9781775420590: the enchiridion

The Enchiridion by Epictetus (as translated by Elizabeth Carter)

Epictetus was a great Stoic philosopher who lived in ancient Greece from 55 to 135 AD. His student, Arrian, collected his teacher's philosophical insights and advice and created a work entitled The Enchiridion, or Handbook of Epictetus. It remained a popular guide of Stoic wisdom through the early centuries.

Arrian acquired some of the thoughts put forth in The Enchiridion were from Arrian's transcription of Epictetus' work, Discourses. Arrius sought to take the philosophies espoused in the previous work and turn them into practical life guidelines. Other thoughts came from his own meticulous notes taken while studying under Epictetus. The Enchiridion is indeed a handbook for life, and it was adopted by both pagan and Christian thinkers. Epictetus believed that each person was in charge of their own life, and that each person needed to learn to differentiate between the things he had control over (namely, emotional responses to external circumstances) and the things he had no control over (health, wealth, etc.) He encouraged his students to acknowledge good and evil only in the things they had control over, and not in the circumstances that cannot be controlled by any human being.

Epiectetus spent the first part of his life as a Roman slave. During that time, he studied Stoic philosophy. He was eventually freed, and though he lived a difficult life filled with illness, he remained a fervent believer of Stoic thought.

Elizabeth Carter was a classical scholar, a poet, and a writer. She also translated Epictetus' Discourses.

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