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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.
5 See ii. 10. 14, iv. 1. 120. So Plato says (Legg. vi.), that a man who has had right education is wont to be the most divine and the tamest of animals. Upton. On the doing wrong to another, see Plato's Critc, and Epictetus iv. 1. 167.
6 See iii. 1. 40.
7 Like Hercules and Diogenes See iii. 12. 2.
8 The allusion is to a passage (a fragment) in the Cresphontes of
Euripides translated by Cicero into Latin Iambics (Tusc. Disp. i. 48)—
ἔδει γὰρ ἡμᾶς σύλλογον ποιουμένους
τὸν φύντα φρηνεῖν εἰς ὅσ᾽ ἔρχεται κάκα.
τὸν δ᾽αὖ φανόντα καὶ πόνων πεπαυμένον
χαίροντας, εὐφημοῦντας ἐκπέμπειν δόμων.
” Herodotus (v. 4) says of the Trausi, a Thracian tribe: 'when a child is born, the relatives sit round it and lament over all the evils which it must suffer on coming into the world and enumerate all the calamities of mankind: but when one dies, they hide him in the earth with rejoicing and pleasure, reckoning all the evils from which he is now released and in possession of all happiness.'
9 The word is πανδοκεῖον, which Schweig. says that he does not understand. He supposes the word to be corrupt; unless we take it to mean the inn in which a man lives who has no home. I do not understand the word here.
11 This does not mean, it is said, that Nero issued counterfeit coins, for there are extant many coins of Nero which both in form and in the purity of the metal are complete. A learned numismatist, Francis Wise, fellow of Trinity College Oxford, in a letter to Upton, says that he can discover no reason for Nero's coins being rejected in commercial dealings after his death except the fact of the tyrant having been declared by the Senate to be an enemy to the Commonwealth. (Suetonius, Nero, c. 49.) When Domitian was murdered, the Senate ordered his busts to be taken down, as the French now do after a revolution, and all memorials of him to be destroyed (Suetonius, Domitian, c. 23). Dion also reports (LX.) that when Caligula was murdered, it was ordered that all the brass coin which bore his image should be melted, and, I suppose, coined again. There is more on this subject in Wise's letter. I do not believe that genuine coins would be refused in commercial dealings for the reasons which Wise gives, at least not refused in parts distant from Rome. Perhaps Epictetus means that some people would not touch the coins of the detestable Nero.
13 The word is ἐπιφύησονται, the form of which is not Greek. Schweig. has no remark on it, and he translates the word by 'adorientur.' The form ought to be ἐπιφύσονται. See Stephens' Lexicon on the word ἐπιφύομαι. Probably the word is corrupted.
15 Eteocles and Polynices were the sons of the unfortunate Oedipus, who quarrelled about the kingship of Thebes and killed one another This quarrel is the subject of the Seven against Thebes of Aeschylus and the Phoenissae of Euripides. See ii. 22. note 3.
16 Every man in everything he does naturally acts upon the fore- thought and apprehension of avoiding evil or obtaining good.' Bp. Butler, Analogy, Chap. 2. The bishop's 'naturally' is the φύσις of Epictetus.
17 Socrates' wife Xanthippe is charged by her eldest son Lamprocles with being so ill-tempered as to be past all endurance (Xenophon, Memorab. ii. 2, 7). Xenophon in this chapter has reported the conversation of Socrates with his son on this matter. Diogenes Laertius (ii.) tells the story of Xanthippe pouring water on the head of Socrates, and dirty water, as Seneca says (De Constantia, c. 18). Aelian (xi. 12) reports that Alcibiades sent Socrates a large and good cake, which Xanthippe trampled under her feet. Socrates only laughed and said, Well then, you will not have your share of it. The philosopher showed that his philosophy was practical by enduring the torment of a very ill-tempered wife, one of the greatest calamities that can happen to a man, and the trouble of an undutiful son.
18 This is one of the wisest and noblest expressions of Epictetus.
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