About this topic
Summary

The Stoic philosopher Epictetus (c. 55 – c. 135 CE) came originally from Asia Minor and was a slave in Rome under Epaphroditus, one of Nero’s ministers. He attended the lectures of the Stoic philosopher Musonius Rufus in Rome, at some point gained his freedom, and initially lectured in Rome but fled in the wake of Domitian’s ban against philosophers (c. 92-3 CE). He went on to found his own philosophical school in Nicopolis, Greece, which attracted many famous visitors, including the emperor Hadrian.

Epictetus is regularly referred to as the author of two works, the Dissertationes (Discourses) and the Enchiridion (Handbook, Manual) although they are in fact both are the work of his pupil Arrian, the noted historian. The Dissertationes contains lively records of discussions with students and visitors that supposedly took place in Epictetus’s classroom, sometime around 108 CE. The Enchridion is a short summary distilling the central ideas found in the Dissertationes. Four books of the Dissertationes survive out of an original eight or perhaps even twelve (cf. Photius, Bibliotheca cod. 58, who refers to eight books of discourses (Diatribai) and twelve books of conversations (Homiliai); these could be different titles for the same work), and there are a number of fragments from the lost books preserved by other authors.

Key works

Epictetus has been edited and translated numerous times. The best recent translation of all his works is Hard & Gill 2014

Introductions

The best introduction to the thought of Epictetus is Long 2002. The essays in Scaltsas & Mason 2007 are all by leading scholars and examine topics in more detail. Graver 2009 offers a much shorter but well-informed overview. For a fuller annotated guide to work on Epictetus see Sellars 2016.

Related categories

194 found
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1 — 50 / 194
  1. added 2019-09-14
    More or Less Within My Power: Nature, Virtue, and the Modern Stoic.Christian Coseru - 2018 - Reason Papers 40 (2):8-18.
    Can the Stoic conception of what is within our power be adapted to fit our scientifically informed view of nature in general and of human nature in particular? This paper argues that it can, but not without a revision of the Stoic’s classical dichotomy of power principle, namely that some things are up to us, while others are beyond our control. Given the extent to which the Stoic way of life flows from a certain conception of what is real, a (...)
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  2. added 2019-08-15
    Digestion and Moral Progress in Epictetus.Michael Tremblay - 2019 - Journal of Ancient Philosophy 13 (1):100-119.
    The Stoic Epictetus famously criticizeshis students for studying Stoicism as ‘mere theory’ and encouraged them to add training to their educational program. This is made all the more interesting by the fact that Epictetus, as a Stoic, was committed to notion that wisdom is sufficient to be virtuous, so theory should be all that’s required to achieve virtue. How are we then to make sense of Epictetus criticism of an overreliance on theory, and his insistence on adding training? This paper (...)
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  3. added 2019-07-31
    Akrasia in Epictetus: A Comparison with Aristotle.Michael Tremblay - forthcoming - Apeiron.
    This paper argues that Epictetus’ ethics involves three features which are also present in Aristotle’s discussion of akrasia in the Nicomachean Ethics: 1) A major problem for agents is when they fail to render a universal premise effective at motivating a particular action in accordance with that premise. 2) There are two reasons this occurs: Precipitancy and Weakness. 3) Precipitancy and Weakness can be prevented by gaining a fuller understanding of our beliefs and commitments. This comparison should make clear that (...)
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  4. added 2019-07-27
    Ética E Atitude Filosófica Em Epicteto.Diogo da Luz - 2019 - Prometeus: Filosofia em Revista 11 (29).
    O objetivo deste artigo é demonstrar como a ética proferida por Epicteto se relaciona com uma postura filosófica, mais precisamente com uma atitude filosófica. Essa atitude não é especificamente uma exigência prévia para pensar a ética filosoficamente, pois não se trata de tê-la para então começar a filosofar, mas trata-se da manifestação de autenticidade daquele que se diz filósofo, porque evidencia a real assimilação das opiniões e teorias que defende. Para Epicteto, o progresso do filósofo necessariamente está unido ao progresso (...)
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  5. added 2019-06-07
    Bonhoeffer on the Stoic Philosophy. [REVIEW]R. D. Hicks - 1896 - The Classical Review 10 (2):112-114.
  6. added 2019-06-06
    Stoicism’s Integration Problem and Epictetus’ Metaphors.Scott F. Aikin - 2013 - Southwest Philosophy Review 29 (1):185-193.
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  7. added 2019-06-06
    Paul and Epictetus on Law: A Comparison. By Niko Huttunen. Pp. X, 187, Library of New Testament Studies 405, T & T Clark, London, 2009, £60.00. [REVIEW]Geoffrey Turner - 2013 - Heythrop Journal 54 (1):147-148.
  8. added 2019-06-06
    Epictetus’ Handbook and the Tablet of Cebes: Guides to Stoic Living. [REVIEW]William O. Stephens - 2008 - Ancient Philosophy 28 (2):460-466.
  9. added 2019-06-06
    Necesidad, lo que depende de nosotros y posibilidades alternativas en los estoicos. Réplica a Ricardo Salles.Marcelo D. Boeri - 2007 - Critica 39 (115):97-111.
    Ésta es la respuesta a la crítica hecha por Ricardo Salles a mi interpretación del compatibilismo estoico. Aunque en parte admito sus objeciones, intento mostrar que algunos textos nos permiten pensar que, aunque lo que depende de nosotros no implique necesariamente acciones alternativas, eso no significa que no pueda implicarlas. También trato de mostrar que un reexamen de la noción crisipea de posibilidad que tenga en cuenta el deseo y la creencia permite explicar por qué no es posible llevar a (...)
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  10. added 2019-06-06
    Simplicius. On Epictetus’ Handbook 1–26. [REVIEW]William O. Stephens - 2004 - Ancient Philosophy 24 (2):519-523.
  11. added 2019-06-06
    Epictetus: Socratic, Cynic, Stoic.Malcolm Schofield - 2004 - Philosophical Quarterly 54 (216):448-456.
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  12. added 2019-06-06
    The Encheiridion of Epictetus and its Three Christian Adaptations: Transmission and Critical Editions. [REVIEW]Iain S. Maclean - 2001 - Ancient Philosophy 21 (2):528-531.
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  13. added 2019-06-06
    The Discourses of Epictetus. The Handbook, Fragments. [REVIEW]Allan Girdwood - 1996 - The Classical Review 46 (2):374-375.
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  14. added 2019-06-06
    The Hellenistic Philosophers: Volume 1, Translations of the Principal Sources with Philosophical Commentary.A. A. Long & D. N. Sedley - 1987 - Cambridge University Press.
    Volume 1 presents the texts in new translations by the authors, and these are accompanied by a philosophical and historical commentary designed for use by all readers, including those with no background in the classical world. With its glossary and indexes, this volume can stand alone as an independent tool of study.
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  15. added 2019-06-06
    Epictetus on the Cynics. [REVIEW]Brian Hillyard - 1980 - The Classical Review 30 (1):55-56.
  16. added 2019-06-06
    Niccolo Perotti's Version of the Enchiridion of Epictetus. [REVIEW]D. C. C. Young - 1956 - The Classical Review 6 (2):178-179.
  17. added 2019-06-06
    Notes on Epictetus, Lucian, and the ‘Edict of Ptolemy IV’.G. Zuntz - 1950 - Classical Quarterly 44 (1-2):69-72.
    In Epictetus‘ chapter on Providence, the eighteenth section contains an evident corruption: ταντα επ’ εκαοτον επνειν εδει και και νον μεγιστον υμνονεπνμνειν… The duplication of cannot be genuine. It is not an iteration of the kind which heightens the effect of a passage: it just falls flat. Wilamowitz, in his Lesebuch, printed in the first place. This is an improvement, but I doubt whether this conjecture really settles the point. The duplication is stressed, and not eased, by the noun and (...)
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  18. added 2019-06-06
    Epictetus: The Discourses and Manual. [REVIEW]A. C. Pearson - 1917 - The Classical Review 31 (7):172-173.
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  19. added 2019-06-05
    Epictetus: Discourses Book 1.Brad Inwood - 2000 - Philosophical Review 109 (4):639-642.
    One might argue that Epictetus has been the most influential Stoic writer of all time. A former slave, he lectured and taught in Rome and later in Nicopolis during the late first and early second centuries C.E. He was famous in his own lifetime, exercised considerable impact on Marcus Aurelius, and inspired one of his students, Lucius Flavianus Arrianus, to preserve the record of his oral teaching and publish it for posterity. Four books of Discourses, plus the compendium of Epictetus’s (...)
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  20. added 2019-05-08
    I. Hadot: Simplicius. Commentaire sur le Manuel d’Épictète. Tome I . Pp. clxxii + 184. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2001. Cased, frs. 380. ISBN: 2-251-00493-9. [REVIEW]Anne Sheppard - 2002 - The Classical Review 52 (2):377-378.
  21. added 2019-04-21
    Exercícios Filosóficos em Epicteto.Diogo Luz - 2018 - Intuitio 11 (2):17-33.
    O presente artigo trata do pensamento de Epicteto pelo viés do exercício (áskēsis), ou seja, por meio de práticas que conduzem ao aperfeiçoamento de quem elege para si o ofício de filósofo. Para tal, inicialmente esclarecemos o que significam os exercícios na filosofia antiga, tendo como subsídio as teses de Pierre Hadot. Logo depois, exploramos seis exercícios que consideramos centrais para o filósofo de Nicópolis, contextualizando com os ensinamentos que estão envolvidos e descrevendo as principais características de seu método. Por (...)
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  22. added 2019-04-12
    Colóquio de Pascal com o senhor de Saci: sobre Epicteto e Montaigne, de Blaise Pascal.Jaimir Conte - 2005 - Princípios 12 (17):12.
    Tradução para o português de "L'Entretien de Pascal avec M. de Saci" - Colóquio com o Senhor de Saci Sobre Epicteto e Montaigne". Tradução realizada com base na edição das Œuvres completes de Pascal, estabelecida e anotada por Jacques Chevalier, da Bibliothèque de la Plêiade, Paris, 1954, p. 560-574.
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  23. added 2019-04-01
    Epictetus and the New Testament. [REVIEW]W. A. Parker Mason - 1917 - The Classical Review 31 (7):173-175.
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  24. added 2019-03-22
    Not Even Zeus: A Discussion of A. A. Long, Epictetus: A Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life.Margaret Graver - 2003 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 24:345-361.
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  25. added 2018-08-26
    Delimiting a Self by God in Epictetus.Jula Wildberger - 2013 - In Jörg Rüpke & Greg Woolf (eds.), Religious Dimensions of the Self in the Second Century CE. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. pp. 23-45.
    Epictetus' thought is defined by an antithesis of mine and not-mine, which is an antithesis of externals and self. From this arise a number of questions for Epictetus‘ theology, which are addressed in this paper: How is the self delimited from God, given that God is all-pervading? Is God inside or outside the self? In which way is God the cause, creator and shaper of the self? And how does human agency and self-shaping through prohairesis spell out within this determinst (...)
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  26. added 2018-08-26
    Paraenesis and Argument in Arrian’s Dissertations of Epictetus.Jula Wildberger - 2013 - In Michael Erler (ed.), Argument und literarische Form in antiker Philosophie. Berlin; New York: De Gruyter. pp. 411-434.
    Close reading of the argumentative and logical structure of Diatribe 1.4 and the means of protreptic persuasion used in it. The paper argues that Arrian represents Epictetus as using deliberately bad arguments to showcase and exemplify the audience's muddled thinking.
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  27. added 2018-02-17
    How It's Not the Chrisippus You Read.Matthew Sharpe - 2014 - Philosophy Today 58 (3):367-392.
    This article challenges John M. Cooper’s reading of ancient Stoicism as a way of life, one which sets its back against Pierre Hadot’s notion that Stoicism could have philosophically advocated regimens of non-cognitive practices of the kind documented by Hadot. Part 1 examines Arrian’s Discourses, following A. A. Long in seeing in this text Arrian’s portrait of Epictetus as a philosophical persona: one bringing together the different virtues of Socrates, Diogenes, and Zeno. Part 2 then examines Epictetus’s Handbook , seeing (...)
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  28. added 2017-04-10
    DALY & SUCHIER, Altercatio Hadriani Augusti Et Epicteti Philosophi. [REVIEW]Alexander Alexander - 1940 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 33 (23):266.
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  29. added 2017-01-29
    Die Funktion der Dialogstruktur in Epiktets Diatriben, by Barbara Wehner; Epictetus: A Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life, by A.A. Long.William O. Stephens - 2003 - Ancient Philosophy 23 (2):472.
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  30. added 2017-01-29
    Epictetus. A Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life. [REVIEW]F. Alesse - 2003 - Elenchos 24 (2).
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  31. added 2017-01-29
    The Ethics of the Stoic Epictetus an English Translation.Adolf Friedrich Bonhöffer & William O. Stephens - 2001 - New York, USA: Peter Lang.
    Born a slave, but later earning his freedom and founding a school for teaching Stoicism to the sons of Roman noblemen, Epictetus (c. 50-120 A.D.) has been a popular source of Stoic philosophy for centuries. Originally published in 1894 by the German scholar Adolf Bonhoeffer and here translated into English for the first time, this work remains the most systematic and detailed study of Epictetus' ethics. The basis, content, and acquisition of virtue are methodically described, while important related points in (...)
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  32. added 2017-01-29
    Epictetus on Speech: The Argument.Raymond Joseph Heisler - 1989 - Dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    This thesis consists of a critical text, translation and running commentary on Epictetus II.23 which is entitled On the faculty of speech. In this diatribe, Epictetus discusses the proper role of speech, rhetoric and logic in the philosophical life. The commentary attempts to elucidate Epictetus' views, to show how he himself employs rhetoric and to make clear the principles of Stoic physics and ethics which underlie the text.
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  33. added 2017-01-29
    The Sense of Self in Epictetus: Prohairesis and Prosopon.Robert Francis Dobbin - 1989 - Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley
    The thesis concerns the sense of self in Epictetus, with special reference to two key terms in his philosophy: prohairesis and prosopon. ;The first chapter explores the range of meaning behind the word prohairesis as Epictetus employs it. I begin by reviewing the background of the word, particularly in Aristotle. A discussion of the problem of free will and determinism in Stoic ethics follows, with reference to prohairesis in Epictetus. The implications of equating prohairesis with "the will" are then explored, (...)
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  34. added 2017-01-29
    "Oldfather", W. A., Epictetus, Translated, II.Charles Knapp - 1928 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 22:145-146.
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  35. added 2017-01-29
    "Oldfather," W. A., Epictetus. The Discourses as Reported by Arrian, The Manual and Fragments, Translated.Charles Knapp - 1927 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 21:9.
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  36. added 2017-01-29
    The Christianity of Stoicism: Or, Selections From Arrian's Discourses of Epictetus. [Tr. By E. Carter. Ed.] by the Bishop of St. David's. [REVIEW]Flavius Arrianus, Thomas Burgess & Elizabeth Carter - 1818
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  37. added 2017-01-28
    Epictetus and Stoicism.Martin O'hagan - 2002 - Philosophy Pathways 30.
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  38. added 2017-01-28
    Epictetus the Discourses and Manual Together with Fragments of His Writings.P. E. Epictetus & Matheson - 1916 - Clarendon Press.
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  39. added 2017-01-28
    The Discourses of Epictetus Being the Manual or Encheiridion Together with Selections From the Discourses.T. W. Epictetus, Rolleston & Epictetus - 1890 - Peter Pauper Press.
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  40. added 2017-01-28
    The Discourses of Epictetus with the Enceiridion and Fragments.George Epictetus, Long & Epictetus - 1890 - George Bell and Sons.
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  41. added 2017-01-28
    The Works of Epictetus Consisting of His Discourses, in Four Books, the Enchiridion, and Fragments. Epictetus - 1890 - Thomas Nelson and Sons.
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  42. added 2017-01-28
    The Teaching of Epictetus Being the 'Encheiridion of Epictetus,' with Selections From the 'Dissertations' and 'Fragments'. Epictetus & T. W. Rolleston - 1888 - Walter Scott.
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  43. added 2017-01-28
    The Manual of Epictetus Being an Abridgment of His Philosophy.George Epictetus & Stanhope - 1792 - Printed and Sold by Thomas Lang, No. 21, Church-Alley.
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  44. added 2017-01-28
    The Discourses of Epictetus Collected and Preserved by Arrian, His Disciple. In Four Books. Translated From the Greek.Elizabeth Epictetus, Carter & Arrian - 1766 - [S.N.].
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  45. added 2017-01-28
    All the Works of Epictetus Which Are Now Extant; Consisting of His Discourses, Preserved by Arrian, in Four Books, the Enchiridion, and Fragments.Elizabeth Epictetus & Carter - 1759 - Printed for Hulton Bradley.
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  46. added 2017-01-28
    Epictetus His Morals. Done From the Original Greek.Richard Epictetus, Herbert Janeway, Frederick Hendrick van Walwyn & Hove - 1702 - Printed by R. Janeway, for H. Walwyn, at the Three Legs in the Poultry, the Corner of the Old Jury.
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  47. added 2017-01-28
    Epicteti Enchiridion, Hoc Est Pugio, Siue Ars Humanæuitæcorrectrix Unà Cum Cebetis Thebani Tabula, Qua Uitae Humanae Prudenter Instituendae Ratio Continetur: Græè Et Latinè. Quibus Nunc Demùm Accesserunt, È Græo Translata, Simplicii in Eundem Epicteti Libellum Doctissima Scholia. Arriani Commentarium de Epicteti Disputationibus Libri Iiii. Item Alia Eiusdem Argumenti, in Studiosorum Gratiam, & Scholarum Usum. [REVIEW]Ioannes Epictetus, Hieronymus Cebes, Joannes Simplicius, Arrian & Stovaios - 1563 - Per Ioannem Oporinum.
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  48. added 2017-01-28
    Arriani Nicomediensis de Epicteti Philosophi, Praeceptoris Sui, Dissertationibus Libri Iiii. Saluberrimis, Ac Philosophica Grauitate Egregiè Conditis, ... Nunc Primùm in Lucem Editi. [REVIEW]Angelo Epictetus, Jakob Poliziano, Sebastianus Sigmar A. Arrian, Joannes Schegk & Schlusslberg - 1554 - Per Ioannem Oporinum.
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  49. added 2017-01-28
    Simplicii Philosophi Gravissimi Commentarius in Enchiridion Epicteti Philosophi Stoici ... Angelo Caninio Anglariensi Interprete, Nunc Primùm in Lucem Accuratè Editus.Angelo Simplicius, Girolamo Canini & Scotto - 1546 - Apud Hieronymum Scotum.
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  50. added 2017-01-27
    On The “Art of Living” in Epictetus.Germán Meléndez - 2014 - Eidos: Revista de Filosofía de la Universidad Del Norte 20:271-310.
    It is the purpose of this essay to inquire into the understanding of technê which Epictetus links with the expression technê peri bion used by him to determine both the “matter” with which philosophy deals and the kind of activity to be duly applied to such matter. Based upon this inquiry, the essay upholds the thesis that Epictetus’ philosophy bares an individualist spirit close to well-known modern versions of philosophy as an art of living.
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