Epictetus Quotes



Best 26 Discourses Quotes by Epictetus

Discourses Quotes

“Appearances to the mind are of four kinds. Things either are what they appear to be; or they neither are, nor appear to be; or they are, and do not appear to be; or they are not, and yet appear to be. Rightly to aim in all these cases is the wise man's task.”

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“Crows pick out the eyes of the dead, when the dead have no longer need of them; but flatterers mar the soul of the living, and her eyes they blind.”

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“Difficulty shows what men are. Therefore when a difficulty falls upon you, remember that God, like a trainer of wrestlers, has matched you with a rough young man. Why? So that you may become an Olympic conqueror; but it is not accomplished without sweat.”

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“Even as the sun doth not wait for prayers and incantations to rise, but shines forth and is welcomed by all: so thou also wait not for clapping of hands and shouts and praise to do thy duty; nay, do good of thine own accord, and thou wilt be loved like the sun.”

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“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.”

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“For it is not death or pain that is to be feared, but the fear of pain or death.”

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“I must die. Must I then die lamenting? I must be put in chains. Must I then also lament? I must go into exile. Does any man then hinder me from going with smiles and cheerfulness and contentment?”

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“If virtue promises good fortune and tranquility and happiness, certainly also the progress towards virtue is progress towards each of these things.”

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“It is better by assenting to truth to conquer opinion, than by assenting to opinion to be conquered by truth.”

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“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”

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“It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?”

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“It’s as if I were to say to an athlete, ‘Show me your shoulders,’ and he responded with, ‘Have a look at my weights.’ ‘Get out of here with your gigantic weights!’ I’d say, ‘What I want to see isn’t your weights but how you’ve profited from using them.”

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“Nature hath given men one tongue but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak.”

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“Neither death, nor exile, nor pain, nor anything of this kind is the real cause of our doing or not doing any action, but our inward opinions and principles.”

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“No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.”

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“Of pleasures, those which occur most rarely give the most delight.”

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“The sweetest of all sounds is praise.”


More quotes by Xenophon

“Pleasure, like a kind of bait, is thrown before everything which is really bad, and easily allures greedy souls to the hook of perdition.”

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“Practice yourself, for heaven's sake; in little things; and thence proceed to greater.”

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“Shall I show you the sinews of a philosopher? "What sinews are those?" — A will undisappointed; evils avoided; powers daily exercised, careful resolutions; unerring decisions.”

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“The rational and the irrational appear such in a different way to different persons, just as the good and the bad, the profitable and the unprofitable.”

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“To the rational being only the irrational is unendurable, but the rational is endurable.”

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“We must make the best use that we can of the things which are in our power, and use the rest according to their nature.”

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“We should enjoy good fortune while we have it, like the fruits of autumn.”

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“Whatever you would make habitual, practice it; and if you would not make a thing habitual, do not practice it, but accustom yourself to something else.”

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“When one maintains his proper attitude in life, he does not long after externals.”

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“You may fetter my leg, but my will not even Zeus himself can overpower.”

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“I will reveal to you a love potion,
without medicine, without herbs,
without any witch’s magic;
if you want to be loved, then love.”


More quotes by Hecato of Rhodes