Chapter 49

49.1 Ὅταν τις ἐπὶ τῷ νοεῖν καὶ ἐξηγεῖσθαι δύνασθαι τὰ Χρυσίππου βιβλία σεμνύνηται, λέγε αὐτὸς πρὸς σεαυτὸν ὅτι «εἰ μὴ Χρύσιππος ἀσαφῶς ἐγεγράφει, οὐδὲν ἂν εἶχεν οὗτος ἐφ' ᾧ σεμνυνεῖται.» ἐγὼ δὲ τί βούλομαι; καταμαθεῖν τὴν φύσιν καὶ ταύτῃ ἕπεσθαι. ζητῶ οὖν τίς ἐστιν ὁ ἐξηγούμενος καὶ ἀκούσας ὅτι Χρύσιππος ἔρχομαι ἐπ’ αὐτόν. ἀλλ' οὐ νοῶ τὰ γεγραμμένα· ζητῶ οὖν τὸν ἐξηγησόμενον. καὶ μέχρι τούτων οὔπω σεμνὸν οὐδέν. ὅταν δὲ εὕρω τὸν ἐξηγούμενον, ὑπολείπεται χρῆσθαι τοῖς παρηγγελμένοις· τοῦτο αὐτὸ μόνον σεμνόν ἐστιν. ἂν δὲ αὐτὸ τοῦτο τὸ ἐξηγεῖσθαι θαυμάσω, τί ἄλλο ἢ γραμματικὸς ἀπετελέσθην ἀντὶ φιλοσόφου, πλήν γε δὴ ὅτι ἀντὶ Ὁμήρου Χρύσιππον ἐξηγούμενος; μᾶλλον οὖν ὅταν τις εἴπῃ μοι «ἐπανάγνωθί μοι τὸ Χρυσίππειον,» ἐρυθριῶ, ὅταν μὴ δύνωμαι ὅμοια τὰ ἔργα καὶ σύμφωνα ἐπιδεικνύειν τοῖς λόγοις.

Put into Practice What You Learn from Chrysippus

There is no reason for you to take pride in being able to interpret Chrysippus’ (notoriously difficult) writings if you don’t put what is learned into practice.

τῷ ... δύνασθαι: art. infin. (G. 574-575; S. 2025); νοεῖν and ἐξηγεῖσθαι are complementary infinitives depending on δύνασθαι.

Χρυσίππου: Chrysippus of Soli (c. 280 – 208 BCE) was the third leader of the Stoic school in Athens, and was considered the second founder of Stoicism, after Zeno. He wrote on many topics, and because of his systematic exposition his views became the standard Stoic positions, even though his language and thoughts were sometimes obscure. None of his works survives except as excerpted by later writers.

εἰ μὴ … ἐγεγράφει ... οὐδὲν ἂν εἶχεν: past contrary to fact condition (G. 649; S. 2292.2). ἐγεγράφει: > γράφω is 3 sg. plupf. act. ind.

ὁ ἐξηγούμενος: “the interpreter,” i.e., a person who will explain the nature of the universe to me (LSJ ἐξηγέομαι A.II.3).

ὅτι Χρύσιππος: supply ἐστι, “that it is Chrysippus”

τὰ γεγραμμένα: “the things that have been written,” “writings,” perf. pass. part. acc. neut. pl.

ἐξηγησόμενον: fut. middle part. acc. masc. sg., “one who will explain” the words of Chrysippus

σεμνὸν: “special, remarkable,” literally “something to be revered” (see LSJ σεμνός A.II.1)

ὑπολείπεται χρῆσθαι τοῖς παρηγγελμένοις: “it remains to put into practice the precepts communicated to me.” παρηγγελμένοις > παραγγέλλω, perf. mid. part. dat. neut. pl., “instructions,” “exhortations” (LSJ A.II.5). χρῆσθαι takes a dat. object, as usual.

ἀπετελέσθην: 1 sg. aor. pass. ind.

μᾶλλον: “rather,” seems to modify ἐρυθριῶ, “I blush (in shame) rather” than being proud of myself.

ἐπανάγνωθι: 2 sg. aor. act. imper.

νοέω, νοήσω, ἐνόησα, to understand

ἐξηγέομαι, ἐξηγήσομαι, ἐξηγησάμην, to interpret

βιβλίον, -ου, τό, book

σεμνύνω, to exalt; (mid.) to give oneself airs

Χρύσιππος, -ου, ὁ, Chrysippus

ἀσαφῶς, (adv.) unclearly

καταμανθάνω = μανθάνω

οὔπω, not yet

σεμνός, -ή, -όν, revered, august, holy; dignified; remarkable

ὑπολείπω, -λείψω, -έλιπον, to leave over, remain

παραγγέλλω, παραγγελῶ, παρήγγειλα, to report, convey, transmit

γραμματικός, -ή, -όν, a grammarian, literature and language teacher

ἀποτελέω, ἀποτελέσω, ἀπετέλεσα, to accomplish; (pass.) to become, turn out to be

φιλόσοφος, -ου, ὁ, a philosopher

Ὅμηρος, Ὁμήρου, ὁ, Homer

ἐπαναγιγνώσκω, -γνώσομαι, -έγνων, to read, explain, interpret

Χρυσίππειος,-ον, of Chrysippus, here Chrysippus’ writings

ἐρυθριάω, ἐρυθριάσω, ἠρυθρίασα, to blush

σύμφωνος, -ον, harmonious with, consonant with

ἐπιδείκνυμι, ἐπιδείξω, ἐπέδειξα, to exhibit or display

article Nav

Suggested Citation

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