Discourses of Epictetus

The Discourses of Epictetus are a series of extracts of the teachings of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus written down by Arrian c. 108 AD. There were originally eight books, but only four now remain in their entirety, along with a few fragments of the others. In a preface attached to the Discourses, Arrian explains how he came to write them:

I neither wrote these Discourses of Epictetus in the way in which a man might write such things; nor did I make them public myself, inasmuch as I declare that I did not even write them. But whatever I heard him say, the same I attempted to write down in his own words as nearly as possible, for the purpose of preserving them as memorials to myself afterwards of the thoughts and the freedom of speech of Epictetus.

The Discourses are unlikely to be word-for-word transcriptions and are probably written-up versions of Arrian's lecture notes. The books did not have a formal title in ancient times. Although Simplicius called them Diatribai (Discourses), other writers gave them titles such as Dialexis (Talks), Apomnêmoneumata (Records), and Homiliai (Conversations). The modern name comes from the titles given in the earliest medieval manuscript: "Arrian's Diatribai of Epictetus" (Greek: Αρριανου των Επικτητου Διατριβων).

Read more about Discourses Of Epictetus:  Manuscript Editions, English Translations

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