Chapter 15

15.1 Μέμνησο ὅτι ὡς ἐν συμποσίῳ σε δεῖ ἀναστρέφεσθαι. περιφερόμενον γέγονέ τι κατὰ σέ· ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα κοσμίως μετάλαβε. παρέρχεται· μὴ κάτεχε. οὔπω ἥκει· μὴ ἐπίβαλλε πόρρω τὴν ὄρεξιν, ἀλλὰ περίμενε μέχρις ἂν γένηται κατὰ σέ. οὕτω πρὸς τέκνα, οὕτω πρὸς γυναῖκα, οὕτω πρὸς ἀρχάς, οὕτω πρὸς πλοῦτον· καὶ ἔσῃ ποτὲ ἄξιος τῶν θεῶν συμπότης. ἂν δὲ καὶ παρατεθέντων σοι μὴ λάβῃς ἀλλ' ὑπερίδῃς, τότε οὐ μόνον συμπότης τῶν θεῶν ἔσῃ, ἀλλὰ καὶ συνάρχων. οὕτω γὰρ ποιῶν Διογένης καὶ Ἡράκλειτος καὶ οἱ ὅμοιοι ἀξίως θεῖοί τε ἦσαν καὶ ἐλέγοντο.

Act As You Do at a Symposium

Epictetus compares how one should act in life to the way that a good guest would behave at a party. Cf. Diss. 2.4.10.

ἀναστρέφεσθαι: > ἀναστρέφω, pres. pass. infin., “behave”

περιφερόμενον … σέ: “Something that is being carried around is before you,” i.e., someone (presumably a servant) has brought some hors d’oeuvres to you. γέγονε: > γίνομαι, 3 sg. perf. act. ind.

παρέρχεται: “it passes by,” i.e. you miss the passing tray of food.

μὴ ἐπίβαλλε πόρρω τὴν ὄρεξιν: “don’t thrust your appetite forward.” ὄρεξις is a philosophical term meaning “desire,” properly directed only at virtue. Here it is used concretely of the appetite for food, but with an awareness of its philosophical application.

μέχρις ἂν: “until” + subj. (G. 631; S. 2399)

ἔσῃ: > εἰμί, 2 sg. fut. mid. ind.

παρατεθέντων: > παρατίθημι, aor. pass. part. gen. n. pl.; it is the partitive genitive object of λάβῃς: “of the things placed before you.”

οὐ μόνον ... ἀλλὰ καὶ: not only ... but also

οὕτω ... ποιῶν: “by acting like this.”

Διογένης: on Diogenes of Sinope, see the Introduction, Predecessors.

Ἡράκλειτος: Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 535 – c. 475 BCE) was a pre-Socratic philosopher. Many Stoics believed Heraclitus anticipated Stoic doctrines. See A.A. Long, Stoic Studies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1996), ch.2: “Heraclitus and Stoicism.”

συμπόσιον, -ου, τό, a drinking-party, banquet

ἀναστρέφω, ἀναστρέψω, ἀνέστρεψα, to turn upside down; (pass.) to behave or conduct oneself

περιφέρω, περιοίσω, περιήνεγκα, to carry round

ἐκτείνω, ἐκτενῶ, ἐξέτεινα, to stretch out

κοσμίως, (adv.) moderately

μεταλαμβάνω, μεταλήψομαι, μετέλαβον, to take a share of, partake of a thing

κατέχω, καθέξω, κατέσχον, to hold back, restrain

οὔπω, not yet

ἐπιβάλλω, ἐπιβαλῶ, ἐπέβαλον, to throw, cast

πόρρω, forward, further (a later form of πρόσω)

ὄρεξις, -εως, ἡ, desire

περιμένω, περιμενῶ, περέμεινα, to wait for, await

πλοῦτος, -ου, ὁ, wealth

συμπότης, -ου, ὁ, a fellow-drinker, guest

παρατίθημι, παραθήσω, παρέθηκα, to place beside, to set before

ὑπεροράω, ὑπερόψομαι, ὑπερεῖδον, to overlook, despise

συνάρχω, συνάρξω, συνῆρξα, to rule jointly with

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Suggested Citation

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