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The Discourses of Epictetus, tr. by P.E Matheson, [1916], at

The Discourses.

Book I Notes

1-1 This technical Stoic word, as Matheson points out, includes 'the power of presenting an image to the mind's eye' and 'the image so presented'. It is almost the equivalent of 'the data of consciousness'.

1-2 These words frequently recur in Epictetus.

1-3 Primary notions. 'They are certain general terms used commonly by men (such as good, happiness, justice), and their proper application not being reasoned out by the individual before he uses them, they are in a sense anticipations of reasoned knowledge.' (Matheson)

1-4 The Greek says, 'to hold the pot'.

1-5 The interruption here of one of the listeners is perfectly typical of the informal character of the Discourses.

1-6 This is a technical Stoic term.

1-7 This is a summary of the three spheres of man's activity, according to the Stoics: (a) The will to get and will to avoid; (b) impulse positive and negative; (c) assent. (Matheson)

1-8 'A premiss is said to "vary" when it becomes untrue at some subsequent time.' (Matheson)

1-9 'τὸ βάραθρον. The ravine at Athens into which the corpses of criminals were thrown: hence used metaphorically of the extreme of misery or degradation.' (Matheson)

1-10 Epictetus uses Zeus 'interchangeably with "God" and "the divine", to express the Divine Spirit of the universe.' (Matheson)

1-11 Sometimes this is rendered literally by the word 'daemon' and it connoted to the Stoic the higher element within man, his reason.

1-12 This is 'the governing principle of the soul, and as the highest aspect of the soul is rational, it is often equivalent to διάνοια and λογισμός, but must not be regarded as purely intellectual: it is the soul as feeling and willing, as well as thinking.' (Matheson)

1-13 Cf. above, note 3.

1-14 'Epictetus, lecturing at Nicopolis in Epirus, speaks of sending his pupil to Rome to spy out the land, to see how things are going in the capital under Domitian, who had expelled all philosophers.' (Matheson)

1-15 Medea.

Next: Chapter I. That There is no Conflict Between Confidence and Caution