Page:Discourses of Epictetus volume 1 Oldfather 1925.djvu/20

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problem of right living.[1] The regular class exercises were clearly reading and interpretation of characteristic portions of Stoic philosophical works, somewhat as in an oral examination; problems in formal logic, these apparently conducted by assistants, or advanced pupils; and the preparation of themes or essays on a large scale which required much writing and allowed an ambitious pupil to imitate the style of celebrated authors. The Master supervised the formal instruction in logic, even though it might be conducted by others, but there is no indication that he delivered systematic lectures, although he clearly made special preparation to criticize the interpretations of his pupils (I. 10, 8). From the nature of the comments, which presuppose a fair elementary training in literature, we can feel sure that only young men and not boys were admitted to the school, and there are some remarks which sound very much like introductions to the general subject of study, while others are pretty clearly addressed to those who were about to leave—constituting, in fact, an early and somewhat rudimentary variety of Commencement Address.[2] Some of the pupils were preparing to teach, but the majority, no doubt, like Arrian, were of high social position and contemplated entering the public service.

For a proper understanding of the Discourses it is important to bear in mind their true character,

  1. Colardeau, pp. 71-113, has an admirable discussion of the method and technique of instruction employed. In view of the singularly valuable nature of the material it seems strange that more attention has not been paid to Epictetus in the history of ancient education.
  2. See Halbauer, p. 45 ff., for a good discussion of these points and a critique of the views of Bruns, Colardeau, and Hartmann.