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Epictetus, Discourses (ed. George Long), book 1 (search)
led civilized, and are so more or less, do not seem to be so varied as in antient times: but the con- trasts in modern opinions are striking. These modern opinions vary between denial of a God, though the number of those who deny is perhaps not large, and the superstitious notions about God and his administration of the world, which are taught by teachers, learned and ignorant, and exercise a great power over the minds of those who are unable or do not dare to exercise the faculty of reason.(Iliad, x. 278). Before all other things then it is necessary to inquire about each of these opinions, whether it is affirmed truly or not truly. For if there are no gods, how is it our proper end to follow them?To follow God, is a Stoical expression. Antoninus, x. 11. And if they exist, but take no care of anything, in this case also how will it be right to follow them? But if indeed they do exist and look after things, still if there is nothing communicated from them to men, nor in fact to mysel
Epictetus, Discourses (ed. George Long), book 1 (search)
xpressions: oppose to one habit the contrary habit; to sophistry oppose reason, and the exercise and discipline of reason; against persuasive (deceitful) appearances we ought to have manifest praecognitions (prolh/yeis) cleared of all impurities and ready to hand. When death appears an evil, we ought to have this rule in readiness, that it is fit to avoid evil things, and that death is a necessary thing. For what shall I do, and where shall I escape it? Suppose that I am not Sarpedon,Homer, Iliad, xii. v. 328: i)/omen, h)e\ tw| eu)xos o)re/comen h)=e/ tis h(mi=n. the son of Zeus, nor able to speak in this noble way: I will go and I am resolved either to behave bravely myself or to give to another the opportunity of doing so; if I cannot succeed in doing any thing myself, I will not grudge another the doing of something noble.—Suppose that it is above our power to act thus; is it not in our power to reason thus? Tell me where I can escape death: discover for me the country, show me th
Epictetus, Discourses (ed. George Long), book 1 (search)
be angry with any man, will not be vexed at any man, will not revile or blame any man, nor hate nor quarrel with any man. So then all these great and dreadful deeds have this origin, in the appearance (opinion)? Yes, this origin and no other. The Iliad is nothing else than appearance and the use of appearances. It appearedThis is the literal version. It does not mean that it appeared right, as Mrs. Carter translates it. Alexander never thought whether it was right or wrong. All that appeared tosues some wild animal. to Alexander to carry off the wife of Menelaus: it appeared to Helene to follow him. If then it had appeared to Menelaus to feel that it was a gain to be deprived of such a wife, what would have happened? Not only would the Iliad have been lost, but the Odyssey also. On so small a matter then did such great things depend? But what do you mean by such great things? Wars and civil commotions, and the destruction of many men and cities. And what great matter is this? Is it n
Epictetus, Discourses (ed. George Long), book 2 (search)
such as I ought to have and an attitude such as I ought to have: then I will show to you the statue, when it is perfected, when it is polished. What do you expect? a supercilious coun- tenance? Does the Zeus at OlympiaThe great statue at Olympia was the work of Phidias (Pausanias, v. 11). It was a seated colossal chryselephantine statue, and held a Victory in the right Land. lift up his brow? No, his look is fixed as becomes him who is ready to say Irrevocable is my word and shall not fail.—Iliad, i. 526. Such will I show myself to you, faithful, modest, noble, free from perturbation—What, and immortal too, exempt from old age, and from sickness? No, but dying as becomes a god, sickening as becomes a god. This power I possess; this I can do. But the rest I do not possess, nor can I do. I will show the nerves (strength) of a philosopher. What LervesAn allusion to the combatants in the public exercises, who used to show their shoulders, muscles and sinews as a proof of their strength.
Epictetus, Discourses (ed. George Long), book 2 (search)
. Paul says (Romans, ii. 28), 'For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly—but he is a Jew which is one inwardly,' etc. His remarks (ii. 17–29) on the man 'who is called a Jew, and rests in the law and makes his boast of God' may be compared with what Epictetus says of a man who is called a philosopher, and does not practise that which he professes. Thus we too being falsely imbued (baptized), are in name Jews, but in fact we are something else. Our affects (feelings) are inconsistent with our words; we are far from practising what we say, and that of which we are proud, as if we knew it. Thus being unable to fulfil even what the character of a man promises, we even add to it the profession of a philosopher, which is as heavy a burden, as if a man who is unable to bear ten pounds should attempt to raise the stone which AjaxSee ii. 24, 26; Iliad, vii. 264, etc.; Juvenal, xv. 65, Nec hunc lapidem, quales et Turnus et Ajax Vel quo Tydides percussit pondere coxam Aeneae. —Upton. li
Epictetus, Discourses (ed. George Long), book 2 (search)
No, for this is in my power.—About not exerting our movements contrary to nature?—No, not even about this.—When then you see a man pale, as the physician says, judging from the complexion, this man's spleen is disordered, that man's liver; so also say, this man's desire and aversion are disordered, he is not in the right way, he is in a fever. For nothing else changes the colour, or causes trembling or chattering of the teeth, or causes a man to Sink in his knees and shift from foot to foot.—Iliad, xiii. 281. For this reason when Zeno was going to meet Antigonus,In Diogenes Laertius (Zeno, vii.) there is a letter from Antigonus to Zeno and Zeno's answer. Simplicius (note on the Encheiridion. c. 51) supposes this Antigonus to be the King of Syria; but Upton remarks that it is Antigonus Gonatas, king of Macedonia. he was not anxious, for Antigonus had no power over any of the things which Zeno admired; and Zeno did not care for those things over which Antigonus had power. But Antigonus
Epictetus, Discourses (ed. George Long), book 2 (search)
d he did not comb it elegantly nor dress it. But I am also strong. Can you then lift so great a stone as Hector or Ajax? But I am also of noble birth. Are you the son of a goddess mother? are you the son of a father sprung from Zeus? What good then do these things do to him, when he sits and weeps for a girl? But I am an orator. And was he not? Do you not see how he handled the most skilful of the Hellenes in oratory, Odysseus and Phoenix? how he stopped their mouths?In the ninth book of the Iliad, where Achilles answers the messengers sent to him by Agamemnon. The reply of Achilles is a wonderful example of eloquence. This is all that I have to say to you; and I say even this not willingly. Why? Because you have not roused me. For what must I look to in order to be roused, as men who are expert in riding are roused by generous horses? Must I look to your body? You treat it dis- gracefully. To your dress? That is luxurious. To your behaviour, to your look? That is the same as nothing
Epictetus, Discourses (ed. George Long), book 3 (search)
is not so, he is a stupid fellow, and nothing else; and he must have these qualities that he may be able readily and fitly to be a match for all circumstances that may happen. So Diogenes replied to one who said, Are you the Diogenes who does not believe that there are gods?Diogenes Laertius, vi. 42. And, how, replied Diogenes, can this be when I think that you are odious to the gods? On another occasion in reply to Alexander, who stood by him when he was sleeping, and quoted Homer's line (Iliad, ii. 24) A man a councillor should not sleep all night, he answered, when he was half asleep, The people's guardian and so full of cares. But before all the Cynic's ruling faculty must be purer than the sun; and if it is not, he must necessarily be a cunning knave and a fellow of no principle, since while he himself is entangled in some vice he will reprove others.The Cynic is in Epictetus the minister of religion. He must be pure, for otherwise how can he reprove vice? This is a useful less