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Arrian's Discourses of Epictetus
That when we cannot fulfil that which the character of a man promises, we assume the character of a philosopher.
What is the matter on which a good man should be employed, and in what we ought chiefly to practise ourselves.
1 This discussion is with a young philosopher who, intending to return from Nicopolis to Rome, feared the tyranny of Domitian, who was particularly severe towards philosophers. See also the note on i. 24. 3. Schweig. Compare Plin. Epp. i. 12, and the expression of Corellius Rufus about the detestable villain, the emperor Domitian. The title 'of Indifference' means 'of the indifference of things;' of the things which are neither good nor bad.
3 Sec. ii. 5, 24.
4 Epictetus alludes to the verses from the Hypsipyle of Euripides.
Compare Antoninus (vii. 40): 'Life must be reaped like the ripe ears
of corn: one man is born; another dies.' Cicero (Teuscul. Disp. iii. 25)
has translated six verses from Euripides, and among them are
turn vita omnibus
Metenda ut fruges; sic jubet necessitas.
6 So Anaxagoras said that the road to the other world (ad inferos) is the same from all places. (Cicero, Tusc. Disp. i. 43). What follows is one of the examples of extravagant assertion in Epictetus. A tyrant may kill by a slow death as a fever does. I suppose that Epictetus would have some answer to that. Except to a Stoic the ways to death are not indifferent: some ways of dying are painful, and even he who can endure with fortitude, would prefer an easy death.
8 See i. 25, note 4.
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