Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Epictetus "the Stoic" NULL

Greek Sage and Stoic Philosopher

"A good man does nothing for the sake of appearance, but for the sake of doing right."

"All philosophy lies in two words, sustain and abstain."

"Education is the learning how... to distinguish that of things some are in our power, but others are not; in our power are will and all acts which depend on the will; things not in our power are the body, the parts of the body, possessions, parents, brothers, children, country, and, generally, all with whom we live in society."

"Envy is the antagonist of the fortunate."

"Fortify yourself with moderation; for this is an impregnable fortress."

"Fortify yourself with contentment, for this is an impregnable fortress."

"First learn the meaning of what you say, and then you speak."

"He is free who lives as he chooses."

"Fortune is an evil chain to the body, and vice to the soul."

"Freedom is obtained not by the enjoyment of what is desired but by controlling desire itself."

"Freedom and slavery! the one is the name of virtue, and the other of vice, and both are acts of the will."

"He who exercises wisdom exercises the knowledge which is about God."

"If a man should transfer caution to those things in which the will may be exercised and the acts of the will, he will immediately, by willing to be cautious, have also the power of avoiding what he chooses: but if he transfer it to the things which are not in his power and will, and attempt to avoid the things which are in the power of others, he will of necessity fear, he will be unstable, he will be disturbed. For death or pain is not formidable, but the fear of pain or death."

"If virtue promises happiness, prosperity and peace, then progress in virtue is progress in each of these; for to whatever point the perfection of anything brings us, progress is always an approach toward it."

"If you do not wish to be prone to anger, do not feed the habit; give it nothing which may tend to its increase."

"If you would be good, first believe that you are bad."

"If you want to do something, make a habit of it; if you want not to do something, refrain from doing it."

"No one can rob us of our free will."

"It is not poverty that causes sorrow, but covetous desires. Deliver yourself from appetite, and you will be free. He who is discontented with things present and allotted, is unskilled in life."

"Nothing really pleasant or unpleasant subsists by nature, but all things become so by habit."

"Nothing great is produced suddenly."

"Liars are the cause of all the sins and crimes in the world."

"Rely on principles; walk erect and free, not trusting to bulk of body, like a wrestler, for one should not be unconquerable in the sense that an ass is. Who then is unconquerable? He whom the inevitable cannot overcome."

"No one... who lives in error is free. Do you wish to live in fear? Do you wish to live in sorrow? Do you wish to live in perturbation? “By no means.” No one... who is in a state of fear or sorrow or perturbation is free; but whoever is delivered from sorrows and fears and perturbations, he is at the same time also delivered from servitude."

"Seek not the good in things external; seek it in yourselves: if you do not, you will not find it."

"Reason is not measured by size or height, but by principle."

"Remember that you are an actor in a drama of such sort as the Author chooses. If short, then in a short one; if long, then in a long one. If it be His pleasure that you should act a poor man, see that you act it well; or a cripple, or a ruler, or a private citizen. For this is your business to act well the given part; but to choose it, belongs to another."

"The two powers which in my opinion constitute a wise man are those of bearing and forbearing."

"We are not the lead events, but follow them."

"What then makes a man beautiful? Is it not the possession of the excellence of a man?"

"We must not believe the many, who say that free persons only ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers, who say that the educated only are free."

"Conceit lies in thinking you want nothing."

"In the long run, every man will pay the penalty for his own misdeeds. The man who remembers this will be angry with no one, indignant with no one, revile no one, blame no one, offend no one, hate no one."

"Who is the invincible man? He whom nothing which is outside the sphere of his moral purpose can dismay."

"Any one in the creation is sufficient to demonstrate a Providence to a humble and grateful mind."

"Ask not that events should happen as you will, but let your will be that events should happen as they do, and you shall have peace."

"Men are disturbed not by events which happen, but by the opinion they have of these events. Thus death is nothing terrible… but the opinion we have about death is that it is terrible, this is the terrifying thing."

"No one who is a lover of money, a lover of pleasure, or a lover of glory, is likewise a lover ofmankind; but only he who is a lover of virtue."

"It is impossible for a man to begin to learn what he thinks he knows."

"No man is free who is not master of himself."

"Nothing great 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."

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

"Think of God more often than you breathe."

"There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will."

"Seek not to have that everything should as you wish, but wish for everything to happen as it actually does happen, and you will be serene."

"There is but one way to tranquillity of mind and happiness. Let this therefore be always ready at hand with thee, both when thou wakest early in the morning, and when thou goest late to sleep, to account no external thing thine own, but commit all these to God."

"What thou avoidest suffering thyself seek not to impose on others."

"When you have closed your doors, and darkened your room, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not alone; God is within, and your genius is within - and what need have they of light to see what you are doing?"

"First, say to yourself, "What would you be?", and then do what you have to do."

"A man that seeks truth and loves it must be reckoned precious to any human society."