Chapter 37

37.1 ἐὰν ὑπὲρ δύναμιν ἀναλάβῃς τι πρόσωπον, καὶ ἐν τούτῳ ἠσχημόνησας καί ὃ ἠδύνασο ἐκπληρῶσαι παρέλιπες.

    Don't Exceed Your Capabilities

    ἀναλάβῃς: 2 sg. aor. act. subj. in present general condition (G. 650; S. 2995.1)

    πρόσωπον: “social role.” The word basically means “face,” but is extended to refer to a mask, a theatrical or literary character, a physical person or individual, and a persona or role that one can fill (ἐκπληρῶσαι) well or poorly. According to the fullest Stoic accounts, we have four personae according to 1) our nature as human beings; 2) our individual natures; 3) the circumstances imposed on us by chance and time (e.g., into what city we were born); and 4) the choices we make based on the kind of life we want to lead (Smith 2014).

    ἠσχημόνησας ... παρέλιπες: gnomic aorists to be translated as present (G. 465; S. 1931)

    ἀναλαμβάνω, ἀναλήψομαι, ἀνέλαβον, to take up, undertake

    ἀσχημονέω, to behave badly/unseemly, disgrace oneself

    ἐκπλορόω, to fulfill, handle completely

    παραλείπω, παραλείψω, παρέλιπον, to pass over, fail to achieve

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    Suggested Citation

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