Epictetus was a crippled Greek slave of Phrygia during Nero's reign
(54-68 CE) who heard lectures by the Stoic Musonius before he was
freed. Expelled with other philosophers by the emperor Domitian in
89 or 92 he settled permanently in Nicopolis in Epirus. There, in a
school which he called 'healing place for sick souls', he taught a
practical philosophy, details of which were recorded by Arrian, a
student of his, and survive in four books of Discourses and a
smaller Encheiridion, a handbook which gives briefly the chief
doctrines of the Discourses. He apparently lived into the reign of
Hadrian (117-138 CE).
Epictetus was a teacher of Stoic ethics, broad and firm in
method, sublime in thought, and now humorous, now sad or severe in
spirit. How should one live righteously? Our god-given will is our
paramount possession, and we must not covet others'. We must not
resist fortune. Man is part of a system; humans are reasoning
beings (in feeble bodies) and must conform to god's mind and the
will of nature. Epictetus presents us also with a pungent picture
of the perfect (Stoic) man.
The Loeb Classical Library edition of Epictetus is in two
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