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That when we cannot fulfil that which the character of a man promises, we assume the character of a philosopher.

It is no common (easy) thing to do this only, to fulfil the promise of a man's nature. For what is a man? The answer is, a rational and mortal being. Then by the rational faculty from whom are we separated?1 From wild beasts. And from what others? From sheep and like animals. Take care then to do nothing like a wild beast; but if you do, you have lost the character of a man; you have not fulfilled your promise. See that you do nothing like a sheep; but if you do, in this case also the man is lost. What then do we do as sheep? When we act gluttonously, when we act lewdly, when we act rashly, filthily, inconsiderately, to what have we declined? To sheep. What have we lost? The rational faculty. When we act contentiously and harmfully and passionately, and violently, to what have we declined? To wild beasts. Consequently some of us are great wild beasts, and others little beasts, of a bad disposition and small, whence we may say, Let me be eaten by a lion.2 But in all these ways the promise of a man acting as a man is destroyed. For when is a conjunctive (complex) proposition maintained?3 When it fulfils what its nature promises; so that the preservation of a complex proposition is when it is a conjunction of truths. When is a disjunctive maintained? When it fulfils what it promises. When are flutes, a lyre, a horse, a dog, preserved? (when they severally keep their promise). What is the wonder then if man also in like manner is preserved, and in like manner is lost? Each man is improved and preserved by corresponding acts, the carpenter by acts of carpentry, the grammarian by acts of grammar. But if a man accustoms himself to write ungrammatically, of necessity his art will be corrupted and destroyed. Thus modest actions preserve the modest man, and immodest actions destroy him: and actions of fidelity preserve the faithful man, and the contrary actions destroy him. And on the other hand contrary actions strengthen contrary characters: shamelessness strengthens the shameless man, faithlessness the faithless man, abusive words the abusive man, anger the man of an angry temper, and unequal receiving and giving make the avaricious man more avaricious.

For this reason philosophers admonish us not to be satisfied with learning only, but also to add study, and then practice.4 For we have long been accustomed to do contrary things, and we put in practice opinions which are contrary to true opinions. If then we shall not also put in practice right opinions, we shall be nothing more than the expositors of the opinions of others. For now who among us is not able to discourse according to the rules of art about good and evil things (in this fashion)? That of things some are good, and some are bad, and some are indifferent: the good then are virtues, and the things which participate in virtues; and the bad are the contrary; and the indifferent are wealth, health, reputation.— Then, if in the midst of our talk there should happen some greater noise than usual, or some of those who are present should laugh at us, we are disturbed. Philosopher, where are the things which you were talking about? Whence did you produce and utter them. From the lips, and thence only. Why then do you corrupt the aids provided by others? Why do you treat the weightiest matters as if you were playing a game of dice? For it is one thing to lay up bread and wine as in a storehouse, and another thing to eat. That which has been eaten, is digested, distributed, and is become sinews, flesh, bones, blood, healthy colour, healthy breath. Whatever is stored up, when you choose you can readily take and show it; but you have no other advantage from it except so far as to appear to possess it. For what is the difference between explaining these doctrines and those of men who have different opinions? Sit down now and explain according to the rules of art the opinions of Epicurus, and perhaps you will explain his opinions in a more useful manner than Epicurus himself.5 Why then do you call yourself a Stoic? Why do you deceive the many? Why do you act the part of a Jew,6 when you are a Greek? Do you not see how (why) each is called a Jew, or a Syrian or an Egyptian? and when we see a man inclining to two sides, we are accustomed to say, This man is not a Jew, but he acts as one. But when he has assumed the affects of one who has been imbued with Jewish doctrine and has adopted that sect, then he is in fact and he is named a Jew.7 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 Ajax8 lifted.


1 'The abuse of the faculties, which are proper to man, called ration- ality and liberty, is the origin of evil. By rationality is meant the faculty of understanding truths and thence falses, and goods and then evils; and by liberty is meant the faculty of thinking, willing and acting freely—and these faculties distinguish man from beasts.' Swedenborg, Angelic Wisdom, 264 and also 240. See Epictetus, ii. c. 8

2 This seems to be a proverb. If I am eaten, let me be eaten by the nobler animal.

3 A conjunctive or complex (συμπεπλεγμένον) axiom or lemma. Gellius (xvi. 8) gives an example: 'P. Scipio, the son of Paulus, was both twice consul and triumphed, and exercised the censorship and was the colleague of L. Mummius in his censorship.' Gellius adds, 'in every conjunctive if there is one falsehood, though the other parts are true, the whole is said to be false,' For the whole is proposed as true: therefore if one part is false, the whole is not true. The disjunctive (διεζευγμένον) is of this kind: 'pleasure is either bad or good, or neither good nor bad.'

4 We often say a man learns a particular thing: and there are men who profess to teach certain things, such as a language, or an art; and they mean by teaching that the taught shall learn; and learning means that they shall be able to do what they learn. He who teaches an art professes that the scholar shall be able to practise the art, the art of making shoes for example, or other useful things. There are men who profess to teach religion, and morality, and virtue generally. These men may tell us what they conceive to be religion, and morality, and virtue; and those who are said to be taught may know what their teachers have told them. But the learning of religion, and of morality and of virtue, mean that the learner will do the acts of religion and of morality and of virtue; which is a very different thing from knowing what the acts of religion, of morality, and of virtue are. The teacher's teaching is in fact only made efficient by his example, by his doing that which he teaches

5 'He is not a Stoic philosopher, who can only explain in a subtle and proper manner the Stoic principles: for the same person can explain the principles of Epicurus, of course for the purpose of refuting them, and perhaps he can explain them better than Epicurus himself. Consequently he might be at the same time a Stoic and an Epicurean; which is absurd.'—Schweig. He means that the mere knowledge of Stoic opinions does not make a man a Stoic, or any other philosopher. A man must according to Stoic principles practise them in order to be a Stoic philosopher. So if we say that a man is a religious man, he must do the acts which his religion teaches; for it is by his acts only that we can know him to be a religious man. What he says and professes may be false; and no man knows except himself whether his words and professions are true. The uniformity, regularity, and consistency of his acts are evidence which cannot be mistaken.

6 It has been suggested that Epictetus confounded under the name of Jews those who were Jews and those who were Christians. We know that some Jews became Christians. But see Schweig.'s note 1 and note 7.

7 It is possible, as I have said, that by Jews Epictetus means Christians, for Christians and Jews are evidently confounded by some writers, as the first Christians were of the Jewish nation. In book iv. c. 7, Epictetus gives the name of Galilaeans to the Jews. The term Galilaeans points to the country of the great teacher. 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.

8 See ii. 24, 26; Iliad, vii. 264, etc.;

Nec hunc lapidem, quales et Turnus et Ajax
Vel quo Tydides percussit pondere coxam
Aeneae.

Upton.

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