Chapter 19

19.1 ἀνίκητος εἶναι δύνασαι, ἐὰν εἰς μηδένα ἀγῶνα καταβαίνῃς ὃν οὐκ ἔστιν ἐπὶ σοὶ νικῆσαι. 19.2 ὅρα μή ποτε ἰδών τινα προτιμώμενον ἢ μέγα δυνάμενον ἢ ἄλλως εὐδοκιμοῦντα μακαρίσῃς ὑπὸ τῆς φαντασίας συναρπασθείς. ἐὰν γὰρ ἐν τοῖς ἐφ᾽ ἡμῖν ἡ οὐσία τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ᾖ, οὔτε φθόνος οὔτε ζηλοτυπία χώραν ἔχει· σύ τε αὐτὸς οὐ στρατηγός, οὐ πρύτανις ἢ ὕπατος εἶναι θελήσεις, ἀλλ᾽ ἐλεύθερος. μία δὲ ὁδὸς πρὸς τοῦτο, καταφρόνησις τῶν οὐκ ἐφ᾽ ἡμῖν.

You Are Invinvcible

You will be invincible if you only enter contests which you know you will win. The contests that you can win involve matters that are in your control. By concentrating on the things which are in your control you will achieve freedom.

ἐπὶ σοὶ: “in your power (control)”


ὅρα: > ὁράω, 2 sg. pres. act. imper. “see to it,” “make sure”

μέγα δυνάμενον: “one having great power.” μέγα is an internal accusative (G. 536b; S. 1573).

μακαρίσῃς: > μακαρίζω, 2 sg. aor. act. subj. in a clause after a verb of caution introduced by μή (G. 610 and 611b; S. 2224a)

συναρπασθείς: > συναρπάζω, aor. pass. part. nom. masc. sg.

ἐὰν γὰρ ἐν τοῖς ἐφ᾽ ἡμῖν ἡ οὐσία τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ᾖ: “if the essence of the good lies in those things that are up to us.” For the phrase ἡ οὐσία τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ see Diss. 4.10.8. ᾖ: > εἰμί, 3 sg. pres. act. subj. in present general condition (G. 650; S. 2295.1).

χώραν: “space,” i.e., opportunity to arise

ἀνίκητος, -η, ον, unconquerable, undefeated

καταβαίνω, καταβήσομαι, κατέβην, to go or come down, to enter

προτιμάω, προτιμήσω, προετιμήσα, to prefer in honor

εὐδοκιμέω, to be of good repute, to be highly esteemed

μακαρίζω, μακαριῶ, ἐμακάρισα, to count blessed, pronounce happy

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

συναρπάζω, -άσω, -συνήρπασα, to seize, carry away

οὐσία, -ας, ἡ, being, essence

φθόνος, -oυ, ὁ, ill-will, envy  

ζηλοτυπία, -ας, ἡ,  jealousy

στρατηγός, -οῦ, ὁ, praetor

πρύτανις, -εως, ἡ, ruler, senator

ὕπατος, -η, -ον, highest, here: a consul

καταφρόνησις, -εως, ἡ, contempt, disdain

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Suggested Citation

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