Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER VII.: OF DIVINATION. - The Works of Epictetus. Consisting of His Discourses, in Four Books, The Enchiridion, and Fragments
CHAPTER VII.: OF DIVINATION. - Epictetus, The Works of Epictetus. Consisting of His Discourses, in Four Books, The Enchiridion, and Fragments [100 AD]
The Works of Epictetus. Consisting of His Discourses, in Four Books, The Enchiridion, and Fragments. A Translation from the Greek based on that of Elizabeth Carter, by Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1865).
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- The Discourses of Epictetus.
- Arrian to Lucius Gellius Wisheth All Happiness.
- Book I.
- Chapter I.: Of the Things Which Are, and the Things Which Are Not In Our Own Power.
- Chapter II.: In What Manner, Upon Every Occasion, to Preserve Our Character.
- Chapter III.: How, From the Doctrine That God Is the Father of Mankind, We May Proceed to Its Consequences.
- Chapter IV: Of Progress.
- Chapter V.: Concerning the Academics. †
- Chapter VI.: Of Providence.
- Chapter VII.: Of the Use of the Forms of Right Reasoning.
- Chapter VIII.: That Logical Subtleties Are Not Safe to the Uninstructed.
- Chapter IX.: How From the Doctrine of Our Relationship to God, We Are to Deduce Its Consequences.
- Chapter X.: Concerning Those Who Seek Preferment At Rome.
- Chapter XI.: Of Natural Affection.
- Chapter XII.: Of Contentment.
- Chapter XIII.: How Everything May Be Performed to the Divine Acceptance.
- Chapter XIV.: That All Things Are Under the Divine Supervision.
- Chapter XV.: What Philosophy Promises.
- Chapter XVI.: Of Providence.
- Chapter XVII.: That the Art of Reasoning Is Necessary.
- Chapter XVIII.: That We Ought Not to Be Angry With the Erring.
- Chapter XIX.: Of the Right Treatment of Tyrants.
- Chapter XX.: In What Manner Reason Contemplates Itself.
- Chapter XXI.: Of the Desire of Admiration.
- Chapter XXII.: Of General Principles.
- Chapter XXIII.: Against Epicurus.
- Chapter XXIV.: How We Ought to Struggle With Difficulties.
- Chapter XXV.: On the Same Subject.
- Chapter XXVI.: What the Rule of Life Is.
- Chapter XXVII.: Of the Varied Appearances of Things to the Mind, and What Means Are At Hand By Which to Regulate Them.
- Chapter XXVIII.: That We Ought Not to Be Angry With Mankind. What Things Are Little, What Great, Among Men.
- Chapter XXIX.: Of Courage.
- Chapter XXX.: Weapons Ready For Difficult Occasions.
- Book II.
- Chapter I.: That Courage Is Not Inconsistent With Caution.
- Chapter II.: Of Tranquillity.
- Chapter III.: Concerning Such As Recommend Persons to the Philosophers
- Chapter IV.: Concerning a Man Who Had Been Guilty of Adultery.
- Chapter V.: How Nobleness of Mind May Be Consistent With Prudence.
- Chapter VI.: Of Circumstances. *
- Chapter VII.: Of Divination.
- Chapter VIII.: Wherein Consists the Essence of Good.
- Chapter IX.: That Some Persons, Failing to Fulfil What the Character of a Man Implies, Assume That of a Philosopher.
- Chapter X.: How We May Infer the Duties of Life From Its Nominal Functions.
- Chapter XI.: The Beginning of Philosophy.
- Chapter XII.: Of Disputation.
- Chapter XIII.: Of Anxiety.
- Chapter XIV.: Concerning Naso.
- Chapter XV.: Concerning Those Who Obstinately Persist In Whatever They Have Determined.
- Chapter XVI.: That We Do Not Study to Make Use of the Established Principles Concerning Good and Evil.
- Chapter XVII.: How to Apply General Principles to Particular Cases.
- Chapter XVIII.: How the Semblances of Things Are to Be Combated.
- Chapter XIX.: Concerning Those Who Embrace Philosophy Only In Words.
- Chapter XX.: Concerning the Epicureans and Academics.
- Chapter XXI.: Of Inconsistency.
- Chapter XXII.: Of Friendship.
- Chapter XXIII.: Of Eloquence.
- Chapter XXIV.: Concerning a Person Whom He Treated With Disregard.
- Chapter XXV.: That Logic Is Necessary.
- Chapter XXVI.: What Is the Test of Error.
- Book III.
- Chapter I.: Of Personal Adornment.
- Chapter II.: In What a Well-trained Man Should Exercise Himself; and That We Neglect the Principal Things.
- Chapter III.: What Is the Chief Concern of a Good Man; and In What We Chiefly Ought to Train Ourselves.
- Chapter IV.: Concerning One Who Made Himself Improperly Conspicuous In the Theatre.
- Chapter V.: Concerning Those Who Plead Sickness.
- Chapter VI.: Miscellaneous.
- Chapter VII.: Concerning a Certain Governor Who Was an Epicurean.
- Chapter VIII.: How We Are to Exercise Ourselves Against the Semblances of Things.
- Chapter IX.: Concerning a Certain Orator, Who Was Going to Rome On a Lawsuit.
- Chapter X.: In What Manner We Ought to Bear Sickness.
- Chapter XI.: Miscellaneous.
- Chapter XII.: Of Training.
- Chapter XIII.: What Solitude Is; and What a Solitary Person.
- Chapter XIV.: Miscellaneous.
- Chapter XV. *: That Everything Is to Be Undertaken With Circumspection.
- Chapter XVI.: That Caution Should Be Used, As to Personal Familiarity.
- Chapter XVII.: Of Providence.
- Chapter XVIII.: That We Ought Not to Be Alarmed, By Any News That Is Brought Us.
- Chapter XIX.: What Is the Comparative Condition of the Philosopher, and of the Crowd.
- Chapter XX.: That Some Advantage May Be Gained From Every Outward Circumstance.
- Chapter XXI.: Concerning Those Who Readily Set Up For Sophists.
- Chapter XXII.: Of the Cynic Philosophy.
- Chapter XXIII.: Concerning Such As Read and Dispute Ostentatiously.
- Chapter XXIV.: That We Ought Not to Be Affected By Things Not In Our Own Power.
- Chapter XXV.: Concerning Those Who Waver In Their Purpose.
- Chapter XXVI.: Concerning Those Who Are In Dread of Want.
- Book IV.
- Chapter I.: Of Freedom.
- Chapter II.: Of Complaisance.
- Chapter III.: What Things Are to Be Exchanged For Others.
- Chapter IV.: Concerning Those Who Earnestly Desire a Life of Repose.
- Chapter V.: Concerning the Quarrelsome and Ferocious.
- Chapter VI.: Concerning Those Who Are Annoyed At Being Pitied.
- Chapter VII.: Of Fearlessness.
- Chapter VIII.: Concerning Such As Hastily Assume the Philosophic Dress.
- Chapter IX.: Concerning a Person Who Had Grown Immodest.
- Chapter X.: What Things We Are to Despise, and What Chiefly to Value.
- Chapter XI.: Of Purity.
- Chapter XII.: Of Taking Pains.
- Chapter XIII.: Concerning Such As Are Too Communicative.
- The Enchiridion, Or Manual.
- Part I
- From StobÆus, Antonius, and Maximus. *
- The Following Fragments Are Ascribed Jointly to Epictetus and Other Authors.
- The Following Fragments Are Omitted By Mr. Upton; But As They Stand Under the Name of Arrian, and Seem to Be In the Spirit of Epictetus, They Are Added Here.
FROM an unseasonable regard to divination, we omit many duties: for what can the diviner contemplate besides death, danger, sickness, and such matters. When it is necessary, then, to expose one’s self to danger for a friend, or even a duty to die for him, what occasion have I for divination? Have not I a diviner within, who has told me the essence of good and evil; and who explains to me the indications of both? What further need, then, have I of signs or auguries. Can I tolerate the other diviner, when he says, “This is for your interest”? For does he know what is for my interest? Does he know what good is? Has he learned the indications of good and evil, as he has those of the victims? If so, he knows the indications likewise of fair and base, just and unjust. You may predict to me, sir, what is to befall me; life or death, riches or poverty. But whether these things are for my interest, or not, I shall not inquire of you. “Why?” Because you cannot even give an opinion about points of grammar; and do you give it here, in things about which all men differ and dispute? Therefore the lady, who was going to send a month’s provision to Gratilla, in her banishment, made a right answer to one, who told her that Domitian would seize it. “I had rather,” said she, “that he should seize it, than I not send it.”
What, then, is it, that leads us so often to divination? Cowardice; the dread of events. Hence we flatter the diviners. “Pray, sir, shall I inherit my father’s estate?” — “Let us see: let us sacrifice upon the occasion.” — “Nay, sir, just as fortune pleases.” Then if he predicts that we shall inherit it, we give him thanks, as if we received the inheritance from him. The consequence of this is, that they impose upon us.
What, then, is to be done?
We should come without previous desire or aversion; as a traveller inquires the road of the person he meets, without any desire for that which turns to the right hand, more than for that to the left; for he wishes for neither of these, but only for that road which leads him properly. Thus we should come to God, as to a guide. Just as we make use of our eyes; not persuading them to show us one object rather than another, but receiving such as they present to us. But now we conduct the augury with fear and trembling; and in our invocations to God, entreat him: “Lord have mercy upon me, suffer me to come off safe.” Foolish man! would you have anything then but what is best? And what is best but what pleases God? Why would you then, so far as in you lies, corrupt your judge and seduce your adviser?