Chapter 46

46.1 μηδαμοῦ σεαυτὸν εἴπῃς φιλόσοφον, μηδὲ λάλει τὸ πολὺ ἐν ἰδιώταις περὶ θεωρημάτων, ἀλλὰ ποίει τὰ ἀπὸ τῶν θεωρημάτων. οἷον ἐν συμποσίῳ μὴ λέγε πῶς δεῖ ἐσθίειν, ἀλλ᾽ ἔσθιε ὡς δεῖ. μέμνησο γάρ ὅτι οὕτως ἀφῃρήκει πανταχόθεν Σωκράτης τὸ ἐπιδεικτικὸν ὥστε ἤρχοντο πρὸς αὐτὸν βουλόμενοι φιλοσόφοις ὑπ᾽ αὐτοῦ συσταθῆναι, κἀκεῖνος ἀπῆγεν αὐτούς· οὕτως ἠνείχετο παρορώμενος. 46.2 κἂν περὶ θεωρήματός τινος ἐν ἰδιώταις ἐμπίπτῃ λόγος, σιώπα τὸ πολύ· μέγας γὰρ ὁ κίνδυνος εὐθὺς ἐξεμέσαι ἃ οὐκ ἔπεψας. καὶ ὅταν εἴπῃ σοί τις ὅτι οὐδὲν οἶσθα καὶ σὺ μὴ δηχθῇς, τότε ἴσθι ὅτι ἄρχῃ τοῦ ἔργου. ἐπεὶ καὶ τὰ πρόβατα οὐ χόρτον φέροντα τοῖς ποιμέσιν ἐπιδεικνύει πόσον ἔφαγεν, ἀλλὰ τὴν νομὴν ἔσω πέψαντα ἔρια ἔξω φέρει καὶ γάλα· καὶ σὺ τοίνυν μὴ τὰ θεωρήματα τοῖς ἰδιώταις ἐπιδείκνυε, ἀλλ᾽ ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν πεφθέντων τὰ ἔργα.

Lead by Example

Epictetus argues that the student should not talk about philosophical principles among non-philosophers, but act on them. The examples which follow emphasize an avoidance of ostentation and the need to properly digest the principles and practice them. From this point on, the final chapters encourage those making progress to put their philosophical principles into practice.

μηδαμοῦ … εἴπῃς: 2 sg. aor. act. subj., prohibitory subjunctive (G. 473; S. 1840b). Compare Diss. 4.8.17–20, where Euphrates says that he did not let people know that he was a philosopher so that he would not do things to impress others.

ἐν ἰδιώταις: “among non-philosophers.” See ch. 33. In ch. 17 the word means simply “private citizens,” which is its regular meaning in other contexts.

λάλει ... ποίει: 2 sg. pres. act. imper. See note on ζήτει in ch. 8.

τὸ πολὺ: “for the most part,” adv. acc. (G. 540; S. 1609)

τὰ ἀπὸ: “the things that follow from,” object of ποίει.

ἀφῃρήκει: > ἀφαιρέω, 3 sg. plupf. act. ind., “had removed,” i.e., refrained from

ἤρχοντο:. > ἔρχομαι (not ἄρχω), 3 pl. impf. indic.

ὑπ᾽ αὐτοῦ: genitive of agent (S. 1491 and 1698.1.b)

συσταθῆναι: “to be introduced,” aor. pass. infin., dependent on βουλόμενοι

ἀπῆγεν αὐτούς: “led them away,” to introduce them to other philosophers. This example is also found in Diss. 3.5.17, 3.23.22 and 4.8.22–23 and is based on Plato’s Protagoras 310e and Theaetutus 151b.

ἠνείχετο: > ἀνέχω, impf. ind. mid.-pass. 3 sg., with a double augment, “he put up with.” The first augment is added to the preverb ἀνα-, the second appears between the preverb and verb (G. 268d; S. 451).

παρορώμενος: pres. pass. part. nom. masc. sg.

46.2

σιώπα: 2 sg. pres. act. imper. On imperatives of α-contract verbs, see μελέτα in ch. 1.5.

τὸ πολὺ: “for the most part”

δηχθῇς: > δάκνω, 2 sg. aor. pass. subj. Note the negatives in these clauses: μή with δηχθῇς in the subjunctive clause, while οὐδέν is used in the preceding ὅτι clause with the indicative οἶσθα.

ἴσθι: > οἶδα, 2 sg. pf. act. imper.

ἄρχῃ τοῦ ἔργου: ἄρχῃ > ἄρχομαι, pres. mid. ind. 2 sg. “make a beginning of” + gen., “you are making progress”

ἐπεί: “for,” introducing an illustration to reinforce the point (LSJ ἐπεί B.4)

οὐ: with ἐπιδεικνύει

φέροντα: “by bringing,” present participle expressing means (S. 2063)

τοίνυν: “therefore, accordingly,” drawing an inference from the example

ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν πεφθέντων: “(which come) from them once they have been digested.” πεφθέντων: > πέσσω, aor. pass. part. gen. masc. pl. 

μηδαμοῦ, (adverb) in no way, never

φιλόσοφος, -ου, ὁ, philosopher

λαλέω, λαλήσω, ἐλάλησα, to talk, speak

ἰδιώτης, -ου, ὁ, a private person, layman, common man; a non-philosopher

θεώρημα, -ατος, τό,  philosophical principle or theory

συμπόσιον, -οῦ, τό, symposium, drinking party

ἐσθίω, ἔδομαι, ἔφαγον, to eat

ἀφαιρέω,-αιρήσω,-ῄρεσα, to take away from, remove

πανταχόθεν, adv., from every side, in every way

ἐπιδεικτικός, -ή, -όν, fit for displaying; τὸ ἐπιδεικτικόν, display, ostentation

συνίστημι, συστήσω, συνέστην, to introduce

ἀπάγω,-άξω, -ήγαγον, to lead forth

ἀνέχω, ἀνέξω, ἀνέσχον, to endure, put up with + gen.

παροράω, παρόψομαι, παρεῖδον, to overlook

46.2

ἐμπίπτω, ἐμπεσοῦμαι, ἐνέπεσον, to fall upon or into, happen

σιωπάω, σιωπήσομαι, σιώπησα, to be silent

ἐξεμέω, ἐξεμέσω,  ἐξήμεσα, to vomit

πέσσω, πέψω, ἔπεψα, to digest 

δάκνω, δήξομαι, ἔδηξα, to bite, sting

προβάτον, -ου, τό, sheep; cattle

χόρτος, -ου,  ὁ, fodder, food

ποιμήν,-ένος, ὁ, herdsman, shepherd

ἐπιδείκνυμι,-δείξω,-έδειξα, to exhibit, display

ἐσθίω, ἔδομαι, ἔφαγον, to eat

νομή,- ῆς, ἡ,  pasture, forage, grazing

ἔσω, (adv.) inside

ἔριον,-oυ, τό, wool

γάλα, -ακτος, τό, milk

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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-46