Chapter 6

6.1 Ἐπὶ μηδενὶ ἐπαρθῇς ἀλλοτρίῳ προτερήματι. εἰ ὁ ἵππος ἐπαιρόμενος ἔλεγεν ὅτι «καλός εἰμι,» οἰστὸν ἂν ἦν· σὺ δέ, ὅταν λέγῃς ἐπαιρόμενος ὅτι «ἵππον καλὸν ἔχω,» ἴσθι, ὅτι ἐπὶ ἵππου ἀγαθῷ ἐπαίρῃ. τί οὖν ἐστι σόν; χρῆσις φαντασιῶν. ὥσθ', ὅταν ἐν χρήσει φαντασιῶν κατὰ φύσιν σχῇς, τηνικαῦτα ἐπάρθητι· τότε γὰρ ἐπὶ σῷ τινι ἀγαθῷ ἐπαρθήσῃ. 

Do Not Take Pride in What Is Not You

Epictetus advises that we take pride in our own good rather than that of someone or something else (e.g. a horse we own). What is our good? It is the use or management of our impressions in accordance with nature. See Introduction, Assent.

ἐπαρθῇς: > ἐπαίρω, 2 sg. aor. pass. subj. in a prohibition with μή as the negative (here the negative appears in ἐπὶ μηδενὶ . . . προτερήματι (G. 473; S. 1840).

εἰ ἵππος ... ἔλεγεν, ... οἱστον ἅν ἧν: present contrary to fact condition (G. 649; S. 2292.1)

λέγῃς: > λέγω, 2 sg. pres. act. subj. in a temporal clause, equivalent to conditional + imperative construction

ἴσθι: > οἷδα, 2 sg. pres. act. imper.

ἐπαίρῃ: > ἐπαίρω, 2 sg. pres. pass. ind.

σθ’: τ becomes θ before a vowel with a rough breathing. ὥστε is here being used at the beginning of the sentence to denote a firm conclusion or inference: “and so,” “therefore” (LSJ ὥστε II.2).

κατὰ φύσιν σχῇς: > ἔχω, “stay in accordance with nature.” σχῇς: 2 sg. aor. act. subj. in its adverbial use (see 4.1 κατὰ φύσιν ἔχουσαν with note).

ἐπάρθητι: > ἐπαίρω, “be proud,” 2 sg. aor. pass. imper.

ἐπαρθήσῃ: > ἐπαίρω, 2 sg. fut. pass. ind.

ἐπαίρω, ἐπαρῶ, ἐπῆρα, to lift up; in passive: to be proud, elated

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

προτέρημα,-ατος, τό, advantage, distinction

οἰστός,-ή,-όν, bearable, endurable

χρῆσις, -εως, ἡ, use

φαντασία,-ας, ἡ, impression, appearance, perception

τηνικαῦτα, adv., at that time, then

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Suggested Citation

Albert Watanabe, Epictetus: Encheiridion. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2020. ISBN: 978-1-947822-13-9.