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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



4734
Epictetus, Discourses, 3.7


nanWHEN the administrator came to visit him, and the man was an Epicurean, Epictetus said, It is proper for us who are not philosophers to inquire of you who are philosophers, as those who come to a strange city inquire of the citizens and those who are acquainted with it, what is the best thing in the world, in order that we also after inquiry may go in quest of that which is best and look at it, as strangers do with the things in cities. For that there are three things which relate to man, soul, body, and things external, scarcely any man denies. It remains for you philosophers to answer what is the best. What shall we say to men? Is the flesh the best? and was it for this that Maximus Maximus was appointed by Trajan to conduct a campaign against the Parthians, in which he lost his life. Dion Cassius, ii. 1108 , 1126 , Beimarus. Cassiope or Cassope is a city in Epirus, near the sea, and between Pandosia and Nicopolis, where Epictetus lived. sailed as far as Cassiope in winter (or bad weather) with his son, and accompanied him that he might be gratified in the flesh? When the man said that it was not, and added, Far be that from him.—Is it not fit then, Epictetus said, to be actively employed about the best? It is certainly of all things the most fit. What then do we possess which is better than the flesh? The soul, he replied. And the good things of the best, are they better, or the good things of the worse? The good things of the best. And are the good things of the best within the power of the will or not within the power of the will? They are within the power of the will. Is then the pleasure of the soul a thing within the power of the will? It is, he replied. And on what shall this pleasure depend? On itself? But that can not be conceived: for there must first exist a certain substance or nature ( οὐσία ) of good, by obtaining which we shall have pleasure in the soul. He assented to this also. On what then shall we depend for this pleasure of the soul? for if it shall depend on things of the soul, the substance (nature) of the good is discovered; for good can not be one thing, and that at which we are rationally delighted another thing; nor if that which precedes is not good, can that which comes after be good, for in order that the thing which comes after may be good, that which precedes must be good. But you would not affirm this. if you are in your right mind, for you would then say what is inconsistent both with Epicurus and the rest of your doctrines. It remains then that the pleasure of the soul is in the pleasure from things of the body: and again that those bodily things must be the things which precede and the substance (nature) of the good. For this reason Maximus acted foolishly if he made the voyage for any other reason than for the sake of the flesh, that is, for the sake of the best. And also a man acts foolishly if he abstains from that which belongs to others, when he is a judge ( δικαστής ) and able to take it. But, if you please, let us consider this only, how this thing may be done secretly, and safely, and so that no man will know it. For not even does Epicurus himself declare stealing to be bad, but he admits that detection is; and because it is impossible to have security against detection, for this reason he says, Do not steal. But I say to you that if stealing is done cleverly and cautiously, we shall not be detected: further also we have powerful friends in Rome both men and women, and the Hellenes (Greeks) are weak, and no man will venture to go up to Rome for the purpose (of complaining). Why do you refrain from your own good? This is senseless, foolish. But even if you tell me that you do refrain, I will not believe you. For as it is impossible to assent to that which appears false, and to turn away from that which is true, so it is impossible to abstain from that which appears good. But wealth is a good thing, and certainly most efficient in producing pleasure. Why will you not acquire wealth? And why should we not corrupt our neighbor’s wife, if we can do it without detection? and if the husband foolishly prates about the matter, why not pitch him out of the house? If you would be a philosopher such as you ought to be, if a perfect philosopher, if consistent with your own doctrines, [you must act thus]. If you would not, you will not differ at all from us who are called Stoics; for we also say one thing, but we do another: we talk of the things which are beautiful (good), but we do what is base. But you will be perverse in the contrary way, teaching what is bad, practising what is good. In the name of God, are you thinking of a city of Epicureans? [One man says], I do not marry. — Nor I, for a man ought not to marry; nor ought we to beget children, nor engage in public matters. What then will happen? whence will the citizens come? who will bring them up? who will be governor of the youth, who preside over gymnastic exercises? and in what also will the teacher instruct them? will he teach them what the Lacedaemonians were taught, or what the Athenians were taught? Come take a young man, bring him up according to your doctrines. The doctrines are bad, subversive of a state, pernicious to families, and not becoming to women. Dismiss them, man. You live in a chief city: it is your duty to be a magistrate, to judge justly, to abstain from that which belongs to others; no woman ought to seem beautiful to you except your own wife, and no youth, no vessel of silver, no vessel of gold (except your own). Seek for doctrines which are consistent with what I say, and by making them your guide you will with pleasure abstain from things which have such persuasive power to lead us and overpower us. But if to the persuasive power of these things, we also devise such a philosophy as this which helps to push us on towards them and strengthens us to this end, what will be the conesquence? In a piece of toreutic art which is the best part? the silver or the workmanship? The substance of the hand is the flesh; but the work of the hand is the principal part (that which precedes and leads the rest). The duties then are also three: those which are directed towards the existence of a thing; those which are directed towards its existence in a particular kind; and third, the chief or leading things themselves. So also in man we ought not to value the material, the poor flesh, but the principal (leading things, τὰ προηγούμενα ). What are these? Engaging in public business, marrying, begetting children, venerating God, taking care of parents, and generally, having desires, aversions ( ἐκκλίνειν ), pursuits of things and avoidances, in the way in which we ought to do these things, and according to our nature. And how are we constituted by nature? Free, noble, modest: for what other animal blushes? what other is capable of receiving the appearance (the impression) of shame? and we are so constituted by nature as to subject pleasure to these things, as a minister, a servant, in order that it may call forth our activity, in order that it may keep us constant in acts which are conformable to nature. But I am rich and I want nothing.—Why then do you pretend to be a philosopher? Your golden and your silver vessels are enough for you. What need have you of principles (opinions)? But I am also a judge ( κριτής ) of the Greeks.—Do you know how to judge? Who taught you to know? Caesar wrote to me a codicil. Let him write and give you a commission to judge of music; and what will be the use of it to you? Still how did you become a judge? whose hand did you kiss? the hand of Symphorus or Numenius? Before whose bed-chamber have you slept? To whom have you sent gifts? Then do you not see that to be a judge is just of the same value as Numenius is? But I can throw into prison any man whom I please.— So you can do with a stone.—But I can beat with sticks whom I please.—So you may an ass. This is not a governing of men. Govern us as rational animals: show us what is profitable to us, and we will follow it: show us what is unprofitable, and we will turn away from it. Make us imitators of yourself, as Socrates made men imitators of himself. For he was like a governor of men, who made them subject to him their desires, their aversion, their movements towards an object and their turning away from it.—Do this: do not do this: if you do not obey, I will throw you into prison.—This is not governing men like rational animals. But I (say): As Zeus has ordained, so act: if you do not act so, you will feel the penalty, you will be punished.—What will be the punishment? Nothing else than not having done your duty: you will lose the character of fidelity, modesty, propriety. Do not look for greater penalties than these.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

3 results
1. Cicero, On Duties, 1.107, 1.115, 3.69, 3.91 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.107. Intellegendum etiam cst duabus quasi nos a natura indutos esse personis; quarum una communis est ex eo, quod omnes participes sumus rationis praestantiaeque eius, qua antecellimus bestiis, a qua omne honestum decorumque trahitur, et ex qua ratio inveniendi officii exquiritur, altera autem, quae proprie singulis est tributa. Ut enim in corporibus magnae dissimilitudines sunt (alios videmus velocitate ad cursum, alios viribus ad luctandum valere, itemque in formis aliis dignitatem inesse, aliis venustatem), sic in animis exsistunt maiores etiam varietates. 1.115. Ac duabus iis personis, quas supra dixi, tertia adiungitur, quam casus aliqui aut tempus imponit; quarta etiam, quam nobismet ipsi iudicio nostro accommodamus. Nam regna, imperia, nobilitas, honores, divitiae, opes eaque, quae sunt his contraria, in casu sita temporibus gubertur; ipsi autem gerere quam personam velimus, a nostra voluntate proficiscitur. Itaque se alii ad philosophiam, alii ad ius civile, alii ad eloquentiam applicant, ipsarumque virtutum in alia alius mavult excellere. 3.69. Hoc quamquam video propter depravationem consuetudinis neque more turpe haberi neque aut lege sanciri aut iure civili, tamen naturae lege sanctum est. Societas est enim (quod etsi saepe dictum est, dicendum est tamen saepius), latissime quidem quae pateat, omnium inter omnes, interior eorum, qui eiusdem gentis sint, propior eorum, qui eiusdem civitatis. Itaque maiores aliud ius gentium, aliud ius civile esse voluerunt; quod civile, non idem continuo gentium, quod autem gentium, idem civile esse debet. Sed nos veri iuris germanaeque iustitiae solidam et expressam effigiem nullam tenemus, umbra et imaginibus utimur. Eas ipsas utinam sequeremur! feruntur enim ex optimis naturae et veritatis exemplis. 3.91. Quaerit etiam, si sapiens adulterinos nummos acceperit imprudens pro bonis, cum id rescierit, soluturusne sit eos, si cui debeat, pro bonis. Diogenes ait, Antipater negat, cui potius assentior. Qui vinum fugiens vendat sciens, debeatne dicere. Non necesse putat Diogenes, Antipater viri boni existimat. Haec sunt quasi controversa iura Stoicorum. In mancipio vendendo dicendane vitia, non ea, quae nisi dixeris, redhibeatur mancipium iure civili, sed haec, mendacem esse, aleatorem, furacem, ebriosum? Alteri dicenda videntur, alteri non videntur. 1.107.  We must realize also that we are invested by Nature with two characters, as it were: one of these is universal, arising from the fact of our being all alike endowed with reason and with that superiority which lifts us above the brute. From this all morality and propriety are derived, and upon it depends the rational method of ascertaining our duty. The other character is the one that is assigned to individuals in particular. In the matter of physical endowment there are great differences: some, we see, excel in speed for the race, others in strength for wrestling; so in point of personal appearance, some have stateliness, others comeliness. 1.115.  To the two above-mentioned characters is added a third, which some chance or some circumstance imposes, and a fourth also, which we assume by our own deliberate choice. Regal powers and military commands, nobility of birth and political office, wealth and influence, and their opposites depend upon chance and are, therefore, controlled by circumstances. But what rôle we ourselves may choose to sustain is decided by our own free choice. And so some turn to philosophy, others to the civil law, and still others to oratory, while in case of the virtues themselves one man prefers to excel in one, another in another. 3.69.  Owing to the low ebb of public sentiment, such a method of procedure, I find, is neither by custom accounted morally wrong nor forbidden either by statute or by civil law; nevertheless it is forbidden by the moral law. For there is a bond of fellowship — although I have often made this statement, I must still repeat it again and again — which has the very widest application, uniting all men together and each to each. This bond of union is closer between those who belong to the same nation, and more intimate still between those who are citizens of the same city-state. It is for this reason that our forefathers chose to understand one thing by the universal law and another by the civil law. The civil law is not necessarily also the universal law; but the universal law ought to be also the civil law. But we possess no substantial, life-like image of true Law and genuine Justice; a mere outline sketch is all that we enjoy. I only wish that we were true even to this; for, even as it is, it is drawn from the excellent models which Nature and Truth afford. 3.91.  Again he raises the question: "If a wise man should inadvertently accept counterfeit money for good, will he offer it as genuine in payment of a debt after he discovers his mistake?" Diogenes says, "Yes"; Antipater, "No," and I agree with him. If a man knowingly offers for sale wine that is spoiling, ought he to tell his customers? Diogenes thinks that it is not required; Antipater holds that an honest man would do so. These are like so many points of the law disputed among the Stoics. "In selling a slave, should his faults be declared — not those only which he seller is bound by the civil law to declare or have the slave returned to him, but also the fact that he is untruthful, or disposed to ramble, or steal, or get drunk?" The one thinks such faults should be declared, the other does not.
2. Epictetus, Discourses, 1.2.26, 1.2.30, 1.11, 1.13-1.15, 1.26, 2.1, 3.1, 3.22, 3.22.1, 3.22.62, 3.22.67, 3.22.77 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

3. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of The Philosophers, 7.3, 7.175 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

7.3. As he went on reading the second book of Xenophon's Memorabilia, he was so pleased that he inquired where men like Socrates were to be found. Crates passed by in the nick of time, so the bookseller pointed to him and said, Follow yonder man. From that day he became Crates's pupil, showing in other respects a strong bent for philosophy, though with too much native modesty to assimilate Cynic shamelessness. Hence Crates, desirous of curing this defect in him, gave him a potful of lentil-soup to carry through the Ceramicus; and when he saw that he was ashamed and tried to keep it out of sight, with a blow of his staff he broke the pot. As Zeno took to flight with the lentil-soup flowing down his legs, Why run away, my little Phoenician? quoth Crates, nothing terrible has befallen you. 7.175. Antiquities.of the Gods.of Giants.of Marriage.On Homer.of Duty, three books.of Good Counsel.of Gratitude.An Exhortation.of the Virtues.of Natural Ability.of Gorgippus.of Envy.of Love.of Freedom.The Art of Love.of Honour.of Fame.The Statesman.of Deliberation.of Laws.of Litigation.of Education.of Logic, three books.of the End.of Beauty.of Conduct.of Knowledge.of Kingship.of Friendship.On the Banquet.On the Thesis that Virtue is the same in Man and in Woman.On the Wise Man turning Sophist.of Usages.Lectures, two books.of Pleasure.On Properties.On Insoluble Problems.of Dialectic.of Moods or Tropes.of Predicates.This, then, is the list of his works.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aenesidemus Bett (2019), How to be a Pyrrhonist: The Practice and Significance of Pyrrhonian Scepticism, 32
appropriate actions Jedan (2009), Stoic Virtues: Chrysippus and the Religious Character of Stoic Ethics, 204
arrian de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster (2022), Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond, 620
bénatouïl,thomas Jedan (2009), Stoic Virtues: Chrysippus and the Religious Character of Stoic Ethics, 204
cicero Jedan (2009), Stoic Virtues: Chrysippus and the Religious Character of Stoic Ethics, 204
dialogue,philosophical de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster (2022), Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond, 621
emotions,anger/rage de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster (2022), Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond, 620, 621
epictetus Jedan (2009), Stoic Virtues: Chrysippus and the Religious Character of Stoic Ethics, 204; de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster (2022), Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond, 620, 621
forschner,maximilian Jedan (2009), Stoic Virtues: Chrysippus and the Religious Character of Stoic Ethics, 204
four personae theory Jedan (2009), Stoic Virtues: Chrysippus and the Religious Character of Stoic Ethics, 204
gill,christopher Jedan (2009), Stoic Virtues: Chrysippus and the Religious Character of Stoic Ethics, 204
hankinson,r. j. Bett (2019), How to be a Pyrrhonist: The Practice and Significance of Pyrrhonian Scepticism, 32
heraclitus Bett (2019), How to be a Pyrrhonist: The Practice and Significance of Pyrrhonian Scepticism, 32
learning by example de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster (2022), Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond, 620, 621
panaetius of rhodes" Jedan (2009), Stoic Virtues: Chrysippus and the Religious Character of Stoic Ethics, 204
plato de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster (2022), Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond, 621
schofield,malcolm Bett (2019), How to be a Pyrrhonist: The Practice and Significance of Pyrrhonian Scepticism, 32
speech,monologue de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster (2022), Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond, 621
stoicism de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster (2022), Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond, 620, 621
teaching de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster (2022), Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond, 620, 621
use' Jedan (2009), Stoic Virtues: Chrysippus and the Religious Character of Stoic Ethics, 204
vogt,katja Jedan (2009), Stoic Virtues: Chrysippus and the Religious Character of Stoic Ethics, 204
xenophon de Bakker, van den Berg, and Klooster (2022), Emotions and Narrative in Ancient Literature and Beyond, 620, 621