A Selection from the Discourses of Epictetus with the Encheiridion eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 220 pages of information about A Selection from the Discourses of Epictetus with the Encheiridion.
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 written by an affectionate pupil, Arrian, afterwards the historian of Alexander the Great, who, as he tells us, took down in writing the philosopher’s discourses ("Epistle of Arrian to Lucius Gellius,” p. i).  These Discourses formed eight books, but only four are extant under the title of [Greek:  Epichtaeton diatribai].  Simplicius, in his commentary on the [Greek:  Egcheiridion] or Manual, states that this work also was put together by Arrian, who selected from the discourses of Epictetus what he considered to be most useful, and most necessary, and most adapted to move men’s minds.  Simplicius also says that the contents of the Encheiridion are found nearly altogether and in the same words in various parts of the Discourses.  Arrian also wrote a work on the life and death of Epictetus.  The events of the philosopher’s studious life were probably not many nor remarkable; but we should have been glad if this work had been preserved, which told, as Simplicius says, what kind of man Epictetus 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.”

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
A Selection from the Discourses of Epictetus with the Encheiridion from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook