Epictetus, the Discourses as reported by Arrian, the Manual, and Fragments/Book 3/Chapter 24

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That we ought not to yearn for the things which are not under our control

Let not that which in the case of another is contrary to nature become an evil for you; for you are born not to be humiliated along with others, nor to share in their misfortunes, but to share in their good fortune. If, however, someone is unfortunate, remember that his misfortune concerns himself.[1] For God made all mankind to be happy, to be serene. To this end He gave them resources, giving each man some things for his own, and others not for his own. The things that are subject to hindrance, deprivation, and compulsion are not a man's own, but those which cannot be hindered are his own. The true nature of the good and the evil, as was fitting for Him who watches over and protects us like a father. He gave to man to be among his own possessions. "But I have parted from So-and-so, and he is stricken with grief." Yes, but why did he regard what was not his own as his own? Why, when he was glad to see you, did he not reflect that you are mortal, and likely to go on a journey? And therefore he is paying the penalty for his own folly. 5But why are you bewailing yourself, and to what end? Or did you also neglect to study this matter, but, like worthless women, did you enjoy everything in which you took delight as though you were to enjoy it for ever, your surroundings, human beings, your ways of life? And now you sit and wail because you no longer lay eyes upon the same persons, and do not spend your life in the same places. Yes, for that's what you deserve, to be more wretched than crows and ravens, which can fly away wherever they please, and change their nests, and cross the seas, without groaning or longing for their first home.—Yes, but they feel that way because they are irrational creatures.—Has, then, reason been given us by the gods for misfortune and misery, so that we may spend our lives in wretchedness and mourning? Or shall all men be immortal, and no one leave home,[† 1] but shall we stay rooted in the ground like the plants? And if any one of our acquaintances leaves home, shall we sit down and wail, and then again, if he comes back, dance and clap our hands as the children do?

Shall we not wean ourselves at last, and call to mind what we have heard from the philosophers?10—if, indeed, we did not listen to them as to enchanters—when they said that this universe is but a single state, and the substance out of which it has been fashioned is single, and it needs must be that there is a certain periodic change and a giving place of one thing to another, and that some things must be dissolved and others come into being, some things to remain in the same place and others to be moved. Further, that all things are full of friends, first gods, and then also men, who by nature have been made of one household with one another; and that some men must remain with each other, while others must depart, and that though we must rejoice in those who dwell with us, yet we must not grieve at those who depart. And man, in addition to being by nature high-minded and capable of despising all the things that are outside the sphere of his moral purpose, possesses also this further quality, that, namely, of not being rooted nor growing in the earth, but of moving now to one place and now to another, at one time under the pressure of certain needs, and at another merely for the sake of the spectacle.

Now it was something of this sort which fell to the lot of Odysseus:

Many the men whose towns he beheld, and he learned of their temper.[2]

And even before his time it was the fortune of Heracles to traverse the entire inhabited world,

Seeing the wanton behaviour of men and the lawful,[3]

casting forth the one and clearing the world of it, and introducing the other in its place. Yet how many friends do you suppose he had in Thebes, in Argos, in Athens, and how many new friends he made on his rounds, seeing that he was even in the habit of marrying when he saw fit, and begetting children, and deserting his children, without either groaning or yearning for them, or as though leaving them to be orphans?[4] 15It was because he knew that no human being is an orphan, but all men have ever and constantly the Father, who cares for them. Why, to him it was no mere story which he had heard, that Zeus is father of men, for he always thought of Him as his own father, and called Him so, and in all that he did he looked to Him. Wherefore he had the power to live happily in every place. But it is impossible that happiness, and yearning for what is not present, should ever be united. For happiness must already possess everything that it wants; it must resemble a replete person: he cannot feel thirst or hunger.—Still, Odysseus felt a longing for his wife, and sat upon a rock and wept.[5]—And do you take Homer and his tales as authority for everything? If Odysseus really wept, what else could he have been but miserable? But what good and excellent man is miserable? In all truth the universe is badly managed, if Zeus does not take care of His own citizens, that they be like Him, that is, happy. Nay, it is unlawful and unholy to think of such an alternative, 20but if Odysseus wept and wailed, he was not a good man. Why, what man could be good who does not know who he is? And who knows that, if he has forgotten that the things which come into being are corruptible, and that it is impossible for one human being always to live with another? What then? To reach out for the impossible is slavish and foolish; it is acting like a stranger in the universe, one who is fighting against God with the only weapons at his command, his own judgements.

But my mother mourns because she does not see me.—Yes, but why did she not learn the meaning of these words of the philosophers? And I am not saying that you ought to take no pains to keep her from lamenting, but only that a person ought not to want at all costs what is not his own. Now another's grief is no concern of mine, but my own grief is. Therefore, I will put an end at all costs to what is my own concern, for it is under my control: and that which is another's concern I will endeavour to check to the best of my ability, but my effort to do so will not be made at all costs. Otherwise I shall be fighting against God, I shall be setting myself in opposition to Zeus, I shall be arraying myself against Him in regard to His administration of the universe. And the wages of this fighting against God and this disobedience will not be paid by "children's children,"[6] but by me myself in my own person, by day and by night, as I start up out of dreams and am disturbed, trembling at every message, with my own peace of mind depending upon letters not my own. 25Someone has arrived from Rome. "If only there is no bad news!" But how can anything bad for you happen in a place, if you are not there? Someone arrives from Greece. "If only there is no bad news!" In this way for you every place can cause misfortune. Isn't it enough for you to be miserable where you are? Must you needs be miserable even beyond the seas, and by letter? Is this the fashion in which all that concerns you is secure?—Yes, but what if my friends over there die?—Why, what else than that mortal men died? Or how can you wish to reach old age yourself, and at the same time not behold the death of any that you love? Do you not know that in the long course of time many different things must needs happen; fever must overcome one man, a brigand another, a tyrant a third? Because such is the character of the air about us, such that of our associates; cold and heat and unsuitable food, and journeys by land and by sea, and winds and all manner of perils; this man they destroy, that man they drive into exile, another they send on an embassy, and yet another on a campaign. 30Sit down, therefore, and get all wrought up at each one of these events, mourning, unfortunate, miserable, depend on something other than yourself, and that not one thing or two, but tens upon tens of thousands of things!

Is that what you used to hear when you sat at the feet of the philosophers? Is that what you learned? Do you not know that the business of life is a campaign? One man must mount guard, another go out on reconnaissance, and another out to fight. It is not possible for all to stay in the same place, nor is it better so. But you neglect to perform the duties assigned you by your commanding officer, and complain when some rather hard order is given you, and fail to understand to what a state you are bringing the army, as far as in you lies; because, if they all imitate you, no one will dig a trench, no one construct a palisade, or watch through the night, or risk his life in fighting, but they will seem useless soldiers. Again, if you take ship as a sailor, take up one place and stick to that! and if you have to climb the mast, be unwilling; if you have to run to the bow, be unwilling! And what ship's captain will put up with you? Won't he throw you overboard like a piece of junk, nothing but a nuisance, and a bad example to the other sailors? So also in this world; each man's life is a kind of campaign, and a long and complicated one at that. You have to maintain the character of a soldier, and do each separate act at the bidding of the General, 35if possible divining what He wishes. For there is no comparison between this General and an ordinary one, either in His power, or in the pre-eminence of His character. You have been given a post in an imperial city, and not in some mean place; not for a short time either, but you are a senator for life. Do you not know that a man in such a post has to give only a little attention to the affairs of his own household, but for most of the time has to be away, in command, or under command, or serving some official, or in the field, or on the judge's bench? And then you want to be attached to the same spot and rooted in it like a plant?—Yes, it is pleasant.—Why deny it? But soup is pleasant too, and a pretty woman is a pleasant thing. What else do those say who make pleasure their end?

Do you not realize the kind of men they are whose language you have just uttered? That they are Epicureans and blackguards? And yet, while doing their deeds and holding their opinions, you recite to us the words of Zeno and Socrates? Will you not cast away from you, as far as you can fling them, these alien trappings with which you adorn yourself, although they do not at all become you? Or what else do these fellows want but to sleep without hindrance or compulsion, and after they have arisen, to yawn at their ease, and wash their faces; then to write and read what they please, then to babble something or other, to the applause of their friends, no matter what they say; then to go out for a stroll, and after a short walk to take a bath; then to eat, then to seek their rest, and sleep in such a bed as you might expect such persons to enjoy—why should I say the word? For you can infer what it is like.

40Come now, do you also tell me your style of life, the one on which you have set your heart, you eager follower of the truth, and of Socrates, and of Diogenes! What do you want to do in Athens? Just what I have described? Nothing at all different? Why, then, do you call yourself a Stoic? Well, but those who falsely claim Roman citizenship are severely punished, and ought those who falsely claim so great and so dignified a calling and title to get off scot-free? Or is that impossible? whereas the divine and mighty and inescapable law is the law which exacts the greatest penalties from those who are guilty of the greatest offences. Now what are its terms? "Let him who makes pretence to things which in no wise concern him be a braggart, let him be a vainglorious man; let him who disobeys the divine governance be abject, be a slave, suffer grief, envy, pity,[7]—in a word, be miserable, and lament,"

Well, what then? Do you want me to pay court to So-and-so? go to his front-door?[8]—If reason so decides, for the sake of your country, your kinsmen, mankind in general, why not go? Why, you are not ashamed to go to the door of the cobbler when you need shoes, nor to that of the market-gardener when you need lettuce; and are you ashamed to go to the door of the rich when you want something that rich men have?—45Very true, for as to the cobbler, I do not have to admire him.—Don't admire the rich man, either.—And I shall not have to flatter the market-gardener.—Don't flatter the rich man either.—How, then, shall I get what I need?—Am I telling you, "Go like a man who is certain to get what he wants," and not simply, "Go in order to do what becomes you"?—Why, then, do I go at all?—So as to have gone, so as to have performed the function of the citizen that you are, of a brother, of a friend. And furthermore, remember that you have come to see a cobbler, a vegetable-dealer, a man who has authority over nothing great or important, even if he sell it for a high price. You are going, as it were, for heads of lettuce; they are worth an obol, not a talent. So it is in our life also. The matter in hand is worth going to a person's door about; very well, I will go. It is also worth an interview; very well, I will interview him about it. Yes, but I will have to kiss his hand also, and flatter him with words of praise. Go to! that is paying a talent for a head of lettuce! It is not profitable to me, nor to the State, nor to my friends, to ruin by so acting a good citizen and friend.

50Yes, but if you fail, people will think that you didn't try hard. Have you gone and forgotten again why you went? Don't you know that a good and excellent man does nothing for the sake of appearances, but only for the sake of having acted right?—What good does he get, then, from acting right?—And what good does the person get for writing the name "Dio" as it ought to be written? The mere fact of writing it that way.—Is there, then, no further reward?—And are you looking for some further reward in the case of a good man, a reward which is greater than the doing of what is fine and right? At Olympia nobody wants anything else, but you feel content with having received an Olympic crown. Does it seem to you so small and worthless a thing to be good, and excellent, and happy? Therefore, when you have been introduced into this city-state[9] by the gods, and find it now your duty to lay hand to the work of a man, do you yearn for nurses and the breast, and does the weeping of poor silly women move you and make you effeminate? And so will you never get over being an infant? Don't you know that, when a person acts like a child, the older he is the more ridiculous he is?

In Athens did you see nobody when you went to his house?—Yes, the man I wanted to see.—Here also make up your mind to see this man, and you will see the man you want; only do not go humbly, not with desire or aversion, and all will be well with you. 55But this result is not to be found by mere going, nor by standing at gates, but in one's judgements within. When you have contemned things external and outside the province of your moral purpose, and have come to regard none of them as your own, but only the being right in judgement, in thinking, in choosing, in desiring, in avoiding,—where is there any longer room for flattery, where for an abject spirit? Why any longer yearn for the quiet you enjoyed there, or your familiar haunts? Wait a little while and you will find the places here familiar in their turn. And then, if you are so ignoble in spirit, weep and wail again when you leave these too!

How, then, shall I become affectionate?—As a man of noble spirit, as one who is fortunate; for it is against all reason to be abject, or broken in spirit, or to depend on something other than yourself, or even to blame either God or man. I would have you become affectionate in such a way as to maintain at the same time all these rules; if, however, by virtue of this natural affection, whatever it is you call by that name, you are going to be a slave and miserable, it does not profit you to be affectionate. 60And what keeps you from loving a person as one subject to death, as one who may leave you? Did not Socrates love his own children? But in a free spirit, as one who remembers that it was his first duty to be a friend to the gods. That is why he succeeded in everything that becomes a good man, both in making his defence, and in assessing his own penalty, and before that time in his services as senator or soldier. But we abound in all manner of excuses for being ignoble; with some it is a child, with others a mother, and then again it is brothers. But it is not becoming for us to be unhappy on any person's account, but to be happy because of all, and above all others because of God, who has made us for this end. Come, was there anybody that Diogenes did not love, a man who was so gentle and kind-hearted that he gladly took upon himself all those troubles and physical hardships for the sake of the common weal? But what was the manner of his loving? 65As became a servant of Zeus, caring for men indeed, but at the same time subject unto God. That is why for him alone the whole world, and no special place, was his fatherland; and when he had been taken prisoner he did not hanker for Athens nor his acquaintances and friends there, but he got on good terms with the pirates and tried[10] to reform them. And later, when he was sold into slavery at Corinth he kept on living there just as he had formerly lived at Athens; yes, and if he had gone off to the Perrhaebians he would have acted in quite the same way. That is how freedom is achieved. That is why he used to say, "From the time that Antisthenes[11] set me free, I have ceased to be a slave." How did Antisthenes set him free? Listen to what Diogenes says. "He taught me what was mine, and what was not mine. Property is not mine; kinsmen, members of my household, friends, reputation, familiar places, converse with men—all these are not my own. 'What, then, is yours? Power to deal with external impressions.' He showed me that I possess this beyond all hindrance and constraint; no one can hamper me; no one can force me to deal with them otherwise than as I will. 70Who, then, has authority over me? Philip, or Alexander, or Perdiccas, or the Great King?[12] Where can they get it? For the man who is destined to be overpowered by a man must long before that have been overpowered by things." Therefore, the man over whom pleasure has no power, nor evil, nor fame, nor wealth, and who, whenever it seems good to him, can spit his whole paltry body into some oppressor's face[13] and depart from this life—whose slave can he any longer be, whose subject? But if he had gone on living pleasantly in Athens, and had been enamoured of his life there, his fortune would have been in every man's control, and the man who was stronger than he would have had power to cause him grief. How do you imagine he would have wheedled the pirates to sell him to some Athenian, so that he might some time see the beautiful Piraeus, and the Long Walls and the Acropolis! Who are you that you should see them, slave? A thrall and a person of abject spirit; 75and what good are they to you?—No, not a slave, but a free man.—Show me how you are free. See, some person or other has laid hands on you—the man who takes you away from your accustomed way of life, and says, "You are my slave; for it is in my power to prevent you from living as you will, it is in my power to lighten your servitude, or to humble you; whenever I wish, you can be happy again, and go off to Athens in high spirits." What do you say to this man who makes you his slave? Whom have you to offer him as your emancipator? Or do you not even look him in the face at all, but cutting all argument short do you implore him to set you free? Man, you ought to go gladly to prison, in haste, outstripping those who lead you away. And then, I do beseech you, are you loath to live in Rome, and do you yearn for Greece? And when you have to die, then also, I suppose, will you weep all over us, because you are never going to see Athens again or stroll in the Lyceum?

Was that what you went abroad for? Was it for this that you sought to meet someone—that he might do you good? Good indeed! That you might analyse syllogisms more readily, or run down hypothetical arguments? It was for this reason, was it, you left brother, country, friends, and those of your own household—so as to return with this kind of learning? And so you did not go abroad to acquire constancy of character, or peace of mind; not to become secure yourself and thenceforward blame and find fault with no man; not to make it impossible for another to do you wrong, and so maintain without hindrance your relations in society? 80A fine exchange of goods this which you have achieved, syllogisms, and arguments with equivocal and hypothetical premisses! Yes, and if you see fit, seat yourself in the marketplace, and hang out a sign, as the drug-peddlers do. Ought you not rather to deny that you know even all you have learned, so as not to bring your philosophical precepts into ill repute as being useless? What harm has philosophy done you? How has Chrysippus wronged you that you should prove by your own conduct his labours to be useless? Were not the ills at home enough for you, all that you had to cause you grief and sorrow, even if you had not gone abroad, but did you add yet others in addition to them? And if you get other intimates and friends again, you will have more reasons for lamentation, yes, and if you get attached to another land. Why, then, live? Is it to involve yourself in one grief after another that makes you miserable? And then, I ask you, do you call this natural affection? Natural affection forsooth, man! If it is good, it is the source of no evil; if it is evil, I have nothing to do with it. I am born for the things that are good and belong to me, not for things evil.

What, then, is the proper discipline for this? In the first place, the highest and principal discipline, and one that stands at the very gates of the subject, is this: Whenever you grow attached to something, do not act as though it were one of those things that cannot be taken away, but as though it were something like a jar or a crystal goblet, so that when it breaks you will remember what it was like, and not be troubled. 85So too in life; if you kiss your child, your brother, your friend, never allow your fancy free rein, nor your exuberant spirits to go as far as they like, but hold them back, stop them, just like those who stand behind generals when they ride in triumph, and keep reminding them that they are mortal.[14] In such fashion do you too remind yourself that the object of your love is mortal; it is not one of your own possessions; it has been given you for the present, not inseparably nor for ever, but like a fig, or a cluster of grapes, at a fixed season of the year, and that if you hanker for it in the winter, you are a fool. If in this way you long for your son, or your friend, at a time when he is not given to you, rest assured that you are hankering for a fig in winter-time. For as winter-time is to a fig, so is every state of affairs, which arises out of the universe, in relation to the things which are destroyed in accordance with that same state of affairs.

Furthermore, at the very moment when you are taking delight in something, call to mind the opposite impressions. What harm is there if you whisper to yourself, at the very moment you are kissing your child, and say, "To-morrow you will die"? So likewise to your friend, "To-morrow you will go abroad, or I shall, and we shall never see each other again"?—Nay, but these are words of bad omen.—Yes, and so are certain incantations, but because they do good, I do not care about that, only let the incantation do us good. But do you call any things ill-omened except those which signify some evil for us? Cowardice is ill-omened, 90a mean spirit, grief, sorrow, shamelessness; these are words of ill-omen. And yet we ought not to hesitate to utter even these words, in order to guard against the things themselves. Do you tell me that any word is ill-omened which signifies some process of nature? Say that also the harvesting of ears of grain is ill-omened, for it signifies the destruction of the ears; but not of the universe. Say that also for leaves to fall is ill-omened, and for the fresh fig to turn into a dried fig, and a cluster of grapes to turn into raisins. For all these things are changes of a preliminary state into something else; it is not a case of destruction, but a certain ordered dispensation and management. This is what going abroad means, a slight change; this is the meaning of death, a greater change of that which now is, not into what is not, but into what is not now.—Shall I, then, be no more?—No, you will not be, but something else will be, something different from that of which the universe now has need.[15] And this is but reasonable, for you came into being, not when you wanted, but when the universe had need of you.

95For this reason the good and excellent man, bearing in mind who he is, and whence he has come, and by whom he was created, centres his attention on this and this only, how he may fill his place in an orderly fashion, and with due obedience to God. "Is it Thy will that I should still remain? I will remain as a free man, as a noble man, as Thou didst wish it; for Thou hast made me free from hindrance in what was mine own. And now hast Thou no further need of me? Be it well with Thee. I have been waiting here until now because of Thee and of none other, and now I obey Thee and depart." "How do you depart?" "Again, as Thou didst wish it, as a free man, as Thy servant, as one who has perceived Thy commands and Thy prohibitions. But so long as I continue to live in Thy service, what manner of man wouldst Thou have me be? An official or a private citizen, a senator or one of the common people, a soldier or a general, a teacher or the head of a household? Whatsoever station and post Thou assign me, I will die ten thousand times, as Socrates says, or ever I abandon it.[16] 100And where wouldst Thou have me be? In Rome, or in Athens, or in Thebes, or in Gyara?[17] Only remember me there. If Thou sendest me to a place where men have no means of living in accordance with nature, I shall depart this life, not in disobedience to Thee, but as though Thou wert sounding for me the recall. I do not abandon Thee—far be that from me! but I perceive that Thou hast no need of me. Yet if there be vouchsafed a means of living in accordance with nature, I will seek no other place than that in which I am, or other men than those who are now my associates."

Have thoughts like these ready at hand by night and by day; write them, read them, make your conversation about them, communing with yourself, or saying to another, "Can you give me some help in this matter?" And again, go now to one man and now to another. Then, if some one of those things happens which are called undesirable, immediately the thought that it was not unexpected will be the first thing to lighten the burden. 105For in every case it is a great help to be able to say, "I knew that the son whom I had begotten was mortal."[18] For that is what you will say, and again, "I knew that I was mortal," "I knew that I was likely to leave home," "I knew that I was liable to banishment," "I knew that I might be sent off" to prison." And in the next place, if you reflect with yourself and look for the quarter from which the happening comes, immediately you will be reminded of the principle: "It comes from the quarter of the things that are outside the sphere of the moral purpose, that are not mine own; what, then, is it to me?" Then comes the most decisive consideration: "Who was it that has sent the order?" Our Prince, or our General, the State, or the law of the State? "Give it to me, then, for I must always obey the law in every particular." Later on, when your imagination bites you (for this is something you cannot control), fight against it with your reason, beat it down, do not allow it to grow strong, or to take the next step and draw all the pictures it wants, in the way it wants to do. If you are at Gyara, don't picture the style of life at Rome, and all the relaxations a man had who was living there, as well as all that he might have upon his return; but since you have been stationed there, you ought to strive to live manfully at Gyara, as beseems the man whose life is spent in Gyara. And again, if you are in Rome, don't picture the style of life at Athens, but make your life in Rome the one object of your study and practice.

110Then, in the place of all the other relaxations, introduce that which comes from the consciousness that you are obedient to God, and that you are playing the part of the good and excellent man, not ostensibly but in reality. For what a fine thing it is to be able to say to oneself, "Now I am actually performing what the rest talk solemnly about in their lectures, and are thought to be uttering paradoxes. Yes, they sit and expound my virtues, and study about me, and sing my praise. And of this Zeus wished me to get a demonstration in my own person, while at the same time He wished to know whether He has the right kind of soldier, the right kind of citizen, and to present me before all other men as a witness about the things which lie outside the sphere of the moral purpose. 'Behold,' says He, 'your fears are at haphazard, it is in vain that you desire what you desire. Do not look for your blessings outside, but look for them within yourselves; otherwise you will not find them.' These are the terms upon which now He. brings me here, and again He sends me there; to mankind exhibits me in poverty, without office, in sickness; sends me away to Gyara, brings me into prison. Not because He hates me—perish the thought! And who hates the best of his servants? Nor because He neglects me, for He does not neglect any of even the least of His creatures; but because He is training me, and making use of me as a witness to the rest of men. When I have been appointed to such a service, am I any longer to take thought as to where I am, or with whom, or what men say about me? Am I not wholly intent upon God, and His commands and ordinances?"

115If you have these thoughts always at hand and go over them again and again in your own mind, and keep them in readiness, you will never need a person to console you, or strengthen you. For disgrace does not consist in not having anything to eat, but in not having reason sufficient to secure you against fear and against grief. But if once you win for yourself security against grief and fear, will there any longer exist for you a tyrant, or a guardsman, or members of Caesar's household; or will some appointment to office sting you with envy, or those who perform sacrifices on the Capitol in taking the auspices,[19] you who have received so important an office from Zeus? Only make no display of your office, and do not boast about it; but prove it by your conduct; and if no one perceives that you have it, be content to live in health and happiness yourself.


  1. That is, is produced by himself, or is his own fault; and really affects no one but himself.
  2. Homer, Odyssey, I. 3.
  3. Homer, Odyssey, XVII. 487 (slightly modified).
  4. This is about the most drastic bit of idealisation of the Heracles myths which the Stoics, for whom Heracles was a kind of Arthurian knight, ever achieved. The comic poets naturally presented this aspect of his career in a somewhat different light.
  5. Homer, Odyssey, V. 82.
  6. The phrase in quotation marks is a verbal reminiscence of Homer, Iliad, XX. 308.
  7. Because it was a disturbing passion which interfered with serenity.
  8. The transition is most abrupt, but obviously the interlocutor has been expected by his friends to pay court to some rich and influential man.
  9. i.e. the world.
  10. The humorous touch here in the word-jingle πειραταῖς and ἐπειρᾶτο is worthy of note, but hard to reproduce. For the incident in question see IV. 1, 115 f.
  11. His teacher, the famous philosopher.
  12. Of Persia.
  13. Perhaps a reference to the story that Anaxarchus, when Nicocreon ordered that his tongue be cut out, bit it off and spat it in the other's face. Diogenes Laertius, 9, 59.
  14. Among the means of warding off the evil eye from the triumphator was this, that a slave rode behind him in his triumphal car, and in the midst of the acclamations of the people kept saying: "Look behind you, and remember that you are a mortal." For the evidence and literature, see J. Marquardt: Römische Staatsverwaltung, II. 568-9.
  15. This seems to me to be the most probable meaning of a vexed passage. If any change is needed, which I doubt (for ἄλλος with the simple genitive is abundantly attested, at least in other authors), I should prefer to read ἄλλο τι ἦ οὗ, rather than to change οὐκ into οὐ, delete or transpose it, or take νῦν in the sense of τότε.
  16. A very free paraphrase of Plato, Apology, 28 D-29 A.
  17. See on 1. 24. 19.
  18. Variously attributed to Solon (Diogenes Laertius, 2, 13), Anaxagoras (Cicero, Tusc. 3, 30; Diogenes Laertius, 2, 13), or Xenophon (Diogenes Laertius, 2. 13 and 55). Compare also Seneca, De Consol. ad Polyb. 11, 2, and Hierocles on the Golden Verses of Pythagoras, chap. 11 (p. 439 a, Mullach).
  19. In this passage the words Caesariani and ordinatio have been taken over direct from the Latin. In ὀπτικίοις, a word which seems to occur nowhere else in Greek or in Latin, it may be that the Latin auspicia (sacrifices at the inauguration of some official enterprise) are meant, as Wolf suggested, and so the passage is translated; but the word is very uncertain (Chinnock, Class. Rev. 3 (1889), 70, thinks it stands for officia), and several emendations have been proposed, of which ὀπφικίοις (officia, Koraes) is perhaps the most plausible.

Select critical notes

  1. The clause μηδ' ἡμεῖς ποῦ ἀποδημῶμεν which follows here in S, is deleted by Oldfather as a doublet of the preceding three words. It arose probably as a superfluous attempt either to gloss or to emend.