Chapter 30

30.1 Τὰ καθήκοντα ὡς ἐπίπαν ταῖς σχέσεσι παραμετρεῖται. πατήρ ἐστιν· ὑπαγορεύεται ἐπιμελεῖσθαι, παραχωρεῖν ἁπάντων, ἀνέχεσθαι λοιδοροῦντος, παίοντος. «ἀλλὰ κακός πατήρ ἐστι.» μή τι οὖν πρὸς ἀγαθὸν πατέρα φύσει ᾠκειώθης, ἀλλὰ πρὸς πατέρα. ὁ ἀδελφὸς ἀδικεῖ; τήρει τοιγαροῦν τὴν τάξιν τὴν σεαυτοῦ πρὸς αὐτὸν, μηδὲ σκόπει τί ἐκεῖνος ποιεῖ, ἀλλὰ τί σοὶ ποιήσαντι κατὰ φύσιν ἕξει ἡ σὴ προαίρεσις. σὲ γὰρ ἄλλος οὐ βλάψει, ἂν μὴ σὺ θέλῃς· τότε δὲ ἔσῃ βεβλαμμένος, ὅταν ὑπολάβῃς βλάπτεσθαι. οὕτως οὖν ἀπὸ τοῦ πολίτου, ἀπὸ τοῦ γείτονος, ἀπὸ τοῦ στρατηγοῦ τὸ καθῆκον εὑρήσεις, ἐὰν τὰς σχέσεις ἐθίζῃ θεωρεῖν.

Appropriate Action

Here Epictetus offers the most detailed discussion of καθήκοντα (appropriate actions or duties) in the Encheiridion. As we saw in ch. 1, impulse (ὁρμή) is directed toward τὰ καθήκοντα. Epictetus most frequently uses the term in discussing roles and duties in social relationships (σχήσεις). You have roles and duties to your parents, teachers, friends, etc. For more on καθήκοντα and roles, see the Introduction.

τὰ καθήκοντα: “fitting things,” i.e., appropriate actions or duties (LSJ καθήκω II.2)

παραχωρεῖν ἁπάντων: “to renounce all things (to him),” i.e., defer to him in all matters. παραχωρέω (“withdraw from, move back from”) typically takes a genitive of separation.

λοιδοροῦντος ... παίοντος: supple πατρός.

ᾠκειώθης: > οἰκειόω, 2 sg. aor. pass. ind. The μή at the beginning of the question indicates that a negative answer is expected: “you weren’t put into a relationship with (πρός) . . . were you?” οἰκειόω is the verbal form of οἰκείωσις, a technical term from Stoic ethics.

τήρει ... σκόπει: 2 sg. pres. act. imper. See note on ζήτει in ch. 8.

ἀλλὰ τί ... προαίρεσις: “but what you will have to do (so that) your volition will be in accord with nature”

ἔσῃ βεβλαμμένος: > βλάπτω, 2 sg. periphrastic fut. perf. pass. ind. (S. 601)

ὑπολάβῃς: > ὑπολαμβάνω, 2 sg. pres. act. subj. in a temporal clause referring indefinitely to the future (G. 627; S. 2399)

ἐθίζῃ: > ἐθίζω, 2 sg. pres. mid./pass. subj.

καθήκω, -ήξω, to come down to, reach to; to be fit or proper; τὰ καθήκοντα, appropriate actions or duties

ὡς ἐπίπαν, as a whole, in general

σχέσις, -εως, ἡ: relationship

παραμετρέω, παραμετρήσω, παρεμέτρησα, to measure, compare

ὑπαγορεύω, ὑπαγορεύσω, ὑπεῖπον, to dictate

ἐπιμέλομαι, ἐπιμελήσομαι, το take care of, have charge of (+ gen.)

παραχωρέω, παραχωρήσω, παρεχώρησα, to yield, submit + gen.

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

λοιδορέω, λοιδορήσω, ἐλοιδόρησα, to insult, verbally abuse; reproach, rebuke

παίω, παίσω, ἔπαισα, to strike, hit

οἰκειόω, οἰκειώσω, ᾠκείωσα, to put in a relationship to

ἀδικέω, ἀδικήσω, ἠδίκησα, to wrong

τηρέω, τηρήσω, ἐτήρησα, to guard, preserve

τοιγαροῦν, therefore

σκοπέω, to look at, consider

προαίρεσις, -εως, ἡ, the volition, will

βλάπτω, βλάψω, ἔβλαψα, to harm, hinder, disable

ὑπολαμβάνω, ὑπολήψομαι, ὐπέλαβον, to assume, think

γείτων, -ονος, ὁ, ἡ, a neighbor

πολίτης, -ου, ὁ, a citizen

ἐθίζω, ἐθιῶ, εἴθισα, to accustom

θεωρέω, θεωρήσω, ἐθεώρησα, to look at, view

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Suggested Citation

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