An artistic impression of Epictetus
|Birth||ca. This page lists some links to ancient philosophy. In Western philosophy, the spread of Christianity through the Roman Empire marked the end of Hellenistic 55|
|Death||ca. Year 55 was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar of the Julian calendar. For the Syrian city called Hierapolis Bambyce see Manbij. Hierapolis ( Greek: 'holy city' was the ancient city on top of the In antiquity Phrygia (Φρυγία was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey. 135|
|Influenced by||Plato, Gaius Musonius Rufus, Cleanthes|
Epictetus (Greek: Ἐπίκτητος; ca. Nicopolis (Νικόπολις city of victory) or Actia Nicopolis was an ancient city of Epirus, founded 31 BC by Octavian in memory Greece (Ελλάδα transliterated: Elláda, historically, Ellás,) officially the Hellenic Republic (Ελληνική Δημοκρατία Stoicism, a school of Hellenistic philosophy, was founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early third century BC Ethics is a major branch of Philosophy, encompassing right conduct and good life Biography Early life Birth and family Plato was born in Athens Greece Gaius Musonius Rufus, was a Roman Stoic Philosopher of the 1st century AD Cleanthes (Κλέανθης of Assos, lived c 330- c 230 BC was a Stoic Philosopher and the successor to Zeno as the second head ( scholarch For others with this name see Arrianus (disambiguation. Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon' (ca Greek (el ελληνική γλώσσα or simply el ελληνικά — "Hellenic" is an Indo-European language, spoken today by 15-22 million people mainly 55–ca. Year 55 was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar of the Julian calendar. 135) was a Greek Stoic philosopher. The term ancient Greece refers to the period of Greek history lasting from the Greek Dark Ages ca Stoicism, a school of Hellenistic philosophy, was founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early third century BC He was probably born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia (present day Pamukkale, Turkey), and lived in Rome until his exile to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece, where he lived most of his life and died. For the Syrian city called Hierapolis Bambyce see Manbij. Hierapolis ( Greek: 'holy city' was the ancient city on top of the In antiquity Phrygia (Φρυγία was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey. Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle" in Turkish, is a natural site and attraction in south-western Turkey in the Denizli Province. Turkey (Türkiye known officially as the Republic of Turkey ( is a Eurasian Country that stretches Rome ( Roma ˈroma Roma is the capital city of Italy and Lazio, and is Italy's largest and most populous city with more than 2 Nicopolis (Νικόπολις city of victory) or Actia Nicopolis was an ancient city of Epirus, founded 31 BC by Octavian in memory Greece (Ελλάδα transliterated: Elláda, historically, Ellás,) officially the Hellenic Republic (Ελληνική Δημοκρατία The name given by his parents, if one was given, is not known—the word epiktetos in Greek simply means "acquired. "
Epictetus was born c. 55 AD, at Hierapolis, Phrygia. Year 55 was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar of the Julian calendar.  He spent his youth as a slave in Rome to Epaphroditus, a very wealthy freedman of Nero. As a social-economic system slavery is a legal institution under which a Person (called "a slave" is compelled to work for another Epaphroditos or Epaphroditus (died c 95 was a Freedman and secretary of the Roman Emperor Nero. A freedman is a former slave who has been manumitted or emancipated. Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus ( December 15, 37 – June 9, 68) born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, also called Epictetus studied Stoic philosophy under Musonius Rufus, as a slave. Stoicism, a school of Hellenistic philosophy, was founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early third century BC Gaius Musonius Rufus, was a Roman Stoic Philosopher of the 1st century AD  It is known that he became crippled, and although one source tells that his leg was deliberately broken by Epaphroditus, more reliable is the testimony of Simplicius who tells us that he had been lame from childhood. Simplicius (Σιμπλίκιος of Cilicia, lived c 490-c 560 AD was a disciple of Ammonius and Damascius, and was one of the last of the Neoplatonists 
It is not known how Epictetus obtained his freedom, but eventually he began to teach philosophy at Rome. Philosophy is the study of general problems concerning matters such as existence knowledge truth beauty justice validity mind and language Around 93 AD Domitian banished all philosophers from Rome, and ultimately, from Italy, and Epictetus traveled to Nicopolis in Epirus, Greece, where he founded a philosophical school. For roadways designated 93 see Route 93. For the novel by Victor Hugo see Ninety-Three Year 93 was a Leap year Titus Flavius Domitianus (24 October 51 &ndash 18 September 96 commonly known as Domitian, was a Roman Emperor who reigned from 14 September 81 until his death Italy (Italia officially the Italian Republic, (Repubblica Italiana is located on the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe, and on the two largest Nicopolis (Νικόπολις city of victory) or Actia Nicopolis was an ancient city of Epirus, founded 31 BC by Octavian in memory Epirus (from Ionic Greek Ήπειρος - Ēpeiros, Doric Greek: Ἅπειρος - Apeiros, in Albanian Greece (Ελλάδα transliterated: Elláda, historically, Ellás,) officially the Hellenic Republic (Ελληνική Δημοκρατία 
His most famous pupil Arrian studied under him as a young man (c. For others with this name see Arrianus (disambiguation. Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon' (ca 108 AD) and claims to have written the famous Discourses based on his lecture notes, although some scholars argue that they should rather be considered an original literary composition by Arrian comparable to the Socratic literature. The Discourses of Epictetus are a series of extracts of the teachings of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus written down by Arrian c Arrian describes Epictetus as being a powerful speaker who could "induce his listener to feel just what Epictetus wanted him to feel. " Many eminent figures sought conversations with him, and the Emperor Hadrian favoured him and may have visited his school in Nicopolis. Publius Aelius Hadrianus (January 24 76 &ndash July 10 138 as emperor Imperator Caesar Divi Traiani filius Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, and Divus Hadrianus after 
He lived a life of great simplicity, with few possessions.  He lived alone for a long time, but in his old age he adopted a friend's child who would otherwise have been left to die, and raised it with a nurse to help him.  He died sometime around 135 AD.  After his death his lamp was said to have been purchased by an admirer for 3000 drachmae. An oil lamp is a simple vessel used to produce light continuously for a period of time from a fuel source Drachma, pl drachmas or drachmae (δραχμή pl δραχμές or δραχμαί (until 1982 is the name of An ancient currency unit found in many 
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). For others with this name see Arrianus (disambiguation. Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon' (ca Anabasis Alexandri, the Campaigns of Alexander by Arrian is the most important source on Alexander the Great.  The main work is The Discourses, four books of which have been preserved (out of an original eight). The Discourses of Epictetus are a series of extracts of the teachings of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus written down by Arrian c  Arrian also compiled a popular digest, entitled the Enchiridion, or Handbook. The Enchiridion, or Handbook of Epictetus, (Ἐγχειρίδιον Επικτήτου is a short manual of ethical advice compiled by Arrian 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". 
Epictetus focused more on ethics than the early Stoics had. Stoicism, a school of Hellenistic philosophy, was founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early third century BC 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 further partitioned 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. Adiaphoron (plural adiaphora from the Greek αδιάφορα "indifferent things" was a concept used in Stoic philosophy to indicate things Epictetus then introduced his students to two cardinal concepts: the concept of Prohairesis and the concept of Dihairesis. Prohairesis (variously translated as "moral character" "will" "volition" "choice" "intention" or "moral choice") is a foundational Diairesis (or dihairesis or diaeresis; Greek: διαίρεσις is used as a technical term in Platonic and Stoic philosophy. Prohairesis is what distinguishes humans from all other creatures. It is the faculty that, according to our own judgments, makes us desire or avert, feel impelled or repel something, assent to or dissent about something. 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 ataraxia (an undisturbed and serene state of mind). Ataraxia (Ἀταραξία is a Greek term used by Pyrrho and Epicurus for a limpid state characterized by freedom from worry or any This meant fully understanding that we should not be affected by the external objects of our lives, because they are exclusively not up to us. This reasoning is in accordance with the knowledge of the true "nature of things," that is, the predetermined and complexly fixed order of the universe and the cosmos. This ataraxia was Epictetus', and the Stoics', ideal model of eudamonia, or "happiness and fulfillment. Ataraxia (Ἀταραξία is a Greek term used by Pyrrho and Epicurus for a limpid state characterized by freedom from worry or any Eudaimonia ( Greek:) is a classical Greek word commonly translated as ' Happiness ' "
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 ( Greek:, Diogénes Laértios) the biographer of the Greek Philosophers, is supposed by some to have received his surname Cleanthes (Κλέανθης of Assos, lived c 330- c 230 BC was a Stoic Philosopher and the successor to Zeno as the second head ( scholarch )"
Whoe'er yields properly to Fate is deemed
Wise among men, and knows the laws of Heaven.
(From Euripides' Fragments, 965)
O Crito, if it thus pleases the gods, thus let it be. Euripides ( Ancient Greek:) (ca 480 BC–406 BC was the last of the three great tragedians of classical Athens (the other two being Aeschylus
(From Plato's Crito)
Anytus and Meletus may indeed kill me, but they cannot harm me. Biography Early life Birth and family Plato was born in Athens Greece The Crito (IPA; in English usually) is a short but important Dialogue by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato.
(From Plato's Apology)
Psychologist Albert Ellis, the founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, credited Epictetus with providing a foundation for his system of psychotherapy. Albert Ellis ( September 27 1913 &ndash July 24 2007) was an American Psychologist who in 1955 developed Rational Emotive Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy ( REBT) is a comprehensive active-directive philosophically and empirically based psychotherapy which focuses Psychotherapy is an Interpersonal, relational intervention used by trained psychotherapists to aid clients in problems of living 
The philosophy of Epictetus was an influence on the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121 to 180 A. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (often referred to as "the wise" ( April 26, 121 – March 17, 180) was Roman Emperor D. ) whose reign was marked by wars with the resurgent Parthians in southern Asia and against the Germanic tribes in Europe. Parthia ( Middle Persian: اشکانیان Ashkâniân) was an Iranian civilization situated in the northeastern part of modern Iran The Germanic peoples are a historical group of Indo-European -speaking peoples originating in Northern Europe and identified by their use of the Germanic Aurelius quotes from Epictetus repeatedly in his own work, Meditations, written during his campaigns in central Europe. Meditations (Τὰ εἰς ἑαυτόν Ta eis heauton, literally "thoughts/writings addressed to himself" is the title of a series of personal writings
The philosophy of Epictetus is well known in the American military through the writings and example of James Stockdale, an American fighter pilot who was shot down over North Vietnam, became a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, and later a vice presidential candidate. Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale (December 23 1923&ndashJuly 5 2005 was one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the United States Navy The United States Armed Forces are the overall unified military forces of the United States The United States of America —commonly referred to as the A fighter pilot is a military aviator trained to engage other aircraft and typically pilots a Fighter aircraft. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRVN or less commonly Vietnamese Democratic Republic (Việt Nam Dân Chủ Cộng Hòa was a Country on the northern half of Vietnam The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, or the Vietnam Conflict, occurred in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia The Vice President of the United States is the first person in the presidential line of succession, becoming the new President of the United States upon the death 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. Solitary confinement, colloquially referred to in American English as "the hole" or "the pound" (or in British English "the block" is a Punishment  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).
Epictetus is mentioned in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 &ndash 13 January 1941 was an Irish expatriate writer widely considered to be one of the most influential writers of the A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a semi-autobiographical Novel by James Joyce, first serialized in The Egoist In the fifth chapter of the novel the protagonist Stephen Daedalus discusses Epictetus's famous lamp with a Dean of his college: "-Epictetus also had a lamp, said the dean, which was sold for a fancy price after his death. It was the lamp he wrote his philosophical dissertations by. You know Epictetus? / -An old gentleman, said Stephen coarsely, who said that the soul is very like a bucketful of water. / -He tells us in his homely way, the dean went on, that he put an iron lamp before a statue of one of the gods and that a thief stole the lamp. What did the philosopher do? He reflected that it was in the character of a thief to steal and determined to buy an earthen lamp next day instead of the iron lamp" (pgs. 202-203 of the Penguin Edition). Epictetus reoccurs several times throughout this chapter.
Epictetus is mentioned briefly in Franny and Zooey by J. Jerome David "J D" Salinger (born January 1 1919 (ˈsælɨndʒɚ is an American author best known for his 1951 Novel The Catcher in the Rye Franny and Zooey is a novel by J D Salinger, published in 1961. 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. . . "
Epictetus is referred to, but not mentioned by name, in Arnold's sonnet To a Friend. Matthew Arnold (24 December 1822 &ndash 15 April 1888 was an English Poet, and Cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools The sonnet is one of the poetic forms that can be found in Lyric poetry from Europe. Arnold provides three historical personalities as his inspiration and support in difficult times, (Epictetus is preceded by Homer and succeeded by Sophocles):
Much he, whose friendship I not long since won,
That halting slave, who in Nicopolis
Taught Arrian, when Vespasian's brutal son
Cleared Rome of what most shamed him. Homer ( Ancient Greek:, Homēros) is a legendary ancient Greek epic Poet, traditionally said to be the author of the epic poems the Sophocles (ˈsɒfəkliːz Ancient Greek, sopʰoklɛ̂ːs circa 
The philosophy of Epictetus plays a key role in the 1998 novel by Tom Wolfe, A Man in Full. Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Jr (born March 2, 1931 in Richmond, Virginia) known as Tom Wolfe, is a Best-selling A Man in Full is a Novel by Tom Wolfe, published in 1998 by Farrar Straus & Giroux. This was in part the outcome of discussions Wolfe had with James Stockdale (see above). The importance of Epictetus' Stoicism for Stockdale, its role in A Man in Full, and its significance in Gladiator (2000 film) is discussed by William O. A Man in Full is a Novel by Tom Wolfe, published in 1998 by Farrar Straus & Giroux. Gladiator is a 2000 Epic film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen Stephens in The Rebirth of Stoicism?
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. Bernard Stiegler (born April 1, 1952) is a French Philosopher and Director of the Department of Cultural Development at the Centre This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics. 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. 
Keith Seddon has published a translation with commentary, Epictetus' Handbook, in which he applies Epictetus' Stoic principles of living to contemporary living:
We should have no qualms in seeing this enterprise as progress towards a spiritual enlightenment, in which the world and one's place in it are seen in a radically new light. It is this realization of what human beings really are and how we should engage in life that Epictetus sought to convey to his students in his school nearly 2,000 years ago. Epictetus' Handbook, Keith Seddon, p. ix
Seddon has also developed a course giving a basic introduction to Stoic ideas, and their application.