Page:Discourses of Epictetus volume 1 Oldfather 1925.djvu/18

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Indoctum, 13); accordingly his life must have covered roughly the period ca. A.D. 50-120, with which limits the rare and rather vague references to contemporary events agree. He was, accordingly, an almost exact contemporary of Plutarch and Tacitus.

Like Socrates and others whom he admired, he wrote nothing for publication,[1] and but little memory would have survived of him had not a faithful pupil, successful as historian and administrator, Flavius Arrian, recorded many a discourse and informal conversation. These are saved to us in four books of Διατριβαί, or Discourses,[2] out of the original eight, and in a very brief compendium, the Ἐγχειρίδιον,[3] a Manual or Handbook, in which,

  1. Although he must have written much for his own purposes in elaborating his argumentation by dialectic, since he lauds Socrates for such a practice and speaks of it as usual for a "philosopher." Besides, in his own discourses he is always looking for an interlocutor, whom he often finds in the person of pupil or visitor, but, failing these, he carries on both sides of the debate himself. Cf. Colardeau, p. 294 f.
  2. Some, especially Schenkl, have believed in the existence of other collections, and it was long thought that Arrian had composed a special biography. But the evidence for the other works seems to be based entirely upon those variations in title and form of reference which ancient methods of citation freely allowed, and it is improbable that there ever existed any but the works just mentioned. See the special study by R. Asmus, whose conclusions have been accepted by Zeller, 767, n., and many others.
  3. This has occasionally been translated by Pugio, or Dagger, in early modern editions, possibly with a half-conscious memory of Hebrews iv. 12: For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts