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Epictetus is a Greek word meaning "acquired." The original
name of the man known to us as Epictetus (b. ca. A.D. 55; d. ca. 135) is unknown.
This stems from the fact that he was born to a slave of one of Nero's bodyguards
and became a freedman only later in his life. As a child, Epictetus was influenced
by the lectures of the Stoic Musonius Rufus. He developed a deep love of philosophy
and of Stoicism in particular, whence his philosophical orientation seems to
have stemmed. Epictetus's importance lies in the influence of his thought--recorded
in the writings of his student, Flavius Arrianus--on the early Christian church.