Chapter 21

21. θάνατος καὶ φυγὴ καὶ πάντα τὰ ἄλλα τὰ δεινὰ φαινόμενα πρὸ ὀφθαλμῶν ἔστω σοι καθ' ἡμέραν, μάλιστα δὲ πάντων ὁ θάνατος· καὶ οὐδὲν οὐδέποτε ταπεινὸν ἐνθυμηθήσῃ οὔτε ἄγαν ἐπιθυμήσεις τινός.

    Keep Death before Your Eyes

    Epictetus advises his students to keep what seems terrible before their eyes.

    πάντα τὰ ἄλλα τὰ δεινὰ φαινόμενα: “all the other things which appear (seem) terrible.”

    ἔστω: > εἰμί, 3 sg. pres. act. imper.

    σοι: dat. of possession (S. 1476)

    καθ' ἡμέραν: “day by day,” “daily” (LSJ κατά B.II.2)

    οὐδὲν οὐδέποτε ταπεινὸν ἐνθυμηθήσῃ: “you will never have any lowly thoughts whatsoever.” ἐνθυμηθήσῃ: > ἐνθυμέομαι, 2 sg. fut. mid. The adjective ταπεινός can be applied to behavior that is weak, submissive, humble, wretched, or mean—the opposite of the autonomy and freedom promised by Stoicism.

    φυγή, -ῆς, ἡ, flight, banishment, exile

    οὐδέποτε, never

    ταπεινός, -ή, -όν, mean, lowly

    ἐνθυμάζω, ἐνθυμηθήσομαι, ἐνεθυμήθην, to consider, think

    ἄγαν, (adv.) very much, too much

    ἐπιθυμέω, ἐπιθυμήσω, ἐπεθύμησα, (+ gen.) to desire, long for

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    Suggested Citation

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