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The Discourses of Epictetus

tr. by P.E. Matheson


Contents    Start Reading    Page Index    Text [Zipped]

Cleanse your own heart, cast out from your mind, ... pain, fear, desire, envy, ill will, avarice, cowardice, passion uncontrolled. These things you cannot cast out, unless you look to God alone, on Him alone set your thoughts, and consecrate yourself to His commands. --(bk. II, ch. xvii, p. 316)

Epictetus was a Greek Stoic philosopher (b. 55-d. 135 CE). Born a slave in Hierapolis, Phyrgia, in what is today Turkey, Epictetus lived in Rome until exiled to Nicopolis in Northern Greece. It was in exile that Epictetus' disciple Arrian took down his Discourses. As we have no actual writings of Epictetus, Arrian's notes are the only remnants of his philosophy.

This edition includes the Discourses, and two minor works, the Fragments, and the Manual, also known as the Enchiridion.--J.B. Hare, June 13th, 2009.

Title Page

The Discourses

Book I

Chapter I. On Things in Our Power and Things Not in Our Power
Chapter II. How One May Be True to One's Character in Everything
Chapter III. What Conclusions May be Drawn From the Fact That God is Father of Men
Chapter IV. On Progress, or Moral Advance
Chapter V. Against Followers of the Academy
Chapter VI. On Providence
Chapter VII. On the Use of Variable Premisses and Hypothetical Arguments and the Like
Chapter VIII. That Faculties are Fraught With Danger for the Uneducated
Chapter IX. How One May Draw Conclusions From the Fact That We are God's Kinsmen
Chapter X. To Those Who Have Spent Their Energies on Advancement in Rome
Chapter XI. On Family Affection
Chapter XII. On Contentment
Chapter XIII. How One May Act in All Things so as to Please the Gods
Chapter XIV. That God Beholds All Men
Chapter XV. What Philosophy Professes
Chapter XVI. On Providence
Chapter XVII. That the Processes of Logic are Necessary
Chapter XVIII. That We Should not be Angry at Men's Errors
Chapter XIX. How One Should Behave Towards Tyrants
Chapter XX. How Reason has the Faculty of Taking Cognizance of Itself
Chapter XXI. To Those Who Wish to be Admired
Chapter XXII. On Primary Conceptions
Chapter XXIII. Against Epicurus
Chapter XXIV. How One Should Contend Against Difficulties
Chapter XXV. On the Same Theme
Chapter XXVI. What is the Law of Life
Chapter XXVII. On The Ways in Which Impressions Come to Us: and the Aids We Must Provide for Ourselves to Deal With Them
Chapter XXVIII. That We Must not be Angry with Men: and Concerning what Things are Small and what are Great Among Men
Chapter XXIX. On Constancy
Chapter XXX. What A Man Should Have Ready to Hand in the Crises of Life

Book II

Chapter I. That There is no Conflict Between Confidence and Caution
Chapter II. On Peace of Mind
Chapter III. To Those who Commend Persons to Philosophers
Chapter IV. To the Man Caught in Adultery
Chapter V. How A Careful Life is Compatible with a Noble Spirit
Chapter VI. On What is Meant by 'Indifferent' Things
Chapter VII. How to Consult Diviners
Chapter VIII. What is the True Nature of the Good
Chapter IX. That We Adopt the Profession of the Philosopher When We Cannot Fulfil That of a Man
Chapter X. How the Acts Appropriate to Man Are to be Discovered From the Names He Bears
Chapter XI. What is the Beginning of Philosophy
Chapter XII. On the Art of Discussion
Chapter XIII. Concerning Anxiety
Chapter XIV. On Naso
Chapter XV. On Those Who Cling Stubbornly to Their Judgements
Chapter XVI. That We do not Practise Applying our Judgements About Things Good and Evil
Chapter XVII. How We Must Adjust Our Primary Conceptions to Particular Things
Chapter XVIII. How We Must Struggle Against Impressions
Chapter XIX. To Those Who Take Up the Principles of the Philosophers Only to Discuss Them
Chapter XX. Against Followers of Epicurus and of the Academy
Chapter XXI. Concerning Inconsistency of Mind
Chapter XXII. On Friendship
Chapter XXIII. On the Faculty of Expression
Chapter XXIV. To One Whom He Did Not Think Worthy
Chapter XXV. How The Art of Reasoning is Necessary
Chapter XXVI. What is the Distinctive Character of Error

Book III

Chapter I. On Adornment
Chapter II. 1) In What Matters Should the Man Who is to Make Progress Train Himself: And (2) That We Neglect What is Most Vital
Chapter III. What is the Material with Which the Good Man Deals: and What Should be the Object of Our Training
Chapter IV. Against One Who was Indecorously Excited in the Theatre
Chapter V. Against Those Who Make Illness an Excuse For Leaving the Lecture-Room
Chapter VI. Scattered Sayings
Chapter XII. Dialogue with the Commissioner of the Free Cities, Who was an Epicurean
Chapter VIII. How We Should Train Ourselves to Deal With Impressions
Chapter IX. To a Rhetor Going up to Rome for a Trial
Chapter X. How One Should Bear Illnesses
Chapter XI. Scattered Sayings
Chapter XII. On Training
Chapter XIII. What a 'Forlorn' Condition Means, and a 'Forlorn' Man
Chapter XIV. Scattered Sayings
Chapter XV. That We Should Approach Everything with Consideration
Chapter XVI. That We Must Be Cautious In Our Social Relations
Chapter XVII. Concerning Providence
Chapter XVIII. That We Must Not Allow News to Disturb Us
Chapter XIX. What is the Difference Between the Philosopher and the Uneducated Man
Chapter XX. That Benefit May be Derived From All Outward Things
Chapter XXI. To Those Who Undertake the Profession of Teacher With A Light Heart
Chapter XXII. On the Calling of the Cynic
Chapter XXIII. To Those Who Read and Discourse For Display
Chapter XXIV. That We Ought not to Spend Our Feelings on Things Beyond Our Power
Chapter XXV. To Those Who Fail to Achieve What They Set Before Them
Chapter XXVI. To Those Who Fear Want

Book IV

Chapter I. On Freedom
Chapter II. On Intercourse With Men
Chapter III. What To Aim at in Exchange
Chapter IV. To Those Whose Heart is Set On a Quiet Life
Chapter V. To Those That are Contentious and Brutal
Chapter VI. To Those Who are Distressed at Being Pitied
Chapter VII. On Freedom From Fear
Chapter VIII. To Those Who Hastily Assume the Character of Philosophers
Chapter IX. To One Who Was Modest and Has Become Shameless
Chapter X. What Things We Should Despise, and What We Should Deem Important
Chapter XI. On Cleanliness
Chapter XII. On Attention
Chapter XIII. To Those Who Lightly Communicate Their Secrets



The Enchiridion

The Manual [Enchiridion] of Epictetus


Subject Index to the Discourses of Epictetus