Who Was Epictetus?


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Mark Westbrook answered
Epictetus was a slave who won his freedom from the bonds of slavery by his impressive intelligence and his philosophical perspective.

He was one of the Stoical Philosophers and wrote two major works, the first, the Enchiridion meaning 'handbook' or 'manual' is the basis for much later thought. It details how to live life as a good person, and although it is old fashioned in its thinking (well ancient actually!) and includes some misogyny, it is clearly a basis for living on which we can all live or from whom we can all learn.

His wisdom is pragmatic and without confusing mysticism. One of his most famous tenets is:

'First say to yourself what you would be, then do what you have to do'

Marcus Aurelius, who became emperor of the Roman Empire, was one of Epictetus's most famous students.
Epictetus was banished when the Emperor Domitian purged Rome of philosophers, Epictetus died around AD 135 in Nicopolis in Greece.

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