Epictetus was a Greek Stoic philosopher who was born in Hierapolis, Phrygia, (now Pamukkale, Turkey) around 55 CE. He was born into slavery, and his master, Epaphroditus, allowed him to study philosophy under Musonius Rufus, a renowned Stoic philosopher of his time. Epictetus eventually gained his freedom and went on to become a famous philosopher in his own right.
Epictetus’s philosophy focused on personal ethics and the importance of living a virtuous life. His most famous work is the “Enchiridion,” a handbook of Stoic philosophy that provides practical advice on how to live a good life. In his teachings, Epictetus emphasized the importance of self-control, reason, and inner peace, and he believed that true happiness could only be achieved through the cultivation of these virtues.
Epictetus died around 135 CE, but the exact circumstances of his death are unknown. Despite his humble beginnings, Epictetus became one of the most influential philosophers of the ancient world. His teachings have had a lasting impact on Western philosophy and continue to inspire people to this day. Epictetus’s emphasis on personal ethics and the importance of living a virtuous life remains relevant and valuable in today’s world, and his ideas continue to be studied and applied by philosophers, scholars, and everyday people around the world.
It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.
No great thing is created suddenly.
Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control.
The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.
If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.
It’s not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.
Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not.
Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.
Don’t demand that things happen as you wish, but wish that they happen as they do happen, and you will go on well.
He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at.
It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.
First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.
If you seek truth you will not seek victory by dishonorable means, and if you find truth you will become invincible.
Know first who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.
We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.
The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it.
The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.
Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.
It is the nature of the wise to resist pleasures, but the foolish to be a slave to them.
Nature hath given men one tongue but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak.
We should not moor a ship with one anchor, or our life with one hope.
If you want to be free, all you have to do is to refuse to be limited by external conditions.
It is not death or pain that is to be dreaded, but the fear of pain or death.
Don’t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person.
It is impossible for a man to begin to learn what he thinks he knows.
It is not things that trouble us, but our opinion of things.
Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.
The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself.
What concerns me is not the way things are, but rather the way people think things are.
We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free.
Difficulties are things that show a person what they are.
The more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.
No man is free who is not master of himself.
To make the best of what is in our power, and take the rest as it naturally happens.
It is not he who reviles or strikes you who insults you, but your opinion that these things are insulting.
God has entrusted me with myself.
There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.
People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them.
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
You are a little soul carrying around a corpse.
The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.
First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.
Only the educated are free.
It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows.
Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.
Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig. I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.
Imagine for yourself a character, a model personality, whose example you determine to follow, in private as well as in public.
All religions must be tolerated… for every man must get to heaven in his own way
The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going.
Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.