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Epictetus, Works (ed. Thomas Wentworth Higginson) 4 0 Browse Search
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Epictetus, Discourses (ed. Thomas Wentworth Higginson), book 1 (search)
nd in these to exercise themselves. ThraseasThraseas Pastus, a Stoic philosopher put to death by Nero. Hie was husband of Arria, so well known by that beautiful epigram in Martial. The expression of Tacitus concerning him is remarkable: After the murder of so many excellent persons, Nero at last formed a desire of cutting off virtue itself, by the execution of Thraseas Paetus and Bareas Soranus. Ann. 16.21.- C. used to say, " I had rather be killed today than banished to-morrow." But how did RufusRufus was a Tuscan, of the equestrian order, and a Stoic philosopher. When Vespasian banished the other philosophers, Rufus was alone excepted. - C. answer him? " If you prefer it as a heavier misfortune, how foolish a preference ! If as a lighter, who has put it in your power? Why do you not study to be contented with what is allotted you?" Well, and what said Agrippinus Agrippinus was banished by Nero, for no other crime than the unfortunate death of his father, who had been causelessly
Epictetus, Discourses (ed. Thomas Wentworth Higginson), book 1 (search)
and absurd, and unconnected with our idea of the virtuous man. Why, then, are we still indolent, and slothful, and sluggish, seeking pretences of avoiding labor? Shall we not be watchful to render reason itself accurate? "But suppose, after all, I should make a mistake in these points, - it is not as if I had killed my father." O slavish man, in this case you had no father to kill. but the only fault that you could commit in this instance, you have committed. This very thing I myself said to Rufus when he reproved me for not finding the weak point in some syllogism. "Why," said I, "have I burnt the capitol then?" "Slave !" answered he, "was the thing here involved the capitol? Or are there no other faults but burning the capitol, or killing a father?" And is it no fault to treat rashly, and vainly, and heedlessly, the things which pass before our eyes, - not to comprehend a reason, nor a demonstration, nor a sophism; nor, in short, to see what is strong in reasoning and what is wea