a will conformable to nature,
you have every security, every facility, you have no troubles. For if
you wish to maintain what is in your own power and is naturally free,
and if you are content with these, what else do you care for? For who
is the master of such things? Who can take them away? If you choose to
be modest and faithful, who shall not allow you to be so? If you choose
not to be restrained or compelled, who shall compel you to desire what
you think that you ought not to desire? who shall compel you to avoid
what you do not think fit to avoid? But what do you say? The judge will
determine against you something that appears formidable; but that you
should also suffer in trying to avoid it, how can he do that? When then
the pursuit of objects and the avoiding of them are in your power, what
else do you care for? Let this be your preface, this your narrative,
this your confirmation, this your victory, this your peroration, this
your applause (or the approbation which you will receive).

Therefore Socrates said to one who was reminding him to prepare for his
trial, Do you not think then that I have been preparing for it all my
life? By what kind of preparation? I have maintained that which was in
my own power. How then? I have never done anything unjust either in my
private or in my public life.

But if you wish to maintain externals also, your poor body, your little
property, and your little estimation, I advise you to make from this
moment all possible preparation, and then consider both the nature of
your judge and your adversary. If it is necessary to embrace his knees,
embrace his knees; if to weep, weep; if to groan, groan. For when you
have subjected to externals what is your own, then be a slave and do
not resist, and do not sometimes choose to be a slave, and sometimes
not choose, but with all your mind be one or the other, either free or
a slave, either instructed or uninstructed, either a well-bred cock or
a mean one, either endure to be beaten until you die or yield at once;
and let it not happen to you to receive many stripes and then to yield.
But if these things are base, determine immediately. Where is the
nature of evil and good? It is where truth is: where truth is and where
nature is, there is caution: where truth is, there is courage where
nature is.

For this reason also it is ridiculous to say, Suggest something to me
(tell me what to do). What should I suggest to you? Well, form my mind
so as to accommodate itself to any event. Why that is just the same as
if a man who is ignorant of letters should say, Tell me what to write
when any name is proposed to me. For if I should tell him to write
Dion, and then another should come and propose to him not the name of
Dion but that of Theon, what will be done? what will he write? But if
you have practised writing, you are also prepared to write (or to do)
anything that is required. If you are not, what can I now suggest? For
if circumstances require something else, what will you say, or what
will you do? Remember then this general precept and you will need no
suggestion. But if you gape after externals, you must of necessity
ramble up and down in obedience to the will of your master. And who is
the master? He who has the power over the things which you seek to gain
or try to avoid.

HOW MAGNANIMITY IS CONSISTENT WITH CARE.—Things themselves (materials)
are indifferent; but the use of them is not indifferent. How then shall
a man preserve firmness and tranquillity, and at the same time be
careful and neither rash nor negligent? If he imitates those who play
at dice. The counters are indifferent; the dice are indifferent. How do
I know what the cast will be? But to use carefully and dexterously the
cast of the dice, this is my business. Thus then in life also the chief
business is this: distinguish and separate things, and say: Externals
are not in my power: will is in my power. Where shall I seek the good
and the bad? Within, in the things which are my own. But in what does
not belong to you call nothing either good or bad, or profit or damage
or anything of the kind.

What then? Should we use such things carelessly? In no way: for this on
the other hand is bad for the faculty of the will, and consequently
against nature; but we should act carefully because the use is not
indifferent, and we should also act with firmness and freedom from
perturbations because the material is indifferent. For where the
material is not indifferent, there no man can hinder me or compel me.
Where I can be hindered and compelled, the obtaining of those things is
not in my power, nor is it good or bad; but the use is either bad or
good, and the use is in my power. But it is difficult to mingle and to
bring together these two things—the carefulness of him who is affected
by the matter (or things about him), and the firmness of him who has no
regard for it; but it is not impossible: and if it is, happiness is
impossible. But we should act as we do in the case of a voyage. What
can I do? I can choose the master of the ship, the sailors, the day,
the opportunity. Then comes a storm. What more have I to care for? for
my part is done. The business belongs to another, the master. But the
ship is sinking—what then have I to do? I do the only thing that I can,
not to be drowned full of fear, nor screaming nor blaming God, but
knowing that what has been produced must also perish: for I am not an
immortal being, but a man, a part of the whole, as an hour is a part of
the day: I must be present like the hour, and past like the hour. What
difference then does it make to me how I pass away, whether by being
suffocated or by a fever, for I must pass through some such means.

How then is it said that some external things are according to nature
and others contrary to nature? It is said as it might be said if we
were separated from union (or society): for to the foot I shall say
that it is according to nature for it to be clean; but if you take it
as a foot and as a thing not detached (independent), it will befit it
both to step into the mud and tread on thorns, and sometimes to be cut
off for the good of the whole body; otherwise it is no longer a foot.
We should think in some such way about ourselves also. What are you? A
man. If you consider yourself as detached from other men, it is
according to nature to live to old age, to be rich, to be healthy. But
if you consider yourself as a man and a part of a certain whole, it is
for the sake of that whole that at one time you should be sick, at
another time take a voyage and run into danger, and at another time be
in want, and in some cases die prematurely. Why then are you troubled?
Do you not know, that as a foot is no longer a foot if it is detached
from the body, so you are no longer a man if you are separated from
other men. For what is a man? A part of a state, of that first which
consists of gods and of men; then of that which is called next to it,
which is a small image of the universal state. What then must I be
brought to trial; must another have a fever, another sail on the sea,
another die, and another be condemned? Yes, for it is impossible in
such a universe of things, among so many living together, that such
things should not happen, some to one and others to others. It is your
duty then since you are come here, to say what you ought, to arrange
these things as it is fit. Then some one says, “I shall charge you with
doing me wrong.” Much good may it do you: I have done my part; but
whether you also have done yours, you must look to that; for there is
some danger of this too, that it may escape your notice.

OF INDIFFERENCE.—The hypothetical proposition is indifferent: the
judgment about it is not indifferent, but it is either knowledge or
opinion or error. Thus life is indifferent: the use is not indifferent.
When any man then tells you that these things also are indifferent, do
not become negligent; and when a man invites you to be careful (about
such things), do not become abject and struck with admiration of
material things. And it is good for you to know your own preparation
and power, that in those matters where you have not been prepared, you
may keep quiet, and not be vexed, if others have the advantage over
you. For you too in syllogisms will claim to have the advantage over
them; and if others should be vexed at this, you will console them by
saying, “I have learned them, and you have not.” Thus also where there
is need of any practice, seek not that which is acquired from the need
(of such practice), but yield in that matter to those who have had
practice, and be yourself content with firmness of mind.

Go and salute a certain person. How? Not meanly. But I have been shut
out, for I have not learned to make my way through the window; and when
I have found the door shut, I must either come back or enter through
the window. But still speak to him. In what way? Not meanly. But
suppose that you have not got what you wanted. Was this your business,
and not his? Why then do you claim that which belongs to another?
Always remember what is your own, and what belongs to another; and you
will not be disturbed. Chrysippus therefore said well, So long as
future things are uncertain, I always cling to those which are more
adapted to the conservation of that which is according to nature; for
God himself has given me the faculty of such choice. But if I knew that
it was fated (in the order of things) for me to be sick, I would even
move towards it; for the foot also, if it had intelligence, would move
to go into the mud. For why are ears of corn produced? Is it not that
they may become dry? And do they not become dry that they may be
reaped? for they are not separated from communion with other things. If
then they had perception, ought they to wish never to be reaped? But
this is a curse upon ears of corn to be never reaped. So we must know
that in the case of men too it is a curse not to die, just the same as
not to be ripened and not to be reaped. But since we must be reaped,
and we also know that we are reaped, we are vexed at it; for we neither
know what we are nor have we studied what belongs to man, as those who
have studied horses know what belongs to horses. But Chrysantas when he
was going to strike the enemy checked himself when he heard the trumpet
sounding a retreat: so it seemed better to him to obey the general’s
command than to follow his own inclination. But not one of us chooses,
even when necessity summons, readily to obey it, but weeping and
groaning we suffer what we do suffer, and we call them “circumstances.”
What kind of circumstances, man? If you give the name of circumstances
to the things which are around you, all things are circumstances; but
if you call hardships by this name, what hardship is there in the dying
of that which has been produced? But that which destroys is either a
sword, or a wheel, or the sea, or a tile, or a tyrant. Why do you care
about the way of going down to Hades? All ways are equal. But if you
will listen to the truth, the way which the tyrant sends you is
shorter. A tyrant never killed a man in six months: but a fever is
often a year about it. All these things are only sound and the noise of
empty names.

HOW WE OUGHT TO USE DIVINATION.—Through an unreasonable regard to
divination many of us omit many duties. For what more can the diviner
see than death or danger or disease, or generally things of that kind?
If then I must expose myself to danger for a friend, and if it is my
duty even to die for him, what need have I then for divination? Have I
not within me a diviner who has told me the nature of good and of evil,
and has explained to me the signs (or marks) of both? What need have I
then to consult the viscera of victims or the flight of birds, and why
do I submit when he says, It is for your interest? For does he know
what is for my interest, does he know what is good; and as he has
learned the signs of the viscera, has he also learned the signs of good
and evil? For if he knows the signs of these, he knows the signs both
of the beautiful and of the ugly, and of the just and of the unjust. Do
you tell me, man, what is the thing which is signified for me: is it
life or death, poverty or wealth? But whether these things are for my
interest or whether they are not, I do not intend to ask you. Why don’t
you give your opinion on matters of grammar, and why do you give it
here about things on which we are all in error and disputing with one

What then leads us to frequent use of divination? Cowardice, the dread
of what will happen. This is the reason why we flatter the diviners.
Pray, master, shall I succeed to the property of my father? Let us see:
let us sacrifice on the occasion. Yes, master, as fortune chooses. When
he has said, You shall succeed to the inheritance, we thank him as if
we received the inheritance from him. The consequence is that they play
upon us.

Will you not then seek the nature of good in the rational animal? for
if it is not there, you will not choose to say that it exists in any
other thing (plant or animal). What then? are not plants and animals
also the works of God? They are; but they are not superior things, nor
yet parts of the gods. But you are a superior thing; you are a portion
separated from the Deity; you have in yourself a certain portion of
him. Why then are you ignorant of your own noble descent? Why do you
not know whence you came? will you not remember when you are eating who
you are who eat and whom you feed? When you are in social intercourse,
when you are exercising yourself, when you are engaged in discussion,
know you not that you are nourishing a god, that you are exercising a
god? Wretch, you are carrying about a god with you, and you know it
not. Do you think that I mean some god of silver or of gold, and
external? You carry him within yourself, and you perceive not that you
are polluting him by impure thoughts and dirty deeds. And if an image
of God were present, you would not dare to do any of the things which
you are doing; but when God himself is present within and sees all and
hears all, you are not ashamed of thinking such things and doing such
things, ignorant as you are of your own nature and subject to the anger
of God. Then why do we fear when we are sending a young man from the
school into active life, lest he should do anything improperly, eat
improperly, have improper intercourse with women; and lest the rags in
which he is wrapped should debase him, lest fine garments should make
him proud. This youth (if he acts thus) does not know his own God; he
knows not with whom he sets out (into the world). But can we endure
when he says, “I wish I had you (God) with me.” Have you not God with
you? and do you seek for any other when you have him? or will God tell
you anything else than this? If you were a statue of Phidias, either
Athena or Zeus, you would think both of yourself and of the artist, and
if you had any understanding (power of perception) you would try to do
nothing unworthy of him who made you or of yourself, and try not to
appear in an unbecoming dress (attitude) to those who look upon you.
But now because Zeus has made you, for this reason do you care not how
you shall appear? And yet is the artist (in the one case) like the
artist in the other? or the work in the one case like the other? And
what work of an artist, for instance, has in itself the faculties,
which the artist shows in making it? Is it not marble or bronze, or
gold or ivory? and the Athena of Phidias, when she has once extended
the hand and received in it the figure of Victory, stands in that
attitude for ever. But the works of God have power of motion, they
breathe, they have the faculty of using the appearances of things and
the power of examining them. Being the work of such an artist do you
dishonor him? And what shall I say, not only that he made you, but also
entrusted you to yourself and made you a deposit to yourself? Will you
not think of this too, but do you also dishonor your guardianship? But
if God had entrusted an orphan to you, would you thus neglect him? He
has delivered yourself to your own care, and says: “I had no one fitter
to entrust him to than yourself; keep him for me such as he is by
nature, modest, faithful, erect, unterrified, free from passion and
perturbation.” And then you do not keep him such.

But some will say, Whence has this fellow got the arrogance which he
displays and these supercilious looks? I have not yet so much gravity
as befits a philosopher; for I do not yet feel confidence in what I
have learned and in what I have assented to. I still fear my own
weakness. Let me get confidence and then you shall see a countenance
such as I ought to have and an attitude such as I ought to have; then I
will show to you the statue, when it is perfected, when it is polished.
What do you expect? a supercilious countenance? Does the Zeus at
Olympia lift up his brow? No, his look is fixed as becomes him who is
ready to say:

Irrevocable is my word and shall not fail.—Iliad, i., 526.

Such will I show myself to you, faithful, modest, noble, free from
perturbation. What, and immortal, too, except from old age, and from
sickness? No, but dying as becomes a god, sickening as becomes a god.
This power I possess; this I can do. But the rest I do not possess, nor
can I do. I will show the nerves (strength) of a philosopher. What
nerves are these? A desire never disappointed, an aversion which never
falls on that which it would avoid, a proper pursuit ([Greek:
hormaen]), a diligent purpose, an assent which is not rash. These you
shall see.

WE ASSUME THE CHARACTER OF A PHILOSOPHER.—It is no common (easy) thing
to do this only, to fulfil the promise of a man’s nature. For what is a
man? The answer is, A rational and mortal being. Then by the rational
faculty from whom are we separated? From wild beasts. And from what
others? From sheep and like animals. Take care then to do nothing like
a wild beast; but if you do, you have lost the character of a man; you
have not fulfilled your promise. See that you do nothing like a sheep;
but if you do, in this case also the man is lost. What then do we do as
sheep? When we act gluttonously, when we act lewdly, when we act
rashly, filthily, inconsiderately, to what have we declined? To sheep.
What have we lost? The rational faculty. When we act contentiously and
harmfully and passionately and violently, to what have we declined? To
wild beasts. Consequently some of us are great wild beasts, and others
little beasts, of a bad disposition and small, whence we may say, Let
me be eaten by a lion. But in all these ways the promise of a man
acting as a man is destroyed. For when is a conjunctive (complex)
proposition maintained? When it fulfils what its nature promises; so
that the preservation of a complex proposition is when it is a
conjunction of truths. When is a disjunctive maintained? When it
fulfils what it promises. When are flutes, a lyre, a horse, a dog,
preserved? (When they severally keep their promise.) What is the wonder
then if man also in like manner is preserved, and in like manner is
lost? Each man is improved and preserved by corresponding acts, the
carpenter by acts of carpentry, the grammarian by acts of grammar. But
if a man accustoms himself to write ungrammatically, of necessity his
art will be corrupted and destroyed. Thus modest actions preserve the
modest man, and immodest actions destroy him; and actions of fidelity
preserve the faithful man, and the contrary actions destroy him. And on
the other hand contrary actions strengthen contrary characters:
shamelessness strengthens the shameless man, faithlessness the
faithless man, abusive words the abusive man, anger the man of an angry
temper, and unequal receiving and giving make the avaricious man more

For this reason philosophers admonish us not to be satisfied with
learning only, but also to add study, and then practice. For we have
long been accustomed to do contrary things, and we put in practice
opinions which are contrary to true opinions. If then we shall not also
put in practice right opinions, we shall be nothing more than the
expositors of the opinions of others. For now who among us is not able
to discourse according to the rules of art about good and evil things
(in this fashion)? That of things some are good, and some are bad, and
some are indifferent: the good then are virtues, and the things which
participate in virtues; and the bad are the contrary; and the
indifferent are wealth, health, reputation. Then, if in the midst of
our talk there should happen some greater noise than usual, or some of
those who are present should laugh at us, we are disturbed.
Philosopher, where are the things which you were talking about? Whence
did you produce and utter them? From the lips, and thence only. Why
then do you corrupt the aids provided by others? Why do you treat the
weightiest matters as if you were playing a game of dice? For it is one
thing to lay up bread and wine as in a storehouse, and another thing to
eat. That which has been eaten, is digested, distributed, and is become
sinews, flesh, bones, blood, healthy color, healthy breath. Whatever is
stored up, when you choose you can readily take and show it; but you
have no other advantage from it except so far as to appear to possess
it. For what is the difference between explaining these doctrines and
those of men who have different opinions? Sit down now and explain
according to the rules of art the opinions of Epicurus, and perhaps you
will explain his opinions in a more useful manner than Epicurus
himself. Why then do you call yourself a Stoic? Why do you deceive the
many? Why do you act the part of a Jew, when you are a Greek? Do you
not see how (why) each is called a Jew, or a Syrian, or an Egyptian?
and when we see a man inclining to two sides, we are accustomed to say,
This man is not a Jew, but he acts as one. But when he has assumed the
affects of one who has been imbued with Jewish doctrine and has adopted
that sect, then he is in fact and he is named a Jew.

are. In the first place, you are a man; and this is one who has nothing
superior to the faculty of the will, but all other things subjected to
it; and the faculty itself he possesses unenslaved and free from
subjection. Consider then from what things you have been separated by
reason. You have been separated from wild beasts; you have been
separated from domestic animals ([Greek: probaton]). Further, you are a
citizen of the world, and a part of it, not one of the subservient
(serving), but one of the principal (ruling) parts, for you are capable
of comprehending the divine administration and of considering the
connection of things. What then does the character of a citizen promise
(profess)? To hold nothing as profitable to himself; to deliberate
about nothing as if he were detached from the community, but to act as
the hand or foot would do, if they had reason and understood the
constitution of nature, for they would never put themselves in motion
nor desire anything otherwise than with reference to the whole.
Therefore, the philosophers say well, that if the good man had
foreknowledge of what would happen, he would co-operate towards his own
sickness and death and mutilation, since he knows that these things are
assigned to him according to the universal arrangement, and that the
whole is superior to the part, and the state to the citizen. But now
because we do not know the future, it is our duty to stick to the
things which are in their nature more suitable for our choice, for we
were made among other things for this.

After this, remember that you are a son. What does this character
promise? To consider that everything which is the son’s belongs to the
father, to obey him in all things, never to blame him to another, nor
to say or do anything which does him injury, to yield to him in all
things and give way, co-operating with him as far as you can. After
this know that you are a brother also, and that to this character it is
due to make concessions; to be easily persuaded, to speak good of your
brother, never to claim in opposition to him any of the things which
are independent of the will, but readily to give them up, that you may
have the larger share in what is dependent on the will. For see what a
thing it is, in place of a lettuce, if it should so happen, or a seat,
to gain for yourself goodness of disposition. How great is the

Next to this, if you are a senator of any state, remember that you are
a senator; if a youth, that you are a youth; if an old man, that you
are an old man; for each of such names, if it comes to be examined,
marks out the proper duties. But if you go and blame your brother, I
say to you, You have forgotten who you are and what is your name. In
the next place, if you were a smith and made a wrong use of the hammer,
you would have forgotten the smith; and if you have forgotten the
brother and instead of a brother have become an enemy, would you appear
not to have changed one thing for another in that case? And if instead
of a man, who is a tame animal and social, you are become a mischievous
wild beast, treacherous, and biting, have you lost nothing? But (I
suppose) you must lose a bit of money that you may suffer damage? And
does the loss of nothing else do a man damage? If you had lost the art
of grammar or music, would you think the loss of it a damage? and if
you shall lose modesty, moderation ([Greek: chtastolaen]) and
gentleness, do you think the loss nothing? And yet the things first
mentioned are lost by some cause external and independent of the will,
and the second by our own fault; and as to the first neither to have
them nor to lose them is shameful; but as to the second, not to have
them and to lose them is shameful and matter of reproach and a

What then? shall I not hurt him who has hurt me? In the first place
consider what hurt ([Greek: blabae]) is, and remember what you have
heard from the philosophers. For if the good consists in the will
(purpose, intention, [Greek: proaireeis]), and the evil also in the
will, see if what you say is not this: What then, since that man has
hurt himself by doing an unjust act to me, shall I not hurt myself by
doing some unjust act to him? Why do we not imagine to ourselves
(mentally think of) something of this kind? But where there is any
detriment to the body or to our possession, there is harm there; and
where the same thing happens to the faculty of the will, there is (you
suppose) no harm; for he who has been deceived or he who has done an
unjust act neither suffers in the head nor in the eye nor in the hip,
nor does he lose his estate; and we wish for nothing else than
(security to) these things. But whether we shall have the will modest
and faithful or shameless and faithless, we care not the least, except
only in the school so far as a few words are concerned. Therefore our
proficiency is limited to these few words; but beyond them it does not
exist even in the slightest degree.

WHAT THE BEGINNING OF PHILOSOPHY IS.—The beginning of philosophy, to
him at least who enters on it in the right way and by the door is a
consciousness of his own weakness and inability about necessary things;
for we come into the world with no natural notion of a right-angled
triangle, or of a diesis (a quarter tone), or of a half-tone; but we
learn each of these things by a certain transmission according to art;
and for this reason those who do not know them do not think that they
know them. But as to good and evil, and beautiful and ugly, and
becoming and unbecoming, and happiness and misfortune, and proper and
improper, and what we ought to do and what we ought not to do, who ever
came into the world without having an innate idea of them? Wherefore we
all use these names, and we endeavor to fit the preconceptions to the
several cases (things) thus: he has done well; he has not done well; he
has done as he ought, not as he ought; he has been unfortunate, he has
been fortunate; he is unjust, he is just; who does not use these names?
who among us defers the use of them till he has learned them, as he
defers the use of the words about lines (geometrical figures) or
sounds? And the cause of this is that we come into the world already
taught as it were by nature some things on this matter ([Greek:
topon]), and proceeding from these we have added to them self-conceit
([Greek: oiaesin]). For why, a man says, do I not know the beautiful
and the ugly? Have I not the notion of it? You have. Do I not adapt it
to particulars? You do. Do I not then adapt it properly? In that lies
the whole question; and conceit is added here; for beginning from these
things which are admitted men proceed to that which is matter of
dispute by means of unsuitable adaptation; for if they possessed this
power of adaptation in addition to those things, what would hinder them
from being perfect? But now since you think that you properly adapt the
preconceptions to the particulars, tell me whence you derive this
(assume that you do so). Because I think so. But it does not seem so to
another, and he thinks that he also makes a proper adaptation; or does
he not think so? He does think so. Is it possible then that both of you
can properly apply the preconceptions to things about which you have
contrary opinions? It is not possible. Can you then show us anything
better towards adapting the preconceptions beyond your thinking that
you do? Does the madman do any other things than the things which seem
to him right? Is then this criterion sufficient for him also? It is not
sufficient. Come then to something which is superior to seeming
([Greek: tou dochein]). What is this?

Observe, this is the beginning of philosophy, a perception of the
disagreement of men with one another, and an inquiry into the cause of
the disagreement, and a condemnation and distrust of that which only
“seems,” and a certain investigation of that which “seems” whether it
“seems” rightly, and a discovery of some rule ([Greek: chanonos]), as
we have discovered a balance in the determination of weights, and a
carpenter’s rule (or square) in the case of straight and crooked
things.—This is the beginning of philosophy. Must we say that all
things are right which seem so to all? And how is it possible that
contradictions can be right?—Not all then, but all which seem to us to
be right.—How more to you than those which seem right to the Syrians?
why more than what seem right to the Egyptians? why more than what
seems right to me or to any other man? Not at all more. What then
“seems” to every man is not sufficient for determining what “is”; for
neither in the case of weights nor measures are we satisfied with the
bare appearance, but in each case we have discovered a certain rule. In
this matter then is there no rule superior to what “seems”? And how is
it possible that the most necessary things among men should have no
sign (mark), and be incapable of being discovered? There is then some
rule. And why then do we not seek the rule and discover it, and
afterwards use it without varying from it, not even stretching out the
finger without it? For this, I think, is that which when it is
discovered cures of their madness those who use mere “seeming” as a
measure, and misuse it; so that for the future proceeding from certain
things (principles) known and made clear we may use in the case of
particular things the preconceptions which are distinctly fixed.

What is the matter presented to us about which we are inquiring?
Pleasure (for example). Subject it to the rule, throw it into the
balance. Ought the good to be such a thing that it is fit that we have
confidence in it? Yes. And in which we ought to confide? It ought to
be. Is it fit to trust to anything which is insecure? No. Is then
pleasure anything secure? No. Take it then and throw it out of the
scale, and drive it far away from the place of good things. But if you
are not sharp-sighted, and one balance is not enough for you, bring
another. Is it fit to be elated over what is good? Yes. Is it proper
then to be elated over present pleasure? See that you do not say that
it is proper; but if you do, I shall then not think you worthy even of
the balance. Thus things are tested and weighed when the rules are
ready. And to philosophize is this, to examine and confirm the rules;
and then to use them when they are known is the act of a wise and good

OF DISPUTATION OR DISCUSSION.—What things a man must learn in order to
be able to apply the art of disputation, has been accurately shown by
our philosophers (the Stoics); but with respect to the proper use of
the things, we are entirely without practice. Only give to any of us,
whom you please, an illiterate man to discuss with, and he cannot
discover how to deal with the man. But when he has moved the man a
little, if he answers beside the purpose, he does not know how to treat
him, but he then either abuses or ridicules him, and says, He is an
illiterate man; it is not possible to do anything with him. Now a
guide, when he has found a man out of the road, leads him into the
right way; he does not ridicule or abuse him and then leave him. Do you
also show the illiterate man the truth, and you will see that he
follows. But so long as you do not show him the truth, do not ridicule
him, but rather feel your own incapacity.

Now this was the first and chief peculiarity of Socrates, never to be
irritated in argument, never to utter anything abusive, anything
insulting, but to bear with abusive persons and to put an end to the
quarrel. If you would know what great power he had in this way, read
the Symposium of Xenophon, and you will see how many quarrels he put an
end to. Hence with good reason in the poets also this power is most
highly praised:

Quickly with skill he settles great disputes.
Hesiod, Theogony, v. 87.

ON ANXIETY (SOLICITUDE).—When I see a man anxious, I say, What does
this man want? If he did not want something which is not in his power,
how could he be anxious? For this reason a lute player when he is
singing by himself has no anxiety, but when he enters the theatre, he
is anxious, even if he has a good voice and plays well on the lute; for
he not only wishes to sing well, but also to obtain applause: but this
is not in his power. Accordingly, where he has skill, there he has
confidence. Bring any single person who knows nothing of music, and the
musician does not care for him. But in the matter where a man knows
nothing and has not been practised, there he is anxious. What matter is
this? He knows not what a crowd is or what the praise of a crowd is.
However, he has learned to strike the lowest chord and the highest; but
what the praise of the many is, and what power it has in life, he
neither knows nor has he thought about it. Hence he must of necessity
tremble and grow pale. Is any man then afraid about things which are
not evils? No. Is he afraid about things which are evils, but still so
far within his power that they may not happen? Certainly he is not. If
then the things which are independent of the will are neither good nor
bad, and all things which do depend on the will are within our power,
and no man can either take them from us or give them to us, if we do
not choose, where is room left for anxiety? But we are anxious about
our poor body, our little property, about the will of Cæsar; but not
anxious about things internal. Are we anxious about not forming a false
opinion? No, for this is in my power. About not exerting our movements
contrary to nature? No, not even about this. When then you see a man
pale, as the physician says, judging from the complexion, this man’s
spleen is disordered, that man’s liver; so also say, this man’s desire
and aversion are disordered, he is not in the right way, he is in a
fever. For nothing else changes the color, or causes trembling or
chattering of the teeth, or causes a man to

Sink in his knees and shift from foot to foot.
Iliad, xiii., 281.

For this reason, when Zeno was going to meet Antigonus, he was not
anxious, for Antigonus had no power over any of the things which Zeno
admired; and Zeno did not care for those things over which Antigonus
had power. But Antigonus was anxious when he was going to meet Zeno,
for he wished to please Zeno; but this was a thing external (out of his
power). But Zeno did not want to please Antigonus; for no man who is
skilled in any art wishes to please one who has no such skill.

Should I try to please you? Why? I suppose, you know the measure by
which one man is estimated by another. Have you taken pains to learn
what is a good man and what is a bad man, and how a man becomes one or
the other? Why then are you not good yourself? How, he replies, am I
not good? Because no good man laments or groans or weeps, no good man
is pale and trembles, or says, How will he receive me, how will he
listen to me? Slave, just as it pleases him. Why do you care about what
belongs to others? Is it now his fault if he receives badly what
proceeds from you? Certainly. And is it possible that a fault should be
one man’s, and the evil in another? No. Why then are you anxious about
that which belongs to others? Your question is reasonable; but I am
anxious how I shall speak to him. Cannot you then speak to him as you
choose? But I fear that I may be disconcerted? If you are going to
write the name of Dion, are you afraid that you would be disconcerted?
By no means. Why? is it not because you have practised writing the
name? Certainly. Well, if you were going to read the name, would you
not feel the same? and why? Because every art has a certain strength
and confidence in the things which belong to it. Have you then not
practised speaking? and what else did you learn in the school?
Syllogisms and sophistical propositions? For what purpose? was it not
for the purpose of discoursing skilfully? and is not discoursing
skilfully the same as discoursing seasonably and cautiously and with
intelligence, and also without making mistakes and without hindrance,
and besides all this with confidence? Yes. When then you are mounted on
a horse and go into a plain, are you anxious at being matched against a
man who is on foot, and anxious in a matter in which you are practised,
and he is not? Yes, but that person (to whom I am going to speak) has
power to kill me. Speak the truth, then, unhappy man, and do not brag,
nor claim to be a philosopher, nor refuse to acknowledge your masters,
but so long as you present this handle in your body, follow every man
who is stronger than yourself. Socrates used to practice speaking, he
who talked as he did to the tyrants, to the dicasts (judges), he who
talked in his prison. Diogenes had practised speaking, he who spoke as
he did to Alexander, to the pirates, to the person who bought him.
These men were confident in the things which they practised. But do you
walk off to your own affairs and never leave them: go and sit in a
corner, and weave syllogisms, and propose them to another. There is not
in you the man who can rule a state.

TO NASO.—When a certain Roman entered with his son and listened to one
reading, Epictetus said, This is the method of instruction; and he
stopped. When the Roman asked him to go on, Epictetus said, Every art
when it is taught causes labor to him who is unacquainted with it and
is unskilled in it, and indeed the things which proceed from the arts
immediately show their use in the purpose for which they were made; and
most of them contain something attractive and pleasing. For indeed to
be present and to observe how a shoemaker learns is not a pleasant
thing; but the shoe is useful and also not disagreeable to look at. And
the discipline of a smith when he is learning is very disagreeable to
one who chances to be present and is a stranger to the art: but the
work shows the use of the art. But you will see this much more in
music; for if you are present while a person is learning, the
discipline will appear most disagreeable; and yet the results of music
are pleasing and delightful to those who know nothing of music. And
here we conceive the work of a philosopher to be something of this
kind: he must adapt his wish ([Greek: boulaesin]) to what is going on,
so that neither any of the things which are taking place shall take
place contrary to our wish, nor any of the things which do not take
place shall not take place when we wish that they should. From this the
result is to those who have so arranged the work of philosophy, not to
fail in the desire, nor to fall in with that which they would avoid;
without uneasiness, without fear, without perturbation to pass through
life themselves, together with their associates maintaining the
relations both natural and acquired, as the relation of son, of father,
of brother, of citizen, of man, of wife, of neighbor, of
fellow-traveller, of ruler, of ruled. The work of a philosopher we
conceive to be something like this. It remains next to inquire how this
must be accomplished.

We see then that the carpenter ([Greek: techton]) when he has learned
certain things becomes a carpenter; the pilot by learning certain
things becomes a pilot. May it not then in philosophy also not be
sufficient to wish to be wise and good, and that there is also a
necessity to learn certain things? We inquire then what these things
are. The philosophers say that we ought first to learn that there is a
God and that he provides for all things; also that it is not possible
to conceal from him our acts, or even our intentions and thoughts. The
next thing is to learn what is the nature of the gods; for such as they
are discovered to be, he, who would please and obey them, must try with
all his power to be like them. If the divine is faithful, man also must
be faithful; if it is free, man also must be free; if beneficent, man
also must be beneficent; if magnanimous, man also must be magnanimous;
as being then an imitator of God he must do and say everything
consistently with this fact.

DETERMINED.—When some persons have heard these words, that a man ought
to be constant (firm), and that the will is naturally free and not
subject to compulsion, but that all other things are subject to
hindrance, to slavery, and are in the power of others, they suppose
that they ought without deviation to abide by everything which they
have determined. But in the first place that which has been determined
ought to be sound (true). I require tone (sinews) in the body, but such
as exists in a healthy body, in an athletic body; but if it is plain to
me that you have the tone of a frenzied man and you boast of it, I
shall say to you, Man, seek the physician; this is not tone, but atony
(deficiency in right tone). In a different way something of the same
kind is felt by those who listen to these discourses in a wrong manner;
which was the case with one of my companions, who for no reason
resolved to starve himself to death. I heard of it when it was the
third day of his abstinence from food, and I went to inquire what had
happened. “I have resolved,” he said. “But still tell me what it was
which induced you to resolve; for if you have resolved rightly, we
shall sit with you and assist you to depart, but if you have made an
unreasonable resolution, change your mind.” “We ought to keep to our
determinations.” “What are you doing, man? We ought to keep not to all
our determinations, but to those which are right; for if you are now
persuaded that it is right, do not change your mind, if you think fit,
but persist and say, We ought to abide by our determinations. Will you
not make the beginning and lay the foundation in an inquiry whether the
determination is sound or not sound, and so then build on it firmness
and security? But if you lay a rotten and ruinous foundation, will not
your miserable little building fall down the sooner, the more and the
stronger are the materials which you shall lay on it? Without any
reason would you withdraw from us out of life a man who is a friend and
a companion, a citizen of the same city, both the great and the small
city? Then while you are committing murder and destroying a man who has
done no wrong, do you say that you ought to abide by your
determinations? And if it ever in any way came into your head to kill
me, ought you to abide by your determinations?”

Now this man was with difficulty persuaded to change his mind. But it
is impossible to convince some persons at present; so that I seem now
to know what I did not know before, the meaning of the common saying,
that you can neither persuade nor break a fool. May it never be my lot
to have a wise fool for my friend; nothing is more untractable. “I am
determined,” the man says. Madmen are also, but the more firmly they
form a judgment on things which do not exist, the more hellebore they
require. Will you not act like a sick man and call in the physician?—I
am sick, master, help me; consider what I must do: it is my duty to
obey you. So it is here also: I know not what I ought to do, but I am
come to learn.—Not so; but speak to me about other things: upon this I
have determined.—What other things? for what is greater and more useful
than for you to be persuaded that it is not sufficient to have made
your determination and not to change it. This is the tone (energy) of
madness, not of health.—I will die, if you compel me to this.—Why, man?
What has happened?—I have determined—I have had a lucky escape that you
have not determined to kill me—I take no money. Why?—I have
determined—Be assured that with the very tone (energy) which you now
use in refusing to take, there is nothing to hinder you at some time
from inclining without reason to take money, and then saying, I have
determined. As in a distempered body, subject to defluxions, the humor
inclines sometimes to these parts, and then to those, so too a sickly
soul knows not which way to incline; but if to this inclination and
movement there is added a tone (obstinate resolution), then the evil
becomes past help and cure.

the good? In the will. Where is the evil? In the will. Where is neither
of them? In those things which are independent of the will. Well then?
Does any one among us think of these lessons out of the schools? Does
any one meditate (strive) by himself to give an answer to things as in
the case of questions?—Is it day?—Yes.—Is it night?—No.—Well, is the
number of stars even?—I cannot say.—When money is shown (offered) to
you, have you studied to make the proper answer, that money is not a
good thing? Have you practised yourself in these answers, or only
against sophisms? Why do you wonder then if in the cases which you have
studied, in those you have improved; but in those which you have not
studied, in those you remain the same? When the rhetorician knows that
he has written well, that he has committed to memory what he has
written, and brings an agreeable voice, why is he still anxious?
Because he is not satisfied with having studied. What then does he
want? To be praised by the audience? For the purpose then of being able
to practise declamation he has been disciplined; but with respect to
praise and blame he has not been disciplined. For when did he hear from
any one what praise is, what blame is, what the nature of each is, what
kind of praise should be sought, or what kind of blame should be
shunned? And when did he practise this discipline which follows these
words (things)? Why then do you still wonder, if in the matters which a
man has learned, there he surpasses others, and in those in which he
has not been disciplined, there he is the same with the many. So the
lute player knows how to play, sings well, and has a fine dress, and
yet he trembles when he enters on the stage; for these matters he
understands, but he does not know what a crowd is, nor the shouts of a
crowd, nor what ridicule is. Neither does he know what anxiety is,
whether it is our work or the work of another, whether it is possible
to stop it or not. For this reason if he has been praised, he leaves
the theatre puffed up, but if he has been ridiculed, the swollen
bladder has been punctured and subsides.

This is the case also with ourselves. What do we admire? Externals.
About what things are we busy? Externals. And have we any doubt then
why we fear or why we are anxious? What then happens when we think the
things, which are coming on us, to be evils? It is not in our power not
to be afraid, it is not in our power not to be anxious. Then we say,
Lord God, how shall I not be anxious? Fool, have you not hands, did not
God make them for you? Sit down now and pray that your nose may not
run. Wipe yourself rather and do not blame him. Well then, has he given
to you nothing in the present case? Has he not given to you endurance?
Has he not given to you magnanimity? Has he not given to you manliness?
When you have such hands do you still look for one who shall wipe your
nose? But we neither study these things nor care for them. Give me a
man who cares how he shall do anything, not for the obtaining of a
thing, but who cares about his own energy. What man, when he is walking
about, cares for his own energy? Who, when he is deliberating, cares
about his own deliberation, and not about obtaining that about which he
deliberates? And if he succeeds, he is elated and says, How well we
have deliberated; did I not tell you, brother, that it is impossible,
when we have thought about anything, that it should not turn out thus?
But if the thing should turn out otherwise, the wretched man is
humbled; he knows not even what to say about what has taken place. Who
among us for the sake of this matter has consulted a seer? Who among us
as to his actions has not slept in indifference? Who? Give (name) to me
one that I may see the man whom I have long been looking for, who is
truly noble and ingenuous, whether young or old; name him.

What then are the things which are heavy on us and disturb us? What
else than opinions? What else than opinions lies heavy upon him who
goes away and leaves his companions and friends and places and habits
of life? Now little children, for instance, when they cry on the nurse
leaving them for a short time, forget their sorrow if they receive a
small cake. Do you choose then that we should compare you to little
children? No, by Zeus, for I do not wish to be pacified by a small
cake, but by right opinions. And what are these? Such as a man ought to
study all day, and not to be affected by anything that is not his own,
neither by companion nor place nor gymnasia, and not even by his own
body, but to remember the law and to have it before his eyes. And what
is the divine law? To keep a man’s own, not to claim that which belongs
to others, but to use what is given, and when it is not given, not to
desire it; and when a thing is taken away, to give it up readily and
immediately, and to be thankful for the time that a man has had the use
of it, if you would not cry for your nurse and mamma. For what matter
does it make by what thing a man is subdued, and on what he depends? In
what respect are you better than he who cries for a girl, if you grieve
for a little gymnasium, and little porticos, and young men, and such
places of amusement? Another comes and laments that he shall no longer
drink the water of Dirce. Is the Marcian water worse than that of
Dirce? But I was used to the water of Dirce. And you in turn will be
used to the other. Then if you become attached to this also, cry for
this too, and try to make a verse like the verse of Euripides,

The hot baths of Nero and the Marcian water.

See how tragedy is made when common things happen to silly men.

When then shall I see Athens again and the Acropolis? Wretch, are you
not content with what you see daily? Have you anything better or
greater to see than the sun, the moon, the stars, the whole earth, the
sea? But if indeed you comprehend Him who administers the whole, and
carry him about in yourself, do you still desire small stones and a
beautiful rock?

business of him who philosophizes? To throw away self-conceit ([Greek:
oiaesis]). For it is impossible for a man to begin to learn that which
he thinks that he knows. As to things then which ought to be done and
ought not to be done, and good and bad, and beautiful and ugly, all of
us talking of them at random go to the philosophers; and on these
matters we praise, we censure, we accuse, we blame, we judge and
determine about principles honorable and dishonorable. But why do we go
to the philosophers? Because we wish to learn what we do not think that
we know. And what is this? Theorems. For we wish to learn what
philosophers say as being something elegant and acute; and some wish to
learn that they may get profit from what they learn. It is ridiculous
then to think that a person wishes to learn one thing, and will learn
another; or further, that a man will make proficiency in that which he
does not learn. But the many are deceived by this which deceived also
the rhetorician Theopompus, when he blames even Plato for wishing
everything to be defined. For what does he say? Did none of us before
you use the words good or just, or do we utter the sounds in an
unmeaning and empty way without understanding what they severally
signify? Now who tells you, Theopompus, that we had not natural notions
of each of these things and preconceptions ([Greek: prolaepseis])? But
it is not possible to adapt preconceptions to their correspondent
objects if we have not distinguished (analyzed) them, and inquired what
object must be subjected to each preconception. You may make the same
charge against physicians also. For who among us did not use the words
healthy and unhealthy before Hippocrates lived, or did we utter these
words as empty sounds? For we have also a certain preconception of
health, but we are not able to adapt it. For this reason one says,
Abstain from food; another says, Give food; another says, Bleed; and
another says, Use cupping. What is the reason? is it any other than
that a man cannot properly adapt the preconceptions of health to

maintained and increased by the corresponding actions: the habit of
walking by walking, the habit of running by running. If you would be a
good reader, read; if a writer, write. But when you shall not have read
for thirty days in succession, but have done something else, you will
know the consequence. In the same way, if you shall have lain down ten
days, get up and attempt to make a long walk, and you will see how your
legs are weakened. Generally then if you would make anything a habit,
do it; if you would not make it a habit, do not do it, but accustom
yourself to do something else in place of it.

So it is with respect to the affections of the soul: when you have been
angry, you must know that not only has this evil befallen you, but that
you have also increased the habit, and in a manner thrown fuel upon

In this manner certainly, as philosophers say, also diseases of the
mind grow up. For when you have once desired money, if reason be
applied to lead to a perception of the evil, the desire is stopped, and
the ruling faculty of our mind is restored to the original authority.
But if you apply no means of cure, it no longer returns to the same
state, but being again excited by the corresponding appearance, it is
inflamed to desire quicker than before: and when this takes place
continually, it is henceforth hardened (made callous), and the disease
of the mind confirms the love of money. For he who has had a fever, and
has been relieved from it, is not in the same state that he was before,
unless he has been completely cured. Something of the kind happens also
in diseases of the soul. Certain traces and blisters are left in it,
and unless a man shall completely efface them, when he is again lashed
on the same places, the lash will produce not blisters (weals) but
sores. If then you wish not to be of an angry temper, do not feed the
habit: throw nothing on it which will increase it: at first keep quiet,
and count the days on which you have not been angry. I used to be in
passion every day; now every second day; then every third, then every
fourth. But if you have intermitted thirty days, make a sacrifice to
God. For the habit at first begins to be weakened, and then is
completely destroyed. “I have not been vexed to-day, nor the day after,
nor yet on any succeeding day during two or three months; but I took
care when some exciting things happened.” Be assured that you are in a
good way.

How then shall this be done? Be willing at length to be approved by
yourself, be willing to appear beautiful to God, desire to be in purity
with your own pure self and with God. Then when any such appearance
visits you, Plato says, Have recourse to expiations, go a suppliant to
the temples of the averting deities. It is even sufficient if you
resort to the society of noble and just men, and compare yourself with
them, whether you find one who is living or dead.

But in the first place, be not hurried away by the rapidity of the
appearance, but say, Appearances, wait for me a little; let me see who
you are, and what you are about; let me put you to the test. And then
do not allow the appearance to lead you on and draw lively pictures of
the things which will follow; for if you do, it will carry you off
wherever it pleases. But rather bring in to oppose it some other
beautiful and noble appearance, and cast out this base appearance. And
if you are accustomed to be exercised in this way, you will see what
shoulders, what sinews, what strength you have. But now it is only
trifling words, and nothing more.

This is the true athlete, the man who exercises himself against such
appearances. Stay, wretch, do not be carried away. Great is the combat,
divine is the work; it is for kingship, for freedom, for happiness, for
freedom from perturbation. Remember God; call on him as a helper and
protector, as men at sea call on the Dioscuri in a storm. For what is a
greater storm than that which comes from appearances which are violent
and drive away the reason? For the storm itself, what else is it but an
appearance? For take away the fear of death, and suppose as many
thunders and lightnings as you please, and you will know what calm and
serenity there is in the ruling faculty. But if you have once been
defeated and say that you will conquer hereafter, and then say the same
again, be assured that you will at last be in so wretched a condition
and so weak that you will not even know afterwards that you are doing
wrong, but you will even begin to make apologies (defences) for your
wrong-doing, and then you will confirm the saying of Hesiod to be true,

With constant ills the dilatory strives.

OF INCONSISTENCY.—Some things men readily confess, and other things
they do not. No one then will confess that he is a fool or without
understanding; but quite the contrary you will hear all men saying, I
wish that I had fortune equal to my understanding. But men readily
confess that they are timid, and they say: I am rather timid, I
confess; but as to other respects you will not find me to be foolish. A
man will not readily confess that he is intemperate; and that he is
unjust, he will not confess at all. He will by no means confess that he
is envious or a busybody. Most men will confess that they are
compassionate. What then is the reason?

The chief thing (the ruling thing) is inconsistency and confusion in
the things which relate to good and evil. But different men have
different reasons; and generally what they imagine to be base, they do
not confess at all. But they suppose timidity to be a characteristic of
a good disposition, and compassion also; but silliness to be the
absolute characteristic of a slave. And they do not at all admit
(confess) the things which are offences against society. But in the
case of most errors for this reason chiefly they are induced to confess
them, because they imagine that there is something involuntary in them
as in timidity and compassion; and if a man confess that he is in any
respect intemperate, he alleges love (or passion) as an excuse for what
is involuntary. But men do not imagine injustice to be at all
involuntary. There is also in jealousy, as they suppose, something
involuntary; and for this reason they confess to jealousy also.

Living then among such men, who are so confused, so ignorant of what
they say, and of the evils which they have or have not, and why they
have them, or how they shall be relieved of them, I think it is worth
the trouble for a man to watch constantly (and to ask) whether I also
am one of them, what imagination I have about myself, how I conduct
myself, whether I conduct myself as a prudent man, whether I conduct
myself as a temperate man, whether I ever say this, that I have been
taught to be prepared for everything that may happen. Have I the
consciousness, which a man who knows nothing ought to have, that I know
nothing? Do I go to my teacher as men go to oracles, prepared to obey?
or do I like a snivelling boy go to my school to learn history and
understand the books which I did not understand before, and, if it
should happen so, to explain them also to others? Man, you have had a
fight in the house with a poor slave, you have turned the family upside
down, you have frightened the neighbors, and you come to me as if you
were a wise man, and you take your seat and judge how I have explained
some word, and how I have babbled whatever came into my head. You come
full of envy, and humbled, because you bring nothing from home; and you
sit during the discussion thinking of nothing else than how your father
is disposed towards you and your brother. What are they saying about me
there? now they think that I am improving, and are saying, He will
return with all knowledge. I wish I could learn everything before I
return; but much labor is necessary, and no one sends me anything, and
the baths at Nicopolis are dirty; everything is bad at home, and bad

ON FRIENDSHIP.—What a man applies himself to earnestly, that he
naturally loves. Do men then apply themselves earnestly to the things
which are bad? By no means. Well, do they apply themselves to things
which in no way concern themselves? Not to these either. It remains
then that they employ themselves earnestly only about things which are
good; and if they are earnestly employed about things, they love such
things also. Whoever then understands what is good can also know how to
love; but he who cannot distinguish good from bad, and things which are
neither good nor bad from both, how can he possess the power of loving?
To love, then, is only in the power of the wise.

For universally, be not deceived, every animal is attached to nothing
so much as to its own interests. Whatever then appears to it an
impediment to this interest, whether this be a brother, or a father, or
a child, or beloved, or lover, it hates, spurns, curses; for its nature
is to love nothing so much as its own interests: this is father, and
brother, and kinsman, and country, and God. When then the gods appear
to us to be an impediment to this, we abuse them and throw down their
statues and burn their temples, as Alexander ordered the temples of
Aesculapius to be burned when his dear friend died.

For this reason, if a man put in the same place his interest, sanctity,
goodness, and country, and parents, and friends, all these are secured:
but if he puts in one place his interest, in another his friends, and
his country and his kinsmen and justice itself, all these give way,
being borne down by the weight of interest. For where the I and the
Mine are placed, to that place of necessity the animal inclines; if in
the flesh, there is the ruling power; if in the will, it is there; and
if it is in externals, it is there. If then I am there where my will
is, then only shall I be a friend such as I ought to be, and son, and
father; for this will be my interest, to maintain the character of
fidelity, of modesty, of patience, of abstinence, of active
co-operation, of observing my relations (towards all). But if I put
myself in one place, and honesty in another, then the doctrine of
Epicurus becomes strong, which asserts either that there is no honesty
or it is that which opinion holds to be honest (virtuous).

It was through this ignorance that the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians
quarrelled, and the Thebans with both; and the great king quarrelled
with Hellas, and the Macedonians with both: and the Romans with the
Getae. And still earlier the Trojan war happened for these reasons.
Alexander was the guest of Menelaus, and if any man had seen their
friendly disposition, he would not have believed any one who said that
they were not friends. But there was cast between them (as between
dogs) a bit of meat, a handsome woman, and about her war arose. And now
when you see brothers to be friends appearing to have one mind, do not
conclude from this anything about their friendship, not even if they
swear it and say that it is impossible for them to be separated from
one another. For the ruling principle of a bad man cannot be trusted;
it is insecure, has no certain rule by which it is directed, and is
overpowered at different times by different appearances. But examine,
not what other men examine, if they are born of the same parents and
brought up together, and under the same pedagogue; but examine this
only, wherein they place their interest, whether in externals or in the
will. If in externals, do not name them friends, no more than name them
trustworthy or constant, or brave or free; do not name them even men,
if you have any judgment. For that is not a principle of human nature
which makes them bite one another, and abuse one another, and occupy
deserted places or public places, as if they were mountains, and in the
courts of justice display the acts of robbers; nor yet that which makes
them intemperate and adulterers and corrupters, nor that which makes
them do whatever else men do against one another through this one
opinion only, that of placing themselves and their interests in the
things which are not within the power of their will. But if you hear
that in truth these men think the good to be only there, where will is,
and where there is a right use of appearances, no longer trouble
yourself whether they are father or son, or brothers, or have
associated a long time and are companions, but when you have
ascertained this only, confidently declare that they are friends, as
you declare that they are faithful, that they are just. For where else
is friendship than where there is fidelity, and modesty, where there is
a communion of honest things and of nothing else.

But you may say, Such a one treated me with regard so long; and did he
not love me? How do you know, slave, if he did not regard you in the
same way as he wipes his shoes with a sponge, or as he takes care of
his beast? How do you know, when you have ceased to be useful as a
vessel, he will not throw you away like a broken platter? But this
woman is my wife, and we have lived together so long. And how long did
Eriphyle live with Amphiaraus, and was the mother of children and of
many? But a necklace came between them: and what is a necklace? It is
the opinion about such things. That was the bestial principle, that was
the thing which broke asunder the friendship between husband and wife,
that which did not allow the woman to be a wife nor the mother to be a
mother. And let every man among you who has seriously resolved either
to be a friend himself or to have another for his friend, cut out these
opinions, hate them, drive them from his soul. And thus first of all he
will not reproach himself, he will not be at variance with himself, he
will not change his mind, he will not torture himself. In the next
place, to another also, who is like himself, he will be altogether and
completely a friend. But he will bear with the man who is unlike
himself, he will be kind to him, gentle, ready to pardon on account of
his ignorance, on account of his being mistaken in things of the
greatest importance; but he will be harsh to no man, being well
convinced of Plato’s doctrine that every mind is deprived of truth
unwillingly. If you cannot do this, yet you can do in all other
respects as friends do, drink together, and lodge together, and sail
together, and you may be born of the same parents, for snakes also are:
but neither will they be friends, nor you, so long as you retain these
bestial and cursed opinions.

ON THE POWER OF SPEAKING.—Every man will read a book with more pleasure
or even with more ease, if it is written in fairer characters.
Therefore every man will also listen more readily to what is spoken, if
it is signified by appropriate and becoming words. We must not say then
that there is no faculty of expression: for this affirmation is the
characteristic of an impious and also of a timid man. Of an impious
man, because he undervalues the gifts which come from God, just as if
he would take away the commodity of the power of vision, or hearing, or
of seeing. Has then God given you eyes to no purpose? and to no purpose
has he infused into them a spirit so strong and of such skilful
contrivance as to reach a long way and to fashion the forms of things
which are seen? What messenger is so swift and vigilant? And to no
purpose has he made the interjacent atmosphere so efficacious and
elastic that the vision penetrates through the atmosphere which is in a
manner moved? And to no purpose has he made light, without the presence
of which there would be no use in any other thing?

Man, be neither ungrateful for these gifts nor yet forget the things
which are superior to them. But indeed for the power of seeing and
hearing, and indeed for life itself, and for the things which
contribute to support it, for the fruits which are dry, and for wine
and oil give thanks to God: but remember that he has given you
something else better than all these, I mean the power of using them,
proving them, and estimating the value of each. For what is that which
gives information about each of these powers, what each of them is
worth? Is it each faculty itself? Did you ever hear the faculty of
vision saying anything about itself? or the faculty of hearing? or
wheat, or barley, or a horse, or a dog? No; but they are appointed as
ministers and slaves to serve the faculty which has the power of making
use of the appearances of things. And if you inquire what is the value
of each thing, of whom do you inquire? who answers you? How then can
any other faculty be more powerful than this, which uses the rest as
ministers and itself proves each and pronounces about them? for which
of them knows what itself is, and what is its own value? which of them
knows when it ought to employ itself and when not? what faculty is it
which opens and closes the eyes, and turns them away from objects to
which it ought not to apply them and does apply them to other objects?
Is it the faculty of vision? No, but it is the faculty of the will.
What is that faculty which closes and opens the ears? what is that by
which they are curious and inquisitive, or on the contrary unmoved by
what is said? is it the faculty of hearing? It is no other than the
faculty of the will. Will this faculty then, seeing that it is amidst
all the other faculties which are blind and dumb and unable to see
anything else except the very acts for which they are appointed in
order to minister to this (faculty) and serve it, but this faculty
alone sees sharp and sees what is the value of each of the rest; will
this faculty declare to us that anything else is the best, or that
itself is? And what else does the eye do when it is opened than see?
But whether we ought to look on the wife of a certain person, and in
what manner, who tells us? The faculty of the will. And whether we
ought to believe what is said or not to believe it, and if we do
believe, whether we ought to be moved by it or not, who tells us? Is it
not the faculty of the will?

But if you ask me what then is the most excellent of all things, what
must I say? I cannot say the power of speaking, but the power of the
will, when it is right ([Greek: orthae]). For it is this which uses the
other (the power of speaking), and all the other faculties both small
and great. For when this faculty of the will is set right, a man who is
not good becomes good: but when it fails, a man becomes bad. It is
through this that we are unfortunate, that we are fortunate, that we
blame one another, are pleased with one another. In a word, it is this
which if we neglect it makes unhappiness, and if we carefully look
after it, makes happiness.

What then is usually done? Men generally act as a traveller would do on
his way to his own country, when he enters a good inn, and being
pleased with it should remain there. Man, you have forgotten your
purpose: you were not travelling to this inn, but you were passing
through it. But this is a pleasant inn. And how many other inns are
pleasant? and how many meadows are pleasant? yet only for passing
through. But your purpose is this, to return to your country, to
relieve your kinsmen of anxiety, to discharge the duties of a citizen,
to marry, to beget children, to fill the usual magistracies. For you
are not come to select more pleasant places, but to live in these where
you were born and of which you were made a citizen. Something of the
kind takes place in the matter which we are considering. Since by the
aid of speech and such communication as you receive here you must
advance to perfection, and purge your will and correct the faculty
which makes use of the appearances of things; and since it is necessary
also for the teaching (delivery) of theorems to be effected by a
certain mode of expression and with a certain variety and sharpness,
some persons captivated by these very things abide in them, one
captivated by the expression, another by syllogisms, another again by
sophisms, and still another by some other inn ([Greek: paudocheiou]) of
the kind; and there they stay and waste away as they were among sirens.

Man, your purpose (business) was to make yourself capable of using
conformably to nature the appearances presented to you, in your desires
not to be frustrated, in your aversion from things not to fall into
that which you would avoid, never to have no luck (as one may say), nor
ever to have bad luck, to be free, not hindered, not compelled,
conforming yourself to the administration of Zeus, obeying it, well
satisfied with this, blaming no one, charging no one with fault, able
from your whole soul to utter these verses:

Lead me, O Zeus, and thou too Destiny.

(ESTEEMED) BY HIM.—A certain person said to him (Epictetus): Frequently
I desired to hear you and came to you, and you never gave me any
answer; and now, if it is possible, I entreat you to say something to
me. Do you think, said Epictetus, that as there is an art in anything
else, so there is also an art in speaking, and that he who has the art,
will speak skilfully, and he who has not, will speak unskilfully?—I do
think so.—He then who by speaking receives benefit himself, and is able
to benefit others, will speak skilfully; but he who is rather damaged
by speaking and does damage to others, will he be unskilled in this art
of speaking? And you may find that some are damaged and others
benefited by speaking. And are all who hear benefited by what they
hear? Or will you find that among them also some are benefited and some
damaged? There are both among these also, he said. In this case also
then those who hear skilfully are benefited, and those who hear
unskilfully are damaged? He admitted this. Is there then a skill in
hearing also, as there is in speaking? It seems so. If you choose,
consider the matter in this way also. The practice of music, to whom
does it belong? To a musician. And the proper making of a statue, to
whom do you think that it belongs? To a statuary. And the looking at a
statue skilfully, does this appear to you to require the aid of no art?
This also requires the aid of art. Then if speaking properly is the
business of the skilful man, do you see that to hear also with benefit
is the business of the skilful man? Now as to speaking and hearing
perfectly, and usefully, let us for the present, if you please, say no
more, for both of us are a long way from everything of the kind. But I
think that every man will allow this, that he who is going to hear
philosophers requires some amount of practice in hearing. Is it not so?

Why then do you say nothing to me? I can only say this to you, that he
who knows not who he is, and for what purpose he exists, and what is
this world, and with whom he is associated, and what things are the
good and the bad, and the beautiful and the ugly, and who neither
understands discourse nor demonstration, nor what is true nor what is
false, and who is not able to distinguish them, will neither desire
according to nature nor turn away nor move towards, nor intend (to
act), nor assent, nor dissent, nor suspend his judgment: to say all in
a few words, he will go about dumb and blind, thinking that he is
somebody, but being nobody. Is this so now for the first time? Is it
not the fact that ever since the human race existed, all errors and
misfortunes have arisen through this ignorance?

This is all that I have to say to you; and I say even this not
willingly. Why? Because you have not roused me. For what must I look to
in order to be roused, as men who are expert in riding are roused by
generous horses? Must I look to your body? You treat it disgracefully.
To your dress? That is luxurious. To your behavior, to your look? That
is the same as nothing. When you would listen to a philosopher, do not
say to him, You tell me nothing; but only show yourself worthy of
hearing or fit for hearing; and you will see how you will move the

THAT LOGIC IS NECESSARY.—When one of those who were present said,
Persuade me that logic is necessary, he replied, Do you wish me to
prove this to you? The answer was, Yes. Then I must use a demonstrative
form of speech. This was granted. How then will you know if I am
cheating you by my argument? The man was silent. Do you see, said
Epictetus, that you yourself are admitting that logic is necessary, if
without it you cannot know so much as this, whether logic is necessary
or not necessary?

OF FINERY IN DRESS.—A certain young man, a rhetorician, came to see
Epictetus, with his hair dressed more carefully than was usual and his
attire in an ornamental style; whereupon Epictetus said, Tell me if you
do not think that some dogs are beautiful and some horses, and so of
all other animals. I do think so, the youth replied. Are not then some
men also beautiful and others ugly? Certainly. Do we then for the same
reason call each of them in the same kind beautiful, or each beautiful
for something peculiar? And you will judge of this matter thus. Since
we see a dog naturally formed for one thing, and a horse for another,
and for another still, as an example, a nightingale, we may generally
and not improperly declare each of them to be beautiful then when it is
most excellent according to its nature; but since the nature of each is
different, each of them seems to me to be beautiful in a different way.
Is it not so? He admitted that it was. That then which makes a dog
beautiful, makes a horse ugly; and that which makes a horse beautiful,
makes a dog ugly, if it is true that their natures are different. It
seems to be so. For I think that what makes a Pancratiast beautiful,
makes a wrestler to be not good, and a runner to be most ridiculous;
and he who is beautiful for the Pentathlon, is very ugly for wrestling.
It is so, said he. What then makes a man beautiful? Is it that which in
its kind makes both a dog and a horse beautiful? It is, he said. What
then makes a dog beautiful? The possession of the excellence of a dog.
And what makes a horse beautiful? The possession of the excellence of a
horse. What then makes a man beautiful? Is it not the possession of the
excellence of a man? And do you then, if you wish to be beautiful,
young man, labor at this, the acquisition of human excellence? But what
is this? Observe whom you yourself praise, when you praise many persons
without partiality: do you praise the just or the unjust? The just.
Whether do you praise the moderate or the immoderate? The moderate. And
the temperate or the intemperate? The temperate. If then you make
yourself such a person, you will know that you will make yourself
beautiful; but so long as you neglect these things, you must be ugly
([Greek: aischron]), even though you contrive all you can to appear

WE NEGLECT THE CHIEF THINGS.—There are three things (topics, [Greek:
topoi]) in which a man ought to exercise himself who would be wise and
good. The first concerns the desires and the aversions, that a man may
not fail to get what he desires, and that he may not fall into that
which he does not desire. The second concerns the movements towards an
object and the movements from an object, and generally in doing what a
man ought to do, that he may act according to order, to reason, and not
carelessly. The third thing concerns freedom from deception and
rashness in judgment, and generally it concerns the assents ([Greek:
sugchatatheseis]). Of these topics the chief and the most urgent is
that which relates to the affects ([Greek: ta pathae] perturbations);
for an affect is produced in no other way than by a failing to obtain
that which a man desires or falling into that which a man would wish to
avoid. This is that which brings in perturbations, disorders, bad
fortune, misfortunes, sorrows, lamentations, and envy; that which makes
men envious and jealous; and by these causes we are unable even to
listen to the precepts of reason. The second topic concerns the duties
of a man; for I ought not to be free from affects ([Greek: apathae])
like a statue, but I ought to maintain the relations ([Greek:
scheseis]) natural and acquired, as a pious man, as a son, as a father,
as a citizen.

The third topic is that which immediately concerns those who are making
proficiency, that which concerns the security of the other two, so that
not even in sleep any appearance unexamined may surprise us, nor in
intoxication, nor in melancholy. This, it may be said, is above our
power. But the present philosophers neglecting the first topic and the
second (the affects and duties), employ themselves on the third, using
sophistical arguments ([Greek: metapiptontas]), making conclusions from
questioning, employing hypotheses, lying. For a man must, it is said,
when employed on these matters, take care that he is not deceived. Who
must? The wise and good man. This then is all that is wanting to you.
Have you successfully worked out the rest? Are you free from deception
in the matter of money? If you see a beautiful girl do you resist the
appearance? If your neighbor obtains an estate by will, are you not
vexed? Now is there nothing else wanting to you except unchangeable
firmness of mind ([Greek: ametaptosia])? Wretch, you hear these very
things with fear and anxiety that some person may despise you, and with
inquiries about what any person may say about you. And if a man come
and tell you that in a certain conversation in which the question was,
Who is the best philosopher, a man who was present said that a certain
person was the chief philosopher, your little soul which was only a
finger’s length stretches out to two cubits. But if another who is
present says, You are mistaken; it is not worth while to listen to a
certain person, for what does he know? he has only the first
principles, and no more? then you are confounded, you grow pale, you
cry out immediately, I will show him who I am, that I am a great
philosopher. It is seen by these very things: why do you wish to show
it by others? Do you not know that Diogenes pointed out one of the
sophists in this way by stretching out his middle finger? And then when
the man was wild with rage, This, he said, is the certain person: I
have pointed him out to you. For a man is not shown by the finger, as a
stone or a piece of wood; but when any person shows the man’s
principles, then he shows him as a man.

Let us look at your principles also. For is it not plain that you value
not at all your own will ([Greek: proairesis]), but you look externally
to things which are independent of your will? For instance, what will a
certain person say? and what will people think of you? Will you be
considered a man of learning; have you read Chrysippus or Antipater?
for if you have read Archedamus also, you have every thing (that you
can desire). Why you are still uneasy lest you should not show us who
you are? Would you let me tell you what manner of man you have shown us
that you are? You have exhibited yourself to us as a mean fellow,
querulous, passionate, cowardly, finding fault with everything, blaming
everybody, never quiet, vain: this is what you have exhibited to us. Go
away now and read Archedamus; then if a mouse should leap down and make
a noise, you are a dead man. For such a death awaits you as it did—what
was the man’s name—Crinis; and he too was proud, because he understood
Archedamus. Wretch, will you not dismiss these things that do not
concern you at all? These things are suitable to those who are able to
learn them without perturbation, to those who can say: “I am not
subject to anger, to grief, to envy: I am not hindered, I am not
restrained. What remains for me? I have leisure, I am tranquil: let us
see how we must deal with sophistical arguments; let us see how when a
man has accepted an hypothesis he shall not be led away to any thing
absurd.” To them such things belong. To those who are happy it is
appropriate to light a fire, to dine; if they choose, both to sing and
to dance. But when the vessel is sinking, you come to me and hoist the

WE OUGHT CHIEFLY TO PRACTISE OURSELVES.—The material for the wise and
good man is his own ruling faculty: and the body is the material for
the physician and the aliptes (the man who oils persons); the land is
the matter for the husbandman. The business of the wise and good man is
to use appearances conformably to nature: and as it is the nature of
every soul to assent to the truth, to dissent from the false, and to
remain in suspense as to that which is uncertain; so it is its nature
to be moved towards the desire for the good, and to aversion from the
evil; and with respect to that which is neither good nor bad it feels
indifferent. For as the money-changer (banker) is not allowed to reject
Cæsar’s coin, nor the seller of herbs, but if you show the coin,
whether he chooses or not, he must give up what is sold for the coin;
so it is also in the matter of the soul. When the good appears, it
immediately attracts to itself; the evil repels from itself. But the
soul will never reject the manifest appearance of the good, any more
than persons will reject Cæsar’s coin. On this principle depends every
movement both of man and God.

Against (or with respect to) this kind of thing chiefly a man should
exercise himself. As soon as you go out in the morning, examine every
man whom you see, every man whom you hear; answer as to a question,
What have you seen? A handsome man or woman? Apply the rule. Is this
independent of the will, or dependent? Independent. Take it away. What
have you seen? A man lamenting over the death of a child. Apply the
rule. Death is a thing independent of the will. Take it away. Has the
proconsul met you? Apply the rule. What kind of a thing is a
proconsul’s office? Independent of the will or dependent on it?
Independent. Take this away also; it does not stand examination; cast
it away; it is nothing to you.

If we practised this and exercised ourselves in it daily from morning
to night, something indeed would be done. But now we are forthwith
caught half asleep by every appearance, and it is only, if ever, that
in the school we are roused a little. Then when we go out, if we see a
man lamenting, we say, He is undone. If we see a consul, we say, He is
happy. If we see an exiled man, we say, He is miserable. If we see a
poor man, we say, He is wretched; he has nothing to eat.

We ought then to eradicate these bad opinions, and to this end we
should direct all our efforts. For what is weeping and lamenting?
Opinion. What is bad fortune? Opinion. What is civil sedition, what is
divided opinion, what is blame, what is accusation, what is impiety,
what is trifling? All these things are opinions, and nothing more, and
opinions about things independent of the will, as if they were good and
bad. Let a man transfer these opinions to things dependent on the will,
and I engage for him that he will be firm and constant, whatever may be
the state of things around him. Such as is a dish of water, such is the
soul. Such as is the ray of light which falls on the water, such are
the appearances. When the water is moved, the ray also seems to be
moved, yet it is not moved. And when then a man is seized with
giddiness, it is not the arts and the virtues which are confounded, but
the spirit (the nervous power) on which they are impressed; but if the
spirit be restored to its settled state, those things also are

MISCELLANEOUS.—When some person asked him how it happened that since
reason has been more cultivated by the men of the present age, the
progress made in former times was greater. In what respect, he
answered, has it been more cultivated now, and in what respect was the
progress greater then? For in that in which it has now been more
cultivated, in that also the progress will now be found. At present it
has been cultivated for the purpose of resolving syllogisms, and
progress is made. But in former times it was cultivated for the purpose
of maintaining the governing faculty in a condition conformable to
nature, and progress was made. Do not then mix things which are
different, and do not expect, when you are laboring at one thing to
make progress in another. But see if any man among us when he is intent
upon this, the keeping himself in a state conformable to nature and
living so always, does not make progress. For you will not find such a

It is not easy to exhort weak young men; for neither is it easy to hold
(soft) cheese with a hook. But those who have a good natural
disposition, even if you try to turn them aside, cling still more to

administrator came to visit him, and the man was an Epicurean,
Epictetus said, It is proper for us who are not philosophers to inquire
of you who are philosophers, as those who come to a strange city
inquire of the citizens and those who are acquainted with it, what is
the best thing in the world, in order that we also after inquiry may go
in quest of that which is best and look at it, as strangers do with the
things in cities. For that there are three things which relate to
man—soul, body, and things external, scarcely any man denies. It
remains for you philosophers to answer what is the best. What shall we
say to men? Is the flesh the best? and was it for this that Maximus
sailed as far as Cassiope in winter (or bad weather) with his son, and
accompanied him that he might be gratified in the flesh? When the man
said that it was not, and added, Far be that from him. Is it not fit
then, Epictetus said, to be actively employed about the best? It is
certainly of all things the most fit. What then do we possess which is
better than the flesh? The soul, he replied. And the good things of the
best, are they better, or the good things of the worse? The good things
of the best. And are the good things of the best within the power of
the will or not within the power of the will? They are within the power
of the will. Is then the pleasure of the soul a thing within the power
of the will? It is, he replied. And on what shall this pleasure depend?
On itself? But that cannot be conceived; for there must first exist a
certain substance or nature ([Greek: ousia]) of good, by obtaining
which we shall have pleasure in the soul. He assented to this also. On
what then shall we depend for this pleasure of the soul? for if it
shall depend on things of the soul, the substance (nature) of the good
is discovered; for good cannot be one thing, and that at which we are
rationally delighted another thing; nor if that which precedes is not
good, can that which comes after be good, for in order that the thing
which comes after may be good, that which precedes must be good. But
you would not affirm this, if you are in your right mind, for you would
then say what is inconsistent both with Epicurus and the rest of your
doctrines. It remains then that the pleasure of the soul is in the
pleasure from things of the body; and again that those bodily things
must be the things which precede and the substance (nature) of the

Seek for doctrines which are consistent with what I say, and by making
them your guide you will with pleasure abstain from things which have
such persuasive power to lead us and overpower us. But if to the
persuasive power of these things, we also devise such a philosophy as
this which helps to push us on towards them and strengthens us to this
end, what will be the consequence? In a piece of toreutic art which is
the best part? the silver or the workmanship? The substance of the hand
is the flesh; but the work of the hand is the principal part (that
which precedes and leads the rest). The duties then are also three:
those which are directed towards the existence of a thing; those which
are directed towards its existence in a particular kind; and third, the
chief or leading things themselves. So also in man we ought not to
value the material, the poor flesh, but the principal (leading things,
[Greek: ta proaegoumena]). What are these? Engaging in public business,
marrying, begetting children, venerating God, taking care of parents,
and generally, having desires, aversions ([Greek: echchlinein]),
pursuits of things and avoidances, in the way in which we ought to do
these things, and according to our nature. And how are we constituted
by nature? Free, noble, modest; for what other animal blushes? what
other is capable of receiving the appearance (the impression) of shame?
and we are so constituted by nature as to subject pleasure to these
things, as a minister, a servant, in order that it may call forth our
activity, in order that it may keep us constant in acts which are
conformable to nature.

phantasias]).—As we exercise ourselves against sophistical questions,
so we ought to exercise ourselves daily against appearances; for these
appearances also propose questions to us. A certain person’s son is
dead. Answer; the thing is not within the power of the will: it is not
an evil. A father has disinherited a certain son. What do you think of
it? It is a thing beyond the power of the will, not an evil. Cæsar has
condemned a person. It is a thing beyond the power of the will, not an
evil. The man is afflicted at this. Affliction is a thing which depends
on the will: it is an evil. He has borne the condemnation bravely. That
is a thing within the power of the will: it is a good. If we train
ourselves in this manner, we shall make progress; for we shall never
assent to anything of which there is not an appearance capable of being
comprehended. Your son is dead. What has happened? Your son is dead.
Nothing more? Nothing. Your ship is lost. What has happened? Your ship
is lost. A man has been led to prison. What has happened? He has been
led to prison. But that herein he has fared badly, every man adds from
his own opinion. But Zeus, you say, does not do right in these matters.
Why? because he has made you capable of endurance? because he has made
you magnanimous? because he has taken from that which befalls you the
power of being evils? because it is in your power to be happy while you
are suffering what you suffer? because he has opened the door to you,
when things do not please you? Man, go out and do not complain!

Hear how the Romans feel towards philosophers, if you would like to
know. Italicus, who was the most in repute of the philosophers, once
when I was present, being vexed with his own friends and as if he was
suffering something intolerable, said: “I cannot bear it, you are
killing me; you will make me such as that man is,” pointing to me.

certain person came to him, who was going up to Rome on account of a
suit which had regard to his rank, Epictetus inquired the reason of his
going to Rome, and the man then asked what he thought about the matter.
Epictetus replied: If you ask me what you will do in Rome, whether you
will succeed or fail, I have no rule ([Greek: theoraema]) about this.
But if you ask me how you will fare, I can tell you: if you have right
opinions ([Greek: dogmata]), you will fare well; if they are false, you
will fare ill. For to every man the cause of his acting is opinion. For
what is the reason why you desired to be elected governor of the
Cnossians? Your opinion. What is the reason that you are now going up
to Rome? Your opinion. And going in winter, and with danger and
expense? I must go. What tells you this? Your opinion. Then if opinions
are the causes of all actions, and a man has bad opinions, such as the
cause may be, such also is the effect! Have we then all sound opinions,
both you and your adversary? And how do you differ? But have you
sounder opinions than your adversary? Why? You think so. And so does he
think that his opinions are better; and so do madmen. This is a bad
criterion. But show to me that you have made some inquiry into your
opinions and have taken some pains about them. And as now you are
sailing to Rome in order to become governor of the Cnossians, and you
are not content to stay at home with the honors which you had, but you
desire something greater and more conspicuous, so when did you ever
make a voyage for the purpose of examining your own opinions, and
casting them out, if you have any that are bad? Whom have you
approached for this purpose? What time have you fixed for it? What age?
Go over the times of your life by yourself, if you are ashamed of me
(knowing the fact) when you were a boy, did you examine your own
opinions? and did you not then, as you do all things now, do as you did
do? and when you were become a youth and attended the rhetoricians, and
yourself practised rhetoric, what did you imagine that you were
deficient in? And when you were a young man and engaged in public
matters, and pleaded causes yourself, and were gaining reputation, who
then seemed your equal? And when would you have submitted to any man
examining and showing that your opinions are bad? What then do you wish
me to say to you? Help me in this matter. I have no theorem (rule) for
this. Nor have you, if you came to me for this purpose, come to me as a
philosopher, but as to a seller of vegetables or a shoemaker. For what
purpose then have philosophers theorems? For this purpose, that
whatever may happen, our ruling faculty may be and continue to be
conformable to nature. Does this seem to you a small thing? No; but the
greatest. What then? does it need only a short time? and is it possible
to seize it as you pass by? If you can, seize it.

Then you will say, I met with Epictetus as I should meet with a stone
or a statue: for you saw me and nothing more. But he meets with a man
as a man, who learns his opinions, and in his turn shows his own. Learn
my opinions: show me yours; and then say that you have visited me. Let
us examine one another: if I have any bad opinion, take it away; if you
have any, show it. This is the meaning of meeting with a philosopher.
Not so (you say): but this is only a passing visit, and while we are
hiring the vessel, we can also see Epictetus. Let us see what he says.
Then you go away and say: Epictetus was nothing; he used solecisms and
spoke in a barbarous way. For of what else do you come as judges? Well,
but a man may say to me, if I attend to such matters (as you do), I
shall have no land as you have none; I shall have no silver cups as you
have none, nor fine beasts as you have none. In answer to tins it is
perhaps sufficient to say: I have no need of such things; but if you
possess many things you have need of others: whether you choose or not,
you are poorer than I am. What then have I need of? Of that which you
have not? of firmness, of a mind which is conformable to nature, of
being free from perturbation.

IN WHAT MANNER WE OUGHT TO BEAR SICKNESS.—When the need of each opinion
comes, we ought to have it in readiness: on the occasion of breakfast,
such opinions as relate to breakfast; in the bath, those that concern
the bath; in bed, those that concern bed.

Let sleep not come upon thy languid eyes
Before each daily action thou hast scann’d;
What’s done amiss, what done, what left undone;
From first to last examine all, and then
Blame what is wrong, in what is right rejoice.

And we ought to retain these verses in such way that we may use them,
not that we may utter them aloud, as when we exclaim, “Paean Apollo.”
Again in fever we should have ready such opinions as concern a fever;
and we ought not, as soon as the fever begins, to lose and forget all.
A man who has a fever may say: If I philosophize any longer, may I be
hanged: wherever I go, I must take care of the poor body, that a fever
may not come. But what is philosophizing? Is it not a preparation
against events which may happen? Do you not understand that you are
saying something of this kind? “If I shall still prepare myself to bear
with patience what happens, may I be hanged.” But this is just as if a
man after receiving blows should give up the Pancratium. In the
Pancratium it is in our power to desist and not to receive blows.

But in the other matter if we give up philosophy, what shall we gain?
What then should a man say on the occasion of each painful thing? It
was for this that I exercised myself, for this I disciplined myself.
God says to you: Give me a proof that you have duly practised
athletics, that you have eaten what you ought, that you have been
exercised, that you have obeyed the aliptes (the oiler and rubber).
Then do you show yourself weak when the time for action comes? Now is
the time for the fever. Let it be borne well. Now is the time for
thirst, bear it well. Now is the time for hunger, bear it well. Is it
not in your power? Who shall hinder you? The physician will hinder you
from drinking; but he cannot prevent you from bearing thirst well: and
he will hinder you from eating; but he cannot prevent you from bearing
hunger well.

But I cannot attend to my philosophical studies. And for what purpose
do you follow them? Slave, is it not that you may be happy, that you
may be constant, is it not that you may be in a state conformable to
nature and live so? What hinders you when you have a fever from having
your ruling faculty conformable to nature? Here is the proof of the
thing, here is the test of the philosopher. For this also is a part of
life, like walking, like sailing, like journeying by land, so also is
fever. Do you read when you are walking? No. Nor do you when you have a
fever. But if you walk about well, you have all that belongs to a man
who walks. If you bear a fever well, you have all that belongs to a man
in a fever. What is it to bear a fever well? Not to blame God or man;
not to be afflicted at that which happens, to expect death well and
nobly, to do what must be done: when the physician comes in, not to be
frightened at what he says; nor if he says you are doing well, to be
overjoyed. For what good has he told you? and when you were in health,
what good was that to you? And even if he says you are in a bad way, do
not despond. For what is it to be ill? is it that you are near the
severance of the soul and the body? what harm is there in this? If you
are not near now, will you not afterwards be near? Is the world going
to be turned upside down when you are dead? Why then do you flatter the
physician? Why do you say if you please, master, I shall be well? Why
do you give him an opportunity of raising his eyebrows (being proud; or
showing his importance)? Do you not value a physician, as you do a
shoemaker when he is measuring your foot, or a carpenter when he is
building your house, and so treat the physician as to the body which is
not yours, but by nature dead? He who has a fever has an opportunity of
doing this: if he does these things, he has what belongs to him. For it
is not the business of a philosopher to look after these externals,
neither his wine nor his oil nor his poor body, but his own ruling
power. But as to externals how must he act? so far as not to be
careless about them. Where then is there reason for fear? where is
there then still reason for anger, and of fear about what belongs to
others, about things which are of no value? For we ought to have these
two principles in readiness, that except the will nothing is good nor
bad; and that we ought not to lead events, but to follow them. My
brother ought not to have behaved thus to me. No, but he will see to
that; and, however he may behave, I will conduct myself towards him as
I ought. For this is my own business; that belongs to another: no man
can prevent this, the other thing can be hindered.

ABOUT EXERCISE.—We ought not to make our exercises consist in means
contrary to nature and adapted to cause admiration, for if we do so, we
who call ourselves philosophers, shall not differ at all from jugglers.
For it is difficult even to walk on a rope; and not only difficult, but
it is also dangerous. Ought we for this reason to practice walking on a
rope, or setting up a palm-tree, or embracing statues? By no means.
Every thing which is difficult and dangerous is not suitable for
practice; but that is suitable which conduces to the working out of
that which is proposed to us. And what is that which is proposed to us
as a thing to be worked out? To live with desire and aversion
(avoidance of certain things) free from restraint. And what is this?
Neither to be disappointed in that which you desire, nor to fall into
anything which you would avoid. Towards this object then exercise
(practice) ought to tend. For since it is not possible to have your
desire not disappointed and your aversion free from falling into that
which you would avoid, without great and constant practice, you must
know that if you allow your desire and aversion to turn to things which
are not within the power of the will, you will neither have your desire
capable of attaining your object, nor your aversion free from the power
of avoiding that which you would avoid. And since strong habit leads
(prevails), and we are accustomed to employ desire and aversion only to
things which are not within the power of our will, we ought to oppose
to this habit a contrary habit, and where there is great slipperiness
in the appearances, there to oppose the habit of exercise. Then at
last, if occasion presents itself, for the purpose of trying yourself
at a proper time you will descend into the arena to know if appearances
overpower you as they did formerly. But at first fly far from that
which is stronger than yourself; the contest is unequal between a
charming young girl and a beginner in philosophy. The earthen pitcher,
as the saying is, and the rock do not agree.

is a certain condition of a helpless man. For because a man is alone,
he is not for that reason also solitary; just as though a man is among
numbers, he is not therefore not solitary. When then we have lost
either a brother, or a son, or a friend on whom we were accustomed to
repose, we say that we are left solitary, though we are often in Rome,
though such a crowd meet us, though so many live in the same place, and
sometimes we have a great number of slaves. For the man who is
solitary, as it is conceived, is considered to be a helpless person and
exposed to those who wish to harm him. For this reason when we travel,
then especially do we say that we are lonely when we fall among
robbers, for it is not the sight of a human creature which removes us
from solitude, but the sight of one who is faithful and modest and
helpful to us. For if being alone is enough to make solitude, you may
say that even Zeus is solitary in the conflagration and bewails himself
saying, Unhappy that I am who have neither Hera, nor Athena, nor
Apollo, nor brother, nor son, nor descendant, nor kinsman. This is what
some say that he does when he is alone at the conflagration. For they
do not understand how a man passes his life when he is alone, because
they set out from a certain natural principle, from the natural desire
of community and mutual love and from the pleasure of conversation
among men. But none the less a man ought to be prepared in a manner for
this also (being alone), to be able to be sufficient for himself and to
be his own companion. For as Zeus dwells with himself, and is tranquil
by himself, and thinks of his own administration and of its nature, and
is employed in thoughts suitable to himself; so ought we also to be
able to talk with ourselves, not to feel the want of others also, not
to be unprovided with the means of passing our time; to observe the
divine administration, and the relation of ourselves to everything
else; to consider how we formerly were affected towards things that
happened and how at present; what are still the things which give us
pain; how these also can be cured and how removed; if any things
require improvement, to improve them according to reason.

Well then, if some man should come upon me when I am alone and murder
me? Fool, not murder You, but your poor body.

What kind of solitude then remains? what want? why do we make ourselves
worse than children; and what do children do when they are left alone?
They take up shells and ashes, and they build something, then pull it
down, and build something else, and so they never want the means of
passing the time. Shall I then, if you sail away, sit down and weep,
because I have been left alone and solitary? Shall I then have no
shells, no ashes? But children do what they do through want of thought
(or deficiency in knowledge), and we through knowledge are unhappy.

Every great power (faculty) is dangerous to beginners. You must then
bear such things as you are able, but conformably to nature: but not
... Practise sometimes a way of living like a person out of health that
you may at some time live like a man in health.

CERTAIN MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS.—As bad tragic actors cannot sing alone,
but in company with many, so some persons cannot walk about alone. Man,
if you are anything, both walk alone and talk to yourself, and do not
hide yourself in the chorus. Examine a little at last, look around,
stir yourself up, that you may know who you are.

You must root out of men these two things, arrogance (pride) and
distrust. Arrogance then is the opinion that you want nothing (are
deficient in nothing); but distrust is the opinion that you cannot be
happy when so many circumstances surround you. Arrogance is removed by
confutation; and Socrates was the first who practised this. And (to
know) that the thing is not impossible inquire and seek. This search
will do you no harm; and in a manner this is philosophizing, to seek
how it is possible to employ desire and aversion ([Greek: echchlisis])
without impediment.

I am superior to you, for my father is a man of consular rank. Another
says, I have been a tribune, but you have not. If we were horses, would
you say, My father was swifter? I have much barley and fodder, or
elegant neck ornaments. If then you were saying this, I said, Be it so:
let us run then. Well, is there nothing in a man such as running in a
horse, by which it will be known which is superior and inferior? Is
there not modesty ([Greek: aidos]), fidelity, justice? Show yourself
superior in these, that you may be superior as a man. If you tell me
that you can kick violently, I also will say to you, that you are proud
of that which is the act of an ass.

Compare Encheiridion, 29.]—In every act consider what precedes and what
follows, and then proceed to the act. If you do not consider, you will
at first begin with spirit, since you have not thought at all of the
things which follow; but afterwards when some consequences have shown
themselves, you will basely desist (from that which you have begun).—I
wish to conquer at the Olympic games.—(And I too, by the gods; for it
is a fine thing.) But consider here what precedes and what follows; and
then, if it is for your good, undertake the thing. You must act
according to rules, follow strict diet, abstain from delicacies,
exercise yourself by compulsion at fixed times, in heat, in cold; drink
no cold water, nor wine, when there is opportunity of drinking it. In a
word, you must surrender yourself to the trainer, as you do to a
physician. Next in the contest, you must be covered with sand,
sometimes dislocate a hand, sprain an ankle, swallow a quantity of
dust, be scourged with the whip; and after undergoing all this, you
must sometimes be conquered. After reckoning all these things, if you
have still an inclination, go to the athletic practice. If you do not
reckon them, observe you will behave like children who at one time play
as wrestlers, then as gladiators, then blow a trumpet, then act a
tragedy, when they have seen and admired such things. So you also do:
you are at one time a wrestler (athlete), then a gladiator, then a
philosopher, then a rhetorician; but with your whole soul you are
nothing: like the ape you imitate all that you see; and always one
thing after another pleases you, but that which becomes familiar
displeases you. For you have never undertaken anything after
consideration, nor after having explored the whole matter and put it to
a strict examination; but you have undertaken it at hazard and with a
cold desire. Thus some persons having seen a philosopher and having
heard one speak like Euphrates—and yet who can speak like him?—wish to
be philosophers themselves.

Man, consider first what the matter is (which you propose to do), then
your own nature also, what it is able to bear. If you are a wrestler,
look at your shoulders, your thighs, your loins: for different men are
naturally formed for different things. Do you think that, if you do
(what you are doing daily), you can be a philosopher? Do you think that
you can eat as you do now, drink as you do now, and in the same way be
angry and out of humor? You must watch, labor, conquer certain desires,
you must depart from your kinsmen, be despised by your slaves, laughed
at by those who meet you, in everything you must be in an inferior
condition, as to magisterial office, in honors, in courts of justice.
When you have considered all these things completely, then, if you
think proper, approach to philosophy, if you would gain in exchange for
these things freedom from perturbations, liberty, tranquillity. If you
have not considered these things, do not approach philosophy: do not
act like children, at one time a philosopher, then a tax collector,
then a rhetorician, then a procurator (officer) of Cæsar. These things
are not consistent. You must be one man either good or bad; you must
either labor at your own ruling faculty or at external things; you must
either labor at things within or at external things; that is, you must
either occupy the place of a philosopher or that of one of the vulgar.

A person said to Rufus when Galba was murdered: Is the world now
governed by Providence? But Rufus replied: Did I ever incidentally form
an argument from Galba that the world is governed by Providence?

MEN.—If a man has frequent intercourse with others either for talk, or
drinking together, or generally for social purposes, he must either
become like them, or change them to his own fashion. For if a man
places a piece of quenched charcoal close to a piece that is burning,
either the quenched charcoal will quench the other, or the burning
charcoal will light that which is quenched. Since then the danger is so
great, we must cautiously enter into such intimacies with those of the
common sort, and remember that it is impossible that a man can keep
company with one who is covered with soot without being partaker of the
soot himself. For what will you do if a man speaks about gladiators,
about horses, about athletes, or what is worse about men? Such a person
is bad, such a person is good; this was well done, this was done badly.
Further, if he scoff, or ridicule, or show an ill-natured disposition?
Is any man among us prepared like a lute-player when he takes a lute,
so that as soon as he has touched the strings, he discovers which are
discordant, and tunes the instrument? Such a power as Socrates had who
in all his social intercourse could lead his companions to his own
purpose? How should you have this power? It is therefore a necessary
consequence that you are carried about by the common kind of people.

Why then are they more powerful than you? Because they utter these
useless words from their real opinions; but you utter your elegant
words only from your lips; for this reason they are without strength
and dead, and it is nauseous to listen to your exhortations and your
miserable virtue, which is talked of everywhere (up and down). In this
way the vulgar have the advantage over you; for every opinion ([Greek:
dogma]) is strong and invincible. Until then the good ([Greek:
chompsai]) sentiments ([Greek: hupolaepseis]) are fixed in you, and you
shall have acquired a certain power for your security, I advise you to
be careful in your association with common persons; if you are not,
every day like wax in the sun there will be melted away whatever you
inscribe on your minds in the school. Withdraw then yourselves far from
the sun so long as you have these waxen sentiments. For this reason
also philosophers advise men to leave their native country, because
ancient habits distract them and do not allow a beginning to be made of
a different habit; nor can we tolerate those who meet us and say: See
such a one is now a philosopher, who was once so and so. Thus also
physicians send those who have lingering diseases to a different
country and a different air; and they do right. Do you also introduce
other habits than those which you have; fix you opinions and exercise
yourselves in them. But you do not so; you go hence to a spectacle, to
a show of gladiators, to a place of exercise ([Greek: chuston]), to a
circus; then you come back hither, and again from this place you go to
those places, and still the same persons. And there is no pleasing
(good) habit, nor attention, nor care about self and observation of
this kind. How shall I use the appearances presented to me? according
to nature, or contrary to nature? how do I answer to them? as I ought,
or as I ought not? Do I say to those things which are independent of
the will, that they do not concern me? For if you are not yet in this
state, fly from your former habits, fly from the common sort, if you
intend ever to begin to be something.

ON PROVIDENCE.-When you make any charge against Providence, consider,
and you will learn that the thing has happened according to reason.
Yes, but the unjust man has the advantage. In what? In money. Yes, for
he is superior to you in this, that he flatters, is free from shame,
and is watchful. What is the wonder? But see if he has the advantage
over you in being faithful, in being modest; for you will not find it
to be so; but wherein you are superior, there you will find that you
have the advantage. And I once said to a man who was vexed because
Philostorgus was fortunate: Would you choose to lie with Sura? May it
never happen, he replied, that this day should come? Why then are you
vexed, if he receives something in return for that which he sells; or
how can you consider him happy who acquires those things by such means
as you abominate; or what wrong does Providence, if he gives the better
things to the better men? Is it not better to be modest than to be
rich? He admitted this. Why are you vexed then, man, when you possess
the better thing? Remember then always and have in readiness the truth,
that this is a law of nature, that the superior has an advantage over
the inferior in that in which he is superior; and you will never be

But my wife treats me badly. Well, if any man asks you what this is,
say, my wife treats me badly. Is there then nothing more? Nothing. My
father gives me nothing. (What is this? my father gives me nothing. Is
there nothing else then? Nothing); but to say that this is an evil is
something which must be added to it externally, and falsely added. For
this reason we must not get rid of poverty, but of the opinion about
poverty, and then we shall be happy.

ABOUT CYNICISM.—When one of his pupils inquired of Epictetus, and he
was a person who appeared to be inclined to Cynicism, what kind of
person a Cynic ought to be, and what was the notion ([Greek:
prolaepsis]) of the thing, we will inquire, said Epictetus, at leisure;
but I have so much to say to you that he who without God attempts so
great a matter, is hateful to God, and has no other purpose than to act
indecently in public.

In the first place, in the things which relate to yourself, you must
not be in any respect like what you do now; you must not blame God or
man; you must take away desire altogether, you must transfer avoidance
([Greek: echchlisis]) only to the things which are within the power of
the will; you must not feel anger nor resentment or envy nor pity; a
girl must not appear handsome to you, nor must you love a little
reputation, nor be pleased with a boy or a cake. For you ought to know
that the rest of men throw walls around them and houses and darkness
when they do any such things, and they have many means of concealment.
A man shuts the door, he sets somebody before the chamber; if a person
comes, say that he is out, he is not at leisure. But the Cynic instead
of all these things must use modesty as his protection; if he does not,
he will be indecent in his nakedness and under the open sky. This is
his house, his door; this is the slave before his bedchamber; this is
his darkness. For he ought not to wish to hide anything that he does;
and if he does, he is gone, he has lost the character of a Cynic, of a
man who lives under the open sky, of a free man; he has begun to fear
some external thing, he has begun to have need of concealment, nor can
he get concealment when he chooses. For where shall he hide himself and
how? And if by chance this public instructor shall be detected, this
pædagogue, what kind of things will he be compelled to suffer? when
then a man fears these things, is it possible for him to be bold with
his whole soul to superintend men? It cannot be: it is impossible.

In the first place then you must make your ruling faculty pure, and
this mode of life also. Now (you should say), to me the matter to work
on is my understanding, as wood is to the carpenter, as hides to the
shoemaker; and my business is the right use of appearances. But the
body is nothing to me: the parts of it are nothing to me. Death? Let it
come when it chooses, either death of the whole or of a part. Fly, you
say. And whither; can any man eject me out of the world? He cannot. But
wherever I go, there is the sun, there is the moon, there are the
stars, dreams, omens, and the conversation ([Greek: omilia]) with gods.

Then, if he is thus prepared, the true Cynic cannot be satisfied with
this; but he must know that he is sent a messenger from Zeus to men
about good and bad things, to show them that they have wandered and are
seeking the substance of good and evil where it is not, but where it
is, they never think; and that he is a spy, as Diogenes was carried off
to Philip after the battle of Chaeroneia as a spy. For in fact a Cynic
is a spy of the things which are good for men and which are evil, and
it is his duty to examine carefully and to come and report truly, and
not to be struck with terror so as to point out as enemies those who
are not enemies, nor in any other way to be perturbed by appearances
nor confounded.

It is his duty then to be able with a loud voice, if the occasion
should arise, and appearing on the tragic stage to say like Socrates:
Men, whither are you hurrying, what are you doing, wretches? like blind
people you are wandering up and down; you are going by another road,
and have left the true road; you seek for prosperity and happiness
where they are not, and if another shows you where they are, you do not
believe him. Why do you seek it without? In the body? It is not there.
If you doubt, look at Myro, look at Ophellius. In possessions? It is
not there. But if you do not believe me, look at Croesus: look at those
who are now rich, with what lamentations their life is filled. In
power? It is not there. If it is, those must be happy who have been
twice and thrice consuls; but they are not. Whom shall we believe in
these matters? You who from without see their affairs and are dazzled
by an appearance, or the men themselves? What do they say? Hear them
when they groan, when they grieve, when on account of these very
consulships and glory and splendor they think that they are more
wretched and in greater danger. Is it in royal power? It is not: if it
were, Nero would have been happy, and Sardanapalus. But neither was
Agamemnon happy, though he was a better man than Sardanapalus and Nero;
but while others are snoring, what is he doing?

Much from his head he tore his rooted hair:
Iliad, x., 15.

and what does he say himself?

“I am perplexed,” he says, “and
Disturb’d I am,” and “my heart out of my bosom
Is leaping.”
Iliad, x., 91.

Wretch, which of your affairs goes badly? Your possessions? No. Your
body? No. But you are rich in gold and copper. What then is the matter
with you? That part of you, whatever it is, has been neglected by you
and is corrupted, the part with which we desire, with which we avoid,
with which we move towards and move from things. How neglected? He
knows not the nature of good for which he is made by nature and the
nature of evil; and what is his own, and what belongs to another; and
when anything that belongs to others goes badly, he says, Woe to me,
for the Hellenes are in danger. Wretched is his ruling faculty, and
alone neglected and uncared for. The Hellenes are going to die
destroyed by the Trojans. And if the Trojans do not kill them, will
they not die? Yes; but not all at once. What difference then does it
make? For if death is an evil, whether men die altogether, or if they
die singly, it is equally an evil. Is anything else then going to
happen than the separation of the soul and the body? Nothing. And if
the Hellenes perish, is the door closed, and is it not in your power to
die? It is. Why then do you lament (and say), Oh, you are a king and
have the sceptre of Zeus? An unhappy king does not exist more than an
unhappy god. What then art thou? In truth a shepherd: for you weep as
shepherds do, when a wolf has carried off one of their sheep: and these
who are governed by you are sheep. And why did you come hither? Was
your desire in any danger? was your aversion ([Greek: echchlisis])? was
your movement (pursuits)? was your avoidance of things? He replies, No;
but the wife of my brother was carried off. Was it not then a great
gain to be deprived of an adulterous wife? Shall we be despised then by
the Trojans? What kind of people are the Trojans, wise or foolish? If
they are wise, why do you fight with them? If they are fools, why do
you care about them?

Do you possess the body then free or is it in servile condition? We do
not know. Do you not know that it is the slave of fever, of gout,
ophthalmia, dysentery, of a tyrant, of fire, of iron, of everything
which is stronger? Yes, it is a slave. How then is it possible that
anything which belongs to the body can be free from hindrance? and how
is a thing great or valuable which is naturally dead, or earth, or mud?
Well then, do you possess nothing which is free? Perhaps nothing. And
who is able to compel you to assent to that which appears false? No
man. And who can compel you not to assent to that which appears true?
No man. By this then you see that there is something in you naturally
free. But to desire or to be averse from, or to move towards an object
or to move from it, or to prepare yourself, or to propose to do
anything, which of you can do this, unless he has received an
impression of the appearance of that which is profitable or a duty? No
man. You have then in these things also something which is not hindered
and is free. Wretched men, work out this, take care of this, seek for
good here.

IN OUR POWER.—Let not that which in another is contrary to nature be an
evil to you; for you are not formed by nature to be depressed with
others nor to be unhappy with others, but to be happy with them. If a
man is unhappy, remember that his unhappiness is his own fault; for God
has made all men to be happy, to be free from perturbations. For this
purpose he has given means to them, some things to each person as his
own, and other things not as his own; some things subject to hindrance
and compulsion and deprivation; and these things are not a man’s own;
but the things which are not subject to hindrances, are his own; and
the nature of good and evil, as it was fit to be done by him who takes
care of us and protects us like a father, he has made our own. But you
say, I have parted from a certain person, and he is grieved. Why did he
consider as his own that which belongs to another? why, when he looked
on you and was rejoiced, did he not also reckon that you are a mortal,
that it is natural for you to part from him for a foreign country?
Therefore he suffers the consequences of his own folly. But why do you
or for what purpose bewail yourself? Is it that you also have not
thought of these things? but like poor women who are good for nothing,
you have enjoyed all things in which you took pleasure, as if you would
always enjoy them, both places and men and conversation; and now you
sit and weep because you do not see the same persons and do not live in
the same places. Indeed you deserve this, to be more wretched than
crows and ravens who have the power of flying where they please and
changing their nests for others, and crossing the seas without
lamenting or regretting their former condition. Yes, but this happens
to them because they are irrational creatures. Was reason then given to
us by the gods for the purpose of unhappiness and misery, that we may
pass our lives in wretchedness and lamentation? Must all persons be
immortal and must no man go abroad, and must we ourselves not go
abroad, but remain rooted like plants; and if any of our familiar
friends goes abroad, must we sit and weep; and on the contrary, when he
returns, must we dance and clap our hands like children?

But my mother laments when she does not see me. Why has she not learned
these principles? and I do not say this, that we should not take care
that she may not lament, but I say that we ought not to desire in every
way what is not our own. And the sorrow of another is another’s sorrow;
but my sorrow is my own. I then will stop my own sorrow by every means,
for it is in my power; and the sorrow of another I will endeavor to
stop as far as I can; but I will not attempt to do it by every means;
for if I do, I shall be fighting against God, I shall be opposing Zeus
and shall be placing myself against him in the administration of the
universe; and the reward (the punishment) of this fighting against God
and of this disobedience not only will the children of my children pay,
but I also shall myself, both by day and by night, startled by dreams,
perturbed, trembling at every piece of news, and having my tranquillity
depending on the letters of others. Some person has arrived from Rome.
I only hope there is no harm. But what harm can happen to you, where
you are not? From Hellas (Greece) some one is come; I hope that there
is no harm. In this way every place may be the cause of misfortune to
you. Is it not enough for you to be unfortunate there where you are,
and must you be so even beyond sea, and by the report of letters? Is
this the way in which your affairs are in a state of security? Well
then suppose that my friends have died in the places which are far from
me. What else have they suffered than that which is the condition of
mortals? Or how are you desirous at the same time to live to old age,
and at the same time not to see the death of any person whom you love?
Know you not that in the course of a long time many and various kinds
of things must happen; that a fever shall overpower one, a robber
another, and a third a tyrant? Such is the condition of things around
us, such are those who live with us in the world; cold and heat, and
unsuitable ways of living, and journeys by land, and voyages by sea,
and winds, and various circumstances which surround us, destroy one
man, and banish another, and throw one upon an embassy and another into
an army. Sit down then in a flutter at all these things, lamenting,
unhappy, unfortunate, dependent on another, and dependent not on one or
two, but on ten thousands upon ten thousands.

Did you hear this when you were with the philosophers? did you learn
this? do you not know that human life is a warfare? that one man must
keep watch, another must go out as a spy, and a third must fight? and
it is not possible that all should be in one place, nor is it better
that it should be so. But you neglecting to do the commands of the
general complain when anything more hard than usual is imposed on you,
and you do not observe what you make the army become as far as it is in
your power; that if all imitate you, no man will dig a trench, no man
will put a rampart round, nor keep watch, nor expose himself to danger,
but will appear to be useless for the purposes of an army. Again, in a
vessel if you go as a sailor, keep to one place and stick to it. And if
you are ordered to climb the mast, refuse; if to run to the head of the
ship, refuse; and what master of a ship will endure you? and will he
not pitch you overboard as a useless thing, an impediment only and bad
example to the other sailors? And so it is here also: every man’s life
is a kind of warfare, and it is long and diversified. You must observe
the duty of a soldier and do every thing at the nod of the general; if
it is possible, divining what his wishes are; for there is no
resemblance between that general and this, neither in strength nor in
superiority of character. Know you not that a good man does nothing for
the sake of appearance, but for the sake of doing right? What advantage
is it then to him to have done right? And what advantage is it to a man
who writes the name of Dion to write it as he ought? The advantage is
to have written it. Is there no reward then? Do you seek a reward for a
good man greater than doing what is good and just? At Olympia you wish
for nothing more, but it seems to you enough to be crowned at the
games. Does it seem to you so small and worthless a thing to be good
and happy? For these purposes being introduced by the gods into this
city (the world), and it being now your duty to undertake the work of a
man, do you still want nurses also and a mamma, and do foolish women by
their weeping move you and make you effeminate? Will you thus never
cease to be a foolish child? know you not that he who does the acts of
a child, the older he is, the more ridiculous he is?

So in this matter also: if you kiss your own child, or your brother or
friend, never give full license to the appearance ([Greek:
phantasian]), and allow not your pleasure to go as far as it chooses;
but check it, and curb it as those who stand behind men in their
triumphs and remind them that they are mortal. Do you also remind
yourself in like manner, that he whom you love is mortal, and that what
you love is nothing of your own; it has been given to you for the
present, not that it should not be taken from you, nor has it been
given to you for all time, but as a fig is given to you or a bunch of
grapes at the appointed season of the year. But if you wish for these
things in winter, you are a fool. So if you wish for your son or friend
when it is not allowed to you, you must know that you are wishing for a
fig in winter. For such as winter is to a fig, such is every event
which happens from the universe to the things which are taken away
according to its nature. And further, at the times when you are
delighted with a thing, place before yourself the contrary appearances.
What harm is it while you are kissing your child to say with a lisping
voice: To-morrow you will die; and to a friend also: To-morrow you will
go away or I shall, and never shall we see one another again? But these
are words of bad omen—and some incantations also are of bad omen; but
because they are useful, I don’t care for this; only let them be
useful. But do you call things to be of bad omen except those which are
significant of some evil? Cowardice is a word of bad omen, and meanness
of spirit, and sorrow, and grief, and shamelessness. These words are of
bad omen; and yet we ought not to hesitate to utter them in order to
protect ourselves against the things. Do you tell me that a name which
is significant of any natural thing is of evil omen? say that even for
the ears of corn to be reaped is of bad omen, for it signifies the
destruction of the ears, but not of the world. Say that the falling of
the leaves also is of bad omen, and for the dried fig to take the place
of the green fig, and for raisins to be made from the grapes. For all
these things are changes from a former state into other states; not a
destruction, but a certain fixed economy and administration. Such is
going away from home and a small change: such is death, a greater
change, not from the state which now is to that which is not, but to
that which is not now. Shall I then no longer exist? You will not
exist, but you will be something else, of which the world now has need;
for you also came into existence not when you chose, but when the world
had need of you.

Let these thoughts be ready to hand by night and by day; these you
should write, these you should read; about these you should talk to
yourself and to others. Ask a man: Can you help me at all for this
purpose? and further, go to another and to another. Then if anything
that is said be contrary to your wish, this reflection first will
immediately relieve you, that it is not unexpected. For it is a great
thing in all cases to say: I knew that I begot a son who is mortal. For
so you also will say: I knew that I am mortal, I knew that I may leave
my home, I knew that I may be ejected from it, I knew that I may be led
to prison. Then if you turn round and look to yourself, and seek the
place from which comes that which has happened, you will forthwith
recollect that it comes from the place of things which are out of the
power of the will, and of things which are not my own. What then is it
to me? Then, you will ask, and this is the chief thing: And who is it
that sent it? The leader, or the general, the state, the law of the
state. Give it me then, for I must always obey the law in everything.
Then, when the appearance (of things) pains you, for it is not in your
power to prevent this, contend against it by the aid of reason, conquer
it: do not allow it to gain strength nor to lead you to the
consequences by raising images such as it pleases and as it pleases. If
you be in Gyara, do not imagine the mode of living at Rome, and how
many pleasures there were for him who lived there and how many there
would be for him who returned to Rome; but fix your mind on this
matter, how a man who lives in Gyara ought to live in Gyara like a man
of courage. And if you be in Rome, do not imagine what the life in
Athens is, but think only of the life in Rome.

Then in the place of all other delights substitute this, that of being
conscious that you are obeying God, that not in word, but in deed you
are performing the acts of a wise and good man. For what a thing it is
for a man to be able to say to himself: Now whatever the rest may say
in solemn manner in the schools and may be judged to be saying in a way
contrary to common opinion (or in a strange way), this I am doing; and
they are sitting and are discoursing of my virtues and inquiring about
me and praising me; and of this Zeus has willed that I shall receive
from myself a demonstration, and shall myself know if he has a soldier
such as he ought to have, a citizen such as he ought to have, and if he
has chosen to produce me to the rest of mankind as a witness of the
things which are independent of the will: See that you fear without
reason, that you foolishly desire what you do desire; seek not the good
in things external; seek it in yourselves: if you do not, you will not
find it. For this purpose he leads me at one time hither, at another
time sends me thither, shows me to men as poor, without authority, and
sick; sends me to Gyara, leads me into prison, not because he hates
me—far from him be such a meaning, for who hates the best of his
servants? nor yet because he cares not for me, for he does not neglect
any even of the smallest things; but he does this for the purpose of
exercising me and making use of me as a witness to others. Being
appointed to such a service, do I still care about the place in which I
am, or with whom I am, or what men say about me? and do I not entirely
direct my thoughts to God and to his instructions and commands?

Having these things (or thoughts) always in hand, and exercising them
by yourself, and keeping them in readiness, you will never be in want
of one to comfort you and strengthen you. For it is not shameful to be
without something to eat, but not to have reason sufficient for keeping
away fear and sorrow. But if once you have gained exemption from sorrow
and fear, will there any longer be a tyrant for you, or a tyrant’s
guard, or attendants on Cæsar? Or shall any appointment to offices at
court cause you pain, or shall those who sacrifice in the Capitol on
the occasion of being named to certain functions, cause pain to you who
have received so great authority from Zeus? Only do not make a proud
display of it, nor boast of it; but show it by your acts; and if no man
perceives it, be satisfied that you are yourself in a healthy state and

things which you proposed to yourself at first, which you have secured,
and which you have not; and how you are pleased when you recall to
memory the one, and are pained about the other; and if it is possible,
recover the things wherein you failed. For we must not shrink when we
are engaged in the greatest combat, but we must even take blows. For
the combat before us is not in wrestling and the Pancration, in which
both the successful and the unsuccessful may have the greatest merit,
or may have little, and in truth may be very fortunate or very
unfortunate; but the combat is for good fortune and happiness
themselves. Well then, even if we have renounced the contest in this
matter (for good fortune and happiness), no man hinders us from
renewing the combat again, and we are not compelled to wait for another
four years that the games at Olympia may come again; but as soon as you
have recovered and restored yourself, and employ the same zeal, you may
renew the combat again; and if again you renounce it, you may again
renew it; and if you once gain the victory, you are like him who has
never renounced the combat. Only do not through a habit of doing the
same thing (renouncing the combat), begin to do it with pleasure, and
then like a bad athlete go about after being conquered in all the
circuit of the games like quails who have run away.

TO THOSE WHO FEAR WANT.—Are you not ashamed at being more cowardly and
more mean than fugitive slaves? How do they when they run away leave
their masters? on what estates do they depend, and what domestics do
they rely on? Do they not after stealing a little, which is enough for
the first days, then afterwards move on through land or through sea,
contriving one method after another for maintaining their lives? And
what fugitive slave ever died of hunger? But you are afraid lest
necessary things should fail you, and are sleepless by night. Wretch,
are you so blind, and don’t you see the road to which the want of
necessaries leads?—Well, where does it lead?—to the same place to which
a fever leads, or a stone that falls on you, to death. Have you not
often said this yourself to your companions? have you not read much of
this kind, and written much? and how often have you boasted that you
were easy as to death?

Learn then first what are the things which are shameful, and then tell
us that you are a philosopher: but at present do not, even if any other
man calls you so, allow it.

Is that shameful to you which is not your own act, that of which you
are not the cause, that which has come to you by accident, as a
headache, as a fever? If your parents were poor, and left their
property to others, and if while they live, they do not help you at
all, is this shameful to you? Is this what you learned with the
philosophers? Did you never hear that the thing which is shameful ought
to be blamed, and that which is blamable is worthy of blame? Whom do
you blame for an act which is not his own, which he did not do himself?
Did you then make your father such as he is, or is it in your power to
improve him? Is this power given to you? Well then, ought you to wish
the things which are not given to you, or to be ashamed if you do not
obtain them? And have you also been accustomed while you were studying
philosophy to look to others and to hope for nothing from yourself?
Lament then and groan and eat with fear that you may not have food
to-morrow. Tremble about your poor slaves lest they steal, lest they
run away, lest they die. So live, and continue to live, you who in name
only have approached philosophy, and have disgraced its theorems as far
as you can by showing them to be useless and unprofitable to those who
take them up; you, who have never sought constancy, freedom from
perturbation, and from passions; you who have not sought any person for
the sake of this object, but many for the sake of syllogisms; you who
have never thoroughly examined any of these appearances by yourself, Am
I able to bear, or am I not able to bear? What remains for me to do?
But as if all your affairs were well and secure, you have been resting
on the third topic, that of things being unchanged, in order that you
may possess unchanged—what? cowardice, mean spirit, the admiration of
the rich, desire without attaining any end, and avoidance ([Greek:
echchlisin]) which fails in the attempt? About security in these things
you have been anxious.

Ought you not to have gained something in addition from reason, and
then to have protected this with security? And whom did you ever see
building a battlement all around and encircling it with a wall? And
what doorkeeper is placed with no door to watch? But you practise in
order to be able to prove—what? You practise that you may not be tossed
as on the sea through sophisms, and tossed about from what? Show me
first what you hold, what you measure, or what you weigh; and show me
the scales or the medimnus (the measure); or how long will you go on
measuring the dust? Ought you not to demonstrate those things which
make men happy, which make things go on for them in the way as they
wish, and why we ought to blame no man, accuse no man, and acquiesce in
the administration of the universe?

ABOUT FREEDOM.—He is free who lives as he wishes to live; who is
neither subject to compulsion nor to hindrance, nor to force; whose
movements to action ([Greek: hormai]) are not impeded, whose desires
attain their purpose, and who does not fall into that which he would
avoid ([Greek: echchliseis aperiptotoi]). Who then chooses to live in
error? No man. Who chooses to live deceived, liable to mistake, unjust,
unrestrained, discontented, mean? No man. Not one then of the bad lives
as he wishes; nor is he then free. And who chooses to live in sorrow,
fear, envy, pity, desiring and failing in his desires, attempting to
avoid something and falling into it? Not one. Do we then find any of
the bad free from sorrow, free from fear, who does not fall into that
which he would avoid, and does not obtain that which he wishes? Not
one; nor then do we find any bad man free.

Further, then, answer me this question, also: does freedom seem to you
to be something great and noble and valuable? How should it not seem
so? Is it possible then when a man obtains anything so great and
valuable and noble to be mean? It is not possible. When then you see
any man subject to another or flattering him contrary to his own
opinion, confidently affirm that this man also is not free; and not
only if he do this for a bit of supper, but also if he does it for a
government (province) or a consulship; and call these men little slaves
who for the sake of little matters do these things, and those who do so
for the sake of great things call great slaves, as they deserve to be.
This is admitted also. Do you think that freedom is a thing independent
and self-governing? Certainly. Whomsoever then it is in the power of
another to hinder and compel, declare that he is not free. And do not
look, I entreat you, after his grandfathers and great-grandfathers, or
inquire about his being bought or sold, but if you hear him saying from
his heart and with feeling, “Master,” even if the twelve fasces precede
him (as consul), call him a slave. And if you hear him say, “Wretch
that I am, how much I suffer,” call him a slave. If, finally, you see
him lamenting, complaining, unhappy, call him a slave, though he wears
a praetexta. If, then, he is doing nothing of this kind do not yet say
that he is free, but learn his opinions, whether they are subject to
compulsion, or may produce hindrance, or to bad fortune, and if you
find him such, call him a slave who has a holiday in the Saturnalia;
say that his master is from home; he will return soon, and you will
know what he suffers.

What then is that which makes a man free from hindrance and makes him
his own master? For wealth does not do it, nor consulship, nor
provincial government, nor royal power; but something else must be
discovered. What then is that which when we write makes us free from
hindrance and unimpeded? The knowledge of the art of writing. What then
is it in playing the lute? The science of playing the lute. Therefore
in life also it is the science of life. You have then heard in a
general way; but examine the thing also in the several parts. Is it
possible that he who desires any of the things which depend on others
can be free from hindrance? No. Is it possible for him to be unimpeded?
No. Therefore he cannot be free. Consider then, whether we have nothing
which is in our own power only, or whether we have all things, or
whether some things are in our own power, and others in the power of
others. What do you mean? When you wish the body to be entire (sound)
is it in your power or not? It is not in my power. When you wish it to
be healthy? Neither is this in my power. When you wish it to be
handsome? Nor is this. Life or death? Neither is this in my power. Your
body then is another’s, subject to every man who is stronger than
yourself. It is. But your estate is it in your power to have it when
you please, and as long as you please, and such as you please? No. And
your slaves? No. And your clothes? No. And your house? No. And your
horses? Not one of these things. And if you wish by all means your
children to live, or your wife, or your brother, or your friends, is it
in your power? This also is not in my power.

Whether then have you nothing which is in your own power, which depends
on yourself only and cannot be taken from you, or have you anything of
the kind? I know not. Look at the thing then thus, and examine it. Is
any man able to make you assent to that which is false? No man. In the
matter of assent then you are free from hindrance and obstruction.
Granted. Well; and can a man force you to desire to move towards that
to which you do not choose? He can, for when he threatens me with death
or bonds he compels me to desire to move towards it. If then you
despise death and bonds, do you still pay any regard to him? No. Is
then the despising of death an act of your own or is it not yours? It
is my act.

When you have made this preparation, and have practised this
discipline, to distinguish that which belongs to another from that
which is your own, the things which are subject to hindrance from those
which are not, to consider the things free from hindrance to concern
yourself, and those which are not free not to concern yourself, to keep
your desire steadily fixed to the things which do concern yourself, and
turned from the things which do not concern yourself; do you still fear
any man? No one. For about what will you be afraid? About the things
which are your own, in which consists the nature of good and evil? and
who has power over these things? who can take them away? who can impede
them? No man can, no more than he can impede God. But will you be
afraid about your body and your possessions, about things which are not
yours, about things which in no way concern you? and what else have you
been studying from the beginning than to distinguish between your own
and not your own, the things which are in your power and not in your
power, the things subject to hindrance and not subject? and why have
you come to the philosophers? was it that you may nevertheless be
unfortunate and unhappy? You will then in this way, as I have supposed
you to have done, be without fear and disturbance. And what is grief to
you? for fear comes from what you expect, but grief from that which is
present. But what further will you desire? For of the things which are
within the power of the will, as being good and present, you have a
proper and regulated desire; but of the things which are not in the
power of the will you do not desire any one, and so you do not allow
any place to that which is irrational, and impatient, and above measure

Then after receiving everything from another and even yourself, are you
angry and do you blame the giver if he takes anything from you? Who are
you, and for what purpose did you come into the world? Did not he (God)
introduce you here, did he not show you the light, did he not give you
fellow-workers, and perceptions and reason? and as whom did he
introduce you here? did he not introduce you as subject to death, and
as one to live on the earth with a little flesh, and to observe his
administration, and to join with him in the spectacle and the festival
for a short time? Will you not then, as long as you have been
permitted, after seeing the spectacle and the solemnity, when he leads
you out, go with adoration of him and thanks for what you have heard
and seen? No; but I would still enjoy the feast. The initiated too
would wish to be longer in the initiation; and perhaps also those at
Olympia to see other athletes. But the solemnity is ended; go away like
a grateful and modest man; make room for others; others also must be
born, as you were, and, being born, they must have a place, and houses,
and necessary things. And if the first do not retire, what remains? Why
are you insatiable? Why are you not content? why do you contract the
world? Yes, but I would have my little children with me and my wife.
What, are they yours? do they not belong to the giver, and to him who
made you? then will you not give up what belongs to others? will you
not give way to him who is superior? Why then did he introduce me into
the world on these conditions? And if the conditions do not suit you,
depart. He has no need of a spectator who is not satisfied. He wants
those who join in the festival, those who take part in the chorus, that
they may rather applaud, admire, and celebrate with hymns the
solemnity. But those who can bear no trouble, and the cowardly, he will
not unwillingly see absent from the great assembly ([Greek:
panaeguris]) for they did not when they were present behave as they
ought to do at a festival nor fill up their place properly, but they
lamented, found fault with the deity, fortune, their companions; not
seeing both what they had, and their own powers, which they received
for contrary purposes, the powers of magnanimity, of a generous mind,
manly spirit, and what we are now inquiring about, freedom. For what
purpose then have I received these things? To use them. How long? So
long as he who has lent them chooses. What if they are necessary to me?
Do not attach yourself to them and they will not be necessary; do not
say to yourself that they are necessary, and then they are not

You then, a man may say, are you free? I wish, by the gods, and pray to
be free; but I am not yet able to face my masters, I still value my
poor body, I value greatly the preservation of it entire, though I do
not possess it entire. But I can point out to you a free man, that you
may no longer seek an example. Diogenes was free. How was he free? Not
because he was born of free parents, but because he was himself free,
because he had cast off all the handles of slavery, and it was not
possible for any man to approach him, nor had any man the means of
laying hold of him to enslave him. He had everything easily loosed,
everything only hanging to him. If you laid hold of his property, he
would have rather let it go and be yours, than he would have followed
you for it; if you had laid hold of his leg, he would have let go his
leg; if of all his body, all his poor body; his intimates, friends,
country, just the same. For he knew from whence he had them, and from
whom, and on what conditions. His true parents indeed, the gods, and
his real country he would never have deserted, nor would he have
yielded to any man in obedience to them and to their orders, nor would
any man have died for his country more readily. For he was not used to
inquire when he should be considered to have done anything on behalf of
the whole of things (the universe, or all the world), but he remembered
that everything which is done comes from thence and is done on behalf
of that country and is commanded by him who administers it. Therefore
see what Diogenes himself says and writes: “For this reason,” he says,
“Diogenes, it is in your power to speak both with the King of the
Persians and with Archidamus the King of the Lacedaemonians, as you
please.” Was it because he was born of free parents? I suppose all the
Athenians and all the Lacedaemonians, because they were born of slaves,
could not talk with them (these kings) as they wished, but feared and
paid court to them. Why then does he say that it is in his power?
Because I do not consider the poor body to be my own, because I want
nothing, because law is everything to me, and nothing else is. These
were the things which permitted him to be free.

Think of these things, these opinions, these words; look to these
examples, if you would be free, if you desire the thing according to
its worth. And what is the wonder if you buy so great a thing at the
price of things so many and so great? For the sake of this which is
called liberty, some hang themselves, others throw themselves down
precipices, and sometimes even whole cities have perished; and will you
not for the sake of the true and unassailable and secure liberty give
back to God when he demands them the things which he has given? Will
you not, as Plato says, study not to die only, but also to endure
torture, and exile, and scourging, and, in a word, to give up all which
is not your own? If you will not, you will be a slave among slaves,
even if you be ten thousand times a consul; and if you make your way up
to the palace (Cæsar’s residence), you will no less be a slave; and you
will feel that perhaps philosophers utter words which are contrary to
common opinion (paradoxes), as Cleanthes also said, but not words
contrary to reason. For you will know by experience that the words are
true, and that there is no profit from the things which are valued and
eagerly sought to those who have obtained them; and to those who have
not yet obtained them there is an imagination ([Greek: phantasia]),
that when these things are come, all that is good will come with them;
then, when they are come, the feverish feeling is the same, the tossing
to and fro is the same, the satiety, the desire of things, which are
not present; for freedom is acquired not by the full possession of the
things which are desired, but by removing the desire. And that you may
know that this is true, as you have labored for those things, so
transfer your labor to these: be vigilant for the purpose of acquiring
an opinion which will make you free; pay court to a philosopher instead
of to a rich old man; be seen about a philosopher’s doors; you will not
disgrace yourself by being seen; you will not go away empty nor without
profit, if you go to the philosopher as you ought, and if not (if you
do not succeed), try at least; the trial (attempt) is not disgraceful.

ON FAMILIAR INTIMACY.—To this matter before all you must attend, that
you be never so closely connected with any of your former intimates or
friends as to come down to the same acts as he does. If you do not
observe this rule, you will ruin yourself. But if the thought arises in
your mind, “I shall seem disobliging to him and he will not have the
same feeling towards me,” remember that nothing is done without cost,
nor is it possible for a man if he does not do the same things to be
the same man that he was. Choose then which of the two you will have,
to be equally loved by those by whom you were formerly loved, being the
same with your former self; or, being superior, not to obtain from your
friends the same that you did before.

readiness, when you lose anything external, what you acquire in place
of it; and if it be worth more, never say, I have had a loss; neither
if you have got a horse in place of an ass, or an ox in place of a
sheep, nor a good action in place of a bit of money, nor in place of
idle talk such tranquillity as befits a man, nor in place of lewd talk
if you have acquired modesty. If you remember this, you will always
maintain your character such as it ought to be. But if you do not,
consider that the times of opportunity are perishing, and that whatever
pains you take about yourself, you are going to waste them all and
overturn them. And it needs only a few things for the loss and
overturning of all—namely, a small deviation from reason. For the
steerer of a ship to upset it, he has no need of the same means as he
has need of for saving it; but if he turns it a little to the wind, it
is lost; and if he does not do this purposely, but has been neglecting
his duty a little, the ship is lost. Something of the kind happens in
this case also; if you only fall a nodding a little, all that you have
up to this time collected is gone. Attend therefore to the appearances
of things, and watch over them; for that which you have to preserve is
no small matter, but it is modesty and fidelity and constancy, freedom
from the affects, a state of mind undisturbed, freedom from fear,
tranquillity, in a word liberty. For what will you sell these things?
See what is the value of the things which you will obtain in exchange
for these.—But shall I not obtain any such thing for it?—See, and if
you do in return get that, see what you receive in place of it. I
possess decency, he possesses a tribuneship: he possesses a prætorship,
I possess modesty. But I do not make acclamations where it is not
becoming: I will not stand up where I ought not; for I am free, and a
friend of God. and so I obey him willingly. But I must not claim (seek)
anything else, neither body nor possession, nor magistracy, nor good
report, nor in fact anything. For he (God) does not allow me to claim
(seek) them, for if he had chosen, he would have made them good for me;
but he has not done so, and for this reason I cannot transgress his
commands. Preserve that which is your own good in everything; and as to
every other thing, as it is permitted, and so far as to behave
consistently with reason in respect to them, content with this only. If
you do not, you will be unfortunate, you will fail in all things, you
will be hindered, you will be impeded. These are the laws which have
been sent from thence (from God); these are the orders. Of these laws a
man ought to be an expositor, to these he ought to submit, not to those
of Masurius and Cassius.

that not only the desire of power and of riches makes us mean and
subject to others, but even the desire of tranquillity, and of leisure,
and of travelling abroad, and of learning. For, to speak plainly,
whatever the external thing may be, the value which we set upon it
places us in subjection to others. What then is the difference between
desiring to be a senator or not desiring to be one; what is the
difference between desiring power or being content with a private
station; what is the difference between saying, I am unhappy, I have
nothing to do, but I am bound to my books as a corpse; or saying, I am
unhappy, I have no leisure for reading? For as salutations and power
are things external and independent of the will, so is a book. For what
purpose do you choose to read? Tell me. For if you only direct your
purpose to being amused or learning something, you are a silly fellow
and incapable of enduring labor. But if you refer reading to the proper
end, what else is this than a tranquil and happy life ([Greek:
eusoia])? But if reading does not secure for you a happy and tranquil
life, what is the use of it? But it does secure this, the man replies,
and for this reason I am vexed that I am deprived of it.—And what is
this tranquil and happy life, which any man can impede, I do not say
Cæsar or Cæsar’s friend, but a crow, a piper, a fever, and thirty
thousand other things? But a tranquil and happy life contains nothing
so sure as continuity and freedom from obstacle. Now I am called to do
something: I will go then with the purpose of observing the measures
(rules) which I must keep, of acting with modesty, steadiness, without
desire and aversion to things external; and then that I may attend to
men, what they say, how they are moved; and this not with any bad
disposition, or that I may have something to blame or to ridicule; but
I turn to myself, and ask if I also commit the same faults. How then
shall I cease to commit them? Formerly I also acted wrong, but now I do
not: thanks to God.

What then is the reason of this? The reason is that we have never read
for this purpose, we have never written for this purpose, so that we
may in our actions use in a way conformable to nature the appearances
presented to us; but we terminate in this, in learning what is said,
and in being able to expound it to another, in resolving a syllogism,
and in handling the hypothetical syllogism. For this reason where our
study (purpose) is, there alone is the impediment. Would you have by
all means the things which are not in your power? Be prevented then, be
hindered, fail in your purpose. But if we read what is written about
action (efforts, [Greek: hormae]), not that we may see what is said
about action, but that we may act well; if we read what is said about
desire and aversion (avoiding things), in order that we may neither
fail in our desires, nor fall into that which we try to avoid; if we
read what is said about duty (officium), in order that remembering the
relations (of things to one another) we may do nothing irrationally nor
contrary to these relations; we should not be vexed, in being hindered
as to our readings, but we should be satisfied with doing the acts
which are conformable (to the relations), and we should be reckoning
not what so far we have been accustomed to reckon: To-day I have read
so many verses, I have written so many; but (we should say), To-day I
have employed my action as it is taught by the philosophers; I have not
employed my desire; I have used avoidance ([Greek: echchlisei]) only
with respect to things which are within the power of my will; I have
not been afraid of such a person, I have not been prevailed upon by the
entreaties of another; I have exercised my patience, my abstinence, my
co-operation with others; and so we should thank God for what we ought
to thank him.

There is only one way to happiness, and let this rule be ready both in
the morning and during the day and by night: the rule is not to look
towards things which are out of the power of our will, to think that
nothing is our own, to give up all things to the Divinity, to Fortune;
to make them the superintendents of these things, whom Zeus also has
made so; for a man to observe that only which is his own, that which
cannot be hindered; and when we read, to refer our reading to this
only, and our writing and our listening. For this reason I cannot call
the man industrious, if I hear this only, that he reads and writes; and
even if a man adds that he reads all night, I cannot say so, if he
knows not to what he should refer his reading. For neither do you say
that a man is industrious if he keeps awake for a girl, nor do I. But
if he does it (reads and writes) for reputation, I say that he is a
lover of reputation. And if he does it for money, I say that he is a
lover of money, not a lover of labor; and if he does it through love of
learning, I say that he is a lover of learning. But if he refers his
labor to his own ruling power that he may keep it in a state
conformable to nature and pass his life in that state, then only do I
say that he is industrious. For never commend a man on account of these
things which are common to all, but on account of his opinions
(principles); for these are the things which belong to each man, which
make his actions bad or good. Remembering these rules, rejoice in that
which is present, and be content with the things which come in season.
If you see anything which you have learned and inquired about occurring
to you in your course of life (or opportunely applied by you to the
acts of life), be delighted at it. If you have laid aside or have
lessened bad disposition and a habit of reviling; if you have done so
with rash temper, obscene words, hastiness, sluggishness; if you are
not moved by what you formerly were, and not in the same way as you
once were, you can celebrate a festival daily, to-day because you have
behaved well in one act, and to-morrow because you have behaved well in
another. How much greater is this a reason for making sacrifices than a
consulship or the government of a province? These things come to you
from yourself and from the gods. Remember this, who gives these things
and to whom, and for what purpose. If you cherish yourself in these
thoughts, do you still think that it makes any difference where you
shall be happy, where you shall please God? Are not the gods equally
distant from all places? Do they not see from all places alike that
which is going on?

AGAINST THE QUARRELSOME AND FEROCIOUS.—The wise and good man neither
himself fights with any person, nor does he allow another, so far as he
can prevent it. And an example of this as well as of all other things
is proposed to us in the life of Socrates, who not only himself on all
occasions avoided fights (quarrels), but would not allow even others to
quarrel. See in Xenophon’s Symposium how many quarrels he settled, how
further he endured Thrasymachus and Polus and Callicles; how he
tolerated his wife, and how he tolerated his son who attempted to
confute him and to cavil with him. For he remembered well that no man
has in his power another man’s ruling principle. He wished therefore
for nothing else than that which was his own. And what is this? Not
that this or that man may act according to nature, for that is a thing
which belongs to another; but that while others are doing their own
acts, as they choose, he may nevertheless be in a condition conformable
to nature and live in it, only doing what is his own to the end that
others also may be in a state conformable to nature. For this is the
object always set before him by the wise and good man. Is it to be
commander (a prætor) of an army? No; but if it is permitted him, his
object is in this matter to maintain his own ruling principle. Is it to
marry? No; but if marriage is allowed to him, in this matter his object
is to maintain himself in a condition conformable to nature. But if he
would have his son not to do wrong or his wife, he would have what
belongs to another not to belong to another: and to be instructed is
this, to learn what things are a man’s own and what belongs to another.

How then is there left any place for fighting (quarrelling) to a man
who has this opinion (which he ought to have)? Is he surprised at any
thing which happens, and does it appear new to him? Does he not expect
that which comes from the bad to be worse and more grievous than that
what actually befalls him? And does he not reckon as pure gain whatever
they (the bad) may do which falls short of extreme wickedness? Such a
person has reviled you. Great thanks to him for not having struck you.
But he has struck me also. Great thanks that he did not wound you. But
he wounded me also. Great thanks that he did not kill you. For when did
he learn or in what school that man is a tame animal, that men love one
another, that an act of injustice is a great harm to him who does it.
Since then he has not learned this and is not convinced of it, why
shall he not follow that which seems to be for his own interest? Your
neighbor has thrown stones. Have you then done anything wrong? But the
things in the house have been broken. Are you then a utensil? No; but a
free power of will. What then is given to you (to do) in answer to
this? If you are like a wolf, you must bite in return, and throw more
stones. But, if you consider what is proper for a man, examine your
storehouse, see with what faculties you came into the world. Have you
the disposition of a wild beast, have you the disposition of revenge
for an injury? When is a horse wretched? When he is deprived of his
natural faculties, not when he cannot crow like a cock, but when he
cannot run. When is a dog wretched? Not when he cannot fly, but when he
cannot track his game. Is then a man also unhappy in this way, not
because he cannot strangle lions or embrace statues, for he did not
come into the world in the possession of certain powers from nature for
this purpose, but because he has lost his probity and his fidelity?
People ought to meet and lament such a man for the misfortunes into
which he has fallen; not indeed to lament because a man has been born
or has died, but because it has happened to him in his lifetime to have
lost the things which are his own, not that which he received from his
father, not his land and house, and his inn, and his slaves; for not
one of these things is a man’s own, but all belong to others, are
servile, and subject to account ([Greek: hupeithuna]), at different
times given to different persons by those who have them in their power:
but I mean the things which belong to him as a man, the marks (stamps)
in his mind with which he came into the world, such as we seek also on
coins, and if we find them we approve of the coins, and if we do not
find the marks we reject them. What is the stamp on this sestertius?
The stamp of Trajan. Present it. It is the stamp of Nero. Throw it
away; it cannot be accepted, it is counterfeit. So also in this case:
What is the stamp of his opinions? It is gentleness, a sociable
disposition, a tolerant temper, a disposition to mutual affections.
Produce these qualities. I accept them: I consider this man a citizen,
I accept him as a neighbor, a companion in my voyages. Only see that he
has not Nero’s stamp. Is he passionate, is he full of resentment, is he
fault-finding? If the whim seizes him, does he break the heads of those
who come in his way? (If so), why then did you say that he is a man? Is
everything judged (determined) by the bare form? If that is so, say
that the form in wax is an apple and has the smell and the taste of an
apple. But the external figure is not enough: neither then is the nose
enough and the eyes to make the man, but he must have the opinions of a
man. Here is a man who does not listen to reason, who does not know
when he is refuted: he is an ass; in another man the sense of shame is
become dead: he is good for nothing, he is anything rather than a man.
This man seeks whom he may meet and kick or bite, so that he is not
even a sheep or an ass, but a kind of wild beast.

What then? would you have me to be despised?—By whom? by those who know
you? and how shall those who know you despise a man who is gentle and
modest? Perhaps you mean by those who do not know you? What is that to
you? For no other artisan cares for the opinion of those who know not
his art. But they will be more hostile to me for this reason. Why do
you say “me”? Can any man injure your will, or prevent you from using
in a natural way the appearances which are presented to you? In no way
can he. Why then are you still disturbed and why do you choose to show
yourself afraid? And why do you not come forth and proclaim that you
are at peace with all men whatever they may do, and laugh at those
chiefly who think that they can harm you? These slaves, you can say,
know not either who I am, nor where lies my good or my evil, because
they have no access to the things which are mine.

In this way also those who occupy a strong city mock the besiegers (and
say): What trouble these men are now taking for nothing; our wall is
secure, we have food for a very long time, and all other resources.
These are the things which make a city strong and impregnable; but
nothing else than his opinions makes a man’s soul impregnable. For what
wall is so strong, or what body is so hard, or what possession is so
safe, or what honor (rank, character) so free from assault (as a man’s
opinions)? All (other) things everywhere are perishable, easily taken
by assault, and if any man in any way is attached to them, he must be
disturbed, except what is bad, he must fear, lament, find his desires
disappointed, and fall into things which he would avoid. Then do we not
choose to make secure the only means of safety which are offered to us,
and do we not choose to withdraw ourselves from that which is
perishable and servile and to labor at the things which are
imperishable and by nature free; and do we not remember that no man
either hurts another or does good to another, but that a man’s opinions
about each thing, is that which hurts him, is that which overturns him;
this is fighting, this is civil discord, this is war? That which made
Eteocles and Polynices enemies was nothing else than this opinion which
they had about royal power, their opinion about exile, that the one is
the extreme of evils, the other the greatest good. Now this is the
nature of every man to seek the good, to avoid the bad; to consider him
who deprives us of the one and involves us in the other an enemy and
treacherous, even if he be a brother, or a son, or a father. For
nothing is more akin to us than the good; therefore, if these things
(externals) are good and evil, neither is a father a friend to sons,
nor a brother to a brother, but all the world is everywhere full of
enemies, treacherous men, and sycophants. But if the will ([Greek:
proairesis], the purpose, the intention) being what it ought to be, is
the only good; and if the will being such as it ought not to be, is the
only evil, where is there any strife, where is there reviling? about
what? about the things which do not concern us? and strife with whom?
with the ignorant, the unhappy, with those who are deceived about the
chief things?

Remembering this Socrates managed his own house and endured a very
ill-tempered wife and a foolish (ungrateful?) son.

at being pitied. Whether then is the fact of your being pitied a thing
which concerns you or those who pity you? Well, is it in your power to
stop this pity? It is in my power, if I show them that I do not require
pity. And whether then are you in the condition of not deserving
(requiring) pity, or are you not in that condition? I think that I am
not; but these persons do not pity me, for the things for which, if
they ought to pity me, it would be proper, I mean, for my faults; but
they pity me for my poverty, for not possessing honorable offices, for
diseases and deaths and other such things. Whether then are you
prepared to convince the many, that not one of these things is an evil,
but that it is possible for a man who is poor and has no office
([Greek: anarchonti)] and enjoys no honor to be happy; or to show
yourself to them as rich and in power? For the second of these things
belong to a man who is boastful, silly, and good for nothing. And
consider by what means the pretence must be supported. It will be
necessary for you to hire slaves and to possess a few silver vessels,
and to exhibit them in public, if it is possible, though they are often
the same, and to attempt to conceal the fact that they are the same,
and to have splendid garments, and all other things for display, and to
show that you are a man honored by the great, and to try to sup at
their houses, or to be supposed to sup there, and as to your person to
employ some mean arts, that you may appear to be more handsome and
nobler than you are. These things you must contrive, if you choose to
go by the second path in order not to be pitied. But the first way is
both impracticable and long, to attempt the very thing which Zeus has
not been able to do, to convince all men what things are good and bad.
Is this power given to you? This only is given to you, to convince
yourself; and you have not convinced yourself. Then I ask you, do you
attempt to persuade other men? and who has lived so long with you as
you with yourself? and who has so much power of convincing you as you
have of convincing yourself; and who is better disposed and nearer to
you than you are to yourself? How then have you not yet convinced
yourself in order to learn? At present are not things upside down? Is
this what you have been earnest about doing, to learn to be free from
grief and free from disturbance, and not to be humbled (abject), and to
be free? Have you not heard then that there is only one way which leads
to this end, to give up (dismiss) the things which do not depend on the
will, to withdraw from them, and to admit that they belong to others?
For another man then to have an opinion about you, of what kind is it?
It is a thing independent of the will—Then is it nothing to you? It is
nothing. When then you are still vexed at this and disturbed, do you
think that you are convinced about good and evil?

ON FREEDOM FROM FEAR.—What makes the tyrant formidable? The guards, you
say, and their swords, and the men of the bedchamber, and those who
exclude them who would enter. Why then if you bring a boy (child) to
the tyrant when he is with his guards, is he not afraid; or is it
because the child does not understand these things? If then any man
does understand what guards are and that they have swords, and comes to
the tyrant for this very purpose because he wishes to die on account of
some circumstance and seeks to die easily by the hand of another, is he
afraid of the guards? No, for he wishes for the thing which makes the
guards formidable. If then any man neither wishing to die nor to live
by all means, but only as it may be permitted, approaches the tyrant
what hinders him from approaching the tyrant without fear? Nothing. If
then a man has the same opinion about his property as the man whom I
have instanced has about his body; and also about his children and his
wife, and in a word is so affected by some madness or despair that he
cares not whether he possesses them or not, but like children who are
playing with shells (quarrel) about the play, but do not trouble
themselves about the shells, so he too has set no value on the
materials (things), but values the pleasure that he has with them and
the occupation, what tyrant is then formidable to him, or what guards
or what swords?

What hinders a man, who has clearly separated (comprehended) these
things, from living with a light heart and bearing easily the reins,
quietly expecting everything which can happen, and enduring that which
has already happened? Would you have me to bear poverty? Come and you
will know what poverty is when it has found one who can act well the
part of a poor man. Would you have me to possess power? Let me have
power, and also the trouble of it. Well, banishment? Wherever I shall
go, there it will be well with me; for here also where I am, it was not
because of the place that it was well with me, but because of my
opinions which I shall carry off with me, for neither can any man
deprive me of them; but my opinions alone are mine and they cannot be
taken from me, and I am satisfied while I have them, wherever I may be
and whatever I am doing. But now it is time to die. Why do you say to
die? Make no tragedy show of the thing, but speak of it as it is. It is
now time for the matter (of the body) to be resolved into the things
out of which it was composed. And what is the formidable thing here?
what is going to perish of the things which are in the universe? what
new thing or wondrous is going to happen? Is it for this reason that a
tyrant is formidable? Is it for this reason that the guards appear to
have swords which are large and sharp? Say this to others; but I have
considered about all these things; no man has power over me. I have
been made free; I know his commands, no man can now lead me as a slave.
I have a proper person to assert my freedom; I have proper judges. (I
say) are you not the master of my body? What then is that to me? Are
you not the master of my property? What then is that to me? Are you not
the master of my exile or of my chains? Well, from all these things and
all the poor body itself I depart at your bidding, when you please.
Make trial of your power, and you will know how far it reaches.

Whom then can I still fear? Those who are over the bedchamber? Lest
they should do, what? Shut me out? If they find that I wish to enter,
let them shut me out. Why then do you go to the doors? Because I think
it befits me, while the play (sport) lasts, to join in it. How then are
you not shut out? Because unless some one allows me to go in, I do not
choose to go in, but am always content with that which happens; for I
think that what God chooses is better than what I choose. I will attach
myself as a minister and follower to him; I have the same movements
(pursuits) as he has, I have the same desires; in a word, I have the
same will ([Greek: sunthelo]). There is no shutting out for me, but for
those who would force their way in. Why then do not I force my way in?
Because I know that nothing good is distributed within to those who
enter. But when I hear any man called fortunate because he is honored
by Cæsar, I say what does he happen to get? A province (the government
of a province). Does he also obtain an opinion such as he ought? The
office of a Prefect. Does he also obtain the power of using his office
well? Why do I still strive to enter (Cæsar’s chamber)? A man scatters
dried figs and nuts: the children seize them, and fight with one
another; men do not, for they think them to be a small matter. But if a
man should throw about shells, even the children do not seize them.
Provinces are distributed: let children look to that. Money is
distributed; let children look to that. Prætorships, consulships, are
distributed; let children scramble for them, let them be shut out,
beaten, kiss the hands of the giver, of the slaves: but to me these are
only dried figs and nuts. What then? If you fail to get them, while
Cæsar is scattering them about, do not be troubled; if a dried fig come
into your lap, take it and eat it; for so far you may value even a fig.
But if I shall stoop down and turn another over, or be turned over by
another, and shall flatter those who have got into (Cæsar’s) chamber,
neither is a dried fig worth the trouble, nor anything else of the
things which are not good, which the philosophers have persuaded me not
to think good.

you see another man in the possession of power (magistracy), set
against this the fact that you have not the want (desire) of power;
when you see another rich, see what you possess in place of riches: for
if you possess nothing in place of them, you are miserable; but if you
have not the want of riches, know that you possess more than this man
possesses and what is worth much more.

difficulties of all men are about external things, their helplessness
is about external. What shall I do? how will it be? how will it turn
out? will this happen? will that? All these are the words of those who
are turning themselves to things which are not within the power of the
will. For who says, How shall I not assent to that which is false? how
shall I not turn away from the truth? If a man be of such a good
disposition as to be anxious about these things I will remind him of
this: Why are you anxious? The thing is in your own power, be assured;
do not be precipitate in assenting before you apply the natural rule.
On the other side, if a man is anxious (uneasy) about desire, lest it
fail in its purpose and miss its end, and with respect to the avoidance
of things, lest he should fall into that which he would avoid, I will
first kiss (love) him, because he throws away the things about which
others are in a flutter (others desire) and their fears, and employs
his thoughts about his own affairs and his own condition. Then I shall
say to him: If you do not choose to desire that which you will fail to
obtain nor to attempt to avoid that into which you will fall, desire
nothing which belongs to (which is in the power of) others, nor try to
avoid any of the things which are not in your power. If you do not
observe this rule, you must of necessity fail in your desires and fall
into that which you would avoid. What is the difficulty here? where is
there room for the words How will it be? and How will it turn out? and
Will this happen or that?

Now is not that which will happen independent of the will? Yes. And the
nature of good and of evil, is it not in the things which are within
the power of the will? Yes. Is it in your power then to treat according
to nature everything which happens? Can any person hinder you? No man.
No longer then say to me, How will it be? For, however it may be, you
will dispose of it well, and the result to you will be a fortunate one.
What would Hercules have been if he said: How shall a great lion not
appear to me, or a great boar, or savage men? And what do you care for
that? If a great boar appear, you will fight a greater fight; if bad
men appear, you will relieve the earth of the bad. Suppose then that I
lose my life in this way. You will die a good man, doing a noble act.
For since he must certainly die, of necessity a man must be found doing
something, either following the employment of a husbandman, or digging,
or trading, or serving in a consulship, or suffering from indigestion
or from diarrhoea. What then do you wish to be doing when you are found
by death? I, for my part, would wish to be found doing something which
belongs to a man, beneficent, suitable to the general interest, noble.
But if I cannot be found doing things so great, I would be found doing
at least that which I cannot be hindered from doing, that which is
permitted me to do, correcting myself, cultivating the faculty which
makes use of appearances, laboring at freedom from the affects
(laboring at tranquillity of mind); rendering to the relations of life
their due. If I succeed so far, also (I would be found) touching on
(advancing to) the third topic (or head) safety in forming judgments
about things. If death surprises me when I am busy about these things,
it is enough for me if I can stretch out my hands to God and say: The
means which I have received from thee for seeing thy administration (of
the world) and following it I have not neglected; I have not dishonored
thee by my acts; see how I have used my perceptions, see how I have
used my preconceptions; have I ever blamed thee? have I been
discontented with anything that happens, or wished it to be otherwise?
have I wished to transgress the (established) relations (of things)?
That thou hast given me life, I thank thee for what thou hast given. So
long as I have used the things which are thine I am content. Take them
back and place them wherever thou mayest choose, for thine were all
things, thou gavest them to me. Is it not enough to depart in this
state of mind? and what life is better and more becoming than that of a
man who is in this state of mind? and what end is more happy?

ABOUT PURITY (CLEANLINESS).—Some persons raise a question whether the
social feeling is contained in the nature of man; and yet I think that
these same persons would have no doubt that love of purity is certainly
contained in it, and that if man is distinguished from other animals by
anything, he is distinguished by this. When then we see any other
animal cleaning itself, we are accustomed to speak of the act with
surprise, and to add that the animal is acting like a man; and on the
other hand, if a man blames an animal for being dirty, straightway, as
if we were making an excuse for it, we say that of course the animal is
not a human creature. So we suppose that there is something superior in
man, and that we first receive it from the gods. For since the gods by
their nature are pure and free from corruption, so far as men approach
them by reason, so far do they cling to purity and to a love (habit) of
purity. But since it is impossible that man’s nature ([Greek: ousia])
can be altogether pure, being mixed (composed) of such materials,
reason is applied, as far as it is possible, and reason endeavors to
make human nature love purity.

The first then and highest purity is that which is in the soul; and we
say the same of impurity. Now you could not discover the impurity of
the soul as you could discover that of the body; but as to the soul,
what else could you find in it than that which makes it filthy in
respect to the acts which are her own? Now the acts of the soul are
movement towards an object or movement from it, desire, aversion,
preparation, design (purpose), assent. What then is it which in these
acts makes the soul filthy and impure? Nothing else than her own bad
judgments ([Greek: chrimata]). Consequently the impurity of the soul is
the soul’s bad opinions; and the purification of the soul is the
planting in it of proper opinions; and the soul is pure which has
proper opinions, for the soul alone in her own acts is free from
perturbation and pollution.

For we ought not even by the appearance of the body to deter the
multitude from philosophy; but as in other things, a philosopher should
show himself cheerful and tranquil, so also he should in the things
that relate to the body. See, ye men, that I have nothing, that I want
nothing; see how I am without a house, and without a city, and an
exile, if it happens to be so, and without a hearth I live more free
from trouble and more happily than all of noble birth and than the
rich. But look at my poor body also and observe that it is not injured
by my hard way of living. But if a man says this to me, who has the
appearance (dress) and face of a condemned man, what god shall persuade
me to approach philosophy, if it makes men such persons? Far from it; I
would not choose to do so, even if I were going to become a wise man. I
indeed would rather that a young man, who is making his first movements
towards philosophy, should come to me with his hair carefully trimmed
than with it dirty and rough, for there is seen in him a certain notion
(appearance) of beauty and a desire of (attempt at) that which is
becoming; and where he supposes it to be, there also he strives that it
shall be. It is only necessary to show him (what it is), and to say:
Young man, you seek beauty, and you do well; you must know then that it
(is produced) grows in that part of you where you have the rational
faculty; seek it there where you have the movements towards and
movements from things, where you have the desires towards and the
aversion from things; for this is what you have in yourself of a
superior kind; but the poor body is naturally only earth; why do you
labor about it to no purpose? if you shall learn nothing else, you will
learn from time that the body is nothing. But if a man comes to me
daubed with filth, dirty, with a moustache down to his knees, what can
I say to him, by what kind of resemblance can I lead him on? For about
what has he busied himself which resembles beauty, that I may be able
to change him and say, Beauty is not in this, but in that? Would you
have me to tell him, that beauty consists not in being daubed with
muck, but that it lies in the rational part? Has he any desire of
beauty? has he any form of it in his mind? Go and talk to a hog, and
tell him not to roll in the mud.

ON ATTENTION.—When you have remitted your attention for a short time,
do not imagine this, that you will recover it when you choose; but let
this thought be present to you, that in consequence of the fault
committed today your affairs must be in a worse condition for all that
follows. For first, and what causes most trouble, a habit of not
attending is formed in you; then a habit of deferring your attention.
And continually from time to time you drive away by deferring it the
happiness of life, proper behavior, the being and living conformably to
nature. If then the procrastination of attention is profitable, the
complete omission of attention is more profitable; but if it is not
profitable, why do you not maintain your attention constant? Today I
choose to play. Well then, ought you not to play with attention? I
choose to sing. What then hinders you from doing so with attention? Is
there any part of life excepted, to which attention does not extend?
For will you do it (anything in life) worse by using attention, and
better by not attending at all? And what else of the things in life is
done better by those who do not use attention? Does he who works in
wood work better by not attending to it? Does the captain of a ship
manage it better by not attending? and are any of the smaller acts done
better by inattention? Do you not see that when you have let your mind
loose, it is no longer in your power to recall it, either to propriety,
or to modesty, or to moderation; but you do everything that comes into
your mind in obedience to your inclinations.

First then we ought to have these (rules) in readiness, and to do
nothing without them, and we ought to keep the soul directed to this
mark, to pursue nothing external, and nothing which belongs to others
(or is in the power of others), but to do as he has appointed who has
the power; we ought to pursue altogether the things which are in the
power of the will, and all other things as it is permitted. Next to
this we ought to remember who we are, and what is our name, and to
endeavor to direct our duties towards the character (nature) of our
several relations (in life) in this manner: what is the season for
singing, what is the season for play, and in whose presence; what will
be the consequence of the act; whether our associates will despise us,
whether we shall despise them; when to jeer ([Greek: schopsai]), and
whom to ridicule; and on what occasion to comply and with whom; and
finally, in complying how to maintain our own character. But wherever
you have deviated from any of these rules, there is damage immediately,
not from anything external, but from the action itself.

What then? is it possible to be free from faults (if you do all this)?
It is not possible; but this is possible, to direct your efforts
incessantly to being faultless. For we must be content if by never
remitting this attention we shall escape at least a few errors. But now
when you have said, Tomorrow I will begin to attend, you must be told
that you are saying this, Today I will be shameless, disregardful of
time and place, mean; it will be in the power of others to give me
pain; today I will be passionate and envious. See how many evil things
you are permitting yourself to do. If it is good to use attention
tomorrow, how much better is it to do so today? if tomorrow it is in
your interest to attend, much more is it today, that you may be able to
do so tomorrow also, and may not defer it again to the third day.

seemed to us to have talked with simplicity (candor) about his own
affairs, how is it that at last we are ourselves also induced to
discover to him our own secrets and we think this to be candid
behavior? In the first place, because it seems unfair for a man to have
listened to the affairs of his neighbor, and not to communicate to him
also in turn our own affairs; next, because we think that we shall not
present to them the appearance of candid men when we are silent about
our own affairs. Indeed, men are often accustomed to say, I have told
you all my affairs, will you tell me nothing of your own? where is this
done? Besides, we have also this opinion that we can safely trust him
who has already told us his own affairs; for the notion rises in our
mind that this man could never divulge our affairs because he would be
cautious that we also should not divulge his. In this way also the
incautious are caught by the soldiers at Rome. A soldier sits by you in
a common dress and begins to speak ill of Cæsar; then you, as if you
had received a pledge of his fidelity by his having begun the abuse,
utter yourself also what you think, and then you are carried off in

Something of this kind happens to us also generally. Now as this man
has confidently intrusted his affairs to me, shall I also do so to any
man whom I meet? (No), for when I have heard, I keep silence, if I am
of such a disposition; but he goes forth and tells all men what he has
heard. Then, if I hear what has been done, if I be a man like him, I
resolve to be revenged, I divulge what he has told me; I both disturb
others, and am disturbed myself. But if I remember that one man does
not injure another, and that every man’s acts injure and profit him, I
secure this, that I do not anything like him, but still I suffer what I
do suffer through my own silly talk.

True, but it is unfair when you have heard the secrets of your neighbor
for you in your turn to communicate nothing to him. Did I ask you for
your secrets, my man? did you communicate your affairs on certain
terms, that you should in return hear mine also? If you are a babbler
and think that all who meet you are friends, do you wish me also to be
like you? But why, if you did well in intrusting your affairs to me,
and it is not well for me to intrust mine to you, do you wish me to be
so rash? It is just the same as if I had a cask which is water-tight,
and you one with a hole in it, and you should come and deposit with me
your wine that I might put it into my cask, and then should complain
that I also did not intrust my wine to you, for you have a cask with a
hole in it. How then is there any equality here? You intrusted your
affairs to a man who is faithful and modest, to a man who thinks that
his own actions alone are injurious and (or) useful, and that nothing
external is. Would you have me intrust mine to you, a man who has
dishonored his own faculty of will, and who wishes to gain some small
bit of money or some office or promotion in the court (emperor’s
palace), even if you should be going to murder your own children, like
Medea? Where (in what) is this equality (fairness)? But show yourself
to me to be faithful, modest, and steady; show me that you have
friendly opinions; show that your cask has no hole in it; and you will
see how I shall not wait for you to trust me with your own affairs, but
I myself shall come to you and ask you to hear mine. For who does not
choose to make use of a good vessel? Who does not value a benevolent
and faithful adviser? Who will not willingly receive a man who is ready
to bear a share, as we may say, of the difficulty of his circumstances,
and by this very act to ease the burden, by taking a part of it.



Of things some are in our power, and others are not. In our power are
opinion ([Greek: hupolaepsis]), movement towards a thing ([Greek:
hormae]), desire, aversion ([Greek: echchlisis]), turning from a thing;
and in a word, whatever are our acts. Not in our power are the body,
property, reputation, offices (magisterial power), and in a word,
whatever are not our own acts. And the things in our power are by
nature free, not subject to restraint or hindrance; but the things not
in our power are weak, slavish, subject to restraint, in the power of
others. Remember then, that if you think the things which are by nature
slavish to be free, and the things which are in the power of others to
be your own, you will be hindered, you will lament, you will be
disturbed, you will blame both gods and men; but if you think that only
which is your own to be your own, and if you think that what is
another’s, as it really is, belongs to another, no man will ever compel
you, no man will hinder you, you will never blame any man, you will
accuse no man, you will do nothing involuntarily (against your will),
no man will harm you, you will have no enemy, for you will not suffer
any harm.

If then you desire (aim at) such great things remember that you must
not (attempt to) lay hold of them with a small effort; but you must
leave alone some things entirely, and postpone others for the present.
But if you wish for these things also (such great things), and power
(office) and wealth, perhaps you will not gain even these very things
(power and wealth) because you aim also at those former things (such
great things); certainly you will fail in those things through which
alone happiness and freedom are secured. Straightway then practise
saying to every harsh appearance: You are an appearance, and in no
manner what you appear to be. Then examine it by the rules which you
possess, and by this first and chiefly, whether it relates to the
things which are in our power or to things which are not in our power;
and if it relates to anything which is not in our power, be ready to
say that it does not concern you.


Remember that desire contains in it the profession (hope) of obtaining
that which you desire; and the profession (hope) in aversion (turning
from a thing) is that you will not fall into that which you attempt to
avoid; and he who fails in his desire is unfortunate; and he who falls
into that which he would avoid is unhappy. If then you attempt to avoid
only the things contrary to nature which are within your power you will
not be involved in any of the things which you would avoid. But if you
attempt to avoid disease, or death, or poverty, you will be unhappy.
Take away then aversion from all things which are not in our power, and
transfer it to the things contrary to nature which are in our power.
But destroy desire completely for the present. For if you desire
anything which is not in our power, you must be unfortunate; but of the
things in our power, and which it would be good to desire, nothing yet
is before you. But employ only the power of moving towards an object
and retiring from it; and these powers indeed only slightly and with
exceptions and with remission.


In everything which pleases the soul, or supplies a want, or is loved,
remember to add this to the (description, notion): What is the nature
of each thing, beginning from the smallest? If you love an earthen
vessel, say it is an earthen vessel which you love; for when it has
been broken you will not be disturbed. If you are kissing your child or
wife, say that it is a human being whom you are kissing, for when the
wife or child dies you will not be disturbed.


When you are going to take in hand any act remind yourself what kind of
an act it is. If you are going to bathe, place before yourself what
happens in the bath; some splashing the water, others pushing against
one another, others abusing one another, and some stealing; and thus
with more safety you will undertake the matter, if you say to yourself,
I now intend to bathe, and to maintain my will in a manner conformable
to nature. And so you will do in every act; for thus if any hindrance
to bathing shall happen let this thought be ready. It was not this only
that I intended, but I intended also to maintain my will in a way
conformable to nature; but I shall not maintain it so if I am vexed at
what happens.


Men are disturbed not by the things which happen, but by the opinions
about the things; for example, death is nothing terrible, for if it
were it would have seemed so to Socrates; for the opinion about death
that it is terrible, is the terrible thing. When then we are impeded,
or disturbed, or grieved, let us never blame others, but ourselves—that
is, our opinions. It is the act of an ill-instructed man to blame
others for his own bad condition; it is the act of one who has begun to
be instructed, to lay the blame on himself; and of one whose
instruction is completed, neither to blame another, nor himself.


Be not elated at any advantage (excellence) which belongs to another.
If a horse when he is elated should say, I am beautiful, one might
endure it. But when you are elated, and say, I have a beautiful horse,
you must know that you are elated at having a good horse. What then is
your own? The use of appearances. Consequently when in the use of
appearances you are conformable to nature, then be elated, for then you
will be elated at something good which is your own.


As on a voyage when the vessel has reached a port, if you go out to get
water it is an amusement by the way to pick up a shellfish or some
bulb, but your thoughts ought to be directed to the ship, and you ought
to be constantly watching if the captain should call, and then you must
throw away all those things, that you may not be bound and pitched into
the ship like sheep. So in life also, if there be given to you instead
of a little bulb and a shell a wife and child, there will be nothing to
prevent (you from taking them). But if the captain should call, run to
the ship and leave all those things without regard to them. But if you
are old, do not even go far from the ship, lest when you are called you
make default.


Seek not that the things which happen should happen as you wish; but
wish the things which happen to be as they are, and you will have a
tranquil flow of life.


Disease is an impediment to the body, but not to the will, unless the
will itself chooses. Lameness is an impediment to the leg, but not to
the will. And add this reflection on the occasion of everything that
happens; for you will find it an impediment to something else, but not
to yourself.


On the occasion of every accident (event) that befalls you, remember to
turn to yourself and inquire what power you have for turning it to use.
If you see a fair man or a fair woman, you will find that the power to
resist is temperance (continence). If labor (pain) be presented to you,
you will find that it is endurance. If it be abusive words, you will
find it to be patience. And if you have been thus formed to the
(proper) habit, the appearances will not carry you along with them.


Never say about anything, I have lost it, but say I have restored it.
Is your child dead? It has been restored. Is your wife dead? She has
been restored. Has your estate been taken from you? Has not then this
also been restored? But he who has taken it from me is a bad man. But
what is it to you, by whose hands the giver demanded it back? So long
as he may allow you, take care of it as a thing which belongs to
another, as travellers do with their inn.


If you intend to improve, throw away such thoughts as these: if I
neglect my affairs, I shall not have the means of living: unless I
chastise my slave, he will be bad. For it is better to die of hunger
and so to be released from grief and fear than to live in abundance
with perturbation; and it is better for your slave to be bad than for
you to be unhappy. Begin then from little things. Is the oil spilled?
Is a little wine stolen? Say on the occasion, at such price is sold
freedom from perturbation; at such price is sold tranquillity, but
nothing is got for nothing. And when you call your slave, consider that
it is possible that he does not hear; and if he does hear, that he will
do nothing which you wish. But matters are not so well with him, but
altogether well with you, that it should be in his power for you to be
not disturbed.


If you would improve, submit to be considered without sense and foolish
with respect to externals. Wish to be considered to know nothing; and
if you shall seem to some to be a person of importance, distrust
yourself. For you should know that it is not easy both to keep your
will in a condition conformable to nature and (to secure) external
things: but if a man is careful about the one, it is an absolute
necessity that he will neglect the other.


If you would have your children and your wife and your friends to live
for ever, you are silly; for you would have the things which are not in
your power to be in your power, and the things which belong to others
to be yours. So if you would have your slave to be free from faults,
you are a fool; for you would have badness not to be badness, but
something else. But if you wish not to fail in your desires, you are
able to do that. Practise then this which you are able to do. He is the
master of every man who has the power over the things which another
person wishes or does not wish, the power to confer them on him or to
take them away. Whoever then wishes to be free let him neither wish for
anything nor avoid anything which depends on others: if he does not
observe this rule, he must be a slave.


Remember that in life you ought to behave as at a banquet. Suppose that
something is carried round and is opposite to you. Stretch out your
hand and take a portion with decency. Suppose that it passes by you. Do
not detain it. Suppose that it is not yet come to you. Do not send your
desire forward to it, but wait till it is opposite to you. Do so with
respect to children, so with respect to a wife, so with respect to
magisterial offices, so with respect to wealth, and you will be some
time a worthy partner of the banquets of the gods. But if you take none
of the things which are set before you, and even despise them, then you
will be not only a fellow banqueter with the gods, but also a partner
with them in power. For by acting thus Diogenes and Heracleitus and
those like them were deservedly divine, and were so called.


When you see a person weeping in sorrow either when a child goes abroad
or when he is dead, or when the man has lost his property, take care
that the appearance do not hurry you away with it, as if he were
suffering in external things. But straightway make a distinction in
your own mind, and be in readiness to say, it is not that which has
happened that afflicts this man, for it does not afflict another, but
it is the opinion about this thing which afflicts the man. So far as
words then do not be unwilling to show him sympathy, and even if it
happens so, to lament with him. But take care that you do not lament
internally also.


Remember that thou art an actor in a play, of such a kind as the
teacher (author) may choose; if short, of a short one; if long, of a
long one: if he wishes you to act the part of a poor man, see that you
act the part naturally; if the part of a lame man, of a magistrate, of
a private person, (do the same). For this is your duty, to act well the
part that is given to you; but to select the part, belongs to another.


When a raven has croaked inauspiciously, let not the appearance hurry
you away with it; but straightway make a distinction in your mind and
say, None of these things is signified to me, but either to my poor
body, or to my small property, or to my reputation, or to my children,
or to my wife: but to me all significations are auspicious if I choose.
For whatever of these things results, it is in my power to derive
benefit from it.


You can be invincible, if you enter into no contest in which it is not
in your power to conquer. Take care then when you observe a man honored
before others or possessed of great power or highly esteemed for any
reason, not to suppose him happy, and be not carried away by the
appearance. For if the nature of the good is in our power, neither envy
nor jealousy will have a place in us. But you yourself will not wish to
be a general or senator ([Greek: prutanis]) or consul, but a free man:
and there is only one way to this, to despise (care not for) the things
which are not in our power.


Remember that it is not he who reviles you or strikes you, who insults
you, but it is your opinion about these things as being insulting. When
then a man irritates you, you must know that it is your own opinion
which has irritated you. Therefore especially try not to be carried
away by the appearance. For if you once gain time and delay, you will
more easily master yourself.


Let death and exile and every other thing which appears dreadful be
daily before your eyes; but most of all death: and you will never think
of anything mean nor will you desire anything extravagantly.


If you desire philosophy, prepare yourself from the beginning to be
ridiculed, to expect that many will sneer at you, and say, He has all
at once returned to us as a philosopher; and whence does he get this
supercilious look for us? Do you not show a supercilious look; but hold
on to the things which seem to you best as one appointed by God to this
station. And remember that if you abide in the same principles, these
men who first ridiculed will afterwards admire you; but if you shall
have been overpowered by them, you will bring on yourself double


If it should ever happen to you to be turned to externals in order to
please some person, you must know that you have lost your purpose in
life. Be satisfied then in everything with being a philosopher; and if
you wish to seem also to any person to be a philosopher, appear so to
yourself, and you will be able to do this.


Let not these thoughts afflict you, I shall live unhonored and be
nobody nowhere. For if want of honor ([Greek: atimia]) is an evil, you
cannot be in evil through the means (fault) of another any more than
you can be involved in anything base. Is it then your business to
obtain the rank of a magistrate, or to be received at a banquet? By no
means. How then can this be want of honor (dishonor)? And how will you
be nobody nowhere, when you ought to be somebody in those things only
which are in your power, in which indeed it is permitted to you to be a
man of the greatest worth? But your friends will be without assistance!
What do you mean by being without assistance? They will not receive
money from you, nor will you make them Roman citizens. Who then told
you that these are among the things which are in our power, and not in
the power of others? And who can give to another what he has not
himself? Acquire money then, your friends say, that we also may have
something. If I can acquire money and also keep myself modest and
faithful and magnanimous, point out the way, and I will acquire it. But
if you ask me to lose the things which are good and my own, in order
that you may gain the things which are not good, see how unfair and
silly you are. Besides, which would you rather have, money or a
faithful and modest friend? For this end then rather help me to be such
a man, and do not ask me to do this by which I shall lose that
character. But my country, you say, as far as it depends on me, will be
without my help. I ask again, what help do you mean? It will not have
porticos or baths through you. And what does this mean? For it is not
furnished with shoes by means of a smith, nor with arms by means of a
shoemaker. But it is enough if every man fully discharges the work that
is his own: and if you provided it with another citizen faithful and
modest, would you not be useful to it? Yes. Then you also cannot be
useless to it. What place then, you say, shall I hold in the city?
Whatever you can, if you maintain at the same time your fidelity and
modesty. But if when you wish to be useful to the state, you shall lose
these qualities, what profit could you be to it, if you were made
shameless and faithless?


Has any man been preferred before you at a banquet, or in being
saluted, or in being invited to a consultation? If these things are
good, you ought to rejoice that he has obtained them; but if bad, be
not grieved because you have not obtained them. And remember that you
cannot, if you do not the same things in order to obtain what is not in
our own power, be considered worthy of the same (equal) things. For how
can a man obtain an equal share with another when he does not visit a
man’s doors as that other man does; when he does not attend him when he
goes abroad, as the other man does; when he does not praise (flatter)
him as another does? You will be unjust then and insatiable, if you do
not part with the price, in return for which those things are sold, and
if you wish to obtain them for nothing. Well, what is the price of
lettuces? An obolus perhaps. If then a man gives up the obolus, and
receives the lettuces, and if you do not give up the obolus and do not
obtain the lettuces, do not suppose that you receive less than he who
has got the lettuces; for as he has the lettuces, so you have the
obolus which you did not give. In the same way then in the other matter
also you have not been invited to a man’s feast, for you did not give
to the host the price at which the supper is sold; but he sells it for
praise (flattery), he sells it for personal attention. Give then the
price, if it is for your interest, for which it is sold. But if you
wish both not to give the price and to obtain the things, you are
insatiable and silly. Have you nothing then in place of the supper? You
have indeed, you have the not flattering of him, whom you did not
choose to flatter; you have the not enduring of the man when he enters
the room.


We may learn the wish (will) of nature from the things in which we do
not differ from one another: for instance, when your neighbor’s slave
has broken his cup, or anything else, we are ready to say forthwith,
that it is one of the things which happen. You must know then that when
your cup also is broken, you ought to think as you did when your
neighbor’s cup was broken. Transfer this reflection to greater things
also. Is another man’s child or wife dead? There is no one who would
not say, This is an event incident to man. But when a man’s own child
or wife is dead, forthwith he calls out, Woe to me, how wretched I am!
But we ought to remember how we feel when we hear that it has happened
to others.


As a mark is not set up for the purpose of missing the aim, so neither
does the nature of evil exist in the world.


If any person was intending to put your body in the power of any man
whom you fell in with on the way, you would be vexed; but that you put
your understanding in the power of any man whom you meet, so that if he
should revile you, it is disturbed and troubled, are you not ashamed at


In every act observe the things which come first, and those which
follow it; and so proceed to the act. If you do not, at first you will
approach it with alacrity, without having thought of the things which
will follow; but afterwards, when certain base (ugly) things have shown
themselves, you will be ashamed. A man wishes to conquer at the Olympic
games. I also wish indeed, for it is a fine thing. But observe both the
things which come first, and the things which follow; and then begin
the act. You must do everything according to rule, eat according to
strict orders, abstain from delicacies, exercise yourself as you are
bid at appointed times, in heat, in cold, you must not drink cold
water, nor wine as you choose; in a word, you must deliver yourself up
to the exercise master as you do to the physician, and then proceed to
the contest. And sometimes you will strain the hand, put the ankle out
of joint, swallow much dust, sometimes be flogged, and after all this
be defeated. When you have considered all this, if you still choose, go
to the contest: if you do not you will behave like children, who at one
time play at wrestlers, another time as flute players, again as
gladiators, then as trumpeters, then as tragic actors. So you also will
be at one time an athlete, at another a gladiator, then a rhetorician,
then a philosopher, but with your whole soul you will be nothing at
all; but like an ape you imitate everything that you see, and one thing
after another pleases you. For you have not undertaken anything with
consideration, nor have you surveyed it well; but carelessly and with
cold desire. Thus some who have seen a philosopher and having heard one
speak, as Euphrates speaks—and who can speak as he does?—they wish to
be philosophers themselves also. My man, first of all consider what
kind of thing it is; and then examine your own nature, if you are able
to sustain the character. Do you wish to be a pentathlete or a
wrestler? Look at your arms, your thighs, examine your loins. For
different men are formed by nature for different things. Do you think
that if you do these things, you can eat in the same manner, drink in
the same manner, and in the same manner loathe certain things? You must
pass sleepless nights, endure toil, go away from your kinsmen, be
despised by a slave, in everything have the inferior part, in honor, in
office, in the courts of justice, in every little matter. Consider
these things, if you would exchange for them, freedom from passions,
liberty, tranquillity. If not, take care that, like little children,
you be not now a philosopher, then a servant of the publicani, then a
rhetorician, then a procurator (manager) for Cæsar. These things are
not consistent. You must be one man, either good or bad. You must
either cultivate your own ruling faculty, or external things. You must
either exercise your skill on internal things or on external things;
that is you must either maintain the position of a philosopher or that
of a common person.


Duties are universally measured by relations ([Greek: tais schsesi]).
Is a man a father? The precept is to take care of him, to yield to him
in all things, to submit when he is reproachful, when he inflicts
blows. But suppose that he is a bad father. Were you then by nature
made akin to a good father? No; but to a father. Does a brother wrong
you? Maintain then your own position towards him, and do not examine
what he is doing, but what you must do that your will shall be
conformable to nature. For another will not damage you, unless you
choose: but you will be damaged then when you shall think that you are
damaged. In this way then you will discover your duty from the relation
of a neighbor, from that of a citizen, from that of a general, if you
are accustomed to contemplate the relations.


As to piety towards the gods you must know that this is the chief
thing, to have right opinions about them, to think that they exist, and
that they administer the All well and justly; and you must fix yourself
in this principle (duty), to obey them, and to yield to them in
everything which happens, and voluntarily to follow it as being
accomplished by the wisest intelligence. For if you do so, you will
never either blame the gods, nor will you accuse them of neglecting
you. And it is not possible for this to be done in any other way than
by withdrawing from the things which are not in our power, and by
placing the good and the evil only in those things which are in our
power. For if you think that any of the things which are not in our
power is good or bad, it is absolutely necessary that, when you do not
obtain what you wish, and when you fall into those things which you do
not wish, you will find fault and hate those who are the cause of them;
for every animal is formed by nature to this, to fly from and to turn
from the things which appear harmful and the things which are the cause
of the harm, but to follow and admire the things which are useful and
the causes of the useful. It is impossible then for a person who thinks
that he is harmed to be delighted with that which he thinks to be the
cause of the harm, as it is also impossible to be pleased with the harm
itself. For this reason also a father is reviled by his son, when he
gives no part to his son of the things which are considered to be good;
and it was this which made Polynices and Eteocles enemies, the opinion
that royal power was a good. It is for this reason that the cultivator
of the earth reviles the gods, for this reason the sailor does, and the
merchant, and for this reason those who lose their wives and their
children. For where the useful (your interest) is, there also piety is.
Consequently he who takes care to desire as he ought and to avoid
([Greek: echchlinein]) as he ought, at the same time also cares after
piety. But to make libations and to sacrifice and to offer first-fruits
according to the custom of our fathers, purely and not meanly nor
carelessly nor scantily nor above our ability, is a thing which belongs
to all to do.


When you have recourse to divination, remember that you do not know how
it will turn out, but that you are come to inquire from the diviner.
But of what kind it is, you know when you come, if indeed you are a
philosopher. For if it is any of the things which are not in our power,
it is absolutely necessary that it must be neither good nor bad. Do not
then bring to the diviner desire or aversion ([Greek: echchlinein]): if
you do, you will approach him with fear. But having determined in your
mind that everything which shall turn out (result) is indifferent, and
does not concern you, and whatever it may be, for it will be in your
power to use it well, and no man will hinder this, come then with
confidence to the gods as your advisers. And then when any advice shall
have been given, remember whom you have taken as advisers, and whom you
will have neglected, if you do not obey them. And go to divination, as
Socrates said that you ought, about those matters in which all the
inquiry has reference to the result, and in which means are not given
either by reason nor by any other art for knowing the thing which is
the subject of the inquiry. Wherefore when we ought to share a friend’s
danger, or that of our country, you must not consult the diviner
whether you ought to share it. For even if the diviner shall tell you
that the signs of the victims are unlucky, it is plain that this is a
token of death, or mutilation of part of the body, or of exile. But
reason prevails, that even with these risks, we should share the
dangers of our friend, and of our country. Therefore attend to the
greater diviner, the Pythian god, who ejected from the temple him who
did not assist his friend, when he was being murdered.


Immediately prescribe some character and some form to yourself, which
you shall observe both when you are alone and when you meet with men.

And let silence be the general rule, or let only what is necessary be
said, and in few words. And rarely, and when the occasion calls, we
shall say something; but about none of the common subjects, not about
gladiators, nor horse-races, nor about athletes, nor about eating or
drinking, which are the usual subjects; and especially not about men,
as blaming them or praising them, or comparing them. If then you are
able, bring over by your conversation, the conversation of your
associates, to that which is proper; but if you should happen to be
confined to the company of strangers, be silent.

Let not your laughter be much, nor on many occasions, nor excessive.

Refuse altogether to take an oath, if it is possible; if it is not,
refuse as far as you are able.

Avoid banquets which are given by strangers and by ignorant persons.
But if ever there is occasion to join in them, let your attention be
carefully fixed, that you slip not into the manners of the vulgar (the
uninstructed). For you must know, that if your companion be impure, he
also who keeps company with him must become impure, though he should
happen to be pure.

Take (apply) the things which relate to the body as far as the bare
use, as food, drink, clothing, house, and slaves; but exclude
everything which is for show or luxury.

As to pleasure with women, abstain as far as you can before marriage;
but if you do indulge in it, do it in the way which is conformable to
custom. Do not however be disagreeable to those who indulge in these
pleasures, or reprove them; and do not often boast that you do not
indulge in them yourself.

If a man has reported to you, that a certain person speaks ill of you,
do not make any defence (answer) to what has been told you; but reply,
The man did not know the rest of my faults, for he would not have
mentioned these only.

It is not necessary to go to the theatres often: but if there is ever a
proper occasion for going, do not show yourself as being a partisan of
any man except yourself, that is, desire only that to be done which is
done, and for him only to gain the prize who gains the prize; for in
this way you will meet with no hindrance. But abstain entirely from
shouts and laughter at any (thing or person), or violent emotions. And
when you are come away, do not talk much about what has passed on the
stage, except about that which may lead to your own improvement. For it
is plain, if you do talk much, that you admired the spectacle (more
than you ought).

Do not go to the hearing of certain persons’ recitations, nor visit
them readily. But if you do attend, observe gravity and sedateness, and
also avoid making yourself disagreeable.

When you are going to meet with any person, and particularly one of
those who are considered to be in a superior condition, place before
yourself what Socrates or Zeno would have done in such circumstances,
and you will have no difficulty in making a proper use of the occasion.

When you are going to any of those who are in great power, place before
yourself that you will not find the man at home, that you will be
excluded, that the door will not be opened to you, that the man will
not care about you. And if with all this it is your duty to visit him,
bear what happens, and never say to yourself that it was not worth the
trouble. For this is silly, and marks the character of a man who is
offended by externals.

In company take care not to speak much and excessively about your own
acts or dangers; for as it is pleasant to you to make mention of your
own dangers, it is not so pleasant to others to hear what has happened
to you. Take care also not to provoke laughter; for this is a slippery
way towards vulgar habits, and is also adapted to diminish the respect
of your neighbors. It is a dangerous habit also to approach obscene
talk. When then, anything of this kind happens, if there is a good
opportunity, rebuke the man who has proceeded to this talk; but if
there is not an opportunity, by your silence at least, and blushing and
expression of dissatisfaction by your countenance, show plainly that
you are displeased at such talk.


If you have received the impression ([Greek: phantasion]) of any
pleasure, guard yourself against being carried away by it; but let the
thing wait for you, and allow yourself a certain delay on your own
part. Then think of both times, of the time when you will enjoy the
pleasure, and of the time after the enjoyment of the pleasure, when you
will repent and will reproach yourself. And set against these things
how you will rejoice, if you have abstained from the pleasure, and how
you will commend yourself. But if it seem to you seasonable to
undertake (do) the thing, take care that the charm of it, and the
pleasure, and the attraction of it shall not conquer you; but set on
the other side the consideration, how much better it is to be conscious
that you have gained this victory.


When you have decided that a thing ought to be done, and are doing it,
never avoid being seen doing it, though the many shall form an
unfavorable opinion about it. For if it is not right to do it, avoid
doing the thing; but if it is right, why are you afraid of those who
shall find fault wrongly?


As the proposition, it is either day, or it is night, is of great
importance for the disjunctive argument, but for the conjunctive, is of
no value, so in a symposium (entertainment) to select the larger share
is of great value for the body, but for the maintenance of the social
feeling is worth nothing. When, then, you are eating with another,
remember, to look not only to the value for the body of the things set
before you, but also to the value of the behavior towards the host
which ought to be observed.


If you have assumed a character above your strength, you have both
acted in this manner in an unbecoming way, and you have neglected that
which you might have fulfilled.


In walking about, as you take care not to step on a nail, or to sprain
your foot, so take care not to damage your own ruling faculty; and if
we observe this rule in every act, we shall undertake this act with
more security.


The measure of possession (property) is to every man the body, as the
foot is of the shoe. If then you stand on this rule (the demands of the
body), you will maintain the measure; but if you pass beyond it, you
must then of necessity be hurried as it were down a precipice. As also
in the matter of the shoe, if you go beyond the (necessities of the)
foot, the shoe is gilded, then of a purple color, then embroidered; for
there is no limit to that which has once passed the true measure.


Women forthwith from the age of fourteen are called by the men
mistresses ([Greek: churiai], dominæ). Therefore, since they see that
there is nothing else that they can obtain, but only the power of lying
with men, they begin to decorate themselves, and to place all their
hopes in this. It is worth our while then to take care that they may
know that they are valued (by men) for nothing else than appearing
(being) decent and modest and discreet.


It is a mark of a mean capacity to spend much time on the things which
concern the body, such as much exercise, much eating, much drinking,
much easing of the body, much copulation. But these things should be
done as subordinate things; and let all your care be directed to the


When any person treats you ill or speaks ill of you, remember that he
does this or says this because he thinks that it is his duty. It is not
possible then for him to follow that which seems right to you, but that
which seems right to himself. Accordingly if he is wrong in his
opinion, he is the person who is hurt, for he is the person who has
been deceived; for if a man shall suppose the true conjunction to be
false, it is not the conjunction which is hindered, but the man who has
been deceived about it. If you proceed then from these opinions, you
will be mild in temper to him who reviles you; for say on each
occasion, It seemed so to him.


Everything has two handles, the one by which it may be borne, the other
by which it may not. If your brother acts unjustly, do not lay hold of
the act by that handle wherein he acts unjustly, for this is the handle
which cannot be borne; but lay hold of the other, that he is your
brother, that he was nurtured with you, and you will lay hold of the
thing by that handle by which it can be borne.


These reasonings do not cohere: I am richer than you, therefore I am
better than you; I am more eloquent than you, therefore I am better
than you. On the contrary, these rather cohere: I am richer than you,
therefore my possessions are greater than yours; I am more eloquent
than you, therefore my speech is superior to yours. But you are neither
possession nor speech.


Does a man bathe quickly (early)? do not say that he bathes badly, but
that he bathes quickly. Does a man drink much wine? do not say that he
does this badly, but say that he drinks much. For before you shall have
determined the opinion how do you know whether he is acting wrong? Thus
it will not happen to you to comprehend some appearances which are
capable of being comprehended, but to assent to others.


On no occasion call yourself a philosopher, and do not speak much among
the uninstructed about theorems (philosophical rules, precepts); but do
that which follows from them. For example, at a banquet do not say how
a man ought to eat, but eat as you ought to eat. For remember that in
this way Socrates also altogether avoided ostentation. Persons used to
come to him and ask to be recommended by him to philosophers, and he
used to take them to philosophers, so easily did he submit to being
overlooked. Accordingly, if any conversation should arise among
uninstructed persons about any theorem, generally be silent; for there
is great danger that you will immediately vomit up what you have not
digested. And when a man shall say to you that you know nothing, and
you are not vexed, then be sure that you have begun the work (of
philosophy). For even sheep do not vomit up their grass and show to the
shepherds how much they have eaten; but when they have internally
digested the pasture, they produce externally wool and milk. Do you
also show not your theorems to the uninstructed, but show the acts
which come from their digestion.


When at a small cost you are supplied with everything for the body, do
not be proud of this; nor, if you drink water, say on every occasion, I
drink water. But consider first how much more frugal the poor are than
we, and how much more enduring of labor. And if you ever wish to
exercise yourself in labor and endurance, do it for yourself, and not
for others. Do not embrace statues; but if you are ever very thirsty,
take a draught of cold water and spit it out, and tell no man.


The condition and characteristic of an uninstructed person is this: he
never expects from himself profit (advantage) nor harm, but from
externals. The condition and characteristic of a philosopher is this:
he expects all advantage and all harm from himself. The signs (marks)
of one who is making progress are these: he censures no man, he praises
no man, he blames no man, he accuses no man, he says nothing about
himself as if he were somebody or knew something; when he is impeded at
all or hindered, he blames himself; if a man praises him he ridicules
the praiser to himself; if a man censures him he makes no defence; he
goes about like weak persons, being careful not to move any of the
things which are placed, before they are firmly fixed; he removes all
desire from himself, and he transfers aversion ([Greek: echchlisin]) to
those things only of the things within our power which are contrary to
nature; he employs a moderate movement towards everything; whether he
is considered foolish or ignorant he cares not; and in a word he
watches himself as if he were an enemy and lying in ambush.


When a man is proud because he can understand and explain the writings
of Chrysippus, say to yourself, If Chrysippus had not written
obscurely, this man would have had nothing to be proud of. But what is
it that I wish? To understand nature and to follow it. I inquire
therefore who is the interpreter? and when I have heard that it is
Chrysippus, I come to him (the interpreter). But I do not understand
what is written, and therefore I seek the interpreter. And so far there
is yet nothing to be proud of. But when I shall have found the
interpreter, the thing that remains is to use the precepts (the
lessons). This itself is the only thing to be proud of. But if I shall
admire the exposition, what else have I been made unless a grammarian
instead of a philosopher? except in one thing, that I am explaining
Chrysippus instead of Homer. When, then, any man says to me, Read
Chrysippus to me, I rather blush, when I cannot show my acts like to
and consistent with his words.


Whatever things (rules) are proposed to you (for the conduct of life)
abide by them, as if they were laws, as if you would be guilty of
impiety if you transgressed any of them. And whatever any man shall say
about you, do not attend to it; for this is no affair of yours. How
long will you then still defer thinking yourself worthy of the best
things, and in no matter transgressing the distinctive reason? Have you
accepted the theorems (rules), which it was your duty to agree to, and
have you agreed to them? what teacher then do you still expect that you
defer to him the correction of yourself? You are no longer a youth, but
already a full-grown man. If, then, you are negligent and slothful, and
are continually making procrastination after procrastination, and
proposal (intention) after proposal, and fixing day after day, after
which you will attend to yourself, you will not know that you are not
making improvement, but you will continue ignorant (uninstructed) both
while you live and till you die. Immediately then think it right to
live as a full-grown man, and one who is making proficiency, and let
everything which appears to you to be the best be to you a law which
must not be transgressed. And if anything laborious or pleasant or
glorious or inglorious be presented to you, remember that now is the
contest, now are the Olympic games, and they cannot be deferred; and
that it depends on one defeat and one giving way that progress is
either lost or maintained. Socrates in this way became perfect, in all
things improving himself, attending to nothing except to reason. But
you, though you are not yet a Socrates, ought to live as one who wishes
to be a Socrates.


The first and most necessary place (part, [Greek: topos]) in philosophy
is the use of theorems (precepts, [Greek: theoraemata]), for instance,
that we must not lie; the second part is that of demonstrations, for
instance, How is it proved that we ought not to lie? The third is that
which is confirmatory of these two, and explanatory, for example, How
is this a demonstration? For what is demonstration, what is
consequence, what is contradiction, what is truth, what is falsehood?
The third part (topic) is necessary on account of the second, and the
second on account of the first; but the most necessary and that on
which we ought to rest is the first. But we do the contrary. For we
spend our time on the third topic, and all our earnestness is about it;
but we entirely neglect the first. Therefore we lie; but the
demonstration that we ought not to lie we have ready to hand.


In every thing (circumstance) we should hold these maxims ready to

Lead me, O Zeus, and thou O Destiny,
The way that I am bid by you to go:
To follow I am ready. If I choose not,
I make myself a wretch, and still must follow.

But whoso nobly yields unto necessity,
We hold him wise, and skill’d in things divine.

And the third also: O Crito, if so it pleases the gods, so let it be;
Anytus and Melitus are able indeed to kill me, but they cannot harm me.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Selection from the Discourses of Epictetus with the Encheiridion" ***