Selections from Epictetus - PDF book by Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Selections from Epictetus

Selections from Epictetus


This little volume, which contains about one-fifth of the whole of Epictetus, is designed to bring together the most useful and striking passages in a form convenient for ready use. It cannot give all the best in so small a compass, but those who miss favourite passages must remember that it is difficult to choose where so much is good, and yet so large a portion must be rejected for want of space. The numbers in parentheses at the beginning of the chapters refer to the numbers of the original chapters. This book is abridged from the translation of Mr T. W. Higginson, by his kind permission and that of his publishers. I cannot do better than to quote from his own preface. 


"Epictetus was probably born at Hierapolis in Phrygia, and he lived at Rome in the first century of our era, as the slave of Epaphroditus, a freedman of Nero. Origen preserves an anecdote of Epictetus, that, when his master once put his leg in the torture, his philosophic slave quietly remarked, 'You will break my leg; 1 and, when this presently happened, he added, in the same tone, ' Did I not tell you so? ' He afterwards became free, and lived very frugally at Rome, teaching philosophy. Simplicius says that the whole furniture of his house consisted of a bed, a cooking- vessel, and an earthen lamp. " When Domitian banished the philosophers from Rome, Epictetus retired to Nicopolis, a city of Epirus, where he taught as before until he was an old man. 

He still lived in the same frugal way, his only companions being a young child, whom he adopted, in the later years of his life, because its parents abandoned it, and a woman whom he employed as its nurse. He suffered from extreme lameness. After Hadrian became Emperor (a.d. 117), Epictetus was treated with favour, but probably did not return to Rome. In these later years of his life, his discourses were written down by his disciple, Arrian, a man of the highest character, both as a philosopher and as a historian. But four of the original eight books remain. The date of Epictetus's death is entirely unknown."
the book details :
  • Author: Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • Publication date: c1877
  • Company: Boston: Roberts

  • Download 4.2 MB

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