Who is Epictetus? Epictetus

Who is Epictetus? Epictetus

June 25, 2021 Off By Felso

Who is EpictetusEpictetus, M.S. Stoic philosopher who lived between 55 and 135 BC.

Epictetus, one of the later Stoics, was born as a slave in a Greek village in Anatolia, also known as Asia Minor. Being maimed during his slavery made him inclined to the philosophy: “Be patient and beware.” He was freed from slavery shortly after the death of the emperor Nero in 68.

Epictetus, known as a good-hearted person, is said to have a merciful, benevolent and humble personality, especially towards children. Epictetus, adopting Stoicism, advised that man should see his destiny as a divine gift and design of God and surrender to him.

Epictetus did not write his philosophy, but Flavius ​​Arrianus, a student at his school in Nicopolis, compiled eight books based on Epictetus’ lectures. Of these eight books, only four remain. Arrian also published a small handbook of Epictetus’ teachings called “Encheiridion”.

Despite his rather disadvantaged physical condition, Epictetus’ philosophy is always positive. According to Epictetus, every human being has the capacity to be virtuous. God has given everyone the means to be happy, which requires unwavering character and self-control. The type of self-control he emphasizes consists of two main parts: controlling your own attitude towards reality and controlling your senses.

The Stoics sought happiness by adopting the wisdom to accept whatever happens in life. Centuries after Socrates met his death with courage, fortitude, and dignity, Epictetus wrote:

“I cannot escape death, but I can escape the fear of death.”


According to Epictetus, people cannot control all events; but they can control their attitude towards what happened. Controlling your fears is possible through willpower. This part of Epictetus’ philosophy is revealed in the following ways in various chapters of the above mentioned handbook:

5. It’s not the “things” that really upset people, it’s their ideas about those things. For example, death is not a terrible thing at all, it would have been terrible even to Socrates; what is terrifying is rather the idea that death is terrible. So whenever we feel frustrated, angry, sad, or sad, let’s not blame others, but only ourselves—or rather, our own ideas. Blaming others for their own troubles is the behavior of the philosophically ignorant. Whoever begins to learn blames himself. Educated people blame neither others nor themselves.

With a similar understanding, you said:

8. Don’t expect everything to be as you wish, just wish everything to be as it is, and then you will be fine.

And again,

10. No matter what event happens to you, don’t forget to look within yourself to see what kind of power you have to benefit from that event. When you see a beautiful girl or a handsome man, find the strength you need and control your ego. Show the necessary patience when heavy burdens are placed on you; When you are abused, embrace tolerance and tolerance. If you get used to it like this, you will not be carried away by external impressions.

41. Spending too much time on body-related things such as doing too much exercise, eating, drinking too much, defecating or having sex is a sign of a weak brain. Such things should be done less seriously; keep your attention focused on your mind.

The basic ideas of Epictetus continue to be influential today. People have the necessary level of self-control in order not to lose themselves in the face of events, even in the face of final events such as death. Regarding the control of the senses, the individual also has the power to avoid pleasures such as eating, drinking and having sex. It is possible to see how these constantly manifest themselves in the ethical understanding of Epictetus’s underlying philosophy of “patience and restraint”.

Epictetus, who took the example of Socrates and Diogenes as wise men, was primarily concerned with morality and claimed that true education was nothing but the realization that the only thing that belongs entirely to the individual is the individual’s will or purpose. According to him, man should learn that there is nothing good or bad that is independent of the will, and he should only try to understand them, not try to predict or direct events.

According to Epictetus, who argues that a person must choose between indulging in things other than himself, that is, between slavery and realizing his moral purpose, that is, freedom, no other person can harm a person, only himself can harm him. Disdainful of academic debate and theory, Epictetus’ message, like many of the Stoics, was addressed to the intellectuals, not the ruling class, but the average man.


In the realm of politics, Epictetus is a member of a great system that includes man, people other than God.