r his neck, and the slaves his hands. He
goes to his house; finds it illuminated. He ascends
the capitol; offers a sacrifice. Now, who ever offered
a sacrifice for having good desires; for conforming
his aims to nature? Yet we thank the gods for that
wherein we place our good.
A person was talking with me to-day about applying for the priesthood in the temple of Augustus. I
said to him, Let the thing alone, friend; you will be
at great expense for nothing. "But my name," said
he, "will be written in the annals." Will you stand
by, then, and tell those who read them, "I am the
person whose name is written there"? And even if
you could tell every one so now, what will you do
when you are dead? " My name will remain." Write
it upon a stone, and it will remain just as well. And,
pray, what remembrance will there be of you out of
Nicopolis? "But I shall wear a crown of gold."
If your heart is quite set upon a crown, make and
put on one of roses; for it will make the prettier
There I begin to suffer another siege. But another
says, " I had rather get a dinner, and hear him prate
as much as he pleases."
Do you decide between these opinions; but do not
let it be with depression and anxiety, and the assumption that you are miserable, for no one compels you
to that. Is there smoke in my house? If it be moderate, I will stay; if very great, I will go out. For
you must always remember, and hold to this, that the
door is open. "You are forbidden to live at Nicopolis." Then I will not live there. " Nor at Athens."
Well, nor at Athens. " Nor at Rome." Nor at Rome.
"But you shall live at Gyaros."An island in the Aegean Sea, to which the Romans used to banish criminals. -C. I will live there.
But suppose that living at Gyaros seems to me like
living in a great smoke. I can then retire where no
one can forbid me to live, for it is an abode open to
all, and put off my last garment, this poor body of
mine; beyond this, no one has any power over me.
is born must
die? The instrument is either a sword, or a wheel,
or the sea, or a tile, or a tyrant; and what does
it signify to you by what way you descend to
Hades? All are equal; but, if you would hear
the truth, the shortest is that by which a tyrant
sends you. No tyrant was ever six months in
cutting any man's throat; but a fever often takes
a year. All these things are mere sound, and the
tumor of empty names.
" My life is in danger from Caesar."
And am I not in danger, who dwell at Nicopolis,
where there are so many earthquakes? And when
you yourself recross the Adriatic, what is then in
danger? Is it not your life?
"Ay, and my convictions also."
What, your own? How so? Can any one compel
you to have any convictions contrary to your own
" But the convictions of others too."
And what danger is it of yours, if others have false
" But I am in danger of being banished."
What is it to be banished? Only to be somewhere
else than at Rome.
" Yes; but what
tence, how I prate whatever
comes into my head? Do you come, envious and
dejected that nothing has come from home for you,
and in the midst of the disputations sit thinking on
nothing but how your father or your brother may treat
you? "What are they saying about me at home?
Now they think I am improving, and say, He will
come back with universal knowledge. I wish I could
learn everything before my return; but this requires
much labor, and nobody sends me anything. The
baths are very bad at Nicopolis; and things go very
ill both at home and here."
After all this, it is said, nobody is the better for the
philosophic school. Why, who comes to the school?
I mean, who comes to be reformed; who, to submit his principles to correction; who, with a sense of
his wants? Why do you wonder, then, that you
bring back from the school the very thing you carried there? For you do not come to lay aside, or
correct, or change, your principles. How should you?
Far from it. Rather consider this, therefo