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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 A “Præfectus Annonæ,” or superintendent of the supply of corn at Rome is first mentioned by Livy (iv. 12) as appointed during a scarcity. At a later time this office was conferred on Cn. Pompeius for five years. Maecenas (Dion. 52, c. 24) advised Augustus to make a Praefectus Annonae or permanent officer over the corn market and all other markets (ἐπὶ τοῦ σίτου τῆς τε ἀγορᾶς τῆς λοιπῆς). He would thus have the office formerly exercised by the aediles.
2 I cannot explain why the third person is used here instead of the second. See Schweig.'s note.
3 The Stoics taught that man is adapted by his nature for action. He ought not therefore to withdraw from human affairs, and indulge in a lazy life, not even a life of contemplation and religious observances only. Upton refers to Antoninus, v. 1, viii. 19, and Cicero, De Fin. V. 20.
4 Schweighaeuser proposes a small alteration in the Greek text, but I do not think it necessary. When Epictetus says, “Why are we not active?” He means, Why do some say that we are not active? And he intends to say that We are active, but not in the way in which some people are active. I have therefore added in ( ) what is necessary to make the text intelligible.
5 This passage is rather obscure. The word ἐπαναγνῶναι signifies, it is said, to read over for the purpose of explaining as a teacher may do. The pupil also would read something to the teacher for the pur- pose of showing if he understood it. So Epictetus also says, “But what is it to me,” &c.
6 A plain allusion to restraints put on the exportation of grain.
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