Lateranus the Stoic

"Then must I alone have my head cut off?" asks a student. Would you have all men lose their heads that you may be consoled? Will you not stretch out your neck as Lateranus did at Rome when Nero ordered him to be beheaded? For when he had stretched out his neck, and received a feeble blow, which made him draw it in for a moment, he stretched it out again. And a little before, when he was visited by Epaphroditus, Nero's freedman, who asked him about the cause of offense which he had given, he said, "If I choose to tell anything, I will tell your master."

Lateranus was a Consul - or head executive of the Roman Imperial Government - who was accused of conspiring with others to kill the tyrant Nero. This was the same Nero who persecuted the Christians after the Great Fire in Rome. (He allegedly fiddled while the entire city went up in flames.) Lateranus paid the ultimate price for his involvement in a feeble effort to overthrow this ruthless dictator. But he did not regret the loss of his head, and he did not implicate others in his "crime".

Chapter 1:

  1. Of the Things Which Are and Are Not in Our Power
  2. What Is Fitting (1a)
  3. Mind Control (1b)
  4. Don't Worry, Be Happy (1c)
  5. Lateranus the Stoic (1d)
  6. Free Will and Zeus (1e)
  7. Thrasea the Roman Senator (1f)
  8. The Reaction of Aggripinus (1g)
Stoicism and Christianity Index

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This is a translation and explanation of the first book of the Discourses of Epictetus. His words are in regular text, comments are in bold.

Biographical Information on Epictetus

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