Chapter 24

24.1 οὗτοί σε οἱ διαλογισμοὶ μὴ θλιβέτωσαν˙ «ἄτιμος ἐγὼ διαβιώσομαι καὶ οὐδεὶς οὐδαμοῦ.» εἰ γὰρ ἡ ἀτιμία ἐστὶ κακόν (ὥσπερ ἐστίν), οὐ δύνασαι ἐν κακῷ εἶναι δι' ἄλλον, οὐ μᾶλλον ἢ ἐν αἰσχρῷ. μή τι οὖν σόν ἐστιν ἔργον τὸ ἀρχῆς τυχεῖν ἢ παραληφθῆναι ἐφ' ἑστίασιν; οὐδαμῶς. πῶς οὖν ἔτι τοῦτ' ἔστιν ἀτιμία; πῶς δὲ καὶ οὐδεὶς οὐδαμοῦ ἔσῃ, ὃν ἐν μόνοις εἶναί δεῖ τοῖς ἐπὶ σοί, ἐν οἷς ἔξεστί σοι εἶναι πλείστου ἀξίῳ; 24.2 ἀλλά σοι οἱ φίλοι ἀβοήθητοι ἔσονται; τί λέγεις τὸ ἀβοήθητοι; οὐχ ἕξουσι παρὰ σοῦ κερμάτιον, οὐδὲ πολίτας ῾Ρωμαίων αὐτοὺς ποιήσεις. τίς οὖν σοι εἶπεν ὅτι ταῦτα τῶν ἐφ' ἡμῖν ἐστιν, οὐχὶ δὲ ἀλλότρια ἔργα; τίς δὲ δοῦναι δύναται ἑτέρῳ ἃ μὴ ἔχει αὐτός; 24.3 «κτῆσαι οὖν» φησίν «ἵνα καὶ ἡμεῖς ἔχωμεν.» εἰ δύναμαι κτήσασθαι τηρῶν ἐμαυτὸν αἰδήμονα καὶ πιστὸν καὶ μεγαλόφρονα, δείκνυε τὴν ὁδὸν καὶ κτήσομαι. εἰ δ' ἐμὲ ἀξιοῦτε τὰ ἀγαθὰ τὰ ἐμαυτοῦ ἀπολέσαι, ἵνα ὑμεῖς τὰ μὴ ἀγαθὰ περιποιήσησθε, ὁρᾶτε ὑμεῖς πῶς ἄνισοί ἐστε καὶ ἀγνώμονες. τί δὲ καὶ βούλεσθε μᾶλλον, ἀργύριον ἢ φίλον πιστὸν καὶ αἰδήμονα; εἰς τοῦτο οὖν μοι μᾶλλον συλλαμβάνετε, καὶ μή δι' ὧν ἀποβαλῶ αὐτὰ ταῦτα, ἐκεῖνά με πράσσειν ἀξιοῦτε. 24.4 «ἀλλ᾽ ἡ πατρίς, ὅσον ἐπ᾽ ἐμοί,» φησίν «ἀβοήθητος ἔσται.» πάλιν, ποίαν καὶ ταύτην βοήθειαν; στοὰς οὐχ ἕξει διὰ σὲ οὐδὲ βαλανεῖα. καὶ τί τοῦτο; οὐδὲ γὰρ ὑποδήματα ἔχει διὰ τὸν χαλκέα οὐδὲ ὅπλα διὰ τὸν σκυτέα˙ ἱκανὸν δέ, ἃν ἕκαστος ἐκπληρώσῃ τὸ ἑαυτοῦ ἔργον. εἰ δὲ ἄλλον τινὰ αὐτῇ κατεσκεύαζες πολίτην πιστὸν καὶ αἰδήμονα, οὐδὲν ἂν αὐτὴν ὠφέλεις; «ναί.» οὐκοῦν οὐδὲ σὺ αὐτὸς ἀνωφελὴς ἂν εἴης αὐτῇ. 24.5 «τίνα οὖν» φησίν, « ἕξω χώραν ἐν τῇ πόλει;» ἣν ἂν δύνῃ φυλάττων ἅμα τὸν πιστὸν καὶ αἰδήμονα. εἰ δὲ ἐκείνην ὠφελεῖν βουλόμενος ἀποβαλεῖς ταῦτα, τί ὄφελος ἂν αὐτῇ γένοιο ἀναιδὴς καὶ ἄπιστος ἀποτελεσθείς;

Honor Does Not Depend on Another or Externals

Epictetus argues against people who think that they will live in dishonor if they do not do certain things, such as hold political office or get invited to a feast. These are all linked to our honor and reputation (δόξα), which the Stoics regarded as outside of any individual's control. Nevertheless, in the second sentence, Epictetus states that ἀτιμία is an evil, something that should be in your control. But, as Boter has pointed out, the Stoics also acknowledge that virtue brings honor, while evil brings dishonor; furthermore, this honor and dishonor do not depend upon the opinion of others, but on your opinion of yourself. Within the context of the passage, virtue consists of being trustworthy and self-respecting. You must live up to your expectations or standards in acting and thinking in order to be trustworthy and have self-respect in your own eyes. On this topic, see the excellent article of R. Kamtekar, “Αἰδώς in Epictetus,” Classical Philology 93 (1998): 136–60.

24.1

θλιβέτωσαν: > θλίβω, 3 pl. pres. act. imper.; -τωσαν appears instead of -ντων in later Greek prose, after Thucydides (S. 466.3).

διαβιώσομαι ... οὐδεὶς οὐδαμοῦ: “I will live ... as a nobody everywhere.”

οὐ μᾶλλον ἢ: “any more than”

αἰσχρῷ: “disgrace”

μή … σόν ἐστιν ἔργον: μή introduces a question that implies a negative answer (G. 488a; S. 2651): “it’s not your job ... is it?”

τυχεῖν: > τυγχάνω, aor. act. infin.

παραληφθῆναι: > παραλαμβάνω, aor. pass. infin., “to be invited”

σῃ: > εἰμί, 2 sg. fut. ind.

ὅν: accusative object of δεῖ. The antecedent is the implied subject “you” of the verb ἔσῃ.

πλείστου ἀξίῳ: “worth most,” “of highest importance” in the community; ἀξίῳ is dat. agreeing with the preceding σοι; πλείστου is gen. of price or value (G. 513; S. 133637).

24.2

τί λέγεις τὸ ἀβοήθητοι: “What do you mean, ‘helpless?’” τό indicates a quotation.

δοῦναι: > δίδωμι, aor. act. infin.

ἃ μὴ ἔχει αὐτός: the antecedent of the relative has been omitted (G. 614; S. 2509); “(that) which.” Since the antecedent is indefinite, the negative is μή (G. 617 [first example]; S. 2506).

24.3

κτῆσαι οὖν ... ἵνα καὶ ἡμεῖς ἔχωμεν: supply κερμάτιον: “then go get rich so that we can have (a little something), too!” (Smith 2014). κτῆσαι > κτάομαι, 2 sg. aor. mid. imper.

δείκνυε: > δείκνυμι, 2 sg. pres. act. imper. Both δείκνυ (S. 418) and δείκνυε (S. 746a) are valid imperative forms.

ἀπολέσαι: > απόλλυμι, aor. act. infin.

περιποιήσησθε: > περιποιέω, 2 pl. aor. mid. subj. in a purpose clause (G. 642; S. 2196).

καὶ μή … ἀξιοῦτε: “do not expect me to do those things (ἐκεῖνά = τὰ μὴ ἀγαθά), through which I will lose these very things (αὐτὰ ταῦτα = τὰ ἀγαθά).” πράσσειν = πράττειν (-ττω appears as -σσω in Ionic and later Attic [S. 513]).

24.4

ὄσον ἐπ᾽ ἐμοί: “as much as it is in my power” = “insofar as I do help (the state)”

πάλιν: “on the other hand,” “and yet”

βοήθειαν: supple λέγεις: “what (sort of) help do you mean?”

καὶ τί τοῦτο: “what is this?” “what does this amount to?” “so what?”

ἐκπληρώσῃ: > ἐκπληρόω, 3 sg. aor. act. subj. in a present general condition (G. 650; S. 2295.1)

εἰ ... κατασκεύαζες ... ὠφέλεις: a rhetorical question, expecting (and receiving) the answer “yes”: “wouldn’t you be helping ... if you furnished?” The verbs are imperfect indicative, as in a contrary to fact conditional. οὐδὲν: “in some way.”

οὐκοῦν οὐδὲ σὺ αὐτὸς ἀνωφελὴς ἂν εἴης αὐτῇ: οὐκοῦν draws an inference (like οὖν) and asserts a negative (like οὐκ), which is reinforced by οὐδὲ. “Then you yourself would not at all be useless to it (the city).” εἴης: > εἰμί. The opt. reiterates the apodosis of the previous condition.

24.5

τίνα: with χώραν: “what place?” “what role?”

ἣν ἂν δύνῃ: “whatever (place) you can (have).” Understand χώραν as antecedent of the relative. δύνῃ: > δύναμαι, 2 sg. aor. dep. subj., in a relative clause with an indefinite antecedent (G. 616a; S 2506)

φυλάττων: the participle is conditional in force, “if you guard,” “so long as you maintain.”

τὸν πιστὸν καὶ αἰδήμονα: “the trustworthy and respectable person (that you are)”

εἰ δὲ ἐκείνην … τί ὄφελος ἂν αὐτῇ γένοιο ἀναιδὴς: here the protasis has a future indicative in the proposition and, instead of the imperative, the optative and ἄν in the apodosis, asking rhetorically what the student is capable of if the proposition holds. γένοιο: > γίγνομαι, 2 sg. aor. dep. opt.

ἀποτελεσθείς: > ἀποτελέω, aor. pass. part. nom. sg. masc., “having become”

διαλογισμός, -ου, ὁ, consideration, reasoning; conversation

θλίβω, θλίψω, ἔθλιψα, to afflict, oppress, distress

ἄτῑμος, -ον, dishonored

διαβιόω, -βιώσομαι, -ἐβίων, to live or spend (one’s whole life)

οὐδαμοῦ, (adv.) nowhere

ἀτιμία, -ης, ἡ, dishonor, disgrace

παραλαμβάνω, παραλήψομαι, παρέλαβον, to receive, invite

ἑστίασις, -εως, ἡ, a feast, banquet

οὐδαμῶς, (adv.) in no way

ἔξεστι, ἐξέσται (ἔξ-ειμι), it is allowed, it is permissible

24.2

ἀβοήθητος, -ον, helpless

κερμάτιον, -ου, τό, (diminutive of κέρμα) money

πολίτης, -ου, ὁ, a citizen

Ῥωμαῖος, -α, -ον, Roman; (subst.) a Roman

ἀλλότριος, -α, -ον, not one's own, under the control of others

24.3

τηρέω, τηρήσω, ἐτήρησα, to guard, preserve

αἰδήμων, -ον (gen. –ονος), modest, self-respecting

πιστός, -ή, -όν, faithful, trustworthy

μεγαλόφρων, -ονος, noble, high-minded

περιποιέω, περιποιήσω, περιεποίησα, to acquire, obtain

ἄνισος, -ον, unfair

ἀγνώμων, -ον, inconsiderate

συλλαμβάνω, συλλήψομαι, συνέλαβον, to help + dat.

ἀποβάλλω, ἀποβαλῶ, ἀπέβαλον, to lose

24.4

ἀβοήθητος, -ον, helpless

βοήθεια, -ας, ἡ, help, aid

στοά, -ᾶς, ἡ, roofed colonnade

βαλανεῖον, -ου, τό, a bath, establishment for communal bathing

ὑποδήμα, -ατος, τό, sandals, shoes

χαλκεύς, -έως, ὁ, coppersmith

σκυτέυς, -έως, ὁ, shoemaker, cobbler

ἐκπληρόω, ἐκπληρώσω, ἠκπλήρωσα, to fulfill

ὠφελέω, ὠφελήσω, ὠφέλησα, to help, benefit

ἀνωφελής, -ές, useless, not beneficial

24.5

ὄφελος, -οῦ, τό, help, advantage

ἀναιδής, -ές, shameless

ἄπιστος, -η, -ον, untrustworthy, faithless

ἀποτελέω, ἀποτελέσω, ἀπετέλεσα, to accomplish; (pass.) to become, turn out to be

article Nav
Previous
Next

Suggested Citation

Albert Watanabe, Epictetus: Encheiridion. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2020. ISBN: 978-1-947822-13-9.
http://dcc.dickinson.edu/epictetus-encheiridion/chapter-24