Chapter 47

47.1 ὅταν εὐτελῶς ἡρμοσμένος ᾖς κατὰ τὸ σῶμα, μὴ καλλωπίζου ἐπὶ τούτῳ· μήδ᾽ ἂν ὕδωρ πίνῃς, ἐκ πάσης ἀφορμῆς λέγε ὅτι ὕδωρ πίνεις. κἂν ἀσκῆσαί ποτε πρὸς πόνον θέλῃς, σαυτῷ καὶ μὴ τοῖς ἔξω. μὴ τοὺς ἀνδριάντας περιλάμβανε· ἀλλὰ διψῶν ποτε σφοδρῶς ἐπίσπασαι ψυχροῦ ὕδατος καὶ ἔκπτυσον καὶ μηδενὶ εἴπῃς.

Don’t Boast About Practicing Austerities

This continues the theme of avoiding ostentation from the previous chapter. Austerities especially form part of the Cynic ideal, but Epictetus discourages excessive forms of asceticism.

εὐτελῶς ἡρμοσμένος ᾖς: “you have adapted yourself simply,” i.e. to a simple life. > ἁρμόζω, 2 sg. perf. pass. periphrastic subj. (S. 599d)

καλλωπίζου: 2 sg. pres. mid. imper.

μήδ᾽: the negative governs λέγε.

ἐκ πάσης ἀφορμῆς: “on every occasion”

σαυτῷ καὶ μὴ τοῖς ἔξω: Supply ἄσκει (imper.) as the verb. “Do it for yourself and not for an audience” (Smith 2014).

μὴ τοὺς ἀνδριάντας περιλάμβανε: embracing statues in wintertime was a form of asceticism, see Diss. 3.12.2 and 4.5.14. Also see Diogenes Laertius 6.23, where Diogenes of Sinope, founder of the Cynic school, was said to do this. While Diogenes is for the most part a model for Epictetus, here he is an example of excessive asceticism.

διψν: conditional or temporal, “if/when you are thirsty”

ἐπίσπασαι: 2 sg. aor. mid. imper.

ἔκπτυσον καὶ μηδενὶ εἴπῃς: in Diss. 3.12.17 this odd advice is attributed to a certain Apollonius, presumably Apollonius of Tyana the Neopythagorean philosopher. εἴπῃς: 2 sg. aor. act. subj. prohibitory subjunctive (G. 473; S. 1840b).

εὐτελῶς, cheaply, simply, frugally

ἁρμόζω, ἁρμόσω, ἥρμοσα, to fit; (mid.) to accommodate, adapt oneself

καλλωπίζω, καλλωπίσω, ἐκαλλώπισα, embellish; (mid.) adorn oneself; take pride in oneself

ἀφορμή,- ῆς, ἡ, starting point, occasion

ἀσκέω, ἀσκήσω, ἤσκησα, to practice, to train

ἀνδριάς, -άντος, ὁ, statue, image of man

περιλαμβάνω, to embrace

διψάω, διψήσω, ἐδίψησα, to thirst

σφοδρῶς, violently, excessively

ἐπισπάω, -σπάσω, -έσπασα, to draw off, drink

ψυχρός, -ά, -όν, cold

ἐκπτύω, ἐκπτύσομαι, ἐξέπτυσα, to spit out

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Suggested Citation

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