Epictetus
Epictetus


Thrasea the Senator

Thrasea used to say, "I would rather be killed today than banished tomorrow." What, then, did Rufus say to him? "If you choose death as the heavier misfortune, how great is the folly of your choice? But if, as the lighter, who has given you the choice? Will you not study to be content with that which has been given to you?"

Thrasea was a Roman Senator and a Stoic Philosopher. According to Tacitus (the famous Historian of this period), "The simplicity of his life and his adherence to Stoic principles were looked upon as a reproach to the frivolity and debaucheries of Nero, who at last yearned to put Virtue itself to death in the person of Thrasea." This distaste of Roman emperors for philosophers would eventually lead the Imperator to ban ALL philosophers in Rome. Epictetus himself chose exile in a town called Nicopolis in Epirus. His school there attracted many of the leading citizens of Rome who sent their sons to him for moral and ethical training.

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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