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Encyclopedia > Epictetus

Epictetus (Greek: Επίκτητος; ca. 55–ca. 135) was a Greek Stoic philosopher. He was probably born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia, and lived in Rome until his exile to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece, where he lived most of his life, and where he died. The name given by his parents, if one was given, is not known - the word epiktetos in Greek simply means "acquired." For other uses, see number 55. ... For other uses, see number 135. ... Stoicism is a school of philosophy commonly associated with such Greek philosophers as Zeno of Citium, Cleanthes, or Chrysippus and with such later Romans as Cicero, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus. ... The theatre Hierapolis (Arabic Manbij or Mumbij) is an ancient Syrian town occupying one of the finest sites in Northern Syria, in a fertile district about 16 miles southwest of the confluence of the Sajur and Euphrates. ... In antiquity, Phrygia (Greek: ) was a kingdom in the west central part of the Anatolian Highland, part of modern Turkey. ... Nickname: Motto: SPQR: Senatus Populusque Romanus Location of the city of Rome (yellow) within the Province of Rome (red) and region of Lazio (grey) Coordinates: Region Lazio Province Province of Rome Founded 21 April 753 BC Government  - Mayor Walter Veltroni Area  - City 1,285 km²  (580 sq mi)  - Urban 5... Nicopolis (meaning in Greek: city of victory; see also List of traditional Greek place names) or Actia Nicopolis was an ancient city of Epirus, founded 31 BC by Octavian in memory of his victory over Antony and Cleopatra at Actium. ...

Contents

Life

Epictetus spent his youth as a slave in Rome to Epaphroditos, a very wealthy freedman of Nero. Even as a slave, Epictetus used his time productively, studying Stoic Philosophy under Musonius Rufus. He was eventually freed and lived a relatively hard life in ill health in Rome. It is known that he became crippled, yet the exact cause remains in dispute. Some reports claim that his injuries were a result of cruel treatment by his owner, Epaphroditos, while yet other reports claim that Epaphroditos was an ideal master who enthusiastically supported Epictetus' studies. He was exiled along with other philosophers by the emperor Domitian sometime between 89 and 95. Slave redirects here. ... Nickname: Motto: SPQR: Senatus Populusque Romanus Location of the city of Rome (yellow) within the Province of Rome (red) and region of Lazio (grey) Coordinates: Region Lazio Province Province of Rome Founded 21 April 753 BC Government  - Mayor Walter Veltroni Area  - City 1,285 km²  (580 sq mi)  - Urban 5... Epaphroditos was the scribe of Nero, who reportedly assisted in his suicide on June 9, 68. ... Nero[1] Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (December 15, 37 – June 9, 68)[2], born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, also called Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus, was the fifth and last Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. ... Stoicism is a school of philosophy commonly associated with such Greek philosophers as Zeno of Citium, Cleanthes, or Chrysippus and with such later Romans as Cicero, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus. ... The philosopher Socrates about to take poison hemlock as ordered by the court. ... Musonius Rufus, a Roman Stoic philosopher of the 1st century AD, was born in Volsinii, Etruria about AD 20-30. ... Titus Flavius Domitianus (24 October 51 – 18 September 96), commonly known as Domitian, was a Roman Emperor of the gens Flavia. ... This article is about the year 89. ... Centuries: 1st century BC - 1st century - 2nd century Decades: 0s BC - 0s - 10s - 20s - 30s - 40s - 50s - 60s - 70s - 80s - 90s - 100s Years: 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 // Events Frontinus is appointed superintendent of the aqueducts (curator aquarum) in Rome. ...


It was Epictetus' exile by Domitian that began what would later come to be the most celebrated part of his life. After his exile, Epictetus traveled to Nicopolis, Greece, where he founded a famed philosophical school. This school was even visited by Emperor Hadrian, and its most famous student, Arrian, became a great historian in his own right. Titus Flavius Domitianus (24 October 51 – 18 September 96), commonly known as Domitian, was a Roman Emperor of the gens Flavia. ... Nicopolis (meaning in Greek: city of victory; see also List of traditional Greek place names) or Actia Nicopolis was an ancient city of Epirus, founded 31 BC by Octavian in memory of his victory over Antony and Cleopatra at Actium. ... Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus (January 24, 76 – July 10, 138), known as Hadrian in English was Roman emperor from 117 – 138, as well as a Stoic and Epicurean philosopher. ... Alexander the Great Lucius Flavius Arrianus Xenophon (c. ...


True to Stoic form, Epictetus lived a life of great simplicity, marked by teaching and intellectual pursuits. Some claim that he married once, late in life, to help raise a child who would have otherwise been left to die. Others say that he did not marry, and remained childless.


Demonax supposedly rebuked Epictetus' exhortation to marry by sarcastically asking whether he could marry one of the philosopher's daughters. Demonax (born in Cyprus) was a Greek philosopher of the 2nd century BC. He tried to revive the philosophy of the Cynic school. ...


Thought

So far as is known, Epictetus himself wrote nothing. All that remains of his work was transcribed by his pupil Arrian (author of the Anabasis Alexandri). [1] The main work is The Discourses, four books of which have been preserved (out of an original eight). Arrian also compiled a popular digest, entitled the Enchiridion, or Handbook. In a preface to the Discourses, addressed to Lucius Gellius, Arrian states that "whatever I heard him say I used to write down, word for word, as best I could, endeavouring to preserve it as a memorial, for my own future use, of his way of thinking and the frankness of his speech". Alexander the Great Lucius Flavius Arrianus Xenophon (c. ... Anabasis Alexandri, the Campaigns of Alexander by Arrian is the most important source on Alexander the Great. ... In semantics, discourses are linguistic units composed of several sentences - in other words, conversations, arguments or speeches. ... The Enchiridion, or handbook of Epictetus, was written in 135 A.D. The text (translated by Elizabeth Carter circa 1750), which is brief, can be found at http://classics. ...


Epictetus focused more on ethics than the early Stoics had. Repeatedly attributing his ideas to Socrates, he held that our aim was to be masters of our own lives. The role of the Stoic teacher, according to Epictetus, was to encourage his students to learn, first of all, the true nature of things, which is invariable, inviolable and valid for all human beings without exceptions. The ‘nature of things’ is their partition into two categories; those things that are subject to our exclusive power (prohairetic things) and those things that are not subject to our exclusive power (aprohairetic things). The first category of things includes judgment, impulse, desire, aversion, etc. The second category of things, which can also be called adiaphora, includes health, material wealth, fame, etc. Epictetus then introduced his students to two cardinal concepts: the concept of Prohairesis and the concept of Dihairesis. Prohairesis is what distinguishes humans from all other creatures. It is the faculty that makes us desire or avert, feel impelled or repel something, assent to or dissent about something, according to our own judgments. Epictetus repeatedly says that "we are our prohairesis". Dihairesis is the judgement that is performed by our Prohairesis, and that enables us to distinguish what is subject to our exclusive power from what is not subject to our exclusive power. Finally, Epictetus taught his students that good and evil exist only in our Prohairesis and never in external or aprohairetic things. The good student who had thoroughly grasped these concepts and employed them in everyday life was prepared to live the philosophic life, whose objective was eudaimonia (happiness or flourishing). This meant living virtuously, in accordance with reason and in accordance with the "nature of things". Stoicism is a school of philosophy commonly associated with such Greek philosophers as Zeno of Citium, Cleanthes, or Chrysippus and with such later Romans as Cicero, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus. ... Adiaphoron, pl. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ...


The essence of Epictetus's psychology is revealed by two of his most frequently quoted statements:

We are disturbed not by events, but by the views which we take of them.

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?

The final entry of the Enchiridion, or Handbook; which is Arrian's anthology of quotes by Epictetus, begins "Upon all occasions we ought to have these maxims ready at hand:"

Conduct me, Zeus, and thou, O Destiny,
Wherever thy decree has fixed my lot.
I follow willingly; and, did I not,
Wicked and wretched would I follow still.
(Diogenes Laertius quoting Cleanthes; quoted also by Seneca, Epistle 107.)"
Diogenes Laërtius, the biographer of the Greek philosophers, is supposed by some to have received his surname from the town of Laerte in Cilicia, and by others from the Roman family of the Laërtii. ... Cleanthes (c. ... Seneca may refer to: Roman figures (any links to Seneca in Roman pages should be relinked to one of these two) Marcus (or Lucius) Annaeus Seneca also called rhetor, Roman orator and father of Seneca the philosopher and dramatist. ...

Whoe'er yields properly to Fate is deemed
Wise among men, and knows the laws of Heaven.
(From Euripides' Fragments, 965)
A statue of Euripides Euripides (Greek: Ευριπίδης) (c. ...

O Crito, if it thus pleases the gods, thus let it be.
(From Plato's Crito) PLATO was one of the first generalized Computer assisted instruction systems, originally built by the University of Illinois (U of I) and later taken over by Control Data Corporation (CDC), who provided the machines it ran on. ... The Crito (IPA [kriːtɔːn]; in English usually [ˈkɹiːtɘʊː]) is a short but important dialogue by the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato. ...

Anytus and Meletus may indeed kill me, but they cannot harm me.
(From Plato's Apology) PLATO was one of the first generalized Computer assisted instruction systems, originally built by the University of Illinois (U of I) and later taken over by Control Data Corporation (CDC), who provided the machines it ran on. ... (The) Apology (of Socrates) is Platos version of the speech given by Socrates as he defends himself against the charges of being a man who corrupted the young, did not believe in the gods, and created new deities. Apology here has its earlier meaning (now usually expressed by the...

Modern influence

Psychology

The influence of Epictetus continues today. Psychologist Albert Ellis, the founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, credits Epictetus with providing a foundation for his system of psychotherapy (How to Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable about Anything, 1998). This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is an active-directive, solution-oriented therapy which focuses on resolving cognitive, emotional, and behavioral problems in clients, originally developed by the American psychotherapist Albert Ellis. ...


Military

The philosophy of Epictetus is well known in the military through the writings and example of James Stockdale, an American fighter pilot who was shot down over North Vietnam, and became a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, and later a vice presidential candidate. In Courage under Fire: Testing Epictetus's Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior (1993), Stockdale credits Epictetus with helping him endure seven and a half years in a North Vietnamese military prison – including torture, and four years in solitary confinement.[2] In his conclusion, Stockdale quoted Epictetus as saying, "The emotions of grief, pity, and even affection are well-known disturbers of the soul. Grief is the most offensive; Epictetus considered the suffering of grief an act of evil. It is a willful act, going against the will of God to have all men share happiness" (p. 235). Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale (December 23, 1923 – July 5, 2005) was one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the United States Navy. ... Combatants Republic of Vietnam United States Republic of Korea Thailand Australia New Zealand The Philippines National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam People’s Republic of China Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea Strength US 1,000,000 South Korea 300,000 Australia 48,000...


Literature

Epictetus is mentioned briefly in Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger. At one point Franny says: "I sat and I sat, and finally I got up and started writing things from Epictetus all over the blackboard. I filled the whole front blackboard--I didn't even know I'd remembered so much of him. I erased it--thank God!--before people started coming in. But it was a childish thing to do anyway--Epictetus would have absolutely hated me for doing it--but..." Franny and Zooey is a 1961 pair of stories, published together in book form, by J. D. Salinger, the author best known for The Catcher in the Rye. ... Jerome David Salinger (born January 1, 1919) is an American author best known for his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, as well as his reclusive nature; he has not published any new work since 1965 and has not granted a formal interview since 1980. ...


The philosophy of Epictetus plays a key role in the 1998 novel by Tom Wolfe, A Man in Full. This was in part the outcome of discussions Wolfe had with James Stockdale (see above). Thomas Kennerly Wolfe (born March 2, 1931 in Richmond, Virginia), known as Tom Wolfe, is a best-selling American author and journalist. ... A Man in Full is a novel by Tom Wolfe, published in 1998 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ...


Philosophy

When Bernard Stiegler was imprisoned for five years for armed robbery in France, he assembled an "ensemble of disciplines" which he called (in reference to Epictetus) his melete.[3] This ensemble amounted to a practice of reading and writing which Stiegler derived from the writings of Epictetus. This led to his transformation, and upon being released from incarceration he became a professional philosopher.[citation needed] Please wikify (format) this article or section as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Entry for Epictetus, in Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  2. ^ Stockdale, James Bond. 1993. Courage Under Fire: Testing Epictetus's Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior. Stanford: Hoover Institution/Stanford University.
  3. ^ Bernard Stiegler, "Philosophising By Accident," Public 33 (2006), pp. 104-5. This is an extract from Stiegler, Passer à l'acte (Paris: Galilée, 2003).

...

References

  • Epictetus, Nicholas P. White (trans.), The Handbook, ISBN 0-915145-69-3, 1983.
  • Epictetus, George Long (trans.), Enchiridion, ISBN 0-87975-703-5, 1955.
  • Adolf Friedrich Bonhoffer, William O. Stephens, The Ethics of the Stoic Epictetus, ISBN 0-8204-5139-8, 2000.
  • A. A. Long, Epictetus: A Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life, ISBN 0-19-924556-8, 2002.
  • Epictetus, The Discourses (The Handbook, Fragments), Everyman Edition, Edited by Christopher Gill, ISBN 0-460-87312-1, 2003.
  • Robert Dobbin, Epictetus Discourses: Book 1 (Clarendon Later Ancient Philosophers), Oxford: Clarendon Press, ISBN 0-19-823664-6, 1998.
  • Michel Foucault, The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1981–1982, New York: Picador, 2005, ISBN 0-312-42570-8.
  • Epictetus: The Discourses, trans. W. A. Oldfather. 2 vols. (Loeb Classical Library edition.) Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1925 & 1928. ISBN 0-674-99145-1 and ISBN 0-674-99240-7.

Michel Foucault (IPA pronunciation: ) (October 15, 1926 – June 25, 1984) was a French philosopher and historian. ... William Abbott Oldfather (1880 – 1945) was an American classical scholar. ...

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Epictetus
Wikisource
English Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Enchiridion
Wikisource
Greek Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Epiktetus

  Results from FactBites:
 
Epictetus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (763 words)
Epictetus spent his youth as a slave in Rome to Epaphroditos, a very wealthy freedman of Nero.
It was Epictetus' exile by Domitian that began what would later come to be the most celebrated part of his life.
The role of the Stoic teacher, according to Epictetus, was to encourage his students to live the philosophic life, whose end was eudaimonia (‘happiness’ or ‘flourishing’), to be secured by living the life of reason, which meant living virtuously and living ‘according to the will of nature’.
Epictetus (1532 words)
Epictetus suggested that making the shackle tighter was not needed to keep him from running away, but would merely break his leg.
Epictetus was the most dominant teacher of Stoicism during the period of the Roman Empire.
Epictetus suggests that, in the light of Stoic epistemological theory, the apprentice philosopher should train himself to analyze his impressions carefully and be on guard not to give assent to unwarranted value-judgements.
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