Page:Discourses of Epictetus volume 1 Oldfather 1925.djvu/16

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long unmarried, until in his old age he took a wife to help him bring up a little child whose parents, friends of his, were about to expose it;[1] so simple in his style of living, that in Rome he never locked the doors of a habitation, whose only furniture was said to be a pallet and a rush mat, and in Nicopolis (in Epirus, opposite Actium) contented himself with an earthenware lamp after the theft of his iron one.

Of the external aspects of his career it should be noted that he had a recognized position as a philosopher when Domitian banished all such persons from Rome (presumably in A.D. 89 or 92); that he settled in Nicopolis, where he conducted what seems to have been a fairly large and well-regarded school; that he travelled a little, probably to Olympia, and certainly once to Athens.[2] In

    concomitant of vast scholarship and erudition, but must have required a deliberate effort directed to the suppression of the elements of human interest. Epictetus' own allusions to his lameness are non-committal, but of course he would have been the last person to boast about such things. And yet, even then, the references to the power of one's master, or tyrant, to do injury by means of chains, sword, rack, scourging, prison, exile, crucifixion, and the like (although the general theme is a kind of Stoic commonplace), are so very numerous as compared with the physical afflictions which come in the course of nature, that it is altogether reasonable to think of his imagination having been profoundly affected during his impressionable years by a personal experience of this very sort.

  1. He had been stung, no doubt, by the bitter and in his case unfair gibe of Demonax, who, on hearing Epictetus' exhortation to marry, had sarcastically asked the hand of one of his daughters (Lucian, Demon. 55).
  2. Philostratus, Epist. 69; Lucian, Demon. 55 would not be inconsistent with the idea of such a visit, but does not necessarily presuppose it.