Page:Discourses of Epictetus volume 1 Oldfather 1925.djvu/17

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this connection it should also be observed that his general literary education was not extensive—Homer, of course, a little Plato and Xenophon, principally for their testimony about Socrates, a few stock references to tragedy, and the professional's acquaintance with the philosophy of the later schools, and this is practically all. It can scarcely be doubted, as Schenkl observes (p. xci), that this literary apparatus comes almost entirely from the extensive collections of Chrysippus. And the same may be said of his aesthetic culture. He seems to have seen and been impressed by the gold-and ivory statues of Zeus and Athena, at Olympia and Athens respectively, but he set no very high value upon the work of artists, for he allowed himself once the almost blasphemous characterization of the Acropolis and its incomparable marbles as "pretty bits of stone and a pretty rock." Epictetus was merely moralist and teacher, but yet of such transcendent attainments as such that it seems almost impertinent to expect anything more of him.

The dates of his birth and of his death cannot be determined with any accuracy. The burning of the Capitol in A.D. 69 was yet a vivid memory while he was still a pupil of Musonius;[1] he enjoyed the personal acquaintance of Hadrian, but not of Marcus Aurelius, for all the latter's admiration of him; and he speaks freely of himself as an old man, and is characterized as such by Lucian (Adv.

  1. The Capitol was burned in 69 and again in A.D. 80, but the reference to the event (I. 7, 32) as a crime suggests that the earlier date should be understood, since the burning then was due to revolution, while that in A.D. 80 was accidental.