Discourses Of Epictetus

22 December 2023

Introduction to Epictetus

Epictetus, a prominent Stoic philosopher, lived in the first century AD and left behind a remarkable legacy in the form of his 'Discourses.' These teachings were transcribed and compiled by his student, Arrian, and offer profound insights into the Stoic way of life. Epictetus's philosophy emphasizes personal agency, resilience, and inner peace in the face of adversity.

Key Themes and Principles

In the 'Discourses,' Epictetus expounds upon key Stoic principles, such as the dichotomy of control, understanding what is within our power and what is not, and the importance of focusing on our attitudes and choices rather than external events. He also delves into the concept of living in accordance with nature, accepting the inevitable, and cultivating virtue as the highest good.

There is the consolatio; there is the theme of friendship; there are second-hand lectures on philosophy taken from Plato and Aristotle and Theophrastus, as we have indicated above; and several characteristically Roman laudations of certain old men (including the author himself) who wrestle with physical infirmities.

  • Seneca

Practical Wisdom for Modern Life

Epictetus's teachings resonate deeply in the modern world, offering practical wisdom for individuals seeking to navigate the complexities of contemporary life. His emphasis on self-mastery, ethical living, and the development of resilience has made the 'Discourses' a perennial source of guidance and inspiration for readers across cultures and generations.

Impact and Influence

The 'Discourses' of Epictetus have had a profound impact on Western philosophy and continue to be studied and revered by scholars, philosophers, and individuals interested in personal development. Epictetus's timeless wisdom has influenced countless thinkers, including Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher.

Reading Experience

Reading the 'Discourses' offers an enriching journey into the heart of Stoic philosophy, providing readers with valuable insights and practical guidance for leading a more intentional and fulfilling life. Epictetus's lucid and engaging style makes his teachings accessible and relevant to readers of all backgrounds.

Continuing Relevance

In an age marked by constant change and uncertainty, the wisdom of Epictetus remains as relevant as ever, offering a compass for ethical decision-making, resilience in the face of challenges, and the pursuit of inner tranquility. The 'Discourses' serve as a timeless guide for those seeking to cultivate wisdom and live with purpose.

Written by


Max Thiell

Max writes is a online stoicism content writer. He is passionate about making stoicism accessible for everyone.